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Federal management of salmon fishing on the Kuskokwim River wraps up ahead of schedule

Fishermen use a gillnet to target salmon in the Kuskokwim River near Napaskiak during a subsistence fishing opening on June 12, 2018.
Katie Basile

Beginning at 12:01 on Monday, Aug. 14, salmon fishing restrictions on federally managed portions of the Kuskokwim River will be rescinded, returning management to the jurisdiction of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G).

This move follows a coho, or silver, salmon run that has far exceeded initial expectations and is on course to potentially be the strongest in nearly a decade, according to Bethel Test Fishery data. An announcement from the state said that 198,000 silver salmon had been counted at the Bethel sonar as of Aug. 10.

With Monday’s management shift, gillnets will be limited to 300 feet in length, while mesh size will be unrestricted from the mouth of the Kuskokwim River up to the headwaters.

Gillnet fishing will remain closed until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 31 on the following tributaries:

  • Eek River to its confluence with the Kuskokwim River.
  • Kwethluk River drainage to its confluence with the Kuskokuak Slough.
  • Kasigluk and Kisaralik River drainages to their confluence with the Old Kuskokuak Slough.
  • Tuluksak River drainage, including its confluence with the Kuskokwim River, and downstream approximately 1 mile to ADF&G regulatory markers.
  • Aniak River drainage to ADF&G regulatory markers at its confluence with the Kuskokwim River.

Live release requirements remain in place for chinook salmon using hook and line, dip nets, fish wheels, and beach seines within the Eek, Kwethluk, Kasigluk, Kisaralik, Tuluksak, and Aniak Rivers until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 31.

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