Hunting & Fishing

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

Kwik'Pak Fisheries in Emmonak, Alaska on July 15, 2019.
Anna Rose MacArthur / KYUK

The lower Yukon River, one of the nation’s poorest regions, has one major industry: chum salmon fishing. The summer fishery usually opens at the beginning of June, but this year it didn’t open until July. KYUK visited Kwik'Pak Fisheries in Emmonak, the only company buying lower Yukon salmon, to talk with people about the late season’s economic impact.

Salmon are harvested from the Kuskokwim River during a subsistence fishing opening on June 12, 2018.
Katie Basile / KYUK

Fishing restrictions are loosening along the Kuskokwim River. Beginning Monday, June 22, subsistence users can use any size mesh along the river’s mainstem, and those nets can stretch a maximum of 50 fathoms in length. The closed waters around the mouth of the Aniak River will also open on Monday.

Katie Basile / KYUK

As record high temperatures swept Alaska, many people said that the heat was killing them. For Kuskokwim salmon, it was actually true. Never before seen temperatures in the Kuskokwim River likely sent salmon into cardiac arrest.

Yukon summer chum salmon with a radiotag.

For many people living along the lower Yukon river, commercial fishing is their primary income. After the Yukon summer chum salmon arrived late and weak this year, the fishing season that just started is about to come to an end.

Warmer ocean and river water has increased the number of the parasites ichthyophonus and henneguya in Kuskokwim salmon  during the 2019 fishing season.
Avery Hoffman / ONC

Subsistence families along the Kuskokwim River are cutting open fish to find white balls or white streaks deforming the meat. The marks are formed from the parasites ichthyophonus and henneguya, also known as tapioca disease. Subsistence users are familiar with these parasites, but Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Aaron Tiernan says his office has never received as many reports of the diseases as they have this season. He attributes the extreme growth to warm water in the Bering Sea and Kuskokwim River.

Longer Subsistence Openings On Yukon

Jul 2, 2019

With more king salmon swimming up the Yukon River, managers are increasing the fishing opportunities. With kings still entering the Yukon, biologists now say that the run seems stronger than last summer's, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has scheduled more subsistence salmon fishing in District 3.

It felt like they took forever to get there, but the Yukon River’s summer chum salmon arrived in enough numbers for the processor in Emmonak to gear up for its first commercial opening of the summer. 

Yukon Chum Have Arrived

Jul 2, 2019

Good news for the Yukon River: a slug of chum salmon swam up the Yukon last week, and it looks as if there will be enough fish to meet the lower-end escapement goal of 500,000 fish. If enough chums keep swimming into the river, managers say that there may be a commercial harvest.

The Bethel fish bin is back. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has placed the green bin in its usual spot next to Corina’s Case Lot Groceries next to Brown’s Slough. 

Chum salmon

On the Kuksokwim River, king salmon are arriving in slightly higher numbers than previous years at this point in the season. Red salmon are coming in strong like they have in recent summers. Meanwhile, biologists are asking, "Where are the chum?" Chum salmon are arriving in much lower numbers than previous years in rivers across Western Alaska. KYUK asked the researcher who tracks these numbers on the Kuskokwim what’s going on.