Federal public waters of the Kuskokwim River opened to gillnet fishing last Saturday

In consultation with the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the Federal In-season Manager announced a 12-hour gillnet opportunity for Federally qualified subsistence users to harvest fish other than Chinook Salmon on Federal public waters of the mainstem of the Kuskokwim River.

During this opportunity, Federally qualified subsistence users fished from 12:01 p.m. (noon) June 24, 2017, until 11:59 p.m. (midnight) June 24, 2017 using set or drift gillnets with 6 inch or less stretched mesh and not exceeding 45 mesh in depth.

Nets could not exceed 25 fathoms (150 feet) in length. Federally qualified subsistence users identified in the ANILCA Section 804 subsistence user prioritization were able to retain Chinook Salmon incidentally harvested in gillnets.

The waters of the Kuskokwim River from the Yukon Delta NWR boundary at Aniak downstream to a line formed from the northwest corner of the runway (latitude 61° 35’ 16” N, longitude 159° 33’ 28” W), due north to a point on the southeast corner of the sandbar (latitude 61° 35’ 37” N, longitude 159° 33’ 16” W) were closed to subsistence gillnet fishing.

Subsistence fishing with dip nets, beach seines, fish wheels, and rod and reel could also be used during this opportunity. Fish wheels are required to have a live box with no less than 45 cubic feet of water and must be checked at least every 6 hours. Fish wheels must be equipped with a chute and must be closely attended while in operation. All authorized gear types, except gillnets, must return Chinook Salmon to the water alive.

This limited opportunity was implemented by Federal Emergency Special Action (3-KS-04-17) under the delegated authority of the Federal Subsistence Board.