kuskokwim

IMG_4380The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is opening a 12-hour commercial fishing period in the Quinhagak district beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday. In the Goodnews Bay District, an opening runs during the same period.

The state’s anticipated surpluses for the commercial harvest range up to 100-thousand sockeye, 130-thousand chum, up to 80-thousand coho and zero to 3-three thousand king salmon.

Commercial fishing had been delayed until now because of an expected poor king salmon run. In both areas, subsistence salmon fishing will be closed 16 hours before, during, and 6 hours after the opening.

AVCP President Myron Naneng speaks to the Kuskokwim Salmon Management Working Group. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

AVCP President Myron Naneng speaks to the Kuskokwim Salmon Management Working Group. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

Fishers on the lowest part of the Kuskokwim river can use 6-inch gillnets indefinitely as of Friday morning and more openings are rolling up the river as the bulk of this year’s king salmon run passes by. In a year in which meeting escapement is the top priority, managers are proceeding with caution.

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Bethel Test Fishery early season catch. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

Bethel Test Fishery early season catch. Photo by Ben Matheson / KYUK.

At 4pm Friday afternoon, lower Kuskokwim fishermen will have the first four hour opening for fishing with 6” gillnets. This is the first drift opportunity with bigger nets in a month. Roland White is the Tuntutuliak Traditional Council President.
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The Kuskokwim Salmon Management Working Group discusses the first 6" gillnet openings.  Photo by Ben Matheson/KYUK.

The Kuskokwim Salmon Management Working Group discusses the first 6″ gillnet openings. Photo by Ben Matheson/KYUK.

Four weeks into salmon fishing restrictions, the atmosphere along the Kuskokwim River is tense. At a meeting Tuesday the stress the closures are causing was obvious. But gillnet fishing for salmon is near.

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