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Yukon River fisheries managers announce summer chum openers

An aerial photo shows the Yukon River a short distance upriver from the community of Emmonak.
NOAA ShoreZone
An aerial photo shows the Yukon River a short distance upriver from the community of Emmonak.

With the Yukon River summer chum run projected to well-exceed a minimum escapement goal of 500,000 fish, federal and state fisheries managers have announced the first chum harvest opportunities for lower Yukon River communities this year.

The chinook salmon run, on the other hand, is tracking similarly to the very poor run seen in 2022 and remains completely off-limits to harvest throughout the entire river. Summer chum may only be harvested using selective gear types that ensure any chinook caught can be returned to the water alive.

These opportunities overlap with a series of two-week complete gillnet closures already in place for the entire lower Yukon River that are set to expire in early July.

Coastal District and District 1 (Chevak, Hooper Bay, Scammon Bay, Emmonak, Nunam Iqua, Alakanuk, Kotlik)

In the Coastal District and District 1, fishing with dipnets, beach seines, fish wheels, and hook and line gear is currently open 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice for summer chum, pink, and sockeye salmon.

As announced previously, all gillnets, including 4-inch or smaller mesh, must be removed from the water until Wednesday, July 3 at 8 p.m.

District 2 (Mountain Village, Pitkas Point, St. Mary’s, Pilot Station, Marshall)

In District 2, fishing with dipnets, beach seines, fish wheels, and hook and line gear is currently open 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice for summer chum, pink, and sockeye salmon.

As announced previously, all gillnets, including 4-inch or smaller mesh, must be removed from the water until Friday, July 5 at 8 p.m.

District 3 (Russian Mission, Holy Cross)

In District 3, fishing with dipnets, beach seines, fish wheels, and hook and line gear opens on Wednesday, June 26 at 2 p.m. and will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice for summer chum, pink, and sockeye salmon.

As announced previously, all gillnets, including 4-inch or smaller mesh, must be removed from the water until Monday, July 8 at 8 p.m.

Innoko River (including Shageluk)

On the Innoko River, fishing with dipnets, beach seines, fish wheels, and hook and line gear opens on Friday, June 28 at 2 p.m. and will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice for summer chum, pink, and sockeye salmon.

As announced previously, all gillnets must be removed from the water for a two-week period from Wednesday, June 26 at 8 p.m. until Wednesday, July 10 at 8 p.m.

Subdistrict 4-A Lower (from 3⁄4 of a mile downstream from Old Paradise Village upstream to Stink Creek, including Grayling and Anvik)

In Subdistrict 4-A Lower, fishing with dipnets, beach seines, fish wheels, and hook and line gear opens on Sunday, June 30 at 2 p.m. and will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice for summer chum, pink, and sockeye salmon.

As announced previously, all gillnets must be removed from the water for a two-week period from Wednesday, June 26 at 8 p.m. until Wednesday, July 10 at 8 p.m.

Subdistrict 4-A Upper (from Stink Creek upstream to the tip of Cone Point, including Kaltag, Nulato, and Koyukuk)

In Subdistrict 4A-Upper, fishing with dipnets, beach seines, fish wheels, and hook and line gear opens on Friday, July 5 at 2 p.m. and will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice for summer chum, pink, and sockeye salmon.

As announced previously, all gillnets must be removed from the water for a two-week period from Sunday, June 30 at 8 p.m. until Sunday, July 14 at 8 p.m.

Koyukuk River (including Huslia, Hughes, Allakaket, Alatna, Bettles, Wiseman, and Coldfoot)

On the Koyukuk River, fishing with dipnets, beach seines, fish wheels, and hook and line gear opens on Monday, July 8 at 2 p.m. and will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice for summer chum, pink, and sockeye salmon.

As announced previously, all gillnets must be removed from the water for a two-week period from Tuesday, July 2 at 8 p.m. until Tuesday, July 16 at 8 p.m.

Subdistrict 4-B and 4-C (including Galena and Ruby)

In Subdistricts 4-B and 4-C, fishing with dipnets, beach seines, fish wheels, and hook and line gear opens on Monday, July 8 at 2 p.m. and will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice for summer chum, pink, and sockeye salmon.

As announced previously, all gillnets must be removed from the water for a two-week period from Tuesday, July 2 at 8 p.m. until Tuesday, July 16 at 8 p.m.

For more information contact Alaska Department of Fish and Game area management biologist Deena Jallen at 907-949-1320, or United States Fish and Wildlife Service subsistence fishery manager Holly Carroll at 907-351-3029.

Updated: June 28, 2024 at 5:49 PM AKDT
This article was updated to include four additional summer chum openers.
Evan Erickson is a reporter at KYUK who has previously worked as a copy editor, audio engineer and freelance journalist.
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