First Drift Opening on Lower Kuskokwim Today

The season’s first drift gillnet opener takes place Monday on the lowest part of the river. Map from USFWS.
The season’s first drift gillnet opener takes place Monday on the lowest part of the river. Map from USFWS.

The Kuskokwim River’s first 6-inch drift opening happens Monday afternoon from the Johnson River down to the refuge boundary at the mouth of the river. It runs from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, June 22, 2015.

Nets must be no longer than 300-feet in length, and 45 meshes in depth.

Managers have been waiting for chum and sockeye to outnumber king salmon at the Bethel Test Fishery. They say a three to one ratio was achieved this weekend and that the ratio is higher than that in the lower river. Federal managers write that they expect a limited chinook harvest in Monday’s opener.

There will be more chum and red salmon in the river compared to king salmon as the season progresses.

Federal managers say they will have additional openings moving up the river as the ratios change. They expect no more than about 200 boats taking part in this afternoon’s opening.

Federal managers this year are in charge of waters below Aniak during the king salmon run, while the state retains control from Aniak to the headwaters.