The following press release is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
The Division of Sport Fish is closing all fresh waters from Bald Head to Point Romanof to sport fishing for king salmon effective 12:01 a.m., June 15, 2019. This closure includes, but is not limited to, the Unalakleet, Shaktoolik, Koyuk, Ungalik, Inglutalik, and Golsovia river drainages. In addition, only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure may be used in these drainages. These temporary regulations will remain in effect through August 15, 2019, or until there are indications of a harvestable surplus above escapement objectives, which are indexed by a counting tower on the North River, a tributary of the Unalakleet River.
The 2019 preseason outlook for the Unalakleet River drainage king salmon run is low, and the number of returning king salmon may be insufficient to meet escapement objectives and provide a harvestable surplus for both the subsistence and sport fisheries. According to the Subdistricts 5 and 6 of the Norton Sound District and the Unalakleet River King Salmon Management Plan, when the inriver subsistence fishery is closed to the retention of king salmon, sport fishing for king salmon will be closed. The Shaktoolik, Koyuk, Ungalik, Inglutalik, and Golsovia river drainages are closed as well because the department does not have reliable information for these stocks. However, they are known to trend with Unalakleet River stocks that are assessed by the North River counting tower and a floating weir which is located on the mainstem Unalakleet River.
The department will continue to evaluate inseason run strength and take appropriate management actions to ensure that escapement requirements are met. If inseason stock assessment information indicates that the king salmon escapement goal in the Unalakleet River will be met, restrictions will be relaxed.
For additional information contact Brendan Scanlon, Northwest and North Slope Area Management Biologist, 907-459-7268.