This Friday the 13th proved to be anything but unlucky for the Naknek-Kvichak district. The Kvichak River was behind the gun all week to hit its sockeye escapement goal, but that's all changed. Fishermen will move out of the Naknek River Special Harvest Area just after midnight Friday.
Projections showed as recently as Wednesday that sockeye weren’t likely meet the Kvichak River’s bottom escapement goal of 2 million. On Thursday, area management biologist Travis Elison said he suspected enough reds had ridden a few strong tides upriver midweek to reopen the district by Saturday.
We got confirmation Friday as latest figures show a total of 1.35 million reds past the Kvichak tower with 600,000 more estimated in-river. That close to 2 million, the Department of Fish and Game chose to let set netters head back out to the whole Naknek-Kvichak district at 1 a.m. Saturday. Drifters can fish the Naknek section only at that time.
This also means Fish and Game will rescind the sport fishing bag limit they put in on Thursday. Anglers can now take five sockeye instead of just two in the Kvichak River and Lake Iliamna drainages.
Also, as of 7 p.m. Friday when the Naknek River Special Harvest Area closed, all dual permit holders throughout Bristol Bay were able to use their full 200 fathoms of drift gillnet gear once more.
We also couldn't let Friday the 13th pass by without talking about fishing superstitions. Everyone knows if there’s a red sky in morning, sailors should take warning, but we wanted to dig deeper. Fish reporter Mitch Borden got a good rundown of fishermen's most common superstitions from skipper Mike Crouse of the F/V Erliene in Naknek.
Also on this show, area management biologist Tim Sands reminded subsistence fishermen on regulations for those filling their freezers and fish reporter Mitch Borden takes us inside the scale-aging lab in King Salmon to see how researchers figure out the ages of salmon heading upriver.
Catch this program nightly at 6 p.m., 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. on AM 670, and online at KDLG.org. (With early broadcasts Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 p.m.)
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