The Kuskokwim River from its Mouth to 10 Miles above Upper Kalskag was opened to Gillnet Fishing July 1, 2017 from 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
In consultation with the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the Federal In-season Manager announced the opening of the Federal public waters of the Kuskokwim River main-stem from the mouth of the river to a line approximately 10 miles upriver from Upper Kalskag, to a 6-hour gillnet opportunity for Federally qualified subsistence users to harvest fish other than Chinook Salmon.
During this opportunity, Federally qualified subsistence users fished from 3:00 p.m. July 1, 2017, until 9:00 p.m. July 1, 2017 using set or drift gillnets with 6 inch or less stretched mesh and not exceeding 45 mesh in depth. Nets cannot exceed 25 fathoms (150 feet) in length.
The closure above the Old River is in place to eliminate harvest of Chinook Salmon in the upper portion of the river where Chum and Sockeye to Chinook Salmon ratios are lower than in the lower portion of the river.
Federally qualified subsistence users identified in the ANILCA Section 804 subsistence user prioritization may retain Chinook Salmon incidentally harvested in gillnets.
Salmon tributaries of the Kuskokwim within the boundaries of the Refuge, including the Eek, Kwethluk, Kasigluk, Kisaralik, Tuluksak, and Aniak rivers remained closed to fishing for Chinook Salmon, as was the Old Kuskokuak where the Kisaralik and Kasigluk drain and the Kuskokuak between the lower confluence with the Kuskokwim River and the upper confluence with the Kwethluk River. This is to protect Chinook bound for the Kwethluk, Kasigluk and Kisaralik Rivers.
Subsistence fishing with dip nets, beach seines, fish wheels, and rod and reel were allowed to be used during this opportunity. Fish wheels were required to have a live box with no less than 45 cubic feet of water and checked at least every 6 hours. Fish wheels equipped with a chute had to be closely attended while in operation. All authorized gear types, except gillnets, must return Chinook Salmon to the water alive during this opening.
This limited opportunity was implemented by Federal Emergency Special Action (3-KS-05-17) under the delegated authority of the Federal Subsistence Board.
Access up-to-date information on fishing opportunities by visiting the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page or www.fws.gov/refuge/yukon_delta/. Questions? call the Refuge at (907) 543-3151 or at (800) 621-5804.
Another opening for Federally qualified subsistence users to harvest fish other than Chinook Salmon was scheduled for Federal public waters of the Kuskokwim River to be opened to gillnet fishing July 3, 2017 from Noon to Midnight.