Hunting & Fishing

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

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.

Michael Redfox of Emmonak has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for beating and strangling his girlfriend.
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.

Yukon Fishing Is On

Jun 14, 2019

The summer chum salmon run on the Yukon River has begun, and so far the numbers are coming in higher than historical averages. It is still early in the run, though, and the fish may just be returning early.

The number of king salmon returning this year are at about the same levels as last year, and about average for the river system. 

Kuskokwim Salmon
Katie Basile / KYUK

If you’re confused about Kuskokwim fishing regulations this summer, you’re not alone. Different regulations are coming from different government agencies for the same river. One of the big reasons for that divide is how many king salmon the agencies want to reach their spawning grounds.