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Nushagak Opener Ends With Strong Coho Catches

Some fishermen still waiting for tenders to come back from Togiak and pick up the rest of the fish.

DILLINGHAM:  Monday was reportedly another good day of fishing for silver salmon in the Nushagak District.

"Yesterday the fish hit pretty hard," said Voita Novak, the General Manager at Togiak Seafoods. Togiak Seafoods is the only processor buying silvers right now.

"Almost everybody loaded up, I had to stop buying because all the tenders were full," he said. "People were catching between five and twelve thousand pounds, just last night."

The logistics have gotten tricky for this late season market. The weather has been less than agreeable, and the tenders had to make for Togiak when they could take on no more fish. That left some fishermen waiting in Dillingham with full fish holds early Tuesday.

"Ive been in touch with everybody," said Novak, "and a tender is on the way. He should be in Dillingham between three and six this afternoon, and will take all the fish from everybody."

Togiak Seafoods is buying coho that have been bled and kept on ice. Novak said the price will probably be between $.80-1.00 per pound, but hasn't been finalized.

Commercial fishing in the Nushagak District closed Tuesday morning at 9 a.m., and is likely to reopen Thursday morning. Novak said he plans to keep buying more silvers Thursday.

"Yes, we will buy. I just need to figure out if we have too many boats, too many fish. We are limited by the tenders. It's a long way from Dillingham to Togiak, and the weather has been holding us a little bit. Maybe we need to put some people on a limit, I don't know yet. But we will keep buying for sure."

Fish and Game reported another 4,000 coho were counted as escapement in the Nushagak River yesterday, bringing the season total just over 70,000. Escapement remains above the projected curve to reach the minimum goal of 100,000 fish.