(Released: April 17, 2017)
Division of Sport Fish
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Contact: Heather Scannell, Yukon Area Management Biologist
The Division of Sport Fish is closing the Yukon River drainage (excluding the Tanana Drainage) to sport fishing for king salmon, effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, May 1, 2017. All king salmon caught incidentally while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. This restriction will remain in effect through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, December 31, 2017, unless superseded by subsequent emergency order.
King salmon stocks throughout western Alaska are continuing to experience a period of low productivity and, since at least 2010, below average run strength. Preseason projections suggest that the Yukon River king salmon run in 2017 may be below average. In 4 of the past 9 years the interim management escapement goal for king salmon passage into Canada was not attained, and during 2009, 2011, 2014, 2015, and 2016 the interim goal was attained only due to increasingly conservative management, including closures or severe restrictions to subsistence opportunity, complete closure of directed commercial fishing, no sale of king salmon caught during chum salmon commercial fishing periods, and sport fishery closures. Closures and severe restrictions to the subsistence king salmon fishery are expected again in 2017.
The initial closure and anticipated restrictions of the subsistence king salmon fishery on the Yukon River warrants a total closure of sport fishing for king salmon in the Yukon River drainage. If inseason stock assessment information indicates that a majority of the king salmon escapement goals and subsistence needs in the Yukon River drainage will be met, restrictions may be relaxed.
For additional information contact Heather Scannell, Area Management Biologist, 907-459-7220.