MASKED UP – Mt. Edgecumbe High School students receive prizes for their costumes this afternoon outside the school library. This year’s Halloween costume contest was held outdoors with everyone wearing masks in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Sitkans are trying to have a degree of normalcy while acting responsibly during the pandemic. Businesses are having Halloween-themed  sales over the weekend. Also, Sitka merchants will be hosting the downtown Trick-or-Treat event Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. with everyone asked to observe social distancing recommendations. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

8-Day SE Trolling Shutdown to Start Friday

Sentinel Staff Writer

Southeast Alaska’s commercial troll salmon fishery will close for eight days, starting Thursday, due to low abundance of coho salmon, state Fish and Game officials announced today.

The fishery will reopen August 15, they said.

“The point of the closure is to try to move fish to the inside,” said ADFG Commercial Troll Management Biologist Grant Hagerman. “They’re not being exploited, they’re passing through the fishery... You’ve got this eight-day closure based on the below average (coho) catch rates and below average returns.”

Hagerman said coho catches were low in all six trolling areas.

“The catch per unit effort is more of an accurate picture of abundance,” he said. “So through the first four or five weeks they’ve been well below average in all of our big six troll areas... Each one has been below the long-term average by quite a bit, but the eight-day closure for the coho conservation was based on the poor catch rates and not a lot of fish on the inside.”

He said not only is abundance low, but the coho are smaller than average.

Hagerman said the five-year average weight is 5.6 pounds, but this year the average is only 4.8 pounds, a 17% reduction. He said that in addition, coho prices are down to $1.73 per pound, roughly a 20% drop from the five-year price average.

A troller cruises across Sitka Sound at dusk Friday. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

King salmon were not spared from the decline in prices either, he said.

“The market has definitely been affected by the pandemic, especially in spring troll when there were all these restaurants that weren’t able to open,” he said.

The price paid for kings now stands at $4.76 per pound, down 20% from the average.

But Hagerman noted that king salmon abundance seems on target, and that 50,600 will be available in the August opener. Hagerman described this as “a pretty big number” for an August opener.

An ADFG press release states that the second king opener will likely last between four and six days.

“The retention period will be managed in season with no predetermined length and will be closed by emergency order. The department anticipates a relatively short opening, with the harvest target estimated to be taken in four to six days,” the announcement said.

Hagerman was optimistic about king salmon fishing in the second opener.

“There have been a lot of kings around, the catch rates were pretty good in the July opener,” he said. “And there have been reports of high encounters with chinooks. So if the weather is good I anticipate some really good catch rates...but weather can play a big factor in this August opener for sure,” he said.

The closure begins at 11:59 p.m. Thursday and runs through 12:01 a.m. on August 15. Hagerman added that some areas will remain open for fishing, mostly for chum salmon in terminal areas as part of the hatchery fishery.

These areas include West Crawfish and Crawfish Inlets, Hidden Falls, and part of Sitka Sound, among others. Full information and maps of the areas that will remain open for fishing during the closure are available at under the ‘Fishing’ tab.

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August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:


On March 30 the Daily Sitka Sentinel began taking precautions against the coronavirus, which was starting to show up in Alaska.

We closed our building to the public and four key employees started working remotely. Home delivery was suspended to protect our carriers from exposure to the virus.

Four months later, the virus is still with us and the precautions remain in effect.

In appreciation for the willingness of our subscribers to pick up their daily paper at drop-off sites, the Sentinel was free to all readers, and subscriptions were extended without charge.

As of August 1 the Sentinel is once again charging for subscriptions, but the present method of having subscribers pick up their papers at designated sites will continue.

The expiration date of all subscriptions has been extended without charge for an additional four months.

We thank our readers for their support in these uncertain times, and especially those who paid for the paper despite the free offer.

We look forward to the time when we can safely resume home delivery.

To check on the expiration of your subscription or to make a payment please call 747-3219. The subscription email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We also will be mailing out reminder cards.

The single copy price is again 75 cents. The news racks do not require coins to open, but we ask that the 75 cents for a non-subscription single copy sale be paid with coins in the slot.

– The Sitka Sentinel Staff


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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 10-30-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 9:40 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 380

Total statewide – 14,837

Total (cumulative) deaths – 81

Active cases in Sitka – 17 (14 resident; 3 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 62 (49 resident; 13 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 430.

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

* These numbers reflect State of Alaska data. Local cases may not immediately appear on DHSS site, or are reported on patient’s town of residence rather than Sitka’s statistics. 




October 2000

Photo caption: Their Halloweeen party over, Sitka Tribe of Alaska staff members and their families turn heads as they stroll down Katlian Street Friday. Several Halloween events were held over the weekend. This afternoon kids were invited downtown to trick or treat at businesses; and tonight parties and more trick or treating expeditions will bring out more ... whatever.

October 1970

The only method through which the United States will adopt a 200-mile limit for its contiguous fishing zone is by a change in international law which would require consent of two-thirds of the nations at an international conference, the assistant Secretary of State for Fisheries and Wildlife told fishermen in Sitka.