Kuskokwim River Drainage Closing To King Salmon Fishing

The following is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

Kuskokwim River Drainage Closed to Sport Fishing for King Salmon

(Fairbanks) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is closing the entire Kuskokwim River drainage (including all tributaries) to sport fishing for king salmon, effective 12:01 a.m. Friday, May 1, 2020. This does not include Kuskokwim Bay drainages. All king salmon caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. In addition, anglers may use only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in the Kuskokwim River drainage. These restrictions will remain in effect through at least 11:59 p.m. Thursday, June 11, 2020.

The Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Plan (5 AAC 7.365) mandates that when the escapement goal is projected within the drainage-wide escapement goal range the sport and commercial fisheries are closed through June 11. The restriction of bait is also a conservative measure to reduce the chance of king salmon accidentally being caught while fishing for other species. The number of king salmon returning to the Kuskokwim River is forecasted to be between 193,000 and 261,000 fish. This should be enough to provide a full subsistence harvest, sport fishing opportunity, and a spawning escapement of ~92,500 king salmon that is near the middle of the escapement goal (i.e. 65,000-120,000).

The numbers of king salmon returning to the Kuskokwim River will be closely monitored using the department’s sonar, test fishery, and reports from fishers. In accordance Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Plan, if the data suggests the run is large enough to provide harvest opportunity on surplus king salmon in excess of escapement and subsistence needs, the sport fishery may open after June 11.

For additional information contact John Chythlook, Kuskokwim-Goodnews Area Management Biologist, 907-459-7361.