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Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 18, 2021

Brian Venua/KDLG

We’re on the edge of a record year — 61.3 million salmon have returned to Bristol Bay waters. The previous record was set in 2018 with a whopping 62.9 million salmon. Will 2021 be the year we break records once more? 

Messages to the Fleet

Happy Birthday to two young men at Ekuk Beach! Love from Darren Petla, close friends and loved ones

I would just like to give a Birthday Shoutout to Linda Anderson for July 18th. You are one of the most special and sweet people that I've ever met. Wishing you a birthday filled with magic and happiness and I hope you know I'm thinking about you and missing you all the time. Cheers to being 24 and give Covi some scratches for me. From Zechariah

To: Capt. Brent Cathey on the F/V Independence. Hey Fluffy Buns. Please tell Matt Hakela that I still can’t find the pumpkin spice beard oil he wanted, so I’m sending some of your extra Rosewater Mustache Wax. Such a good thing you order it by the case! Finished up the bedazzling on all your work clothes. I’m cleaning closets next. Do you mind if I donate your Barbra Streisand and Spice Girls CDs? I need to make room for my Waylon and Cash collection. Miss you like crazy! From Montana Chick

The numbers

We’re on the edge of a record year – 61.3 million salmon have returned to Bristol Bay waters. The previous record was set in 2018 with a whopping 62.9 million salmon. Will 2021 be the year we break it once more? 

Bay-wide catch slows even more down to 548,000 salmon from yesterday. Total catch is now just below 37.7 million. Escapement yesterday is also down a bit, 713,279 sockeye escaped with more than half of them rolling up the Ugashik. Total escapement this season is now nearing 23.67 million. 

Nushagak District

The Nushagak District continues its decline as only 168,000, down about 30% from the day before. Average drift delivery is just 361 sockeye and the Nushagak’s total harvest is now 17.3 million. 

Nushagak drift nets have caught around 81% of that cumulative harvest, while Nushagak set netters have totaled 13% and Igushik set netters have hauled in just under 3%.

Yesterday, 113,639 fish escaped in rivers across the district, for a cumulative escapement of about 9.5 million.

The district’s total run is now at 26.9 million fish, nearing Area Management Biologist Tim Sands’ estimate of 27 million.

Nushagak River

Sockeye continue downward trends and escapement on the Nushagak River was down to 18,011 salmon. The Nushagak’s sockeye escapement is just above 4.63 million. 

The Chinook got a slight boost from the day before, 110 kings swam up the river, bringing the season’s total escapement to 53,217.

The chum run got a slight bump to 1,115 fish making it up river. The chum run sum is 123,004. 

Wood River

The Wood River’s salmon run is up a bit, with 71,160 fish swimming by yesterday. 17,688 this morning brings the Wood River’s total escapement to about 4.18 million. 

Igushik River

The Igushik River’s holds and is at more or less similar numbers  – 24,468 fish swam past the counting tower yesterday, and another 6,384 passed as of 6 a.m. today. The total escapement on the Igushik is 785,668 fishies.


Togiak’s daily haul was saw a slight bump to 23,000, bringing the total catch to 267,038. The drift fleet hauled in an average of 304 sockeye per delivery yesterday. 

Looking at counts from the Togiak River tower, 12,228 fish escaped yesterday, and another 2,376 escaped this morning. So far, 94,458 fish have escaped to the spawning grounds there.

Togiak’s total run is at 359,120.

Naknek-Kvichak District

Fishermen in the Naknek-Kvichak caught far fewer fish once again yesterday, only 90,000 fish. The average drift delivery dropped again to 193. The district’s harvest total is now just above 8.1 million. 

Of that total catch, drift nets hauled in around 75%, while Naknek set netters caught 13% and Kvichak set netters harvesting the other 12%.

157,596 fish swam up rivers in that district yesterday bringing the total escapement for the Naknek-Kvichak to just over 9.9 million. 

The total run there is now just above 18.1 million. 

Naknek River

The Naknek River tower counted 39,858 fish swimming upriver, bringing the total escapement to 2.68 million. 

Kvichak River

The Kvichak saw 47,748 fish swim up river. That river’s total escapement is just below 4.44 million. 

Alagnak River

The Alagnak took the lead in escapement for the district yesterday, 69,990 fish swam through bringing the total escapement there to 2.83 million. 


Egegik fisherpeople hauled in 111,000 fish once again yesterday, the same as the day before. The season total there is now 7.53 million.  The average drift delivery was 403 sockeye. 

Egegik’s drift fleet has harvested around 84% of the district’s cumulative catch, and set netters have pulled in just above 16%.

Escapement up the Egegik continues to decline, 25,698 fish swam through, bringing that total to 1.76 million spawning salmon. 

The total run for the district is now 9.3 million. 


Ugashik fishermen keep holding the lead on harvest this past week, fisher folk caught 215,000 fish and brought the cumulative catch to 4.38 million.

The average fish per drift delivery nearly doubles other district’s, 769 sockeye.

87% of the harvest went to the drift fleet while 13% went to set netters.

Escapement there dropped to 404,118 fish escaping up the Ugashik River, bringing the district’s total escapement to 2.28 million.

Chignik Weir Counts 

The Chignik weir got a slight boost from previous days, they counted 8,921 fish yesterday with 2,100 more sockeye swimming through the weir this morning. The season total for sockeye is now 317,103. The early run is about 245,609 ,131 and the late run is 71,494. 

The Chinook run remained weak; 25 kings passed the weir yesterday with 12 more this morning. The total Chinook run is now 451 fish. 

Area M 

Area M continues to drop -- here’s the break down the catch by species:

Sockeye catch was only 6,736 fish and the season total still sits just below 5.4 million.

Only 35 pinks were caught, that season total still sits at 3.4 million fish.

A total of 79 Chum were caught. That total is 933,835 fish. 

No Chinook or coho were caught yesterday.   

Vessel registration Sunday July 18 9:00 a.m. to Tuesday July 20 9:00 a.m.

Not too much movement in the bay over the next two days, in most districts. A total of 1,318 boats are currently registered in the bay, 386 of those were D-boats. On Tuesday morning that number will take a small jump to 1,348, and 403 of those will be D-boats. 

There are 240 vessels registered in the Nushagak District, 55 of those are D-boats. That holds through Tuesday morning.

In the Naknek-Kvichak district, there are 524 vessels registered, 136 of which are D-boats. That goes up to 544 on Tuesday - 153 of those will be D-boats. 

Egegik’s fleet has 215 vessels, 67 of which are D-boats. That holds through Tuesday morning.

Ugashik’s fleet has 304 vessels today, 128 of which are D-boats. That holds through Tuesday morning.. 

Finally, Togiak’s fleet sits at 35 and will remain the same through Tuesday as well. 

Contact the fish team at or 907-842-2200