Low Numbers Force Coho Fishery Closure On Kuskokwim River

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

Kuskokwim River Coho Salmon Sport Fishery Closed

(Fairbanks)—The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is closing the entire Kuskokwim River drainage to sport fishing for coho salmon, effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, August 17, 2022. This closure prohibits all sport fishing for coho salmon, including catch-and-release fishing. All coho salmon caught incidentally while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. In addition, only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure may be used when sport fishing for any species in the entire Kuskokwim River drainage.

The cumulative catch per unit effort for coho salmon at the Bethel Test Fishery is the second lowest on record since 2017. As of August 14, only 747 coho salmon have been counted at the Bethel Test Fishery. On average, 77% of the coho salmon run has passed Bethel as of August 15. The coho salmon run to the Kuskokwim River drainage appears weak. Therefore, a closure of sport fishing for coho salmon in the Kuskokwim River drainage is warranted to help maximize spawning escapement.

The department will continue to closely monitor the strength of the coho salmon run. If inseason stock assessment information indicates that most of the coho salmon escapement goals in the Kuskokwim River tributaries will be met, restrictions may be relaxed.

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