If you live By the Norton Sound, get ready for salmon.
On Monday, the Department of Fish and Game announced subsistence and commercial openings that will begin this Wednesday, June 18th, for three subdistricts in the Norton Sound.
“We are going to allow some subsistence fishing this week in Norton Bay, Shaktoolik, and Unalakleet subdistricts. So in Southern Norton Sound we’re going open it back up to gillnet fishing. And so it’ll be 48 hours in Norton Bay, and a 30 hour opening in Shaktoolik and Unalakleet to allow subsistence salmon fishing,” said Jim Menard, area biologist for Fish and Game.
The openings fit into an overall management strategy focused on harvesting chums and pinks. Fish and Game’s policies are determined in large part, though, by one particular salmon species they want users to avoid.
“The net restrictions down in Shaktoolik and Unalakleet are 6” mesh or less,” Menard explained. “And that’s [because] we’re still trying to protect the big kings.”
In Norton Bay the mesh-size is 4.5″. Menard says that’s because the outlook for pinks this year is so strong Fish and Game is allowing a 36-hour Commercial harvest from noon on Thursday, June 19th until Midnight of Friday evening, June 20th.
“As we are expecting a good pink salmon run this year we’re going to get an early indication of how things look in Norton Bay,” Menard explained.
And as for when the salmon will make it to Nome, Menard says the news has already begun trickling in.
“I have heard one confirmed catch of a chum salmon, and I’ve been able to squash two rumors that I’ve heard elsewhere about fish,” he laughed.
“As we get later in June we’re gonna start to see things happen down at the mouth of the Nome River.”
You can find more details on this week’s openings here.