Fisheries managers announce Kuskokwim River openings
On May 18, fisheries managers announced openers for the lower Kuskokwim River main stem from the mouth up to Aniak. The announcement was made by U.S. Fish and Wildlife managers on KYUK’s Fish Talk radio show.
- Set net opener on Saturday, June 3 from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Set net opener on Tuesday, June 6 from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Set net opener on Friday, June 9 from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Drift net and set net opener on Monday, June 12 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Drift net and set net opener on Saturday, June 17 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The openings will occur in the midst of a period where the Kuskokwim and salmon spawning tributaries are otherwise closed.
Based on coordination between the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge and Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, federal public waters of the Kuskokwim River drainage will be closed to the harvest of king, chum and silver salmon by all users starting June 1, 2023.
Drift net regulations:
Drift gillnets must be 6-inch or less mesh, and no more than 45 meshes in depth. Gillnets may not exceed 150 feet in length upstream of the Johnson River and 300 feet in length downstream of the Johnson River.
Set net regulations:
Set nets are restricted to 6-inch or less mesh, 60 feet or less in length, and may not exceed 45 meshes in depth. Set nets must lie perpendicular to the river and may not be operated more than 100 feet from the ordinary high-water mark. They must be spaced 150 feet apart from other set nets.
The following tributary gillnet fishing closures under state regulations goes into effect beginning 12:01 a.m. Thursday, June 1, 2023, until further notice:
• The Eek River drainage to its confluence with the Kuskokwim River.
• The Kwethluk River drainage to regulatory markers at its confluence with Kuskokuak Slough.
• The Kasigluk and Kisaralik River drainages, including Old Kuskokuak Slough, to ADF&G regulatory markers at the confluence of Old Kuskokuak Slough with Kuskokuak Slough.
• The Tuluksak River drainage including its confluence with the Kuskokwim River and downstream approximately 1-mile to ADF&G regulatory markers.
• The Aniak River drainage to ADF&G regulatory markers at its confluence with the Kuskokwim River.
• All Kuskokwim River tributaries not specifically mentioned above that are within the Yukon Delta NWR will close to subsistence fishing with gillnets from their confluence with the Kuskokwim River upstream 100 yards. Subsistence fishing with gillnets will remain open upstream of that 100-yard closure area.
The following subsistence fishing restrictions will also go into effect in the Kuskokwim River drainage under state regulations beginning 12:01 a.m. Thursday, June 1, 2023, until further notice:
Subsistence fishing with hook and line for Chinook and chum salmon will close until further notice. Any chinook or chum salmon caught must be returned alive to the water. Subsistence fishing with fish wheels will be allowed until further notice. Fish wheels are required to have a live box with no less than 45 cubic feet of water, must be checked at least every six hours. Fish wheels may be equipped with a chute and must be closely attended while in operation. All chinook or chum salmon must be returned alive to the water.
Subsistence fishing with dip nets and beach seines will be allowed until further notice. Any chinook or chum salmon caught in a dip net or beach seine must be returned immediately to the water alive.
Further announcements will be made from the Bethel Fish and Game office, on the State of Alaska website, local radio stations, and the Kuskokwim River Facebook page. Advisory Announcements will be faxed to area villages.
For information regarding federal subsistence fishing regulations and any announcements, please contact the Yukon Delta NWR at (907) 543-3151 or (907) 543-1021.
Correction: An earlier version of this story state an incorrect location for the openers and an incorrect day for the June 17 drift net opening.