KYUK AM

Hunting & Fishing

Stories related to subsistence/commercial/sport: hunting, fishing, gathering activities.

Yukon River King Salmon Run Slows

Jun 21, 2018

Last year may have been a good year for king salmon on the Yukon, but there are a lot fewer of them so far this year. Not only was the predicted return smaller, but now biologists on the Yukon river are watching to see if king salmon are coming back as abundantly as originally projected.

A gillnet soaks in the Kuskokwim River during a subsistence fishing opener on June 12, 2018.
Katie Basile / KYUK

State waters of the Kuskokwim River could open 24/7 to gillnets beginning Tuesday, June 26th. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game made the recommendation to the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working Group in response to reports of low fishing harvests in the upper river due to high water.


Cassandra Tinker, age 23, of Kasigluk was killed in a hit-and-run car accident while crossing a street in Anchorage around 3 a.m. on June 16, 2018.
Courtesy of Mary Alice Tinker

For many residents of the Kuskokwim River, June is the most important month for subsistence salmon fishing. But in a small community, death can put a hold on that essential practice. A series of recent deaths in Kasigluk means that many families have barely begun putting away fish for the season.


Dave Cannon

The Kalskag area will now operate under different rules from the rest of the federal waters of the Kuskokwim River during subsistence gillnet openings. For the remaining fishing season, openings along the Kalskag area will last 12 hours longer than the rest of the lower river. This extension will apply from just downstream of Lower Kalskag up to the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge boundary at Aniak, encompassing around 50 miles of the Kuskokwim River. 


A subsistence fishermen harvests a king salmon from the lower Kuskokwim River during a gillnet opening on June 12, 2018.
Katie Basile / KYUK

The number of king salmon swimming by Bethel seems to have dropped since Saturday’s subsistence fishing opener, and managers are postponing another opener in federal waters until the numbers rise. They also want to wait until more chum and sockeye salmon fill the river.


Commercial fishing for chum salmon continues this week on the Yukon River. The opening in District 1 closed today, June 19, but will open back up 12 hours later for more commercial dipnet fishing. The opening in District 1 will begin at one minute after midnight on Wednesday and run for 58 hours until it closes at 10 a.m. on Friday. 

Gillnet fishing on the Kuskokwim River near Aniak.
Dave Cannon / KYUK

How you fish on the Kuskokwim River depends on where you are. According to local fishermen, how you fish near Upper and Lower Kalskag is unlike anywhere else on the river. Fishermen in these communities claim that their unique situation requires unique fishing regulations and are meeting with tribal, federal, and state managers Tuesday, June 19 to negotiate a solution.


A gillnet stretches across the Kuskokwim River near Napaskiak on June 12, 2018.
Katie Basile / KYUK

State waters of the Kuskokwim River will have a gillnet opening on Tuesday in Section 4 of the river from Aniak upstream to the Holitna River mouth.

This Week's Yukon Commercial Chum Openings

Jun 16, 2018

Commercial fishing for chum salmon on the Yukon River continues this week in Districts 1 and 2. There is a 72-hour opening in District 1, which begins at noon on Saturday and continues until noon on Tuesday. The allowed gear is dipnet and beach seine.  

NORTH PACIFIC FISHERY MANAGEMENT COUNCIL

Restrictions will likely tighten next year on the amount of salmon that the Bering Sea pollock fishery is allowed to incidentally catch, but the restrictions are not expected to have a big impact on Kuskokwim salmon returns. The offshore pollock fleet has been harvesting below the lower limit of its bycatch cap for years.


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