Hunting & Fishing

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

First Summer King Opening Tuesday

Jun 8, 2018
Shane Iverson / KYUK

On Tuesday, June 12, Federal managers will take over management of the Lower Kuskokwim waters in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge. Tuesday is also the first river-wide 6-inch mesh gillnet salmon opening of the summer. Federally qualified fishermen will be able to put their nets in the water at 10 a.m on Tuesday and continue fishing until 10 p.m. that night.

Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission Executive Director Mary Peltola says that the opening is meant to help people catch salmon early in the run.


New state data reveals that the number of king salmon returning to the Kuskokwim River has been inflated for decades. Now, the state is recommending that the body governing the Bering Sea pollock fishery adopt this new information.  If it does, restrictions on the fleet’s bycatch of king salmon could tighten, and a long-voiced demand from Kuskokwim residents could be met.

The Kuskokwim River will have another gillnet fishing opening on Wednesday to target non-salmon species such as whitefish and sheefish.

Kings On The Yukon

Jun 1, 2018

The first king salmon has already been caught on the Yukon river. Kings and chums were harvested on May 27, but there is a lot of water in the lower Yukon River this season, along with a lot of wood debris that's making it tough to fish.

Shane Iverson / KYUK

The state-sanctioned 4-inch gillnet fishing opening on the Kuskokwim River will proceed as scheduled today, and so will the one next week.

Tuesday saw back-to-back meetings that could have blocked these openings, but each ended with the same result: management of the Kuskokwim will proceed as planned. The state will continue to manage the entire Kuskokwim River until the federal government takes control of the federal waters of the lower portion on June 12.

Shane Iverson / KYUK

The number of king salmon predicted to return to the Kuskokwim River this year has taken a dramatic drop. Two tribal groups and one private citizen don’t think the state is doing enough to conserve the kings, and they’ve each submitted paperwork requesting that federal managers immediately take over the lower river to restrict fishing.

Bethel smells like fried smelt. The small fish started swimming past the town this week during their annual run up the Kuskokwim River. Hundreds of people flocked to the seawall with dip nets to fill their buckets and get a taste of fresh fish. KYUK joined them at the river front.

Gillnet closures will begin rolling up the Kuskokwim River in individual sections beginning 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 25, 2018.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Over the coming weeks, a series of gillnet fishing closures, as well as limited openings, will hit the Kuskokwim River as king salmon begin moving upstream.

A sample permit from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for harvesting king salmon in the upper Kuskokwim River during 2018 closures.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game

There’s a new fishing permit on the Kuskokwim River that, for the first time, will allow fishermen to harvest king salmon in the upper Kuskokwim during closures.

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

The village of Akiak’s proposal to move federal management of the lower Kuskokwim River to earlier in the season failed to get the nod from the Federal Subsistence Board on Wednesday. With even fewer kings expected up the river this summer, the Board has assured that co-management on the lower Kuskokwim will proceed much as it has in prior years and turned down Akiak’s plan to start federal management in May.