USFWS
Togiak National Wildlife Refuge
Alaska Region   

Icon of Blue Goose Compass. Click on the compass to view a map of the refuge (pdf)

 

Fishing

Subsistence
Sport Fishing
Rivers
Frequently Asked Questions

Subsistence Fishing:

fish drying racks Subsistence users from local villages, using various fishing methods, rely heavily on fish harvested from Togiak Refuge rivers and lakes. These subsistence users catch the majority of their fish using nets during the ice-free season. In Kuskokwim Bay drainages, sport fishers may not interfere with or fish within 300 feet of these nets. In addition to nets, other subsistence methods include ice fishing, rod and reel, and spears.

Many subsistence users dry their fish on racks such as the one shown above to preserve it for later use. Summer in Alaska is a busy time of harvesting and setting aside food for the winter. Togiak National Wildlife Refuge is dedicated to protecting resources for subsistence opportunities.

For information on subsistence fishing, visit the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Office of Subsistence Management homepage.

Sport Fishing:

General Information

photos make great tropies of fish that are released Most visitors to the Togiak Refuge rivers and lakes come to enjoy the excellent sport fishing opportunities. Both guided and unguided trips are available for sport fishing enthusiasts. The primary sport fish species found within the Togiak Refuge are Chinook salmon (king), coho salmon (silver), chum salmon (dog), sockeye salmon (red), pink salmon (humpy), Dolly Varden, arctic char, Arctic grayling, rainbow trout, lake trout, and northern pike. To see a list of all Togiak Refuge fish species, click here. Sport fishing occurs at different times of the year, with the majority of use occurring during the summer when adult salmon are returning to spawn.

Primary access to Togiak Refuge river systems is by chartered aircraft. Dillingham is the hub for many of the air taxis that have permits to operate within Togiak Refuge, with some permitted air taxis in the cities of Bethel or King Salmon. There is no road system connecting any of these towns with the rest of Alaska. Commercial airline services are available from Anchorage to each of the above communities. Groceries, lodging, and restaurants are available in all communities as well. For more information on the facilities of each city, contact their respective Chambers of Commerce at:

Dillingham: Dillingham Chamber of Commerce
Post Office Box 348
Dillingham, AK 99576

Phone: (907) 842-5115
Fax: (907) 842-4097

Online: http://www.dillinghamak.com
Bethel: Bethel Chamber of Commerce
Post Office Box 329
Bethel, AK 99559

Phone: (907) 543-2911
Fax: (907) 543-2255
King Salmon: Visitor's Center
Post Office Box 298
King Salmon, AK 99613

Phone: (907) 246-4250
Fax: (907) 246-8550

Unguided Visitors

Unguided trips usually take the form of float trips from headwater lakes to a river's mouth or other suitable pickup point. The majority of river rafters enter Togiak Refuge via an air taxi service with a Togiak Refuge permit, although some non-guided anglers may fly private aircraft into Togiak Refuge to fish. Rental of rafts and equipment is available in some area communities, or parties may bring their own equipment with them. You will need to contact outfitters and air taxis to find out their prices and availability. Please check to see that businesses have permits to operate within Togiak Refuge. Contact Togiak Refuge with questions regarding permitted operators.

Guided Visitors

Sport fishing guides with permits to operate within Togiak Refuge offer fishing packages of various types to people from all over the world. Packages include float trips, tent base camps on rivers, or full accommodations at lodges located off the refuge with daily fly-in fishing to Togiak Refuge rivers and lakes. You will need to contact the guides to determine the costs and availability of their services. All commercial guides are required to obtain special use permits to conduct activities within Togiak Refuge. Please check to see that businesses have permits to operate within Togiak Refuge. Contact Togiak Refuge with questions regarding permits.

Specific River Information:

Kanektok River
Length: 92 miles; 73 miles within the Togiak Refuge Wilderness Area. Average 7-8 day float.
River Conditions: Rocky and swift in upper half; lower half has many braided channels, fast water and sweepers; Heavy motorboat traffic in the lower 20 river miles
Primary Fish Species: Five species of Pacific salmon (Chinook/king, sockeye/red, coho/silver, pink/humpy, and chum/dog), rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, lake trout, Arctic grayling.
Peak Use: Last week in June through the 2nd week of July (king season) and weeks 2 - 4 of August (coho season). The Kanektok River is the most visited river in Togiak Refuge.
Permits for Use of Private Uplands: Required on uplands in the lower river, which are Native corporation (private) lands; click here.

Goodnews River
Length: 55 miles, 27 within the Togiak Refuge Wilderness Area. Average 5-7 day float.
River Conditions: Moderately braided channel, fast moving water in the upper portion, lower river tidally influenced; limited camping downstream of confluence. Jetboat traffic, especially in downstream portion of river.
Primary Fish Species: Five species of Pacific salmon (Chinook/king, sockeye/red, coho/silver, pink/humpy, chum/dog), rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, lake trout, Arctic grayling. Great variety; coho salmon and rainbow trout most sought after.
Peak Use: Early July (king season); and 3rd week of August (coho season).
Permits for Use of Private Uplands: Required on uplands in the lower river, which are Native corporation (private) lands; click here.
Togiak River
Length: 58 miles, 40 in the wilderness area. Average 5-7 day float.
River Conditions: One main channel, gentle current, lower 5-8 miles tidally influenced; motorboat traffic entire length of river, more intense in lower river during peak of salmon migration.
Primary Fish Species: Five species of Pacific salmon (Chinook/king, sockeye/red, coho/silver, pink/humpy, chum/dog), rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, arctic char, Arctic grayling. Primarily a Chinook and coho salmon fishery.
Peak Use: 1st part of July (king season); and all of August through mid- September (coho season)
Permits for Use of Private Uplands: Required on uplands in the lower river, which are Native corporation (private) lands; click here.

Useful Links for Frequently Asked Questions
The following links will guide you on your search for more information. They may exit the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge website and not have any links back to this page. Much of the information within these links is not refuge-specific, and applies to southwest Alaska in general.

Visitor Orientation
Our visitor orientation page has general guidelines for visitors on camping, trespassing, and other issues.

Fishing Regulations
Alaska Department of Fish & Game Sportfishing Regulations.
Information within the "Bristol Bay" booklet applies to the Togiak Refuge rivers that flow into Bristol Bay.
Information in the "A-Y-K" booklet applies to Kuskokwim Bay drainages.

Tagged Fish and Catch Reporting
For information on tagged fish in southwest Alaska, and the reasons for tagging, click here.
Information on the number of fish caught per day by Togiak Refuge sportfishermen is useful for long-term monitoring of fishery health. To link to a printable fish report form, click here.

Weekly Fishing Updates
ADFG Sportfishing Reports for Bristol Bay Drainages including Togiak River
ADFG Sportfishing Updates for Interior and Northern Alaska - select Kuskokwim Bay for information on Goodnews and Kanektok rivers

For current fishing and river conditions within Togiak Refuge, contact us and provide an e-mail address or fax number for a response as well as what river you are interested in. We will respond with information on water levels, water clarity, gravel bar availability, and current fishing conditions.

Species Availability
Run Timing in southwest Alaska

Fishing Practices
ADFG information on catch & release fishing
ADFG information on selective harvest - how to select fish to keep and improve the quality of fish for food
ADFG information on angler ethics and respecting cultural values toward fishing

Whirling Disease
Learn more about the status of Whirling Disease in southwest Alaska

Traveling in Bear Country
ADFG's "Bear Facts" Brochure has practices you should observe while in bear country as well as basic information on bear behavior.
Bears and You is a publication of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation which has basic bear safety guidelines as well as tips on differentiating between brown and black bears.
Bear Deterrent and Repellant Products ranging from large, industrial systems through backpacking equipment. List compiled by ADFG.

Low-Impact Camping
Leave No Trace
Booklet available on Alaskan Tundra is most applicable

Last updated: July 24, 2008