Subsistence families along the Kuskokwim River can mark their calendars for upcoming fishing openings in June.
For the federal waters of the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge, there will be a 12-hour set net opening on Saturday, June 8 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. for local subsistence users.
Set nets on the Kuskokwim River mainstem must be attached to the bank and oriented perpendicular to the river. The nets must be 6-inch or less mesh, may not exceed 45 meshes in depth, or 60 feet in length in the water, and may not be operated more than 100 feet from the ordinary high-water mark. Drifting is prohibited during this opening.
Gillnets will be allowed during the following openings. There will be 12-hour gillnet openings from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on:
- Wednesday, June 12, 2019
- Saturday, June 15, 2019
- Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Gillnets are restricted to 6-inch or less mesh, 45 meshes in depth. Net lengths may not exceed 25 fathoms or 150 feet from the Johnson River to the refuge boundary at Aniak. Net lengths may not exceed 50 fathoms or 300 feet from below the Johnson River to the Kuskokwim River mouth.
Other fishing methods, like rod and reel, dipnets, fish wheels, and beach seines, remain open to the harvest of all fish, including king salmon in the Kuskokwim mainstem. Kings caught in this gear on the mainstem, even outside an opening, can be kept.
However, salmon-spawning tributaries are closed to gillnets and to king salmon harvest, including the Eek, Kasigluk, Kisaralik, Tuluksak, Aniak Rivers, and the Kwethluk River, starting at its confluence with the Kuskokuak Slough. The Old Kuskokuak Slough where the Kisaralik and Kasigluk drain is also closed. No kings may be taken from these tributaries.
All other tributaries in the refuge are open, beginning 100 yards from where they meet the Kuskokwim.
Another closed area is what’s referred to as the “Aniak Box,” an area stretching from the Aniak runway to the refuge boundary where salmon are known to mill.
Also on Saturday, June 8, state managers have announced a subsistence fishing opening. It is also a 12-hour opening from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. for set gillnets on the Kuskokwim mainstem from the Kuskokwim River mouth to the Holitna River mouth. Within the refuge, the state opportunity applies to Alaska residents living outside the Kuskokwim area who want to fish in the refuge. The state opening restricts set nets to 4-inch or less mesh, and requires nets to have an attached keg or buoy with the fisherman’s first initial, last name, and address written on it.
The state also requires any king salmon caught by non-Kuskokwim area residents with rod and reel, dipnets, fish wheels, and beach seines to be returned to the water alive.