The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) has recently issued a sport fishing closure for king salmon in the Kuskokwim River drainage and Kuskokwim Bay tributaries for the 2015 season. According to ADF&G, western Alaska king salmon stocks are experiencing a period of low productivity, and a sport fishing closure for king salmon is needed to help reach escapement goals (the number of fish that successfully return to their spawning grounds).
Last year, due to a similar closure of commercial and sport fishing for king salmon, as well as with restrictions to subsistence fishing, king salmon escapement goals were reached throughout the Kuskokwim drainage. Therefore, ADF&G biologists are hopeful that similar action in 2015 will help to restore present king salmon stocks in western Alaska.
Being located on the Kanektok River (located within the Kuskokwim drainage), we applaud the state of Alaska’s vigilance to protect our beloved chinook, and are eager to do what it takes to look after their well being.
Due to overlapping run timings of king and other pacific salmon (namely chum salmon), as well as a relatively narrow river channel, we find quite a few happenstance king salmon are actually hooked on our river while fishing for other species. Not oblivious to this fact, ADF&G has issued the following guidelines to help protect chinook caught while fishing for other species.
- All king salmon caught must not be removed from the water.
- All king salmon caught must be released immediately.
- Anglers may only use one unbaited, single-hook, artificial fly or lure in the entire Kuskokwim-Goodnews system.
We will be following these regulations, as well as our own guideline of fishing only barbless flies, to ensure any king salmon caught while fishing for other species can be released as quickly and unharmed as possible. However, king salmon don’t only swim in our waters, and we encourage you to practice these guidelines when fishing on other waters inhabited by king salmon (or any fish you plan on releasing for that matter), regardless of the current regulations.
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