The Division of Sport Fish is closing the entire Kuskokwim River drainage (including all tributaries) to sports fishing for king salmon, effective 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, May 1, 2018. This does not include Kuskokwim Bay drainages. All king salmon caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. In addition, anglers may use only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in the Kuskokwim River drainage. These restrictions will remain in effect through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, July 25, 2018.
The preseason forecast of 140,000–190,000 king salmon suggest that the Kuskokwim River king salmon run in 2018 may be similar to 2017 when the Kuskokwim River experienced an estimated total run of approximately 166,000 and spawning escapement of approximately 150,000 fish. In 2017, the upper bound of the drainage wide escapement goal (65,000–120,000 king salmon) was exceeded; however, this was largely due to long-term closures of the subsistence fishery. Restrictions to the subsistence king salmon fishery are expected again in 2018.
The anticipated closure of the subsistence fishery on the Kuskokwim River warrants a total closure of sports fishing for king salmon in the Kuskokwim River drainage and the prohibition of bait and multiple hooks. If in-season stock assessment information indicates that a majority of the king 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.