(Released: April 17, 2017)
Division of Sport Fish
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Contact: Brendan Scanlon, Northwest-North Slope Area Management Biologist
The Division of Sport Fish is closing all fresh waters from Bald Head to Point Romanof to sport fishing for king salmon effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, May 1, 2017. This closure includes, but is not limited to, the Unalakleet, Shaktoolik, Koyuk, Ungalik, Inglutalik, and Golsovia river drainages. In addition, only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure may be used in these drainages.
This emergency order prohibits the harvest of king salmon and the use of bait while sport fishing in these drainages. This emergency order will remain in effect through August 15, 2017 or until inseason assessments project that the escapement goal will be met for king salmon on the Unalakleet River.
The 2017 preseason outlook for the Unalakleet River drainage king salmon run is expected to be insufficient to provide for a moderate harvestable surplus. According to the Subdistricts 5 and 6 of the Norton Sound District and the Unalakleet River King Salmon Management Plan, when the inriver subsistence fishery is closed to the retention of king salmon, sport fishing for king salmon will be closed. At this time, restrictions are planned to close the Unalakleet River subsistence fishery for king salmon effective May 1, 2017.
The department does not have reliable inseason stock assessment information for the Shaktoolik, Koyuk, Ungalik, Inglutalik, and Golsovia river drainages, but these king salmon runs generally cycle in accordance with Unalakleet River stocks. The closure of sport fishing for king salmon in these rivers will provide protection for returning fish. The prohibition of bait while sport fishing is in accordance with provisions set forth in 5 AAC 75.003 (1)(A). This action should minimize catch-and-release mortality for king salmon incidentally caught while sport fishing for other species.
The Department will continue to evaluate inseason run strength and take appropriate management actions to ensure that escapement requirements are met. If inseason stock assessment information indicates that the king salmon escapement goal in the Unalakleet River will be met, restrictions will be relaxed.
For additional information contact Brendan Scanlon, Northwest and North Slope Area Management Biologist, 907-459-7268.