BETHEL – One of the worst returns of chum salmon on record has prompted the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to shut down sport fishing for chums in the Kuskokwim River drainage.
The state announced Monday that any chum salmon caught unintentionally by people fishing for other species must be released immediately in the Kuskokwim-Goodnews Area. The closure took effect just after midnight Sunday and at this point will last until the end of August.
Sport fishermen can still target pink, red and silver salmon, with a daily total bag limit of three fish of those species. But they cannot use bait or multiple hooks.
Sport fishing for king salmon also is closed.
The weighted count for chum salmon at the Fish and Game test fishery in Bethel is the third lowest on record, according to the department. It said the run "appears to be late, weak or both."