State Shuts Down Kuskokwim River Chum Salmon Sport Fishing

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

(Fairbanks)—The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is closing the entire Kuskokwim River drainage to sport fishing for chum salmon, effective 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 1, 2022. This closure prohibits all sport fishing for chum salmon, including catch-and-release fishing. All chum salmon caught incidentally while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. In addition, only unbaited, single-hook, artificial lures may be used in the entire Kuskokwim River drainage.

The cumulative catch per unit effort (CPUE) for chum salmon at the Bethel Test Fishery is the 3rd lowest since 2020, with 2021 being the lowest year on record. As of June 26, only 800 chum salmon have been counted on the sonar located near Bethel. On average, 21% of the chum salmon run has passed Bethel as of June 27. The chum salmon run in the Kuskokwim River appears weak. Therefore, a closure of sport fishing in the Kuskokwim River drainage is warranted to protect and maximize chum salmon spawning escapement.

The department will closely monitor run strength of chum salmon. If inseason stock assessment information indicates that chum 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