Hunting & Fishing

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

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.

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

The entire Kuskokwim River is opening on Wednesday, June 26 at 4 p.m. to subsistence fishing. The opening will remain in effect until further notice, and is intended to give subsistence fishermen ample opportunity to harvest reds and chums.

Yukon Chum Numbers In Basement

Jun 25, 2019

Halfway through the season, a commercial summer chum salmon fishery on the Yukon River now appears unlikely. The summer chum return is both late and weak, and well below predicted. The Pilot Station sonar indicates that 65,177 chums have swum up the Yukon as of June 25. The median data for this date is 550,890 fish, which is a difference of almost a half million fish. Data indicates the return at this point in the season is lower than the very weak returns in 2000 and 2001.

Chums Awaited On Yukon

Jun 23, 2019

Salmon fishing on the Yukon River has slowed as biologists wait for more salmon to swim up the river. They aren’t just waiting for kings, they are also on the watch for summer chums, which have been so few in number that there has been no commercial fishery on the Yukon this year. Managers don’t know whether chums are just late or low, but right now they appear to be both. 

Mayor of Akiak, Bobby Williams, reels in his net with his daughter Margaret.
Greg Kim / KYUK

The Kuskokwim River has now had three fishing openings for drift gillnets, but many people in Akiak are not happy. KYUK went fishing with the mayor of Akiak to find out more about why people’s nets aren’t as full as they want them.

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.