Hunting & Fishing

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

Enough kings made it into the Yukon River to meet the predicted minimum this season. Now that most of the kings are headed well up the waterway, the data indicates that the run, after struggling, came in at 74,000. This is just above the minimum preseason prediction of 71,000. There were fewer older fish than predicted with the 5 to 7-year fish numbers low, but the proportion of 4 to 6-year kings were above average. The proportion of females in the run was well above average at 51 percent.

You can once again get salmon from the Bethel fish bin, located by Corina’s Groceries along Brown’s Slough. The green bin was replaced Sunday afternoon after being thrown into the slough last week.

Katie Basile / KYUK

You won’t be able to find Bethel’s free fish bin this weekend, but there is still a way to get salmon caught in the state's test fishery.

John McIntyre

As fishing restrictions push salmon harvests on the Kuskokwim River later into the wet part of summer, families are seeking new ways to dry their fish and keep bugs away. A local fish biologist has a possible solution and is seeking volunteers to test it out.

More salmon are now available at the Bethel fish bin, operated by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Fish from the Bethel Test Fishery have been deposited there since last week. Now, fish caught at the Bethel sonar site will also be added to the cache.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game

Fewer summer chum and king salmon swam up the Yukon River than expected this season, although high water and debris made it tough to catch and count the salmon swimming by. 

A gillnet soaks in the Kuskokwim River during a subsistence fishing opener on June 12, 2018.
Katie Basile / KYUK

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in consultation with the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, lifted its federal restrictions Friday, July 6, beginning at 3 p.m.

A gillnet drifts in the lower waters of the Kuskokwim River during a subsistence fishing opening on June 12, 2018.
Katie Basile / KYUK

The federal waters of the Kuskokwim River will have a 12-hour subsistence gillnet opening from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, July 5. Standard net restrictions apply.

The opening comes as chum and red salmon have become increasingly more abundant relative to king salmon in the lower river. At the state-run Bethel Test Fishery, for every 31.2 chum and reds caught on Monday, there was one king salmon harvested. This species ratio is much larger than during the previous gillnet opening last week, when 8.7 chum and reds for every king were caught at the test fishery.

Cassandra Tinker, age 23, of Kasigluk was killed in a hit-and-run car accident while crossing a street in Anchorage around 3 a.m. on June 16, 2018.
Courtesy of Mary Alice Tinker

Two families in Kasigluk lost loved ones last month and the deaths stopped many from going fishing for the food they need for winter. In response, state and federal fishery managers teamed up to deliver salmon to the two families in mid-June. KYUK was with one of the families during the wake of 23-year-old Cassandra Tinker after the fish arrived.

Salmon belly strips hang to dry on a fish rack along the lower Kuskokwim River.
Petra Harpak / KYUK

The king salmon harvest in one section of the lower Kuskokwim River has reached an estimated 20,000 kings; the total Kuskokwim king harvest is expected to be even higher drainage-wide. This catch comes during a year of intended king salmon conservation.