Long Lake Fish Weir

spawning fish during winter
The Long Lake population has one of the longest known annual spawning durations (August through April) of any sockeye salmon population in North America. Throughout the winter, sockeye spawn in areas along the northern shoreline of the lake which rarely freeze.
 
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, park staff have operated the weir with funding provided 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. Over forty years of weir data show annual variations in abundance of Long Lake runs ranging from 212 to nearly 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.

 

Sockeye Salmon Count Totals
1974-2017

Year

Sockeye Salmon

2017
2016
2015
2014

2,795
212
9,701
16,778

2013

14,494

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

25,736

12,885

10,876

4,555

619

7,486

9,239

7,770

2004

19,215

2003

4,604

2002

49,747

2001

26,939

2000

8,645

1999

12,922

1998

441

1997

4,433

1996

6,309

1995

17,933

1994

18,289

1993

16,101

1992

10,091

1991

11,511

1990

21,664

1989
1988

14,981
7,543

1987

13,633

1986

16,997

1985

21,131

1984

10,637

1983

28,133

1982

28,047

1981

12,659

1980

39,038

1979

46,110

1978

15,458

1977

8,624

1976

24,689

1975

6,786

1974

4,684

Last updated: June 19, 2018

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Mailing Address:

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve
PO Box 439
Mile 106.8 Richardson Highway

Copper Center, AK 99573

Phone:

(907) 822-5234

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