Hunting & Fishing

Stories related to subsistence/commercial/sport hunting, fishing, gathering activities.

Chums Awaited On Yukon

Jun 23, 2019

Salmon fishing on the Yukon River has slowed as biologists wait for more salmon to swim up the river. They aren’t just waiting for kings, they are also on the watch for summer chums, which have been so few in number that there has been no commercial fishery on the Yukon this year. Managers don’t know whether chums are just late or low, but right now they appear to be both. 

Mayor of Akiak, Bobby Williams, reels in his net with his daughter Margaret.
Greg Kim / KYUK

The Kuskokwim River has now had three fishing openings for drift gillnets, but many people in Akiak are not happy. KYUK went fishing with the mayor of Akiak to find out more about why people’s nets aren’t as full as they want them.

Gillnet fishing on the Kuskokwim River near Aniak.
Dave Cannon

There will be another fishing opening on Saturday, June 22 for the lower Kuskokwim River. The opening applies to federal subsistence users in the federal waters of the Kuskokwim River from the river’s mouth to the bluffs below Kalskag.

Yukon Chums On The Way

Jun 19, 2019

On the Yukon River, the summer chum salmon have been a little late showing up, but the Alaska Department of Fish and Game reports that they are beginning to enter the lower river during strong tides. The Yukon River’s king run is about the same as last year's, and managers are continuing to authorize reduced subsistence harvests to ensure that enough salmon swim upriver to spawn. The subsistence fishing schedule is being reduced to half the scheduled regulatory windows, and gillnets are being restricted to 6-inch or smaller mesh. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will manage the federal waters of the lower Kuskokwim River during the king salmon run of 2018.
Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge

A U.S. Supreme Court decision is impacting the enforcement of fishing regulations on the Kuskokwim River. For the first time in at least seven years, no federal wildlife officers are patrolling the lower Kuskokwim River during king salmon season. 

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

The number of fishing violations on the Kuskokwim River is going down. Alaska Wildlife Troopers patrolling the length of the river have issued 42 citations for various violations since the first fishing opener on June 8. Since then, the number of fishermen receiving citations has decreased with each fishing period. 

A gillnet on the Kuskokwim River on June 12, 2018.
Katie Basile / KYUK

On Wednesday, June 19 the lower Kuskokwim River will open to gillnets for 12 hours from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The opening applies to the federal waters of the Kuskokwim from the river’s mouth to the National Wildlife Refuge boundary at Aniak.

The State of Alaska courthouse in Bethel, Alaska.
Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK

Alaska Wildlife Troopers summoned 15 subsistence fishermen to the Bethel courthouse on Monday for fishing violations. One fishermen did not appear. The rest pled no contest to minor offenses issued around the Kuskokwim set net opening on June 8.

Many of the nets seized during Kuskokwim subsistence fishing openings have been returned to their owners. Alaska Wildlife Troopers seized 18 nets during the June 8 opening. Troopers confiscated fewer nets during the June 12 opening. Most of the nets were returned before the subsistence opening on June 15.

The king salmon run is growing in the Kuskokwim River as the season advances. From Tuntutuliak to Akiak along the Kuskokwim mainstem, federal biologists estimate that about 8,650 salmon were harvested on the June 12 subsistence opening. Almost all the salmon were kings, about 8,040. The remainder were around 310 chum and 290 reds. Harvest estimates from the June 15 subsistence fishing opening will be released the following week.