Seine vessels fish near Bligh Island during a 16-hour open period in late July 2023. Photo by Kinsey Brown for The Cordova Times

State fisheries officials are forecasting a strong run of nearly 2 million sockeye salmon into the Copper River in 2024, plus an average run of 47,000 Chinook salmon. 

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) forecast of Jan. 18 predicts a sockeye run of 1,965,000 fish, compared to the 10-year average of 1,740,000 fish, with a forecast range of 1,572,000 to 2,358,000 fish, or 13% above average. 

For Chinook salmon, the forecast is for a run of 34,000 to 66,000 kings, or 2% below the 10-year average of 48,000 fish. 

For the Gulkana hatchery, a weak run of 36,000 salmon is forecasts with a range of 29,000 to 44,000 fish, or 69% below the 10-year average of 117,000 salmon. 

Forecasts are all strong, however, for Coghill Lake sockeyes, and pink and chum salmon in Prince William Sound.  

For Coghill Lake, state biologists have calculated a run of 273,000 sockeyes, in a range of 152,000 to 395,000 fish, or 38% above the 10-year average of 194,000 fish. 


For pink salmon in Prince William Sound, the forecast is for 6,447,000 humpies, in a range of 2,219,000 to 18,729,000 fish, or 50% about the 10-year average of 4,302,000 salmon.   

For chum salmon in Prince William Sound, state biologists are predicting a run of 639,000 fish in the range of 401,000 to 877,000 fish, or 27% above the 10 year average of 503,000 fish.