Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 13, 2021

Jul 13, 2021

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Ugashik fishermen have hauled in over half their total catch in the past 2 days -- about 1.2 million in two days! The total bay-wide run has, once again, surpassed 50 million fish. 

Boats in the Nushagak at sunset. July 12, 2021.
Credit Hope McKenney

Federal and state managers restrict fishing for Chinook in the Chignik River drainage

State and federal managers will restrict Chinook fishing in the Chignik River in response to the failing returns -- just 285 fish have passed the counting weir so far. KDLG’s Izzy Ross spoke with managers and residents. 

The federal subsistence division last week restricted subsistence fishing for sockeye to federally qualified users only -- that is, residents of rural areas. That restriction continues through the end of the month.

Federal, state and Tribal entities plan to research Chinook declines in the Chigniks

Chinook runs have declined all around the state. One of the areas particularly hard-hit by the low returns is the Chignik River. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife plan to launch a three-year research project to find out why the Chignik River’s Chinook run has declined. 

Ugashik nets moving and shaking as fishermen haul in 1.2 million fish in 2 days

Ugashik hasn’t met it’s escapement goal -- yet. But it’s harvests have been pumping in the past two days, and Area Management Biologist Aaron Tiernan says it looks like more fish are coming.

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Messages to the fleet

To: Nathanael Hardy on the F/V Christine Jane

Happy Birthday from Squirrel and Wendy, we both can’t wait to see you. Stay safe and fish on!

Stormy weather in the Naknek. July 2021.
Credit Eric Hill

The numbers

For the fifth year in a row, the total run in Bristol Bay has eclipsed the 50-million-fish mark. It is at 51.2 million fish -- and we’re still not done!

Hearty harvests all around the bay brought the daily total catch to 2.3 million fish. The cumulative harvest so far is 31 million fish, about 6 million fish more than last year’s total on July 12. 

Escapement dipped under 1 million yesterday at 987,094 fish. The Naknek-Kvichak accounted for 70% of yesterday’s run. The cumulative escapement is 19.5 million fish.

Nushagak District

All the rivers in the Nushagak District have surpassed the upper-end escapement goals for sockeye, though the Chinook run in the Nushagak River is still short of its minimum goal. 

Daily escapement was down about 50%, coming in at 156,586 fish. Total escapement in the Nush is at 8.8 million fish. 

Daily harvest in the Nushagak was up yesterday, at 616,000 fish, as the total harvest approaches the 16 million mark -- it’s at 15.9 million fish. 

The average drift delivery was 1,120 sockeye yesterday.

Nushagak drift nets hauled in 82% of the total catch with 12% going to the set netters. Igushik set nets pulled in 3% of the catch while 4% was unspecified.

Nushagak River

Sockeye escapement in the Nushagak River continues to trend down, as 24,856 fish swam past the sonar yesterday. That’s the lowest daily count since June 22. Total sockeye escapement is 4.4 million fish -- way above the upper end escapement goal of 900,000.

Chinook escapement bounced back a bit, coming in at 1,245 fish. Chinook escapement is at 50,578 fish.

Chums continued a three day drop, swimming in at 2,505. The chum sum is now at 114,706.

Wood River

Wood River daily escapement dipped under 100,000 yesterday, the run came in at 82,320 fish. The total escapement is at 3.7 million -- double the river’s upper end goal. As of 6:00 a.m, 19,578 fish have passed the counting tower.

Igushik River

The Igushik River’s daily escapement came in just shy of Sunday’s total at 49,410 fish. The cumulative escapement is at 651,390 fish -- a quarter mill’ above the upper end escapement goal of 400,000. As of this morning, 7,000 fish have passed the counting tower.


For the second time in a week, over 6,810 fish swam up the Togiak River. Total escapement is at 42,858 fish. As of 6:00 a.m. 2,124 fish have been counted.

The fleet harvested 22,000 fish yesterday, with an average drift delivery of 195 sockeye. The total harvest is at 151,395.

So far, 194,253 fish have returned to Togiak.


Harvest in the Naknek-Kvichak topped all other rivers at 698,000 fish yesterday. The total harvest is at 6.1 million fish. Boil’em, mash’em stick’em in a stew.

There was an average of 987 sockeye per drift delivery yesterday.

By gear, Naknek-Kvichak drift nets hauled in 71% of the cumulative catch with 15% going to set nets. The remaining 14% went to Kvichak set nets.

Escapement in the district also led all others with 699,402 fish. That total is now 8.8 million fish as the gap narrows between the Nushagak and Naknek Kvichak.

Naknek River 

Escapement in the Naknek River was 54,522 fish, which puts total escapement there at 2.3 million fish -- that’s above it’s upper end goal by 300,000 fish.

Kvichak River

The Kvichak River saw 406,866 fish escape up river yesterday pushing their total to 3.9 million fish. That means the Kvichak is in the middle of it’s goal range.

Alagnak River

238,014 fish passed through the Alagnak River putting their total escapement to 2.5 million -- way past the goal of 210,000.


Daily harvest in Egegik was up from yesterday as fishers hauled 397,000 fish. Average drift delivery was 968 sockeye.

That puts the season total harvest at 6.3 million fish. Drift nets brought in 84% of the cumulative catch with 16% going to the set nets.

Escapement was also up at 54,438 fish to push that total to 1.5 million fish -- nearing its upper end escapement goal of 2 million.


The harvest in Ugashik in the last 48 hours has been superb; 616,000 fish were pulled in yesterday for a season total of 2.4 million fish. That’s half of Ugashik’s total harvest in two days.

The average drift delivery was a whopping 2,431 sockeye.

By gear, drift nets brought in 89% of the total catch (that's 2 million fish), with 10% going to set nets.

Almost 70,000 fish swam up the Ugashik River yesterday, for a total of 261,822. It’s one of the only rivers in the bay that hasn’t met its lower end escapement goal for sockeye -- but area biologists are hopeful. We hear more about that in just a bit.  

Chignik Weir

At the Chignik River, 10,950 sockeye passed through the weir, for a total of 256,196 sockeye. As of 9:00 a.m. today, zero sockeye have been counted. 

42 Chinook passed through yesterday to put that total at 285 fish. No Chinook were counted this morning.

Area M 

Just the sockeye, Chinook and chum numbers from Area M yesterday. The fleet caught around 60,000 sockeye for a total harvest of 5 million. 18 Chinook were caught, bringing that total to 5,000. Finally, just 16 chum were caught, bringing that total to 909,400. 

The harvest information for some areas of Area M is confidential, due to the limited number of processors there.

The South Alaska Peninsula fishery is currently closed.  It reopens to commercial salmon fishing for set netters and seiners for 36 hours Wednesday evening until Thursday evening in the Unimak, Southwestern, South Central and Shumagin Islands section. 

Port Moller Test Fishery

Stations 6 and 18 were not fished.

Station 7 caught one in the four and a half inch mesh and zero in the five and an eighth. The catch index is four.

Station 8 caught 31 in the four and a half inch mesh and 21 in the five and an eighth. The catch index is 42.

Station 9 caught one in the four and a half inch mesh and zero in the five and an eighth. The catch index is three.

Station 10 caught 16 in the four and a half inch mesh and two in the five and an eighth. The catch index is 45.

Station 12 caught four in the four and a half inch mesh and one in the five and an eighth. The catch index is 12.

Station 14 caught two in the four and a half inch mesh and 13 in the five and an eighth. The catch index is 39.

Station 16 reported no fish. 

Stock Composition Estimate #10 from July 10-11

It looks like the East Side will see more fish in the next week, from a look at the 10th stock composition estimate.

Almost 18% of the fish sampled were headed to the Naknek, with another 16% going to the Kvichak and around 16% to the Alagnak. 

Over 14% of the sampled catch was swimming to Ugashik, and around 11% were going to Egegik. 

Lower numbers for the West Side -- 12% of the run is headed to the Igushik, around 7% to the Nushagak, and another 5% swimming to the Wood. 

Just .1% of the sampled catch was headed to Togiak, .5% were Kuskokwim fish, and a little over 1% were North Peninsula salmon. 

Boat Registration July 13, 2021 to July 15, 2021

The boat boogie continues in the bay with some places seeing incremental gains and losses over the next couple days.

There are currently 224 vessels in Egegik and 71 D-Boats. That will go up by one, to 225 boats and 72 D-boats.

In the Naknek-Kvichak there are 538 vessels in the water with 143 D-Boats. That will jump to 556 vessels and 146 D-Boats.

Nushagak waters contain 291 vessels and 85 D-boats. That will decrease to 289 vessels and 84 D-Boats.

In Ugashik, there are 196 vessels and 82 D-Boats. That takes a leap to 240 vessels and 100 D-boats to get in on those wet and withering harvests. 

Togiak will continue to sport 35 boats over the next couple days.

Contact the fish team at 907-842-2200 or