Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 6, 2020

Jul 6, 2020

It's the KDLG pledge drive! Please donate! Make it possible for us to provide news and info like this: The run is late this year, but it’s ramping way up across the bay. The total run passed 11 million fish yesterday, with some of the biggest harvests we’ve seen yet this season in 3 of the bay’s districts.

Boats in the Dillingham Harbor. June 24, 2020.
Credit Izzy Ross/KDLG


Total run in the bay jumped by over three million fish yesterday, to almost 11.5 million. Total catch bay-wide is 8.4 million, total escapement is 2.5 million, and there are an estimated 515,000 fish in-river in the bay’s combined rivers. 

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Fish per delivery from the drift boats also jumped by an average of 500 fish per delivery bay-wide. All the districts that fished yesterday delivered more than 1,100 fish per delivery yesterday, and in Ugashik… that number was almost 2,000 fish per delivery. 


COVID-19 update

The Camai Community Health Center in Naknek announced 8 new cases of COVID-19 in Bristol Bay Borough this afternoon. The cases were detected between July 1 and July 4. All are asymptomatic seafood workers who have been in quarantine since their arrival in the bay. Camai is still confirming how many of the active cases they’ve reported are still in the bay.


There are no updates with respect to new cases in Lake & Peninsula Borough or the Dillingham Census Area. BBAHC is unable to keep track of total active cases in those areas because of a lack of coordination between health agencies in the region.


West side update

The Nushagak District had a big jump in harvest yesterday, pushing the total run there to over 3.5 million. I spoke to west side fisheries biologist Tim Sands about how things are looking this week in the Nushagak and Togiak districts as the run seems to be picking up. 

We’ll close out the show today with “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” in honor of country singer Charlie Daniels, who died this morning. 

The westside may have seen the biggest jump in daily harvest, but that doesn’t mean that the eastside isn’t picking up too. 

Here are some of the things Naknek-Kvichak management biologist Travis Elison had to say about the Naknek-Kvichak District when KDLG's Sage Smiley called him up this morning. Sage cut together some highlights, so it jumps around a little. 

Egegik actually had a slight drop in daily harvest yesterday. Egegik management biologist Aaron Tiernan had this to say about how Egegik is looking in the coming week:

Aaron Tiernan also manages the Ugashik District, and had this to say about how the district is doing: 

The total run around Bristol Bay is about 11.5 million fish -- approximately half of what we’ve seen at this point in the season in the past three years, and on par with 2016. 

The highest catches out of the Port Moller Test Fishery were July 2 - 5.

“That’s substantially later than the traditional peak in Port Moller catches, which in the past has occurred somewhere around June 29,” said Curry Cunningham, a biologist with the University of Washington Fisheries Research Institute. He says in years when the run is early, Port Moller catches peak and then start to decline before the end of June. When they peak after July 4, the run tends to be later, and that’s what we’re looking at now. 

“As best we can tell right now, inshore run timing to Bristol Bay seems to be about four to five days late,” he said.

Cunningham says that they have some ideas about why some runs are later than others -- researchers at UW have looked at correlations to ocean conditions and temperatures, for instance -- but they haven’t come to any conclusions.  

“One thing we do know is that in years where we see fish migrating further on the outside of the Port Moller Test Fishery transect, there generally seems to be slightly longer or later inshore arrival timing to districts on the east side,” he said.

UW forecasted that around half of the run would be 1-3 fish -- fish that spent 1 year in freshwater and 3 in the ocean. The rest of the run would mostly be made of 1-2 fish. The season has slightly fewer 1-2 fish than expected. 

That age naturally makes for a difference in size. Two-ocean fish average around four and a half to 5 pounds. Three-ocean fish average between 6 and 7.5 pounds. But Cunningham also says there is a “loose relationship” between the size of the run and the size of the fish. When the run is over 35 million, he says, fish tend to be smaller. 

“The 2-ocean fish are about a quarter pound lighter on average, and those 3-ocean fish are about half a pound lighter on average in years where the run size exceeds 35 million,” he said.

Based on Port Moller indices, the University of Washington currently expects the run to meet the preseason forecast of almost 49 million fish. 

NN Cannery History Project -- a Mug Up exhibit

Ringing us out this evening, we have a conversation about N&N Cannery Project’s upcoming exhibit, “MugUp.” KDLG’s Tyler Thompson and director of the project Katie Ringsmuth talk about the upcoming exhibit.

The Fish Report is not possible without your donations! Call 907-842-5281 or click the yellow donate button in the upper right hand corner

Messages to the fleet:

Happy belated birthday to Alan . On the Haily C.  And happy Birthday to Seth Cooke on the Kandoll boat.  Hope the baby is health and mommy is doing fine

And to the F/V Kaia Marie In the Egigik district. Hope all is well!  Karl, please call home! 

From your Uncle Lenny in the F/V Jean C. In SE. Alaska.


This is a message to the crew aboard the Driftnet Boat named The Shadow fishing in Ugashik: 

“Wishing you a big day! Fill those nets! Kiss those fish! And enjoy that extra helping of Betty Crocker Of Bacon and Ranch Suddenly Salad! Big Love from deep in the tropics of The Minnesota river valley.”



Happy Birthday to Brady Durgin, a set netter on the Nushagak. From a Friend. 

Happy 4th of July to Captain Mike and the hardworking crew on the Bonnie B.   Hope your being good campers and social distancing but not from the salmon!    Please ask Mike if he saw and UFO's on UFO Day.   Be safe, be excited and appreciate the memories of this day. 

"To Captain Kat and the crew of the Seahawk- hope you are working hard and having some fun. 

Keep catching lots of fish. 

Happy NBT ! 

From: JB " 

To Captain Doug Morgan fishing vessel Miss Emma

Doug, I sent your loofas, pull tabs, and a half a pack of Pall Malls. Also the trailer park says you need to move your van


Nushagak District

The Nushagak had a banner day for harvest yesterday, at 900,000 fish. That brings the total catch in the Nushagak District to 2.5 million, and the total run in the district to 3.5 million. The catch is attributed 3% to Igushik set-netters, 22% to Nushagak set-netters, and 76% to the drift fleet in the Nushagak. 

Across the Nushagak District, escapement yesterday was 21,000, bringing escapement in the full district to just over 1 million. If we break that down by river...

Nushagak River

5,000 sockeye passed the Nushagak River sonar yesterday, bringing sockeye escapement to 465,000.

25 kings also passed the sonar yesterday, rounding out total king escapement in the Nush at 34,000. And 2,300 chum passed the sonar yesterday. Total chum escapement in the Nushagak River is now 58,600. 

Wood River

In the Wood River, the counting tower crew saw 3,800 sockeye pass the tower this morning. Escapement in the Wood river is now 571,000 fish. 

Igushik River

The Igushik tower crew counted 1,000 fish past the tower before 6 a.m. today, bringing sockeye escapement in the Wood to 46,000. 


There was no catch in the Togiak District yesterday; total catch is still 11,600 in Togiak. 

But… the Togiak run is picking up; tower crew saw 624 fish pass the tower this morning, almost doubling Togiak escapement to 1,400 fish. 

Total run in the Togiak District is 12,400 fish. 

Taking a look at the eastside…….


The Naknek-Kvichak district also had a great day for harvest today, with a daily catch of 891,000 fish. Yesterday’s catch rounds out the season’s catch so far at 2.7 million sockeye. That was caught 6% by Kvichak set-netters, 18% by Naknek set-netters, and 76% by the drift boats in the district.

District-wide escapement in the Naknek-Kvichak District was 133,000 for a total season escapement of 908,000 fish. The Naknek-Kvichak District has the highest total run of any district in the bay right now: four million. Let’s take a look at escapement in the three rivers in the district: 

Alagnak River

The Alagnak River had 86,000 fish escape yesterday, bringing total escapement in the Alagnak to 120,000. 

Kvichak River

In the Kvichak River, 8,000 fish escaped yesterday, just pushing escapement in the river to over 100,000. There’s an in-river estimate of 400,000 fish in the Kvichak. 

Naknek River

And the Naknek River escapement yesterday was 38,000, for a season total escapement so far of 681,000. 


In the Egegik District, daily catch dropped off a little bit yesterday. Fishermen in Egegik caught 529,000 fish, for a total harvest of just over 3 million. That catch is attributed 88% to the drift fleet, and 12% to Egegik set-netters.

Escapement in the Egegik District was just over 40,000 fish yesterday, bringing the total escapement to 467,000. With the 100,000 in-river fish estimate, the total run in the Egegik District is now 3.6 million. 


In the Ugashik District, fishermen caught 110,000 sockeye yesterday, catching almost all of the season total harvest of 144,000 fish. Ugashik set-netters caught a whopping 37% of that harvest, while the drift fleet caught 62%. 

4,200 fish escaped in the Ugashik District yesterday, bringing the total escapement in Ugashik to 34,000. With the 15,000-fish in-river estimate, the total run in the Ugashik district is almost 200,000. 


At the Chignik weir, 7,538 sockeye passed through the weir yesterday. Adding the 510 sockeye that had passed the weir as of 9am this morning, the total sockeye run in the Chigniks is 100,213. 

That’s 92,336 sockeye in the early run, and 7,877 in the late run. 

Yesterday, 60 kings also passed through the weir, and no additional kings passed as of 9am this morning. The total king run in the Chigniks is 194. 

Area M

There are no public harvest updates from Area M. The South Peninsula is in the middle of an opener that started at 6am this morning, but many other sections of Area M are closed to commercial salmon fishing for an undetermined amount of time. 

Permit registration on July 6 9:00 a.m. to July 8 at 9:00 a.m.

Where are the boats of Bristol Bay fishing, you ask? There are 1,637 permits fishing on 1,270 boats across the bay. That’s 903 single permit vessels and 367 D boats. In 48 hours, there will be an additional 51 boats fishing the bay, for a total of 1,321 boats, 379 of which will be D boats. 

The Naknek-Kvichak ekes out a win for the most boats fishing, beating Egegik by one boat. 32% of the fleet are fishing the Naknek-Kvichak, or 410 boats, 122 of which are D boats. At 9 a.m. on the 8th, that will increase to 420 boats, 126 of which will be D boats. 

There are 409 boats fishing in Egegik, also representing 32% of the fleet. Egegik has the most D boats: there are currently 134 D boats there. In 48 hours, Egegik will be the district with the most boats, as vessel registrations will jump to 440, with 138 of those being D boats. 

The Nushagak District is being fished by 377 boats, 101 of which are D boats. That’s 30% of the bay-wide drift fleet. At 9am on July 8, that will increase to 385 boats, 105 of which will be D boats. 

Ugashik has 3% of the fleet and has passed up the Togiak District. Ugashik is being fished by 38 boats as of 9am this morning. 10 of those boats are D boats. In 48 hours, the Ugashik District will add 2 boats for a total of 40, and the D boats will stay at 10. 


The same vanguard of 36 boats in Togiak are still fishing in Togiak. There are no D boats there, and that 3% of the fleet won’t change in the next 48 hours. 

Port Moller

At the Port Moller test fishery, yesterday’s catch indices were the highest observed so far this season, but show signs of leveling off. 

Scott Raborn said in an email that even if the run peaked at the transect today, the run would be at least 6 days late at Port Moller. There should be stock composition numbers available tomorrow. 

Here are the indices from the boats of the Port Moller test fishery yesterday: 


Station 2 had an index of 8 -- 3in the 4 ½ inch mesh. 

Station 3 had an index of 0 -- no fish were caught.

Station 4 had an index of 23 -- 3 in the 4 ½ and 5 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 5 had an index of 189 -- 34 in the 4 ½ and 54 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 6 had an index of 44 -- 4 in the 4 ½ and 10 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 7 had an index of 130 -- 8 in the 4 ½ and 31 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 8 had an index of 138 -- 38 in the 4 ½ and 15 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 9 had an index of 235 -- 74 in the 4 ½ and 55 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 10 had an index of 291-- 65 in the 4 ½ and 71 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 11 had an index of 77 -- 11 in the 4 ½ and 16 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 12 had an index of 80 -- 17 in the 4 ½ and 11 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 14 had an index of 5 -- 2 in the 5 ⅛ inch mesh.

Station 16 had an index of 156 -- 30 in the 4 ½ and 35 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 18 had an index of 110 -- 0 in the 4 ½ and 33 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 19 had an index of 45 -- 11 in the 4 ½ and 1 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 20 had an index of 205 -- 58 in the 4 ½ and 24 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 21 had an index of 26 -- 2 in the 4 ½ and 5 in the 5 ⅛.

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