Hunting & Fishing

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

Kuskokwim River Fishing Opportunities

May 29, 2019
Kuskokwim River subsistence users contend with fishing challenges during a season of high water in 2018.
Katie Basile / KYUK

Fishing opportunities from Yukon Delta NWR boundary at Kuskokwim River mouth to ½ mile above Tuluksak River:

  • May 28:  Fishing closed to non-Federally qualified subsistence users
  • May 28 - May 31, 2019: Gill net drift and set net fishing is open with 6-inch or less gillnets for federally qualified subsistence users
  • June 1 - June 11, 2019: Openers are to be determined, Refuge will match State of Alaska 4-inch openers with a 6-inch opener. Estimated openers are for 1 or 2 during this time
  • June 1, 2019 (time to be announced by Alaska Department of Fish and Game): 12-hour set-net fishing with 6-inch or less gillnets
  • June 12, 15, and 19, 2019 (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.):  Fishing is open with 6” mesh or less. 150 feet in length above Johnson River, 300 feet or less below the Johnson River
  • June 20: Openers to be determined

Federally qualified subsistence users can fish the lower Kuskokwim River with 6-inch mesh gillnets until Saturday, June 1. On that date, federal managers will take control of the Kuskokwim from the river mouth upstream to the Yukon National Wildlife Refuge boundary at Aniak, closing this area of the main-stem to gillnets, except during pre-announced fishing openings.


Geese, ducks, and swans are flocking to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta to nest and raise their young. To allow the birds time to lay their eggs, waterfowl hunting will close for the following month. The shutdown begins May 28, 2019 and lasts through June 28, 2019. For black brant geese, the closure will extend through July 10, 2019 to give the young birds time to fledge, or grow feathers strong enough to fly.

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

Smelts are swimming up the Kuskokwim River. That means king salmon will soon follow, and with them, fishing restrictions.

It’s Almost Time For Salmon On The Yukon

May 15, 2019
Katie Basile

Salmon are expected to show up in the Yukon River in just a few weeks, and biologists say that fishermen can expect a similar or slightly higher number of kings in the river than last year. They predict a run size of 168,000 to 241,000 kings this summer.

“This current outlook is similar to last year,” said Holly Carroll, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's manager of the Yukon River’s summer king and chum runs. “The midpoint for this year is about 204,000. So if it comes in at the low end, it will be similar to last year.”

Tracking The Elusive Moose

May 14, 2019

On Tuesday, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists will be out in the field doing a browse survey, trying to measure how much vegetation is being eaten by moose. They compare the growth of willow to the amount eaten to get an idea if there is enough, too much, or room for more moose in the habitat.

Wildlife Biologist Phillip Perry says that this year's early spring means that the department is in a race with time to get the data.

Fishing On The Kuskokwim This Summer

May 10, 2019
Katie Basile

This year, like last year, there will be severe restrictions on the number of king salmon harvested out of the Kuskokwim River. Aaron Tiernan manages the Kuskokwim fisheries for the state. He says that biologists are predicting that 132,000 kings will swim up the river this summer, about the same number as last year. 

“There’s still going to be restrictions. Doesn’t matter who the lead agency is, there’s still going to be some sort of restrictions on subsistence fishery. We still need to achieve escapement goals and we still need to think about the future,” said Tiernan.

National Park Service

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is asking hunters to avoid harvesting moose wearing radio collars in Game Unit 18 along the Yukon River. The department is conducting a study of moose in the area, and biologists will be tranquilizing a portion of the animals to attach tracking collars. The sedatives used to immobilize the moose may remain in the meat for up to 30 days, and that meat should not be consumed.

A pack of wild dogs take down a yearling muskox outside Toksook Bay on March 19, 2019.
Jimmie Lincoln

Last week, KYUK reported on something that could be unprecedented. Wild dogs behaved as a pack and took down a yearling muskox a couple miles outside the community of Toksook Bay. Villagers have hunted down many of the dogs in the pack.

A pack of wild dogs take down a yearling muskox outside Toksook Bay on March 19, 2019.
Jimmie Lincoln

Jimmie Lincoln wanted to get out of town, so he jumped on his snowmachine and took off. Less than two miles later, he came upon something he calls “unbelievable.”