"This was a pretty dramatic closure, it's very early in the season and it had a very devastating effect on a lot of the operators here," Kraft said.
Fish and Game says the number of kings this year were at an all-time low, and they just aren't sure why.
"Right now we don't have any idea, we had a forecast for Nushagak kings of 117,000 and of course we have not come anywhere near that," said Fish and Game sport fishery biologist Jason Dye. "Whether it's marine survival or some other issue at this point, we don't know why it didn't come back as forecasted."
Kraft co-owns Bear Trail Lodge, and he also owns Alaska Sportsman's Lodge. He says despite the closure, he can still take guests elsewhere to fish.
"We still have some other options for our customers, but I got to tell you, I've already heard from customers that were with me this year that are potentially not going to re-book for next year because of closures that happened this year on the Nushagak," Kraft said.
There are also dozens of tent camps along the Nushagak with fishing guide services. Some longtime sport fishermen say the closure has really hurt their business this year.
"It's always, the Nushagak has always had a really good run of salmon and pretty reliable although there's ups and downs through the years, but this year has just been a complete disaster," said Bob Toman of Toman's King Camp.
Customers who had already booked their trip to fish for kings on the Nushagak canceled and went elsewhere. The season typically doesn't end until July 15.
"We lose a lot of money over it," Toman said. "We lose the client money -- you hope you're able to recover that in the future somehow, but you give them their money back and they go home. There's nothing else you can do there."
As for the king run, Fish and Game biologists say they aren't sure why the salmon didn't show up this year. But sport fishermen suspect it was because of commercial fishing boats unintentionally intercepting the kings, while fishing for sockeyes.
Kraft says Fish and Game biologists for commercial and sport fishing need to better communicate to prevent a closure like this one from happening again.
"The goal is to have opportunities for both industries to be successful, and what needs to happen is there needs to be some rational compromise," Kraft said. "This was not rational this year -- we were trying to preserve a salmon run, the king salmon run on this river."
According to Fish and Game, it is very rare for the Nushagak to be closed to king fishing.
Biologists with Fish and Game say this year's run is one of the lowest that has ever been recorded in the state since monitoring began in the early 1980s.
Contact Lori Tipton at firstname.lastname@example.org