Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 23, 2020

Jul 23, 2020

 At 55.3 million fish, the bay’s total run so far this season is just a million shy of last year’s. While Nushagak’s catch is slowing to a trickle, the east side districts are still pumping out the fish; bay-wide harvest was almost 800,000 yesterday. We also have an update on Togiak’s extension.

Fishermen pulling up to a tender. July 13, 2020.
Credit Bernina Venua

The total run across the bay is at 55.3 million -- just a million shy of last year’s total. While Nushagak’s catch is slowing to a trickle, the east side districts are still pumping out the fish; bay-wide harvest was almost 800,000 yesterday. The majority of that comes from Naknek-Kvichak and Egegik. Cumulative harvest is at 37.3 million. Escapement across the bay yesterday was 146,600, for a total of 18 million. 

Nushagak District

Daily catch is getting smaller across the Nushagak District, where the fleet caught 41,000 fish yesterday, with an average of 430 sockeye per drift delivery. Cumulative harvest for the district is now at 8.8 million, hauled in 68% by the drift fleet, 25% by Nushagak set netters, and just under 4% by Igushik set netters. Escapement across the district was 32,700, bringing that total to 3.7 million. The district’s total run is at 12.5 million. 

Breaking that escapement down by river …

Igushik River

The Igushik River crew counted 10,000 fish yesterday, for a total of 290,300.

Nushagak River

The sonar site on the Nushagak River counted 5,400 fish. Cumulative escapement there is at 1.2 million.

Wood River

The Wood River had the biggest daily escapement count yesterday, and also has the largest total escapement. The tower crew counted 17,200 fish for a season total of 2.2 million so far.  

Togiak

Harvest is confidential in Togiak again, but it looks like the district is set to meet its escapement goal. 

Escapement up the Togiak River was 94,000 fish through 6:00 a.m. this morning. Yesterday’s daily count was 9,900, and the total escapement as of yesterday was 91,900. The total run so far is at 253,400. During a Fish and Game aerial survey yesterday, staff spotted enough fish between the commercial fishing district and the counting tower to meet the lower bound of the escapement goal of 120,000.

Even though the season seems to have slowed down for many fishermen, Fish and Game has extended fishing in Togiak until 9 a.m. on Saturday. Management biologist Tim Sands says the normally late Togiak run is even later than usual. 

“Togiak's run, you know, it's a smaller run than the rest of the Bristol Bay districts, and it's a later run," he says. "So it's kind of, normally it's a little bit past it’s midpoint, but if the run time is a little bit late it might be kind of right at the midpoint, over there, our escapement is looking pretty good.”

Sands says fishing hasn't been that robust in Togiak, but the district is making its way to the escapement goal. 

“The fishing has been relatively slow over there, especially compared to the last two years which were both record years. This is looking like a, I wouldn't say this is below average, its gonna be on the lower end of things,” he says. 

Commercial fishing in the Togiak River Section will be extended by 24 hours, from 9:00 a.m. Friday, July 24 until 9:00 a.m. Saturday, July 25. Commercial fishing will then open in all sections of the Togiak District as per the regular weekly schedule at 9:00 a.m. Monday, July 27.

Naknek-Kvichak

Over on the east side, the Naknek-Kvichak fleet had the largest daily catch yesterday, at 365,000. The cumulative is at 13.7 million. Daily escapement was 39,200 across the district, for a total of 10.3 million. The district’s total run is at 24.1 million fish. 

Alagnak River

The Alagnak River crew counted 27,600 fish yesterday, for a total of 2.2 million so far this season. 

Kvichak River

The crew on the Kvichak River counted 11,500 fish escape yesterday, bringing that season total to 3.9 million.

Naknek River

No escapement numbers from the Naknek River yesterday. Total escapement there is at 4.1 million.

Egegik

Egegik fishermen harvested the second-largest catch yesterday, at 303,000 fish. Egegik’s drift boats also had the biggest average delivery, at around 960 sockeye. The total harvest in Egegik is at 12.3 million, attributed around 87% to the drift fleet and a little over 13% to set netters. Escapement up the Egegik river was 15,400 yesterday, for a cumulative of 2.3 million so far. The district’s total run is at 14.7 million.

Ugashik

Ugashik’s fleet caught 90,000 fish yesterday -- average drift delivery was 620. Total harvest there is now 2.2 million. The Ugashik counting crew saw 49,500 fish escape upriver yesterday, for a total of 1.4 million fish. The total run in Ugashik is 3.7 million. 

Chignik

At the Chignik weir, 2,046 sockeye passed the weir as of 5 p.m. yesterday. The total sockeye run is now 201,214. The early run total up the Chignik River is 135,458, and the late run is at 65,756. 

As of 5 p.m. yesterday, 12 chinook had passed the weir. The season total chinook run is at 825. Pinks are at 625, and chum are at 6.

Area M

At Area M, the Shumagin Islands were the only section of the South Peninsula where harvest data are able to be publicly released. The islands’ sockeye harvest for the month of July is at 190,100. Chinook harvest for July is at 13,800, and pinks are at 267,600.  

To date, the total South Peninsula sockeye harvest is at 509,700. Chinook are at 16,400, and pinks are at 1.9 million.  

The North Peninsula fleet has harvested 1.3 million sockeye so far. Chinook harvest is at 1,100, and chum are at 5,600. 

Area M fishermen have harvested a total of 1.8 million sockeye so far this season. The fleet has hauled in 17,500 chinook, and 1.9 million pinks. Total chum catch is at 577,400, and coho harvest is 19,700.