Hunting & Fishing

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

The Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission met for their annual meeting in Bethel on May 7 and 8, 2018.
Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission

On the Kuskokwim River, it’s not an easy decision to travel during breakup. There are chores to be done to prepare for summer, and flooding is a constant risk that keeps people close to their homes, standing guard. But on Monday and Tuesday, a group traveled to Bethel from nearly every village along the river to discuss how to protect the fish that swim by.

With king salmon runs declining on the Kuskokwim River, at least one village has expressed interest in developing a hatchery. But without a government-recognized plan, the Kuskokwim can’t develop such a resource. A group is gathering to change that and has begun the long process of creating what’s called a "salmon production plan."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will manage the federal waters of the lower Kuskokwim River during the king salmon run of 2018.
Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge

Who will manage the Lower Kuskokwim subsistence fishery this summer and how they will do it will be decided in the middle of this month.

This year, as in previous years, the Kuskokwim River drainage will close to sport fishing for king salmon. The earlier closures were prompted by low king numbers. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game predicts another low return of king salmon along the river and is issuing regulations to conserve the species.

Later Conservation Closure Proposed For Kusko Kings

Apr 6, 2018

Management of the Kuskowkim salmon fishery will look much the same as last year, according to plans unveiled by fishery managers at a meeting this week in Anchorage. The early closure to help kings swimming to the spawning waters are still in place, but the Kuskokwim Salmon Management Working Group recommends starting the rolling closures five days later. The idea is to begin them in the Lower Kuskokwim Sections 1 and 2 on May 25 instead of May 20. That would push the closure in Section 3 to May 30, Section 4 to June 4, and the closure in Section 5 would be on June 9.

Combat Fishing on the Kusko? Unlikely.

Apr 5, 2018

You could have heard a gasp when it became clear at an Anchorage meeting on Wednesday that the state’s new tool to help manage king salmon on the Kuskokwim River, a special subsistence king salmon permit, would be available in Anchorage. The plan has some of the river’s residents worried that it would destroy years of sacrifice to get more fish to spawning grounds.

Bob Aloysius of Kalskag testifies at the Federal Special Action public hearing held by the Federal Subsistence Board in Bethel on March 14, 2018.
Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK

Kuskokwim residents are largely giving their support to another summer of fishing restrictions, but they want to see some things about last year’s conservation measures changed.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game / ADF&G

If you have ideas on how to improve fishing regulations in Western Alaska, there are a few weeks remaining to send that idea you have to the top. That is, to the Board of Fish to consider during their meeting next year.

Salmon drying on a Kuskokwim fish rack.
Shane Iverson / KYUK

It’s the same story, different year. Biologists are expecting another low king salmon run on the Kuskokwim River this summer, and to conserve these stocks, federal managers want to restrict fishing in the same ways as in recent years.

Local mushers say that they are buying dog food and relying on fish from neighbors to cope with low salmon returns from fishing restrictions.
Dave Cannon

Local mushers say that they are buying dog food and relying on fish from neighbors to cope with low salmon returns from fishing restrictions. A weak Kuskokwim king run limited gillnet fishing on the Kuskokwim River this summer.