Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 14, 2020

Jul 14, 2020

Total Baywide daily escapement wades in at 13.4 million with the total run surpassing 40 million fish. Average fish per drift delivery slipped below 800 in every district in the bay yesterday.


Credit KDLG/Brian Venua

Full show: 

Baywide daily harvest yesterday was below 2 million fish for the second day in a row, and the season’s total harvest is 27 million fish as of yesterday. Total baywide escapement is 13.4 million. The total run in Bristol Bay has passed 40 million fish for a grand total so far of 41.2 million. 

Average fish per drift delivery slipped below 800 in every district in the bay yesterday. 

Let’s get down to the numbers. 

Starting out here on the westside….

Nushagak District

In the Nushagak district, a 322,000-fish harvest yesterday brings the Nushagak’s cumulative harvest to 7.4 million fish. That total harvest is attributed 3% to Igushik set-netters, 26% to the Nushagak set-netters, and 69% to the drift fleet. 

District-wide, escapement was 184,000 fish in the Nushagak district yesterday, for a total district escapement of just over 3 million fish. Let’s look at that escapement by river:

Nushagak River

The Nushagak River sonar saw 44,800 sockeye pass yesterday, bringing cumulative sockeye escapement in the Nushagak River to 1.1 million. 

The sonar also counted 130 kings for a total Nushagak king escapement of 40,000, and 280 chums, bringing chum escapement up the Nushagak River to 102,000. 

Wood River

In the Wood River, the counting tower crew saw 34,000 fish pass the tower before 6 a.m. this morning. Escapement in the Wood River has now exceeded its upper goal at 1.8 million fish. 

Igushik River

The Igushik River passed its lower range goal yesterday; 6,000 fish passed the counting tower this morning. The Igushik’s cumulative escapement is now 150,000 fish.

In total, the run in the Nushagak District is the third-largest in the bay at 10.4 million. 


In the Togiak District, fishermen caught 25,000 fish yesterday. Total harvest in the Togiak District is now just over 100,000 fish--103,000 to be precise. 

The Togiak River counting tower crew counted 1,600 fish escaping before 6am this morning, pushing escapement in the Togiak River to 19,700. Total run in the Togiak District has also passed 100,000 fish, and is now 121,000. 


The Naknek-Kvichak had yesterday’s largest daily harvest at 705,000 fish yesterday. Total harvest in the Naknek-Kvichak is still the bay’s largest harvest this season: 9.6 million fish. That came 7% from Kvichak set-netters, 13% from Naknek set-netters, and 80% from the drift fleet.

Across the Naknek-Kvichak District, daily escapement yesterday was 857,000 fish, bringing the season escapement in the district to 7.7 million. Let’s take a look at that escapement by river: 

Alagnak River

295,000 fish escaped in the Alagnak River yesterday, bumping total escapement in the Alagnak to 1.6 million. 

Kvichak River

In the Kvichak River, yesterday’s escapement of 469,000 fish pushes total escapement in the Kvichak River to 2.7 million fish. The Kvichak also has a 500,000-fish in-river estimate. 

Naknek River

And in the Naknek River, 92,000 fish escaped yesterday. That makes the Naknek’s escapement for the season 3.4 million fish so far. 

In total, the run in the Naknek-Kvichak District is 17.9 million fish--the largest in the bay by more than 6 million. 


In Egegik, harvest was 565,000 fish yesterday, making the cumulative season’s harvest in Egegik 9.1 million. Yesterday’s catch came 86% from the drift fleet and 14% from the set-netters. 

Egegik’s daily escapement was 131,000 fish yesterday, pushing escapement in the district to just under 2 million fish. In total, Egegik’s run is 11.1 million fish--the second largest run at this point. 


In the Ugashik District, daily harvest yesterday was 139,000 fish. Total harvest in the Ugashik district is now 702,000, , attributed 32% to the set-netters and 68% to the drift fleet. 

185,000 fish escaped up the Ugashik River yesterday, bringing cumulative harvest to 619,000 fish. There is also a 250,000-fish in-river estimate. Altogether, the total Ugashik run is 1.5 million fish so far this season. 

Permit registration on July 14 9:00 a.m. to July 16 at 9:00 a.m.

Here’s the Tuesday-Thursday boat breakdown: There are 1,665 permits fishing on 1,294 vessels. That’s 923 single-permit vessels and 371 D boats. At 9am on Thursday, that will rise to 1,332 boats, 381 of which will be D boats. By district:

The plurality of the bay’s fleet is fishing in the Naknek-Kvichak District. They’ve got 541 boats, 176 of which are D boats. That’s 42% of the fleet. In 48 hours, that will rise to 556 boats, 180 of which will be D boats. 

Egegik represents 28% of the fleet. There are 365 boats there, 114 of which are D boats, and those numbers will stay the same over the next two days. 

The Nushagak District will also stay steady until Thursday morning. There are 234 boats, or 18% of the fleet, fishing in the Nushagak District, 47 of which are D boats. No changes before Thursday morning there. 

In the Ugashik District, we have 9% of the fleet fishing. That’s 111 boats, 34 of which are D boats. In 48 hours, that will jump to 134 boats, 40 of which will be D boats. 

And the 3% of the fleet in Togiak--43 boats--will stay the same over the next two days. 

Area M

The South Peninsula is still closed to commercial fishing, but here’s what harvest info we have from Area M:

Fleet in Area M caught 80,800 sockeye yesterday, bringing the season total harvest to 1.2 million fish. There was also a daily harvest of 232 chums, 10 kings, 3 coho, and 3 pinks. 

Port Moller

We’ve got the last catch update of the 2020 season from Port Moller test fishery for you tonight, although we may still get run analysis to come from the test fishery. 

Here are yesterday’s Port Moller catch indices:

Station  Index

Station 2 had an index of 0 -- no fish were caught at Station 2. 

Station 4 had an index of 9 -- 1 in the 4 ½ and 2 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 6 had an index of 57 -- 2 in the 4 ½ and 15 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 8 had an index of 37 -- 3 in the 4 ½ and 8 in the 5 ⅛.


If you’re impressed that we say all those numbers every day on the fish report with no water breaks, donate to KDLG! Go online to and click the yellow donate button. We’ll be right back with more of your favorite niche public radio show, the Bristol Bay Fisheries Report.


COVID-19 update 

The Camai Community Health Center in Naknek announced 4 new cases of COVID-19 in seafood workers yesterday. The cases were detected between July 10 and July 13. 

Camai clinic director Mary Swain said in a Facebook post that although the State of Alaska had reported 2 resident cases of COVID-19 in the combined Bristol Bay plus Lake & Peninsula Boroughs, neither of those resident cases are in Bristol Bay Borough. To date, Bristol Bay Borough has not had a resident case of COVID-19. 

Including the weekend positive tests from seafood workers, the total number of positive cases physically in Bristol Bay Borough is 7.  

Leader Creek production manager talks about a stressful season

For processors, this season is especially complicated. Juggling big harvests with health and safety requirements make things even tougher.  


“Probably one of the more stressful seasons I can remember on record for trying to move fish with the added stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

That’s Monte Peters, the production manager for Leader Creek in Naknek. Leader Creek was one of the processors that had to put its fishermen on limits last week due to the big pushes of fish across the bay. 


“When the fish get too old, that’s harder to do, so we want to make sure that we keep the quality standards at their highest and sometimes we have to put a few limits on to make sure that happens. Running out of capacity too, with tenders and plant capacity and that kind of thing.”

Peters says that moving a lot of fish in a short amount of time is always tough, but the additional safety concerns mean it is particularly difficult. 


“When you put on the added stress of the COVID-19 it adds an extra mental fatigue to the whole situation that none of us can actually say we’ve dealt with.”

Peters says Leader Creek is following the state mandates and CDC guidelines to ensure a safe processing season. They extended breaks and meal times so people could social distance. 


“We try to enforce all the social distancing guidelines that the CDC had laid down for us, and our number one goal is to try to keep everybody safe and make sure everybody gets to go home healthy.”

Heading into the latter half of July, attention is turning towards this year’s base price. But Peters says he’s not directly involved in that aspect of the business. 


“Being an ex-fisherman myself, they’re always too low and as a processor they’re always too high.”

Last year the base price in Bristol Bay was $1.25, plus bonuses for icing and delivery. Alaska Fish Radio today cited a SeafoodSource article which reported that Trident Seafoods recently posted a base price of $0.60 a pound for South Peninsula sockeye. 

Fish Market:

Last week’s harvest of 22 million salmon was double the entire harvest of the eight prior weeks. For tonight’s Fish Market, the McDowell Group’s Garrett Everidge put Bristol Bay’s large harvests into context. Everidge helps compile the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute’s weekly salmon summary. He told KDLG’s Izzy Ross that while the bay had a strong week, statewide production continues to lag.


That was economist Garrett Everidge with the McDowell Group.

This year, we’ve worked with Fishermen in Solidarity with Bristol Bay to work on the Two Minutes a Day in the Bay project. Tonight, we have our first message from Bristol Bay resident Kasie Luke. 


We encourage everyone in Bristol Bay to make their testimony submissions by calling 360-559-1532 to make your recording, or give KDLG a ring at 907-842-2200.

Messages to the fleet:

To the American Eagle, from the Fishing Boat Mombo Kid

The brand-new maritime fab: stern roller blue and LFSI is doing nothing to replace it. We got no money left. Please send $6500 so we can buy the working kinematics we found. Send check to dad. 


Message for Dori on F/V Independence

I have most of the items you requested ready to ship out today. The Samurai sword wouldn’t fit so I’m having to send that one separately. I believe the Postal Service has regulations about shipping live animals so I’m contacting the airlines to see if they will allow the Pygmy Goat on the plane. I hope you OK’d this with Uncle Tickle Bunny first. 

I found out that Absinthe has been banned in the US since 1915. So I’ll keep your stash hidden and not add that to the box. Hope you are doing well. 

Love, Mama


To: Capt. Brent Cathey on the F/V Independence

Hey tall dude. Things are good here. I did some work on the banya. You know that cedar smell? Did you like it? I found something called patchouli and rubbed it into the wood. I’m sort of second guessing myself now, but hey ... it’ll probably fade, right??

Hope you’re doing well. I’ve been getting weird collect calls from some women’s prison in Texas. Obviously a wrong number, as I don’t think we know anyone in Texas.

Be safe,

Montana Chick

That’s all folks, thanks for tuning in. Stay safe out there, happy fishing and we’ll see ya tomorrow, same time same place.

Correction: The percent allocations of harvest by gear type are calculated from the cumulative harvest, not the daily catch as initially reported.