chum

Photo by Shane Iverson / KYUK.

Photo by Shane Iverson / KYUK.

For the second consecutive week, it’s “wait and see” for fishermen who are eager or anxious for the next commercial opening on Kuskokwim River.

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FishThe Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working Group wants the state to end to all commercial openings for the remainder of the summer. The say despite unmet subsistence needs the state has allowed commercial salmon openings. Some upriver fishermen are fed up with the state, and want the Federal Subsistence Board to manage the river from here on out.

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Research Biologist Kevin Shaberg (second from right) explains the Bethel Test Fishery's relationship with run size and timing. Photo by Ben Matheson  / KYUK.

Research Biologist Kevin Shaberg (second from right) explains the Bethel Test Fishery’s relationship with run size and timing. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

The entire Kuskokwim River is open to six-inch gillnets and managers are shifting focus from king salmon to other species, including a potential commercial chum salmon opening.

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Photo by Shane Iverson / KYUK.

Photo by Shane Iverson / KYUK.

The first larger mesh opening for the highest section of the Kuskokwim River opens Thursday, July 3rd. Fishers from the Holitna river to the Kuskowkwim headwaters can use 6-inch 50-fathom nets indefinitely to target chum and sockeye salmon. Subsistence fishermen on that highest stretch can also fish for king salmon with hook and line gear with a daily bag limit of three beginning Thursday.

The Department of Fish and Game is also opening up the river from Chuathbalu to the Holitna river to 6-inch gear Thursday.

Managers have been rolling openings up the Kuskokwim river in the latter part of June and into July. Biologists expect to reach to lower end of the escapement goal of 65-thousand king salmon if they proceed as planned.