Skiffs lined the beaches at Clark’s Point and Coffee Point and trucks raced the tide at Ekuk to set their nets for Nushagak’s 6 p.m. Tuesday opener.
Area management biologist Tim Sands of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game took to the skies in a helicopter at the opening bell to get a feel for how many sockeye were hitting the nets.
"There wasn’t really on the east side of the district -- Combine, Ekuk area. It looked a little bit better on the Coffee Point side," Sands said. "I think everybody looked happy whether they had fish or not, but you know we got to start somewhere and with all the weather we’ve been having and the escapements we’ve had, we thought it was a good time to have an opening."
King and sockeye escapement for the Nushagak River so far this year have been trending well ahead of their historical averages, which Sands said is a sign we could have a good run this year. Just 35 minutes into the opener, some skiffs near Coffee Point were already picking fish and even taking trips to the tender.
Commercial drift gillnet fishermen in the Nushagak district got their opener at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Both drift and set net openings closed at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Check out aerial video and photos below.
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