Kuskokwim River Drainage Shutting Down For King Salmon Fishing

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

The Division of Sport Fish is closing the entire Kuskokwim River drainage (including all tributaries) to sport fishing for king salmon, effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, May 1, 2019. 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 11:59 p.m. Thursday, July 25, 2019.

The preseason forecast of 115,000–150,000 king salmon suggests that the Kuskokwim River king salmon run in 2019 may be similar to 2018 when the Kuskokwim River experienced an estimated total run of approximately 132,300 and spawning escapement of approximately 109,500 fish. In 2018, the drainagewide escapement goal (65,000–120,000 king salmon) was attained, however, this was largely due to substantial closures of the subsistence fishery. Restrictions to the subsistence king salmon fishery are expected again in 2019.

The anticipated restrictions of the subsistence salmon fishery on the Kuskokwim River warrants a total closure of sport fishing for king salmon in the Kuskokwim River drainage and the prohibition of bait and multiple hooks during the king salmon run. If inseason stock assessment information indicates that a majority of the king salmon escapement goals and subsistence needs in the Kuskokwim River drainage will be met, restrictions may be relaxed.

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