Northwest Alaska Region Shutting Down King Salmon Fishery

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

Northwest Alaska Closed to Sport Fishing for King Salmon

(Fairbanks) – The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is closing all fresh waters in Northwest Alaska from Bald Head to Point Romanof to sport fishing for king salmon effective 12:01 a.m. March 21, 2024. This closure includes, but is not limited to, the Unalakleet, Shaktoolik, Koyuk, Ungalik, Inglutalik, and Golsovia River drainages. To help minimize catch-and-release mortality, only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure may be used in these drainages. All king salmon caught accidentally while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

These temporary regulations will remain in effect through August 15, 2024, or until there are indications there is a harvestable surplus of king salmon above escapement objectives. Escapements are determined by counts compiled at a counting tower on the North River, a tributary of the Unalakleet River, and counts at a floating weir located on the mainstem Unalakleet River.

The 2024 preseason outlook for the Unalakleet River drainage king salmon run is low, and there likely will not be enough returning king salmon to meet escapement objectives and provide a harvest for the subsistence fishery. According to the Subdistricts 5 and 6 of the Norton Sound District and the Unalakleet River King Salmon Management Plan (5 AAC 04.395), when the inriver subsistence fishery is closed, sport fishing for king salmon will be closed. At this time, closure of the Unalakleet River subsistence fishery to protect returning king salmon will take effect June 15, 2024. The Shaktoolik, Koyuk, Ungalik, Inglutalik, and Golsovia River drainages are closed as well because the department does not have reliable king salmon run information for these drainages. However, these king salmon runs trend similar to the Unalakleet River run and are managed as a unit.

If inseason information indicates that the king salmon escapement goal in the Unalakleet River will be met, restrictions may be relaxed.

For additional information contact Brendan Scanlon, Northwest and North Slope Area Management Biologist, at 907-459-7268 or