Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 16, 2020

Jul 16, 2020

State and federal closures, along with other restrictions go into effect July 18 for the Chignik district due to low Chinook salmon escapement. The Baywide cumulative catch is 30 million fish, the total run resides at 47 million.


Credit KDLG/Brian Venua


State and federal closures go into effect for the Chignik district July 18, due to low Chinook salmon escapement. We talk with an Ekuk fisher on what's been a frustrating season in the water. Melanie Brown is the latest to contribute to the Two Minute's a Day in the Bay project, her message can be found below.

The Numbers

Baywide daily harvest yesterday was down to 1.5 million. The cumulative catch is 30 million fish. Total Baywide escapement is 15 million and just a few hundred thousand shy of 16 mil. The total run in Bristol Bay as of yesterday resides at 47 million fish.

Average fish per drift delivery yesterday was 1,500 in Ugashik. Egegik and Naknek-Kvichak came in at 639 and 530 respectively. Nushagak was at 661 and Togiak reported 170 fish.

Here are the numbers:

Nushagak District

The Nugashak District’s daily catch was slightly higher than Tuesday, coming in at 297,000 bringing the cumulative catch to 7.9 million fish. The total harvest is attributed 3% to Igushik set-netters, 26% to Nugashik set-netters and 69% to the drift fleet.

District-wide, escapement was 109,000 fish in the Nushagak district, for a total district escapement of 3.3 million fish. Breaking escapement by river:

Nushagak River

The Nushagak sonar crew saw 20,500 sockeye pass yesterday bringing cumulative sockeye escapement in the Nushagak river to 1.1 million fish.

The crew counted no kings yesterday, total escapement is still 40,106. They also saw 480 chum, that escapement is now up to 107,500.

Wood River

In the Wood river, the counting tower spotted 25,100 fish before 6:00 a.m. this morning. Total escapement in the river resides at 1.9 million as of yesterday.


The counting tower at the Igushik River saw 9,000 fish pass through before 6:00 a.m. this morning, total escapement in the Igushik is at 187,000 fish.


Over in the Togiak District, fishermen caught 17,000 fish for the second day in a row, bringing the total catch to 145,000.

The Togiak counting crew counted 1,200 fish before 6:00 a.m. this morning, putting escapement at 32,100. 

Jumping over to the east side…


The Naknek Kvichak is our fearless leader with a daily harvest of  530,000 fish yesterday. Total harvest in the Naknek-Kvichak is still the bay’s largest harvest this season, surpassing 10 million at 11.1 million fish. That came 8% from Kvichak set-netters, 12% from Naknek set-netters, and 80% from the drift fleet. 


Across the Naknek-Kvichak district, yesterday’s daily escapement was 610,400 fish, bringing the season escapement in the district to 9.3 million. Let’s take a look at that escapement by river: 

Alagnak River

The Alagnak river came in at 171,000 yesterday, bumping total escapement in the Alagnak to 1.9 million. 

Kvichak River

In the Kvichak river, yesterday’s escapement was down to 176,000 fish. Total escapement in the Kvichak river is 3.5 million fish. The Kvichak also has a 600,000-fish in-river estimate. 

Naknek River

And in the Naknek river, 263,000 fish escaped yesterday. That makes the Naknek’s escapement for the season 3.8 million fish so far. 

In total, the run in the Naknek-Kvichak district is 21 million fish--the largest in the bay.


In Egegik, harvest was 407,000 fish yesterday, making the cumulative season’s harvest in Egegik double digits at 10.2 million. That total catch came 86% from the drift fleet and 14% from the set-netters. 

Egegik’s daily escapement was up to 101,000 fish yesterday, pushing escapement in the district to just over 2 million fish. In total, Egegik’s run is now up to 12.3 million fish--the second largest run at this point.


In the Ugashik District, daily harvest yesterday was up at 300,000 fish. Total harvest in the Ugashik District is now has eclipsed the 1 million mark at 1.1 million fish, attributed 27% to the set-netters and 73% to the drift fleet. 

147,000 fish escaped up the Ugashik River yesterday, bringing the run to 902,000 fish. There is also a 325,000-fish in-river estimate, slighty up from Tuesday’s estimate. Altogether, the total Ugashik run is 2.4 million fish so far this season.


Permit registration on July 16 9:00 a.m. to July 18 at 9:00 a.m.

Here’s the Thursday-Saturday boat breakdown: There are 1,693 permits fishing on 1,319 vessels. That’s 940 single-permit vessels and 374 D boats. On 9:00 a.m. Saturday, that will rise to 1,333 boats, 382 of which will be D boats. By district:

The bulk of the bay’s fleet is fishing in the Naknek-Kvichak District. They have 549 boats, 176 of which are D boats. That’s 42% of the fleet. 

In 48 hours, that will rise to 554 boats, 176 of which will be D boats. 

Egegik represents 28% of the fleet. There are 360 boats there, 112 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 233 boats, or 18% of the fleet, fishing in the Nushagak district, 43 of which are D boats. No changes before Thursday morning there. 

In the Ugashik District, we have 9% of the fleet fishing. That’s 134 boats, 40 of which are D boats. In 48 hours, that will jump to 143 boats, 48 of which will be D boats. 


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


The Chignik River crew counted through 513 king salmon as of 12:01 a.m. today. Escapement for king salmon in the Chignik river is unlikely to meet its lower range goal of 1,300 fish.  

Federal and state fishing will be closed in the Chignik River July 18 until August 9 at 11:59 p.m. due to the low king salmon escapement. Sportfishing targeted at King’s will also be closed Friday at 12:01 a.m. 

Also starting July 18, until Monday, 11:59 p.m. December 31, king salmon greater than 28 inches in length in the Chignik Bay District and all king salmon in the Chignik River drainage, from Mensis Point upstream, including Chignik Lake and its tributaries, may not be retained in the state subsistence fishery. They must be returned unharmed to the water.

Area M

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

The fleet in Area M caught a bounty of fish yesterday, blowing yesterday’s totals out of the water. Sockeye came in at 104,000 fish yesterday, bringing the season total harvest to 1.4 million fish. 

There was also a daily harvest of 46,400 chums up from Tuesday’s 193. Kings harvested jumped from 24 to 5,500 fish. Only 8 Coho were harvested Tuesday, but yesterday’s pull was at 4,800 and pinks went from 19 to 62,600 pinks. 



Pandemic precautions and fishing limits; Ekuk setnetter says season has been tough

A pandemic, a late run, and low price rumors have meant a tough season for many fishermen. In Ekuk, one set-netter says her processor put them on limits during the biggest days of the year. KDLG’s Sage Smiley talked to Ekuk set-netter Jamie O’Connor as part of a conversation about economic protections for fishermen. Here’s how O’Connor summed up their season fishing in Ekuk this year.

“It started out slow, a lot like everywhere else, and then the fish came and they came all at once, which they kinda like to do on some of these colder years and our market couldn’t keep up. They had a freezer break down and rumors of some crew issues and we were sidelined for that whole 3-day push, basically. We had one good day and then sat out the next three days. We missed probably half to a third of our season in those three days.” 

As a veteran fisher, O’Connor knows fishing is variable and unpredictable. But in a pandemic year when so much work went into even having a fishing season, she said the additional setbacks hit crews hard. 

“Everything was different, and it had to be different, and we were happy to do that, but to have done more on the front end to be sure that we could do this safely and then just sit out the run was crushing.” 

O’Connor says with the way the season went for her family and crew, they’ll be tightening their belts and hoping that enough federal pandemic assistance funding comes through to help them through the winter. 

Two Minutes a Day in the Bay

 We’re back with another message from Two Minutes a Day in the Bay, Whether you decided not to go fishing or have your nets out, the project make space for individual voices to be heard by creating a platform for the experiences and perspectives to be shared on the fish report this summer. Tuesday we heard from Kasie Luke, and today’s message is from Melanie Brown.


Messages to the fleet:


To Capt Brent Cathey F/V independence

I went by the house today and MY snowmobile was bedazzled and the banya smells funny. 

- Seattle chick


To Captain Brent Cathy on the F/V Independence

I know you are getting a lot of messages from other women but I think you should know that I am only interested in you for the fish. If you and Montana Chick get the chance, and if the City of Edinburgh doesn't open its underground dungeons to clear out the dead in a 2nd Covid wave this fall, you really must come see me in Scotland. And don't forget the fish.

Signed, That British-American Girl

Message for Dori on the FV Independence

You received a box in the mail today from the Cheese of the Month club. It says refrigeration not required so I put it with the rest of your items. Do you want me to ship it to you? And here I thought you were lactose intolerant. 


Your Dad is also wondering if you happened to take his favorite pink Mermaid hoodie with you fishing? He’s searched all over and can’t locate it.


Much love, 



Hey Tim, looking forward to seeing you soon, post-shower and isolation of course! Hang in there and stay well. Unfortunately our bars are closed here in PA but hopefully we can meet for a drink in Ambler soon. Can’t wait to see that Fisherman beard and hair …


Stay well,


Dawn (Bailey Chick)


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

Hey stud muffin. I loved the new color on your tractor so much, I decided to have matching seat covers made for your truck. You’re going to love the magenta cowhide pattern. Can we do that on the boat too? Hope all is well and the fishing is good.

PS. I’m going to make you lots of cookies when I see you next.

All my love,


Montana Chick

To Capt. Dave Demmert of the F/V Chirikof –


Good luck to you guys and looking forward to you all coming home. Please let Matthew know we miss him. It’s weird, my internet speed is faster, the electric bill is way down, and we are spending no money on groceries since he’s been gone. Coincidence? Hope there’s still food on the boat.




Contact us at or 907-842-2200


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