Kuskokwim River King Salmon Fishery Closing

The following press release 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. Thursday, March 21 through Thursday, July 25, 2024. This closure prohibits all sport fishing for king salmon, including catch-and-release fishing. This does not include the Kuskokwim Bay drainages of the Arolik, Goodnews and Kanektok Rivers. All king salmon caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

The Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Plan (5 AAC 07.365) allows for sport and commercial harvest opportunities on surplus king salmon in excess of escapement and subsistence needs. Indications are that the Kuskokwim River king salmon run in 2024 will be similar to 2023 when restrictions to the subsistence king salmon fishery were required to ensure a sufficient number of spawning fish. Given that king salmon runs in western Alaska are at historic lows, and a projection for a similar Kuskokwim king salmon run as 2023, a preseason closure of sport fishing for king salmon in the Kuskokwim River drainage is needed to help protect these fish.

The numbers of king salmon returning to the Kuskokwim River will be closely monitored using sonar counts, test fisheries, and reports from fishers. In accordance with the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Plan, if the data suggests that 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.

For additional information contact John Chythlook, Kuskokwim-Goodnews Area Management Biologist at 907-459-7361 or john.chythlook@alaska.gov.