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SALMON

Courtesy Cade Terada

Summer sportfishing has begun in Unalaska, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game wants to hear how local anglers are doing.

"There are about five people who regularly contact me and give me updates about what's going on, which I really appreciate," said biologist Tyler Polum. "But more would help too."

Polum is a sportfish biologist for Kodiak, the Aleutian Islands, and the Alaska Peninsula.

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For the first time in 18 years, Unalaska won't collect detailed data on the salmon run at McLees Lake this summer.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) spent months trying to secure funding for the Wislow fish weir.

But last week, biologist Lisa Fox announced that it was too late to keep searching.

KUCB

With grant money drying up, the state wants Unalaska to help fund the salmon weir at McLees Lake.

Scientists have used the weir to monitor sockeye for the past 17 years. But now, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has no way to pay for it.

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Scientists have monitored the salmon run at McLees Lake for 17 years.

But now, they’re in danger of losing the weir that helps them count sockeye at one of Unalaska’s most popular spots for subsistence fishing.

"We are at the end of our funding cycle with the Alaska Sustainable Salmon Fund," said Biologist Lisa Fox of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. "We don’t know yet if we have funding for that weir this upcoming season."

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While Unalaska’s biggest subsistence salmon run got off to a slow start this season, it’s now at a sustainable level.

The start of the McLees Lake run was so low, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game issued an emergency order early this month to protect the area around the mouth of the creek.

While there are a lot of factors at play, biologist Colton Lipka says low water could have affected the run and they are seeing that in places like the Orzinski Bay Weir near the Shumagin Islands.

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