Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 16, 2019

Jul 16, 2019

Welcome to the Bristol Bay Fisheries Report. The total run in the bay has now surpassed the projected totals from both the ADF&G and UW forecasts. Plus, the Naknek-Kvichak and Egegik are still going strong.

 

A fishing vessel on Nushagak Bay in June 2019.
Credit Alex Hager

Welcome to the Bristol Bay Fisheries Report. The total run in the bay has now surpassed the projected totals from both the ADF&G and UW forecasts. Plus, the Naknek-Kvichak and Egegik are still going strong.

On the west side, the Nushagak’s daily catch  yesterday came to 183,000 bumping the cumulative up to 13.98 million. Escapement in the district was 70,000 yesterday, making the season escapement 2.5 million. Breaking yesterday’s escapement down by river, the Wood River tower saw 64,000 fish, the Nushagak got 6,000, and the Igushik had just under 300.

Also on the West Side, Togiak caught 33,000 yesterday, bringing the season cumulative up to 333,000. Escapement there was 6,000 yesterday and 40,000 on the season.

On the East side, the Naknek-Kvichak had yesterday’s biggest catch in the bay, hauling in 626,000 and pushing their season cumulative up to 9.7 million. Escapement in the district was 217,000 yesterday and 3.9 million so far this year. Breaking yesterday’s escapement down by river, 112,000 fish went up the Naknek, 74,000 up the Kvichak, and 31,000 in the Alagnak. 

Egegik had the second biggest catch yesterday, bringing in 435,000 and pushing the cumulative up to 12 million. The district had an escapement of 78,000 on Sunday and 1.94 million on the season.

And finally on the east side, the Ugashik didn’t fish again yesterday, leaving the cumulative there at 324,600. The district saw an escapement of around 4,700 yesterday, bringing the cumulative up to 113,000.

 

Taking a look now at vessel registration, we’re still seeing some upticks on the east side and numbers plateauing down in the Nushagak.

The Naknek-Kvichak is still making the biggest gains. The district started this morning with 746 permits, but that number will climb to 783 for Thursday morning. The number of vessels will see a spike too, going from 598 to 627. 148 of them were doubled up today, and that’ll go up to 156 on Thursday.

Egegik is staying totally flat over the next couple of days. The number of permits there stays at 615, the number of vessels at 453, and D-Boats at 162.

Registration in the Nushagak isn’t doing much over the next 48 hours. This morning the district had 251 permits, it’ll tick up to 252 on Wednesday. 213 vessels will go down to 214, and the number of D-Boats stay even at 38.

The Ugashik is making some gains in all categories between now and Thursday. 65 permits becomes 71, 50 vessels climbs to 55, and 15 boats doubled up becomes 16.

All is quiet on the Togiak front, with the number of permits and vessels staying flat at 44. 

Looking at the totals across all districts, Wednesday will start with 1,765 permits, 1,393 vessels, and 372 D-Boats out on the water in Bristol Bay.

We’ve got the latest numbers from the Chignik Weir. They had 19,000 sockeye yesterday, with 13,000 of those belonging to the late run. 

So far this season, the weir has seen 380,000 sockeye, with 92,000 in the late run. The Chigniks are currently in the middle of a 48 hour opener, only their second opener of 2019.

Over in Area M, the South Peninsula is up to 965,000 sockeye so far this year, in addition to 10.3 million pinks.

On the North Side, they’ve caught 1.3 million sockeye so far. 

 

We didn’t get any new numbers from Port Moller today. As of last check, the folks at the test fishery said they’d be fishing as many stations as possible towards Port Moller starting out at 22. We’ll have any updates as they come in.

 

While some Bristol Bay Districts are having banner years in terms of harvest, the pickings are slim in Ugashik. I talked to some Ugashik fishermen this morning who say they’re nervous about low escapement this late in the season. One of them, Howard Mozen, says concern in the district is growing.

Fishermen in Ugashik say they’ve had a handful of openers, and have seen jumpers on the water and good-looking reds in subsistence nets, so they’re ready to get back to fishing. In the meantime, they’re killing time on shore and trying to keep spirits up.

For more on the science side of the Ugashik situation, KDLG’s Sage Smiley spoke with area management biologist Aaron Tiernan (Teer-nin) about what’s in store for the struggling fishery as the end of active management approaches.

Tiernan’s other management area, Egegik, couldn’t be more different. Egegik’s escapement of 1.9 million sockeye so far has surpassed the goal of 1.7 million, and its harvest of over 12 million far outstrips the preseason forecast of 7 million. Here’s Sage and Aaron again.

We’re also gonna check in with some news from slightly further inland today. Our own Izzy Ross is checking out the installation of an innovative new hydroelectric project in Iguigig. I chatted with her this afternoon for the latest from that neck of the woods.

As for whether or not the new hydro project will have an affect on fish, that remains to be seen. This first year of the generator’s operation will serve as a trial of sorts to see if it has an impact on fish and if it will still work in icy conditions.

 

If you have suggestions or corrections for the fish report, we want to hear from you! *Please* let us know by sending an email Fish@kdlg.org or calling us at 842-5281. If you’ve got a message to the fleet, send it to the same place. Fish@kdlg.org or give us a ring at 842-5281.

And remember, we can only do what we do because generous folks like you make donations and keep our wheels turnin’. Feel free to call in any time at 842-5281 or go to our website KDLG.org to make a pledge. We’re just wrapping up our pledge drive, and every dollar goes a long way.