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Bristol Bay Fisheries Report

Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 12, 2020

Sage Smiley / KDLG

Yesterday was the third day this season when one of the bay’s districts had a million-plus fish catch--the Naknek-Kvichak District had its second million-fish catch day of the season. The total run in the bay is only a million fish below the lower range of the pre-season forecast.

Harvest across the bay was 2.6 million fish yesterday, pushing total baywide harvest so far this season to 23.5 million. Total escapement across the bay is now 10.4 million fish, only 2 million fish short of the pre-season escapement goal baywide. And the total run of 35.3 million fish is only about a million fish behind the lower range of the pre-season forecast. 

Average fish per drift delivery was above 1,200 in Ugashik and Egegik yesterday, above 1,100 in the Naknek-Kvichak, and 800 in the Nushagak. Togiak remains in the low 100s for average fish per drift delivery. 


Nushagak District

Harvest in the Nushagak District was 500,000 fish yesterday. Yesterday’s harvest makes the total season’s harvest in the Nushagak district 6.6 million fish, caught 3% by Igushik setters, 25% by Nushagak set-netters, and 71% by the drift fleet. That’s the third largest harvest in the bay right now. 

Across the Nushagak district, 208,000 fish escaped yesterday, making total escapement in the district 2.6 million fish. Let’s look at those escapements by river. 

Nushagak River

The Nushagak river sonar counter saw 49,000 sockeye pass yesterday, bringing total sockeye escapement in the Nushagak river to just over 1 million. 

The sonar also counted 585 kings for a season total escapement of kings in the Nushagak river 38,700, and 1,900 pinks passed the sonar yesterday, making pink escapement in the Nushagak river 102,000. 

Wood River

In the Wood river, the tower crew counted 46,600 fish past the tower before 6am this morning. Cumulative escapement in the Wood river is now 1.6 million. 

Igushik River

The Igushik river tower crew counted 4,700 fish past the tower this morning, bringing total escapement up the Igushik river so far to 99,000. 

Altogether, the run in the Nushagak district totals 9.3 million fish, making it the 3rd largest run out of the bay’s districts right now. 


In Togiak, fishers harvested 14,000 fish yesterday, bringing the total harvest in the Togiak district 78,000. 

The Togiak tower crew counted 500 fish this morning, making escapement in the Togiak river this season 12,000 fish. Togiak’s total run is 89,000 fish so far this season.


The Naknek-Kvichak district had its second million-plus harvest day of 1.1 million fish yesterday. This brings the season’s harvest in the Naknek-Kvichak district to 8.3 million fish, which is currently the largest harvest in the bay this season, caught 7% by Kvichak set-netters, 13% by Naknek set-netters, and 79% by the drift fleet.

Escapement in the entire Naknek-Kvichak District also crested 1 million fish yesterday, making the district’s season cumulative escapement 5.6 million. All three rivers in the Naknek-Kvichak District now have over a million fish escaped. Let’s look closer at those rivers. 

Alagnak River

The Alagnak River had a daily escapement of 245,000 fish yesterday, pushing the river’s escapement to just over 1 million fish. 

Kvichak River

490,000 fish escaped up the Kvichak River yesterday. That makes the cumulative escapement in the Kvichak river 1.7 million. The Kvichak also has a 1 million-fish in-river estimate. 

Naknek River

In the Naknek River, escapement was 265,000 yesterday, bringing total escapement in the Naknek River to 2.9 million fish. 

In total, the run in the full Naknek-Kvichak District is the largest run in the bay, at 14.9 million fish. 


Although they didn’t quite harvest a million fish, the Egegik District also had a big catch day. Fishers caught 920,000 sockeye yesterday in Egegik. That brings the total harvest in the Egegik District so far this season to 7.9 million--the second-largest total harvest in the bay at this point in the season, attributed 14% to the set-netters there and 86% to the drift fleet. 

170,000 fish escaped in Egegik yesterday, making the season total escapement up the Egegik River 1.7 million fish. Adding the 100,000 in-river fish estimate, Egegik’s total run is now 9.7 million fish--the second-largest total run in the bay at this point in the season.  


Daily catch in the Ugashik District was 96,000 fish yesterday, pushing the total season catch to 547,000 fish. Yesterday’s harvest is attributed 36% to the set-netters in Ugashik, and 64% to the drift fleet. 

Escapement up the Ugashik River was 153,000 fish yesterday, for a total escapement of 310,000 so far this season. The Ugashik River also has an in-river fish estimate of 250,000, pushing the total run in the Ugashik District to just over one million fish. 

Permit registration on July 12 9:00 a.m. to July 14 at 9:00 a.m.

Where are people fishing? I’ll tell you. There are 1,502 permits fishing on 1,168 vessels across the bay today. That’s 834 single permit vessels and 334 D boats. In 48 hours, that will jump to 1,329 vessels, 381 of which will be D boats. Let’s break it down by district.

The Naknek-Kvichak District leads the bay in vessel registrations. 41% of the fleet is fishing there, or 477 boats, 155 of which are D boats. Those numbers skyrocket by almost 100 boats at 9am on Tuesday, to 574 boats, 181 of which will be D boats. 

The Egegik District is being fished by 31% of the fleet--357 boats, 114 of which are D boats. In 48 hours, they’ll add one single permit boat for a total of 358 vessels, 114 of which will still be D boats. 

The Nushagak District represents 21% of the bay’s fleet. 244 boats are fishing there, 52 of which are D boats. Those numbers won’t change in the next 48 hours. 

The Ugashik District represents 4% of the fleet right now, although that’s in for a shift on Tuesday morning. Right now, there are 49 boats fishing in Ugashik, 13 of which are D boats. In 48 hours, the number of boats will more than double in Ugashik to 112 vessels, 34 of which will be D boats. 

Togiak’s 3% fleet of 41 boats is still holding down the fleet there, and those numbers won’t change in the next two days. 


5,437 sockeye passed the Chignik weir yesterday, bringing the total sockeye run in the Chigniks to 157,492: 136,415 in the early run and 21,077 in the late run. 

13 kings also passed the weir, making the total king run in the Chigniks 339, and 18 pinks passed, bringing the pink run total to 324. 

Area M

Fishing on the South Peninsula is still closed. Here are the Area M harvest numbers from yesterday. 

Fleet across Area M harvested 118,000 sockeye yesterday, which makes the season’s harvest of sockeye in Area M 1.1 million. 

There were also daily harvests of 1,200 kings, 3,200 coho, 46,000 pinks, and 14,000 chums. 

Port Moller

We’re coming to the end of the Port Moller test fishery. Scott Raborn said in an email that today or tomorrow will probably be the last day of fishing for the Port Moller test fishery for the 2020 season. 

Here are yesterday’s Port Moller catch indices: 

Station  Index

Station 8 had an index of 32 -- 10 in the 4 ½ inch mesh

Station 10 had an index of 3 -- 1 in the 5 ⅛ inch mesh.

Station 12 had an index of 23 -- 2 in the 4 ½ and 5 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 16 had an index of 32 -- 9 in the 4 ½ inch mesh.

Station 18 had an index of 19 -- 1 in the 4 ½ and 5 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 20 had an index of 94 -- 3 in the 4 ½ and 33 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 21 had an index of 0 -- no fish were caught at Station 21.  


And in the final numbers of today’s Bristol Bay Fisheries data dump, we’ve got the final stock composition estimate of the season from the Port Moller genetics lab. This estimate comes from Stations 2 through 20 from July 7 - 9. 


0.2% of the fish were headed to the Kuskokwim river. 

0.1% were heading for the Togiak river.

1.8% were heading for the Igushik river.

4.8% were heading for the Wood river.

8.8% were on their way to the Nushagak river. 

19.4% were headed for the Kvichak.

13.8% were on their way to the Alagnak. 

12.1% were going to the Naknek river. 

27.9% were headed for the Egegik river. 

9.9% were on their way to the Ugashik river.

And 1.1% were heading to the North Peninsula. 

Messages to the fleet:

To: Capt. Brent Cathey on the F/V Independence

Hey stud. Hope fishing is good. You wouldn’t believe how great your shop looks now! I took everything off the walls and put them in bins. So much tidier with it all tucked away where you can’t see anything. Your work bench was kind of boring, so I used some stencils and livened it up. The pink hearts and blue butterflies look so cheerful!

I’ve got an idea for your new snow machine I’m going to start on tomorrow.

Hugs and kisses,

Montana Chick

would love to give a special shout out to Tim Bailey for the fine work that he is doing and to let him know that those of us here in Pa. look forward to seeing him shortly.

Thanks so much and here’s to everyone staying healthy and well.

Be safe and take care,


To Isaac Cox on the F/V Thunder Bay, a very happy 42nd birthday from friends at home.

And another message to the F/V Thunder Bay… those same friends at home nominate Austin to do the ice bag challenge. 


Correction: The percent allocations of harvest by gear type are calculated from the cumulative harvest, not the daily catch as initially reported.