A satisfying salmon season so far

We came into the summer expecting a huge commercial salmon harvest — about 203 million fish, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game forecast.

It's way too early to know if we'll get there, but so far the statewide catch has been encouraging.

The harvest as of today stands at 7.9 million salmon, about 6 million of them sockeye.

The sockeye, of course, is the main money fish among Alaska's five salmon species. Sockeye runs have come in early and strong around the state, to the delight of many fishermen.

The real key to making the forecast is the little pink salmon. We'll have to wait a bit for the humpy hordes to hit.

Here's a few regional highlights from the young season:

• Copper River District gillnetters already have taken more than 1.1 million sockeye, nearly double what they caught all of last season.

• Chignik seiners are smiling, too, having bagged more than 1.5 million sockeye. The June 1-22 timeframe saw the second-highest harvest since 1970, Fish and Game says.

• At Bristol Bay, scene of the world's biggest sockeye run, the catch has topped 1.8 million fish, with 1 million of them coming from the Egegik District. In a very few days, we should see the fishery explode for much bigger numbers.