Tuesday May 17, 2022


Eulachon, the small fish known in Lingít as saak, has returned to the upper Lynn Canal, marking a celebration of spring. The nutrient rich fish is essential for subsistence culture and marine life. A long-term research study is tracking the fish’s populations across Southeast Alaska to better understand and protect the species.

“It’s a little disconcerting that this is the second year in a row that we haven’t seen a run materialized on the Chilkoot River,” said Meredith Pochardt, a lead researcher with the Chilkoot Indian Association’s regional monitoring project for the fish population. “A few days ago, we saw a small school of fish move in, and there’s a lot of activity and it looked like you know there’s gonna be a bunch more fish that came behind them, and yet we just didn’t see them.”

Pochardt is at the river every day before and during the spring run, from mid April to mid May. The first telltale sign of the spring run is the sound of gulls and seabirds overhead, and seals, sea-lions and sometimes orcas in the water. Another method is gathering DNA.

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