King salmon returns weak in Alaska

For years, Kodiak Island's 25-mile-long Karluk River offered some of the finest king salmon fishing in North America. Anglers spoke of hooking as many as 30 of the large salmon a day. But no more.

Months before the first angler shows up, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has clamped restrictions on the Karluk and Ayakulik, two premier Kodiak rivers battered by weak king salmon returns. Both waterways saw dismal returns last season.

The Ayakulik failed to meet its minimum escapement goal of 4,800 kings two of the past three years. A strong return of 24,742 kings in 2004 slid to 3,071 last year, far short of the 10-year average of 13,400 spawners. The Karluk fared even worse.

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