Long Lake Fish Weir
The weir at the outlet of Long Lake (on the McCarthy Road) has been in operation since 1974. Initially the Alaska Department of Fish and Game ran it. In 1976 Cliff Collins, a local private citizen who owned the land where the weir is located, voluntarily took over operation of the weir when ADFG was no longer able to fund its operation. He operated the weir continuously from 1976 through 2003. In 2003 when Mr. Collins, at age 93, was no longer able to operate the weir, a cooperative agreement was formed between the Collins’ Family Trust, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park/Preserve and the Copper River Watershed Project to continue to keep the weir operating. Since 2004, funding has been by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Subsistence Management.
Starting in 2003 the weir operators began sampling sockeye salmon for age, sex, and length composition as well as counting the number of sockeye migrating into Long Lake. Thirty two years of weir data show annual variations in abundance of Long Lake runs ranging from 4,400 to over 50,000 sockeye. This is the longest running data set of weir counts of salmon in the Copper River drainage. The sockeye salmon stock that spawns within Long Lake is the largest salmon stock within the Chitina River drainage.
Did You Know?
The Alaska Blackfish is unique because it has a modified esophagus capable of gas absorption, which means that it can exist off atmospheric oxygen. The Blackfish can live in oxygen-deprived stagnant tundra or muskeg pools and can also survive in moist tundra mosses for extended periods of time.