Subsistence fishermen say chum fishing too early

As the Kuskokwim River king salmon run comes to an end, the Department of Fish and Game is looking toward a commercial chum opening in the lower river Friday. But in a year with unprecedented chinook restrictions and increased reliance on chum salmon, many middle river fisherman say it’s too early.

At a work session Tuesday of the Kuskokwim River Salmon Management Working Group, subsistence fishermen told managers a commercial opening now undermines the conservation mindset and sacrifices that the working group and others have pushed all year. Nick Kameroff is from Aniak.
Several middle river residents reported not catching as many chum salmon as they might expect this year. They say many are still chum fishing and plan to try and target more silvers this year.

Mangers are proposing a commercial opening Friday in lower Sub district 1-B which runs from 15 miles below the Johnson River the to the southern tip of Eek Island. The six-hour opening is not finalized yet, but managers expect allowing 6-inch gear.

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