Kuskokwim Salmon Fishing Closures and Openers Announced

by the Kuskokwim River InterTribal Fish Commission

This year, in coordination with the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (KRITFC), the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge (YDNWR) Manager determined that Federal management is necessary for the conservation and the continuation of subsistence uses for Chinook, Chum, and Coho Salmon within the Federal public waters of the Kuskokwim River drainage.

This action is based on the provisions of Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) and delegation of authority letter from the Federal Subsistence Board.

The Federal Manager intends to use an adaptive management approach to manage the salmon fishery from June 1st to August 31st, 2023. As part of this approach the YDNWR will continue consulting with KRITFC and coordinating with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) and other local partners.

As announced on May 18, starting on June 1, 2023, fishing with gillnets is closed to the harvest of all salmon by all users:

•In Federal waters of the Kuskokwim River (from the mouth to Aniak).

•In salmon spawning tributaries: Eek River, Kwethluk River, Kasigluk River, Kisaralik River, Tuluksak River, Aniak River, Aniak Box.

•In non-salmon spawning tributaries below 100 yards from their confluence with the Kuskokwim.

Federally qualified subsistence users may fish with dip nets, beach seines, fish wheels, and rod and reel, and may retain Chinook, chum, and coho salmon caught with these alternative methods.

KRITFC’s In-Season Managers met with the Yukon Delta NWR fish management team on May 17 to determine early season whitefish and salmon harvest opportunities in Federal waters of the Kuskokwim for Federally qualified subsistence users. These opportunities are for fishing on the main stem Kuskokwim River, and the spawning tributaries listed above remain closed. After each harvest opportunity, the Kuskokwim River is closed to fishing with gillnets by all users. These opportunities and gear restrictions are:

Set Gillnet opportunities:

Saturday, June 3, 2023: 6:00am – 10:00pm (16 hours)

Tuesday, June 6, 2023: 6:00am – 10:00pm (16 hours)

Friday, June 9, 2023: 6:00am – 10:00pm (16 hours)

Set nets must be:

6-inch or less mesh

60 feet or less in length

45 meshes or less in depth

Attached to the bank, oriented perpendicular to the river, operated no more than 100 feet from the ordinary high-water mark

Spaced 150 feet from the next set net

Drift and/or Set Gillnet opportunities:

Monday, June 12, 2023: 7:00am – 7:00pm (12 hours)

Saturday, June 17, 2023: 7:00am – 7:00pm (12 hours)

Gillnets must be:

•6-inch or less mesh

•50 fathoms or less below the Johnson and 25 fathoms or less above the Johnson. (Both the length of your drift and your set nets must add up to or be less than this.)

•45 meshes or less in depth

Want to keep fishing before, between, and after these harvest opportunities? You can fish 100 yards or more upstream of non-spawning tributaries, or use the alternative methods and means listed above.

Our KRITFC and Yukon Delta NWR fish management team will meet again soon, and we hope to announce more harvest opportunities for Federally qualified subsistence users once we see how the 2023 king salmon run is shaping up. Keep afloat with us this season by checking back to KRITFC’s 2023 Fishing Information page, following KRITFC on Facebook, or calling Yukon Delta NWR at 907-543-1008.

More information at https://www.kuskosalmon.org/news/2023tsa-openers1.