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PHOTOS: Aerial look at Nushagak's set net, drift net openers

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Austin Fast
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KDLG

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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Credit Austin Fast / KDLG
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KDLG
Fishermen stand ready to set their nets just before the 6 p.m. opener Tuesday near Nushagak.
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Credit Austin Fast / KDLG
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KDLG
Looks like this setnetter near Nushagak caught one fish.
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Credit Austin Fast / KDLG
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KDLG
A commercial set net fisherman places nets for Tuesday's opener near Nushagak.
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Credit Austin Fast / KDLG
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KDLG
Tim Sands, area management biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (left), flies over Ekuk to get a look at Tuesday's set net opener.
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Credit Austin Fast / KDLG
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KDLG
Set netters use trucks to place their nets on the beach near Ekuk.
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Credit Austin Fast / KDLG
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KDLG
Set net fishermen place their nets on the beach near Ekuk Tuesday night.
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Credit Austin Fast / KDLG
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KDLG
Setnetters on Nushagak Bay's west side seemed to have more luck than east side fishermen on Tuesday night.
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Credit Austin Fast / KDLG
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KDLG
Set net fishermen were picking fish out their nets just 35 minutes into the opener near Coffee Point.
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Credit Austin Fast / KDLG
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KDLG
Fishermen pick salmon out of their nets near Coffee Point during Tuesday night's opener.
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Credit Austin Fast / KDLG
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KDLG
Set gillnet fishermen float near Coffee Point during Tuesday's opener.

Contact the author at austin@kdlg.org or 907-842-5281.