Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 2, 2019

Jul 2, 2019

On the west side, the Wood and Nushagak Rivers have exceeded the lower end escapement goals for sockeye. Escapement is slower in the Kvichak, while the Naknek is more than half way to its lower goal escapement of 800,000. Cumulative harvest across the bay is approaching 10 million. 

 

A counter on the Wood River tower.
Credit Alex Hager/KDLG

This is the first year that Dillingham’s subsistence users won’t be restricted to three days a week in July.

 


Today is traditionally the day subsistence users on Dillingham beaches would move to a three-day-a-week fishing schedule. But when the Board of Fish met in Dillingham last November, they removed those restrictions.

As the run picks up in the Nushagak, subsistence users should keep an eye on their nets.  

The Nushagak and Wood Rivers have exceeded their lower end escapement goals for sockeye. West side management biologist Tim Sands says they are now focused on controlling those numbers by providing fishing opportunity.

The Igushik Section, meanwhile, is struggling. Sands says the recent warm weather may be creating a “thermal block” in the river, where a barrier of hot water discourages the fish from swimming further. Sands says a similar situation occurred in 2016. 

 

The Environmental Protection Agency has released its formal comment on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Pebble Mine. KDLG’s Alex Hager reports on one study it cites that centers on salmon habitat – and what stones in fish ears can tell us.  

Sockeye swimming up the Wood River in late June 2019.
Credit Alex Hager/KDLG

26,600 fish swam past the Wood River tower this morning, bringing the total escapement to 882,000. But fishermen still have to wait for the Wood River special harvest area to open. Fish and Game will only consider doing so after escapement exceeds 1.1 million.

 

On the west side, both the Nushagak and Wood Rivers surpassed the lower end of their escapement goals. 

Nushagak’s escapement yesterday was at 71,200, for a total of 379,700. The lower goal was 370,000. The Wood River tower saw 147,500 yesterday, for a total of 855,400. The lower escapement goal there was 700,000.

 

Togiak’s harvest yesterday was 10,000, for a total of 31,500.

 

On the east side, the Naknek-Kvichak District had a daily catch of 332,000, for a total of 1.28 million. Escapement across the district was 94,000 for a cumulative 525,100. 

The Naknek River escapement was 84,000 for a total of 498,000. The goal escapement is between 800,000 to 2 million.

In the Kvichak River, escapement yesterday came to 7,000. The cumulative is now 19,000 – far below the goal escapement of 2 million to 10 million

The Kvichak in-river estimate is 15,000. Harvest in the Kvichak was 350,000 yesterday for a total of 1.3 million. 

Drifters caught 76% of that total. Naknek set netters caught 16%, and Kvichak set netters caught 8%. 

The Alagnak tower counted 3,100 sockeye, bringing the total to 8,100. 

In Egegik, yesterday’s catch was 413,000, for a total of 2.8 million. Escapement was 38,000, for a cumulative 507,000. The goal range is 800,000 to 2 million.

 

Ugashik didn’t fish yesterday, so its total harvest remained at 83,400. Escapement was 1,900, for a cumulative of 8,000. The goal escapement is between 500,000 and 1.4 million.

 

Yesterday's escapement at the Chignik Weir was 10,900, bringing the season total so far to 198,000. 

 

Fishermen in the Chigniks will be able to fish for early pinks coming into bays in the Chignik area this weekend. Fish and Game has opened areas of the Central, Western, Perryville and Eastern Districts to commercial seiners for 48 hours.

Similar to last year, this opener will not be targeting sockeye salmon, which is maintaining a 10,000 fish a day escapement. Fishermen are still waiting for sockeye escapement to pick up. 

The opener is based on the time of year -- part of an agreement between ADF&G and fishermen that allows them to target pinks before escapement based management begins in mid-July.

The South Peninsula’s Area M harvest is 624,700. The pink harvest is 8.4 million. On the North Peninsula, Area M has a total of 468,900 sockeye. 

Fish and Game staff there conducted a seine test fishery in the Shumagin Islands Section to assess the presence of immature salmon today. 

Catch this program nightly live at 6 p.m., with replays at 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. on AM 670, and online at KDLG.org. (With early broadcasts of the numbers Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 p.m.)

Letters from home to your friends and family in the Bay this summer? Email us at fish@kdlg.org or call 907-842-5281.

Have feedback or suggestions of something you'd like to hear? Reach Izzy Ross / Tyler Thompson / Alex Hager / Sage Smiley (in Naknek)

Contact the author at isabelle@kdlg.org 907-842-2200.