Commercial fishing is opening Tuesday on the Lower Kuskokwim River for Chum salmon. Travis Elison, Area Management Biologist for the State, says that Sub-district 1-B will be open for a six hour period tomorrow from noon to 6 p.m. The lowest part of the sub-district, which starts about 15 miles below the Johnson River, will be open for 8 hours, running from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The announcement came today during a meeting of the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working Group. The decision was made after hearing reports from subsistence fishermen up and down the river. Most subsistence fishing for Kings, Reds, and Chums is over for the lower river. Upriver people are still targeting Reds and Chums. Elison told the Working Group that their office has received several phone calls from commercial fishermen wanting an opener.
He says they expect anywhere from between 5,000 and 15,000 chums to be harvested. While discussing the possibility of the opening, he said he wasn’t worried about catching too many Kings as the run is mostly done.
“I expect that the harvest from tomorrow, if we have a period, to be less than a hundred for Kings,” Elison said.
Subsistence fishing will be closed Tuesday from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. from the upper end of Straight Slough to the mouth.
There will be just one buyer, Coastal Villages Seafoods. They’ve agreed to not purchase any King salmon. They will be paying a dollar a pound for all other species.