Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 12, 2021

Jul 12, 2021

The KDLG pledge drive is afoot and we need your support to stay on the air. Call us at 907-842-5281 or donate at kdlg.org. Doing so helps us bring you updates like this: Ugashik’s fleet hauled in more than half a million fish yesterday -- a third of the total daily catch. More fish are rushing the Naknek-Kvichak, as over 700,000 escaped up rivers there.

A boat in Nushagak Bay. June 30, 2021.
Credit Stephanie Maltarich/KDLG

Where the fish go, so too go the boats, and it’s getting a little crowded over on the East Side. Ugashik’s fleet hauled in more than half a million fish yesterday -- about a third of the total daily catch. More fish are rushing the Naknek-Kvichak, as over 700,000 escaped up rivers there yesterday. Port Moller is winding down for the season, but the run is still going strong.

Ice, ice, baby

For many Bristol Bay fishermen, keeping your catch cold seems like a no-brainer -- an essential part of getting salmon from the net to the tender.

But as KDLG’s Mackenzie Mancuso reports, the best way to keep the catch cold depends on who you ask.

The ice shuttle Alaska Rose will standby on VHF channel 78. Set netters can buy ice from the shuttle, but it will not be stopping along the beach.

A rosy market and bigger sockeye harvests around the state

We love to hear suggestions and questions from our listeners. Today, someone asked for some perspective on the market.

For more, we reached out to Dan Lesh, a fisheries consultant with the McKinley Research Group. 

NOAA "Women in the Fisheries"

In 2017, social scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration arrived in Bristol Bay to interview and record women in the fishery. The project is archived with NOAA’s Voices Oral History Archives.

NOAA Portrait #2

Today’s episode features Ann Shankle. Her interview was recorded in 2018 by Sarah Wise and Kim Sparks in Naknek.

Sack Takayasu, a student at Maine College of Art, edited this portrait. Thanks to NOAA Fisheries for sharing this project with KDLG. Learn more about the project here.

A blurry but happy crew in Naknek. July 2021.
Credit Eric Hill

Messages to the fleet

Hugs and kisses to the crew on the mighty Uncle Einer from all those you left behind in Lynden. Missing you.

- Lesa

To Antoinette and Grant Walker: Happy birthday! And happy belated birthday to her son, who’s on board, Grant Walker. Antoinette, your garden flowers are in bloom, scattering the road with yellow petals.

Thank you for all you guys do! Love your bay updates and knowing my family is listening to the same thing.

- Green Bilicki-Walker

To F/V Crawdad: 

“Fox on the Run” by Sweet

The numbers

The total run across the bay is at 48.2 million fish. The total run at this time last year was at 35.2 million fish. Not a bad jump in numbers, eh?

Fishermen around the bay harvested over 2 million fish. The Ugashik District accounted for a third of yesterday’s catch. The total Baywide harvest is 28.7 million fish.

Daily escapement hit 1.1 million fish yesterday. The Naknek-Kvichak was almost two thirds of that. That pushes total escapement to 18.5 million fish.

Nushagak District

Harvest in the Nushagak District was down a bit from yesterday coming in at 423,000. That puts the total harvest so far at 15.3 million fish. Nushagak drift nets hauled in 82% percent of the catch with set nets at 12%. The remaining catch went to Igushik set nets at 2.5% and about 4% was unspecified.

Daily escapement in the district hit 308,166, pushing total escapement to 8.7 million fish.

Let’s see what that looks like by river:

Nushagak River

Sockeye escapement in the Nushagak River dipped under 100,000 fish for the first time in 10 days, coming in at 97,590 fish. The season total is 4.4 million fish.

Chinook escapement took a major nosedive, coming in at only 80 fish. That puts the total run at 49,333 fish.

Yesterday’s Chum run came in at 4,134 fish putting the season total at 112,201.

Wood River

Escapement in the Wood River yesterday remained fairly consistent, swimming in at 159,702. That puts the season total at 3.6 million fish. As of 6:00 a.m, 15,804 fish have passed by the counting tower.

Igushik

Igushik River escapement was another model of consistency, coming in at 51,874 fish. The season total is at 601,980. Another 10,758 fish swam up river as of 6:00 a.m. today.

Togiak

Escapement in Togiak was down yesterday, coming in at 390 fish. That’s the lowest daily run so far. Total escapement is at 30,756. No word from Togiak this morning, but those numbers should be in tomorrow.

Naknek-Kvichak 

Daily harvest in the Naknek-Kvichak took a dip yesterday, as fishers hauled 495,000 fish. Total harvest has broken the five million mark at 5.4 million fish.

Naknek Drift nets brought in 69% of that catch. Set nets claimed 16%. The other 15% went to Kvichak set nets.

Escapement continued to flourish as the daily run rushed in at 707,526 fish. Total escapement is now 8.1 million, just 600,000 shy of the Nushagak District.

Kvichak River

In the Kvichak River, the daily run swam in at 327,198 fish. The total run there leads all east side rivers at 3.5 million fish.

Naknek River 

The daily run in the Naknek River hit 132,888 fish. That pushes total escapement to 2.3 million fish, slightly more than the Alagnak River.

Alagnak River

Alagnak's run hit 247,440 yesterday, bringing the total run there to 2.2 million fish. 

Egegik

Harvest in the Egegik River almost doubled yesterday, with fishers commanding 419,000 fish. The total harvest is now 5.9 million fish. 

Drift nets accounted for 83% of that total catch; set nets captured the remaining 17%.

Escapement was down a bit at 36,186 fish. The cumulative run is now 1.5 million fish.

Ugashik

Ugashik’s harvest reigned supreme yesterday, leading all districts at 658,000 fish. The season total is at 1.8 million fish. 

Drift nets hauled 89% of the cumulative bounty with 11% going to the set nets.

Escapement also spiked as 93,864 fish ran through the Ugashik. The total run is at 191,964 fish.

Chignik Weir

At the Chignik Weir, about 7,000 fish passed through, putting the total run at 254,246. Two fish were counted as of 9:00 a.m. this morning. The late run is at 33,252 fish.

36 Chinook passed through putting the total Chinook run to 243. 36 Pinks were counted yesterday, pushing that total to 109 fish.

Area M

Over at Area M, the fleet harvested 24,200 sockeye yesterday for a total of 4.8 million. The Chinook harvest was about 1,100, bringing that season total to almost 5,000 fish. Fishermen in Area M caught 67,100 pinks, for a season total of 3.4 million. Chum harvest was at almost 42,000, bringing that sum to 909,400. Finally, the coho harvest was 5,700 yesterday, for a season total of about 9,500 silvers.

Most of Area M’s total harvest so far has been from the South Peninsula’s South Unimak and Shumagin Islands area -- over 60% of the season’s sockeye catch came from there, as well as around 65% of the Chinook, virtually all of the pinks, and the vast majority of chum.

Port Moller Test Fishery

The Port Moller Test Fishery saw its second highest single station index of the year yesterday, with an index of 404. The mean index for stations 2-22 was 61, which technician Michael Link calls “quite something for July 11.”

It was also the last voyage of the season for the Pandalus. The Ocean Cat will fish for a few more days. Promising weather this week bodes well for the test fishery.

Here’s the station-by-station breakdown:

Station 2 was not fished and Station 6 reported no catch.

Station 4 caught zero in the 4 1/2 inch mesh and one in the 5 1/8. The index is 3.

Station 8 caught 99 in the 4 1/2 inch mesh and 83 in the 5 1/8. The index is 404.

Station 10 caught 10 in the 4 1/2 inch mesh and 26 in the 5 1/8. The index is 135.

Station 12 caught nine in the 4 1/2 inch mesh and five in the 5 1/8. The index is 38.

Station 14 caught five in the 4 1/2 inch mesh and 2 in the 5 1/8. The index is 16.

Station 16 caught nine in the 4 1/2 inch mesh and 3 in the 5 1/8. The index is 29.

Station 18 caught one in the 4 1/2 inch mesh and 6 in the 5 1/8. The index is 18.

Station 20 caught four in the 4 1/2 inch mesh and 0 in the 5 1/8. The index is 10.

Vessel registration July 12, 9:00 a.m. and July 14 9:00 a.m.

Boats are movin’ and groovin’ throughout the bay for the next couple days. 

As of this morning, there are 297 boats in the Nushagak, 89 of those are D-Boats. That will increase to 300 boats Wednesday, with 90 D-Boats.

There’s 444 boats in the Naknek-Kvichak; 117 of those are D-Boats. That will increase to 565 boats by Wednesday, with 148 D-Boats.

In the Egegik District, 223 boats are in the water, with 69 of those being D-Boats. That will increase by one boat putting the total at 224 and 70 D-Boats.

Togiak will remain the same Monday through Wednesday at 33 boats. 

And in the Ugashik District, there are 146 boats; 65 of those are D-Boats. Those numbers will increase to 218 boats; 90 of those are D-Boats.

Contact the fish team at fish@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200.