Yukon Salmon

The Yukon is home to four species of anadromous Pacific salmon—Chinook, chum, coho, and sockeye—that migrate through the Alsek, Porcupine, and Yukon River watersheds of the Yukon.

Chinook, sockeye and coho salmon are found in the Alsek watershed. Chinook and chum are in the Yukon watershed, with coho limited to the Porcupine watershed. The Yukon River is the northern Chinook spawning river with the longest upstream migration globally.

Salmon populations vary from year to year. However, the status of salmon is depressed and declining relative to historical runs. Due to fewer salmon returning to their spawning grounds, Yukon First Nation communities have voluntarily severely limited or restricted their salmon harvest in recent years.

Yukon First Nations have demonstrated their sacrifices over the last few decades. However, salmon stocks have generally continued to decline. In addition, Chinook and chum stocks have been declining across Alaska, British Columbia, and the Pacific Northwest. Suggesting that marine conditions and processes outside of the Yukon significantly contribute to the decline of Chinook and chum.

In light of the threats to salmon populations – such as overfishing, food competitions, habitat fragmentation, climate change, barriers to fish passage and disease – it is apparent that Yukon First Nations must work together to address these drastic changes affecting salmon populations, culture and connections.

Chinook - Photo: Sonny Parker
Chum - Photo: Elizabeth MacDonald
Coho - Photo: Peter Mather
Sockeye - Photo: Fly Fish Yukon J Kennedy