Chignik Fish Weir, Chignik River

A fish weir on the Chignik River is used to count salmon escapement. The Chignik Lake system is located on the south side of the Alaska Peninsula and produces the vast majority of salmon in the region. The watershed includes two interconnected lakes. The upper lake is Black Lake (41 sq km), that is extremely shallow (3 m maximum depth) and turbid. Black Lake drains via the Black River into Chignik Lake that is smaller (22 sq km), relatively deep (64 m), and is surrounded by precipitous mountains. The outlet of Chignik Lake flows into Chignik Lagoon, a very large semi-enclosed estuary, and then into the Gulf of Alaska. The salmon populations are tightly managed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game primarily using data from the numbers of fish caught, and escapement. Escapement is the number of fish that "escape" the fishery and return to their natal streams to spawn. In the Chignik system, escapement is measured from aerial surveys, and counts at a fish weir on the Chignik River using digital video equipment and acoustic sonar. Read more here and here. Changes in Black Lake may be causing the loss of this important salmon habitat. Read more here. Click here to download the CoastView app and explore more of the Chignik River and lagoon.