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Managers issue salmon fishing restrictions at McLees Lake for lack of weir data

Karley Parker
Local subsistence fishermen must obtain a permit and have it in their possession while harvesting salmon.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has restricted fishing within 500 yards of the McLees Lake river mouth July 1-9.

This is the first season without a weir at McLees since 2018 and 2019. That’s because the Qawalangin Tribe and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game didn’t get funding for the McLees Lake weir at Cape Wislow this year. Regulators aren’t collecting data on the salmon population in the area so they aren’t able to provide in-season management, which means they can’t adjust closures or regulations if the run peaks at a different time.

The closure dates aren’t arbitrary, though. ADF&G officials said this is an important, peak time for the salmon run. Closing fishing near the river mouth in early July helps keep the population healthy and sustainable.

ADF&G said a white marker indicates the closed waters on the east side only. Regulations still apply to the west side, even though there is no marker there.

Meanwhile, the tribe is leading a brand new weir project at Iliuliuk Creek this year. Technicians will collect data on salmon populations at the weir in town, which was installed last month. They’re working toward developing a sustainable escapement goal for the area.

Fish and Game officials said the new weir shouldn’t affect fishing regulations in the area. Still, no fishing is allowed within 100 yards of any fish weir, upstream or down. That applies to Dolly Varden as well.

Local subsistence fishermen must obtain a permit and have it in their possession while harvesting salmon. Find more information at ADF&G’s website or call 907-532-2419.

Hailing from Southwest Washington, Maggie moved to Unalaska in 2019. She's dabbled in independent print journalism in Oregon and completed her Master of Arts in English Studies at Western Washington University — where she also taught Rhetoric and Composition courses.
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