Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 23, 2021
Fish just keep rolling into the bay with another near half million swimming through yesterday. The total run is now past 64 million fish with total escapement at 24.9 million.
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The 2021 run is full of younger sockeye
This year, a huge proportion of Bristol Bay’s run were 1-2 sockeye -- fish that spent one year in freshwater and two in the ocean. According to Fish and Game’s latest age composition summary from early July, almost 60% of the run was 1-2 fish. KDLG’s Izzy Ross talked to Fish and Game research Biologist Greg Buck, who says the reason for such a vast expanse of younger sockeye is still murky.
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For this week's Coffee with Kenzie, KDLG's Mackenzie Mancuso sat down with Patricia Edel, owner of and lead guide at Blue Fly Bed & Breakfast in King Salmon.
The bay keeps pushing the record higher as 64.2 million fish have returned to local waters.
Baywide harvest was 219,000 salmon as the season continues to wind down. Cumulative harvest for all of Bristol Bay is 39.2 million fish. Naknek-Kvichak district especially seems to be calming back down from their recent surge.
Escapement got a light bump despite the Naknek tower no longer reporting. 213,203 fish made it up the rivers, over half of which went to the Alagnak River. Across Bristol Bay’s nine counted rivers, the total escapement is 24.9 million fish.
Yesterday’s harvest in the Nushagak matched the Wednesday’s numbers at 23,000 fish. Average sockeye per drift delivery were at 252 and the season total harvest is now 17.57 million fish.
Between the district’s three rivers, 42,995 fish swam past counting towers and the Nushagak sonar to make it to their spawning grounds. The district-wide total is 27.43 million salmon.
Before we break it down by river, it’s the last escapement counts for the Nushagak and Wood Rivers! Management Biologist Tim Sands said that Wood River counts changed, since Fish and Game had to interpolate missed counts for the last several days. It’s a good reminder that the counts reported during the season are preliminary.
7,637 sockeye escaped past the Nushagak River sonar yesterday. The Nushagak’s total sockeye escapement is at 4.6 million fish.
341 Chinook escaped up the Nushagak. The Chinook run is at 54,300.
The Nushagak’s chum run was just 287, for a chum sum of 125,177.
25,500 fish swam up the Wood River yesterday, bringing the season’s total escapement count to 4.3 million.
The initial counts for July 20 were around 12,600 fish, and the July 21 escapement was 19,200.
The new counts are 21,690 for the 20th, and 25,656.
9,858 fish swam up the Igushik River yesterday, and another 4,188 passed the tower as of 6 a.m. this morning. Total escapement up the Igushik is at 845,658.
Harvest up the Togiak is the most consistent in the bay - another 19,000 fish were caught. That’s the same amount as the day before and Wednesday. Total harvest there is 358,910.
Escapement up the Togiak River was 8,502 yesterday, and another 3,168 fish swam up this morning. Togiak’s total escapement is at 136,878.
The total run for the Togiak District is 492,620.
Over in the Naknek-Kvichak district, fishermen seem to have lighter nets as the season starts to wind back down. Harvest there was a third of the day before’s impressive catch with only 70,000 fish. The average drifter brought in 256 sockeye per delivery. Season harvest is 8.73 million fish.
Escapement yesterday is up a bit, 136,782 fish were counted between two of the district’s three rivers.
The total run sits at 19.13 million salmon.
The Naknek tower is down for the season and will not report any more escapement for the rest of the season. The Naknek River’s final count remains at 2,796,534 fish.
The Kvichak tower on the other hand is still running and counted nearly seven times yesterday’s escapement. 21,372 fish swam through, the Kvichak River’s escapement is 4.56 million.
The Alagnak River was the big winner, taking over half of yesterday’s baywide escapement. The Alagnak’s escapement yesterday was 115,410, bringing the season total to 3.04 million.
The Egegik District holds steady, 41,000 fish were caught yesterday. With an average drift delivery of 432 sockeye, the cumulative harvest so far is 7.8 million fish.
Escapement yesterday was 7,944 for a cumulative total of 1.81 million fish.
The total run in Egegik is 9.62 million.
The Ugashik River harvest yesterday was at 66,000. Cumulative harvest there passed 4.8 million yesterday as well.
16,980 fish swam past the nets there to get counted for a total so far of 2.74 million fish.
The cumulative run for the district is 7.54 million fish.
At the Chignik River, 15,040 sockeye passed the weir yesterday, and 90 Chinook swam through.
As of 9 a.m. this morning, 5,406 sockeye passed through, and 36 Chinook also passed through.
A total of 373,644 sockeye have escaped up the Chignik River so far this season.
The early run is at 256,329, and the late run is at 117,315.
The Chinook run up the Chignik River is at 757.
Correction: The 2021 bay-wide escapement is the third-highest on record, not the second-highest as originally reported. Additionally, the 1965 escapement was 28.8 million, not 24.2 million as original reported.
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