Kuskokwim River System Closing For King Salmon Sportfishing

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

 The Division of Sport Fish is extending the closure to sport fishing for king salmon for the entire Kuskokwim River drainage (including all tributaries) through 11:59 p.m. Saturday, July 25, 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 These restrictions will remain in effect unless superseded by new information inseason.

The preseason forecast of 193,000–261,000 king salmon suggests that the Kuskokwim River king salmon run in 2020 may be larger than 2019 when the Kuskokwim River experienced an estimated total run of approximately 227,000 and spawning escapement of approximately 188,500 fish. In 2019, the drainagewide escapement goal (65,000–120,000 king salmon) was attained, however, there were substantial closures of the subsistence fishery. Similar to 2019, restrictions to the subsistence king salmon fishery have been inacted in 2020. Though it is early in the season, both Bethel Test Fish and the Kuskokwim River Sonar have not seen a large number of king salmon past those projects at this time.

The current restrictions of the subsistence salmon fishery on the Kuskokwim River warrant continuing the 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.