Kirschner Lake, Kamishak Bay

Kirschner Lake, Kamishak Bay

by | Jul 12, 2019

Kirschner Lake is about 1 mile (1.6 km) across, located 5 miles (8 km) east of Big Hill and 18 miles (29 km) west of Augustine Island, in the Aleutian Range along Kamishak Bay, Alaska. The name was first published in 1952 by U.S. Geological Survey. The lake is stocked with sockeye salmon, and because of an impassable waterfall, a terminal fishery was created in Kamishak Bay.

The Alaska salmon fishery is managed for sustainable annual catches of five species of wild Pacific Salmon for commercial and sport fishing, subsistence by Alaska Native communities, and personal use by local residents. Salmon fishing is a nearly ubiquitous activity across the state and the salmon catch in Alaska is the largest in North America. Overfishing in the middle of the 20th century resulted from the rapid expansion of industrial cannery capacity, and President Dwight Eisenhower declared Alaska a federal disaster area in 1953. Alaska achieved statehood in 1959 and the development of a comprehensive fisheries management system soon followed. The primary goal of management is to ensure that sufficient numbers of adult spawning salmon escape capture in the fishery and are allowed to spawn in the rivers, thus maintaining the long-term health of wild stocks. Enhancement of salmon stocks started with a hatchery program in 1971, and Alaska now has 33 production hatcheries designed to augment existing fisheries and manage terminal fisheries.

The waterfall at the outlet to Kirschner Lake is an impassable barrier to spawning salmon and as a result, the lake is considered barren by fish managers. The Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association stocks the lake with sockeye salmon fry that rear in the lake before migrating to the ocean. The resulting fishery is considered terminal since the fish returning to their natal stream cannot ascend the waterfall to spawn. Read more here and here. Explore more of Kamishak Bay here:

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