Waters previously closed to subsistence salmon fishing were opened near Saltery Creek and Ouzinkie Harbor starting on Wednesday, according to an Alaska Department of Fish and Game news release.
The release notes the adjustments were made at Saltery Creek (Stream No. 259-415) to the stream terminus, and at Ouzinkie Harbor to the terminus of Stream No. 259-396. The rollbacks are until further notice.
“We roll back the markers to provide more early opportunity for subsistence fishermen,” said James Jackson, ADF&G Kodiak Area biologist. “It provides more area to fish in.”
He noted that Ouzinkie Harbor has a small put and take area, allowing fishermen there to harvest sockeye salmon that had been released into the eye of the creek at Ouzinkie Harbor as smolt.
“When the salmon return, there is no place for them to spawn, so we allow them (subsistence fishermen) to harvest all those fish,” Jackson said. “It’s been going on for a while and they get a couple thousand sockeye for the village.”
Saltery Creek’s closed waters adjustments, he added, are meant to provide more opportunities for subsistence fishermen in the area.
Jackson said the season appeared to be off to a slow start, though it’s too early in the season to determine results.
“Usually even the Buskin is doing a lot better but sometimes runs are late because it’s later or it’s a little too early,” Jackson said. He added that runs such as Saltery, Ouzinkie and Pagashak typically occur around July.
The department also extended a 57-area commercial salmon fishery in the Alitak District, according to a Wednesday news release.
The fishery began Tuesday at noon and was due to end tonight at 9 p.m. It will now be stretched to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 12.
The areas open to the fishery include Cape Alitak, Humpy-Deadman, Alitak Bay, Moser Bay and Olga Bay sections.
ADF&G issued a reminder noting that king salmon 28 inches or greater may not be retained by purse seine gear and must be returned to the water unharmed.
The overall Kodiak Management Area salmon fishery began Tuesday at noon.