The Chena River, Alaska, is a major focal point for research on the ecology of Chinook salmon in the Yukon River drainage. Since the 1980s, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has kept careful records of Chinook salmon abundance in the Chena and the neighboring Salcha River. It is the subject of several past and ongoing Chinook salmon and broader ecological research projects by the University of Alaska Fairbanks, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and ourselves.
The Richardson Clearwater
The Richardson Clearwater near Delta Junction, Alaska is a short but large stream fed almost entirely by groundwater seeping through the Tanana River floodplain on the north side of the Alaska Range. It is a seasonal feeding habitat for adult grayling, and was chosen for the grayling component of our study because its extremely clear water permits detailed video observations of these large fish.
This very small stream near Healy, Alaska, drains the lands just north of Denali National Park and the Stampede Road (of “Into the Wild” fame). It contains our study sites for dwarf dolly varden and juvenile grayling.
Anglers who might “discover” this creek through our site should be aware that most should not expect to see more than one or two dolly varden, if any. It’s hard work to access their best habitat, and their population is small. Although our study does not restrict what anglers are allowed to do, we would very much appreciate it if anyone who visits this stream practices catch & release, handles fish gently, and uses barbless hooks.
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