• Winter in the Wrangells

    Wrangell - St Elias

    National Park & Preserve Alaska

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  • Wrangell-St. Elias Visitor Center Switching to Fall Hours on Sept. 20th

    Wrangell-St Elias's main visitor center, located near Copper Center, AK, is on fall hours starting September 20th. The fall hours of operation are Mon.-Fri. 9:00 am-4:00 pm, closed on federal holidays.

Long Lake Fish Weir

spawning fish during winter
The Long Lake population has the longest known annual spawning duration (August through April) of any sockeye salmon population in North America. Throughout the winter, sockeye spawn in the northwest corner of the lake which rarely freezes.
 
Long Lake Weir

The weir at the outlet of Long Lake has been in operation since 1974.

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.

 

Count Totals
1974-2012

YEAR

SALMON

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

25,736

12,885

10,876

4,555

631

7,486

9,239

7,770

2004

19,215

2003

4,604

2002

50,000

2001

26,939

2000

8,665

1999

12,922

1998

8,531

1997

4,433

1996

6,209

1995

17,933

1994

18,289

1993

16,101

1992

10,141

1991

11,501

1990

21,399

1989

17,760

1987

7,065

1986

13,323

1985

21,431

1984

10,729

1983

28,003

1982

28,064

1981

12,687

1980

39,978

1979

46,110

1978

15,458

1977

8,772

1976

24,689

1975

6,786

1974

4,501

Did You Know?

Red Squirrel

Scientists believe that our chattering little forest friend, the red squirrel, is the first mammal proven to have the ability to adapt to our warming climate in just a few generations. Females have been able to shorten their gestation period , normally 36-40 days, by as much as 18 days.