KYUK AM

Fishing Closures Begin On Yukon River

Jun 1, 2021

A subsistence fisherman harvests a king salmon from the lower Kuskokwim River during a gillnet opening on June 12, 2018.
Credit Katie Basile / KYUK

It looks like another tough year for salmon fishing on the Yukon River. The king salmon run on the Yukon is expected to be smaller than last year’s, which failed to meet minimal escapement goals.

With such a small run, regulations require managers to close salmon fishing as the kings begin to arrive, and during the first pulse of the run. That’s to get as many king salmon up the Yukon River as they can.

Currently, subsistence fishing is open 24/7 with 7.5 inch mesh or smaller nets along the coast and the lower Yukon River, but that’s changing. Starting June 2 at 8 p.m., all salmon fishing will be closed in the northern and southern coastal areas. Fishing will also be closed in District 1, from the mouth of the Yukon River including Black River and the communities of Emmonak, Nunam Iqua, Alakanuk, and Kotlik. Fishing will be limited to gillnet mesh sizes of 4-inchs or less to target non-salmon species. Net lengths will also be restricted to 60-feet or less.

Farther up the Yukon River, the same restrictions will take place on the evening of June 4 in District 2. That’s the communities of Mountain Village, Pitka's Point, St. Mary’s, Pilot Station, and Marshall. Similar to downriver, subsistence fishing has been open in District 2 on a 24-hour basis using gillnets of 7.5-inch mesh or smaller. But starting June 4, salmon fishing will be closed and gillnet use will be limited to 4-inch mesh or smaller to target other species. The nets are also limited to 60-feet or less.