Fishing opportunities on the Kuskowkim River

by USFWS Staff

In consultation with the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (KRITFC), the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge (YDNWR) in-season manager has announced four fishing opportunities within the YDNWR from the boundary at the mouth of the Kuskokwim River upriver to the boundary above the village of Aniak.

These opportunities are for federally qualified users that are residents of the Kuskokwim River drainage and the villages of Chefornak, Kipnuk, Kwigillingok, and Kongiganak to the harvest of Chinook Salmon.

The first fishing opportunity will be on June 8th, 2019 from 10:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. This opportunity is limited to SET NET gillnets only on the Kuskokwim River main stem. Drift gillnets are prohibited during this opportunity. Set net restrictions on June 8th include:

•6 inch or less set gillnets for federally qualified users,

•Must be attached to bank and oriented perpendicular to river,

•May not exceed 60 feet in length in water, 45 mesh deep, may not be operated more than 100 feet from ordinary high water mark.

The next three fishing opportunities are scheduled for June 12, 15, and 19, 2019 from 06:00 A.M. to 06:00 P.M. These three opportunities are for BOTH set and drift gillnets on the Kuskokwim main stem. Gillnet restrictions on June 12, 15, and 19 are as follows:

•6 inch or less gillnets for federally qualified users, 45 mesh deep,

•Net length 150 feet (25 Fathoms) above Johnson River,

•Net length 300 feet (50 Fathoms) below Johnson River.

Reminder: After each opportunity has ended, the Kuskokwim River main stem will be CLOSED to all gillnets until next opportunity.

Chinook Salmon retention using dip nets, beach seines, fish wheels, and rod and reel on federal public waters of the main stem of the Kuskokwim River and non-salmon tributaries is allowed even when gillnets are closed.

The following areas are closed to all methods and means of Chinook Salmon harvest effective June 1, 2019:

•The Eek River;

•The Kwethluk River drainage at its confluence with Kuskokuak Slough

•The Kasigluk and Kisaralik river drainages including Old Kuskokuak Slough to ADF&G regulatory markers at the confluence of Old Kuskokuak Slough with Kuskokuak Slough;

•The Tuluksak River drainage including its confluence with the Kuskokwim River and downstream approximately 1-mile to ADF&G regulatory markers; and

•The Aniak River drainage to ADF&G regulatory markers at its confluence with the Kuskokwim River;

•The Aniak Box described as waters of the Kuskokwim River main stem 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)

These harvest opportunities are to provide for the continuation of subsistence uses of Chinook Salmon that are critical to cultural and traditional needs. While the Chinook run is expected to be smaller than average, it is strong enough to allow these limited opportunities for a directed harvest for federally qualified subsistence users.

These limited opportunities have been implemented by Federal Emergency Special Actions (3-KS-05-19 and 3-KS-06-19) under the delegated authority of the Federal Subsistence Board. Access up-to-date information on fishing opportunities by calling 907-543-1008 or visit the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page or

Questions? Call the Refuge at (907) 543-3151 or at (800) 621-5804.

This news release was issued on June 5, 2019.