Kakwan Point is on the north bank of the Stikine River that starts in British Columbia and flows northwest and south for 330 miles (532 km) across the Alaska-Canada boundary to Eastern Passage, about 26 miles (42 km) southeast of Petersburg and 2 miles (3 km) north of Wrangell, Alaska. The Tlingit name for the river translates to “Great River” and was reported in 1799 as “Stikine River” by Captain James Rowan, of the ship Eliza out of Boston. The Russian name was “Ryeka Stahkin” on hydrographic charts in 1848, and the present spelling of the name was adopted in 1869 by U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.
The Stikine is one of five rivers in Southeast Alaska with large Chinook salmon runs, the others being the Taku, Unuk, Chilkat, and Alsek Rivers. Chinook salmon also called King salmon in Alaska and is the largest of six North Pacific salmon species. The Chinook ranges from California to Alaska, and Siberia to Japan. The average adult fish is 24 to 36 inches (61 to 91 cm) in length and 10 to 50 pounds (4.5 to 22.7 kg) in weight. The Chinook is anadromous and may spend one to eight years in the ocean before returning to their home rivers to spawn.
In many places, the Chinook populations are declining or have disappeared due to overfishing, freshwater and estuarine habit loss, hydropower development, poor ocean conditions, and hatchery practices. In 2017, all five of the major Chinook runs in Southeast Alaska fell far short of their management goals. Fishery closures and restrictions have been necessary for many areas in an effort to allow more Chinook to spawn. Read more here and here. Explore more of the Stikine River here: