Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 18, 2019

Jul 18, 2019

With more than 13 million fish, Egegik’s total harvest is now almost double its preseason forecast. The strong run has also pushed the district’s total escapement above its upper end goal of 2 million. In the Nushagak District, the Wood River has also surpassed its upper end escapement goal of 1.8 million.

"Next-level combat fishing" is how one observer on the shore of the Naknek River described the in-river opener on July 18.
Credit Sage Smiley/KDLG

Port Moller’s models indicate that the total run could reach 60 million – or perhaps higher – if fish continue passing the test fishing transect.

The Naknek-Kvichak fleet was pulled into the in-river special harvest area early this morning. We hear from the mouth of the Naknek River, where KDLG’s Sage Smiley watched the second in-river opener. 


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Lots of boats and few fish - two extremes during the Naknek River's special harvest area opener on July 18, 2019
Credit Sage Smiley/KDLG

Port Moller is usually done fishing at this point in the season, but we got a late update with catch numbers from over at the test fishery.


According to analyst Scott Raborn, fishing later than the typical test fishing end date with the second boat gave the fishery a very different picture of what the tail of the run might look like. July 9 was the last day for the Pandalus – that date saw the lowest daily catch index since June 15. All indications would have been that the run was dropping fast at Port Moller and one might expect inshore catch and escapement well below 1 million by now. The next eight days, however, suggest the full story was yet to be told. 



Catch indices during this period paint a picture of catch and escapement stalling over the next couple of days. But a steadier pace is expected around July 20. The Port Moller model indicates the run could reach 60 million and perhaps higher if fish continue passing the test fishing transect.


Raborn added that the recent results shouldn’t downplay the need for specific management decisions in the Kvichak and Ugashik.

Credit Sage Smiley/KDLG


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