Cook Inlet's feast and famine

At least the drifters had fun. Deckboss photo

Upper Cook Inlet yielded a lucrative 2012 salmon season, despite dreadful Chinook returns that shut down setnetters.

The commercial catch of nearly 4 million salmon ranked as the ninth largest in 20 years, and the estimated $34.2 million payout to fishermen was the 11th best since 1960.

That's according to this season summary from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Sockeye salmon account for most of the fishery value.