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With silvers coming in stronger than expected, additional gillnet opportunity announced on Kuskokwim River

A drift net on the Kuskokwim River near Akiachak, Alaska. June 23, 2023.
MaryCait Dolan
A drift net on the Kuskokwim River near Akiachak, Alaska. June 23, 2023.

Amid a stronger than expected silver salmon run, federally qualified subsistence users will have 12 more hours to deploy set and drift nets on the Kuskokwim River.

The opener:

  • A 12-hour set and drift net opener on Saturday, Aug. 12 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Following pre-season estimates of a poor run similar to 2022, strong silver, or coho, salmon numbers have come as a pleasant surprise.

Aaron Moses, a subsistence resource specialist with the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, said that there were no shortage of silvers being counted at the Bethel sonar.

"The last time I checked there was about 150,000, roughly. Last year at this time it was roughly 50,000," Moses said. "The run is shaping up to be a lot larger than at least the last four years."

According to data from the Bethel Test Fishery, this year’s silver run could be the largest seen in nearly a decade. The current numbers are on par with those of 2014, when the estimated total silver escapement on the Kuskokwim River was nearly 1.5 million fish. Still, caution should be taken interpreting Bethel Test Fishery data for silvers, given that operations generally cease in late August before the run has completely finished.

Evan Erickson is a reporter at KYUK who has previously worked as a copy editor, audio engineer and freelance journalist.
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