ANCHORAGE (AP) -- State and federal authorities on Monday re-opened some areas of Yukon River tributaries to subsistence fishing.
The change will allow subsistence fishing on the tributaries for coho salmon, as well as whitefish, sheefish, pike and other non-salmon species. Areas include districts 1, 2, 3 and subdistrict 4-A downstream, but do not include the Koyukuk River drainage. Fishing will be allowed seven days a week.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Federal Subsistence Board said conservation measures restricting the harvest of fall chum salmon will remain in place.
Subsistence fishing for Yukon River fall chums was closed Aug. 23 because of extremely poor returns. Coho salmon is providing the one bright spot. State and federal fisheries officials say so far returns are average to above average. Subsistence fishing for coho salmon on the mainstem Yukon River likely will be lifted after the fall chum season ends.
Normally, subsistence fishermen catch about 150,000 fall chums, but biologists said this year's harvest will be only about 10,000 fish.
Earlier this month, state and federal regulators re-opened the middle Yukon River to limited subsistence fishing given the strong coho run.
The coho opening covered the villages of Anvik, Grayling, Kaltag, Nulato, Koyukuk, Galena, Ruby, Tanana and villages within the Koyukuk River drainage. Only fish wheels with live chutes are allowed. Fishermen have to release any fall chum salmon they catch.
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