Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: June 25, 2020

Jun 25, 2020

Set netters and drifters in the Nushagak section had their first opener today. Wood River escapement has passed the 100,000-fish floor for commercial fishing to open. Egegik is above its 2019 escapement, but about half a million lower than last year’s harvest.

A boat in the Dillingham harbor. Thursday, June 25, 2020.
Credit Sage Smiley/KDLG


Check out the numbers on our daily numbers page, or at the bottom of the page.

COVID-19 update

The Camai Community Health Center reported 6 new asymptomatic positive cases of COVID-19 June 24. One is a seafood worker in the Lake and Peninsula borough, one is a fisherman, and the other 4 are seafood workers in Bristol Bay Borough. This brings the number of active cases in Bristol Bay Borough to 21, and the active cases in Lake and Pen Borough to 16. 

Bay-wide, there are 53 active cases of COVID-19.


Nushagak section opener

The Nushagak section had its first opener today for both drifters and set netters. Kendra Kapotak has this update:


There have been openers in Igushik, but today was the first opener for the Nushagak section. Tim says the season right about on time.  But he is still really concerned for chinook salmon, or as most commoners know, kings. 

“We want to provide as much opportunity for the Nushagak kings to get by as we can. It’s a balancing act, and that's why we are having a short opener. Only 5 hours for the drift fleet,” he said.

Sands also told me how he has to balance the escapements and the openers. This is what makes it difficult trying to decide how long fishermen will be able to harvest. 

“I feel good about it, we really wanted to wait and let kings go by," he said. "I feel like we did let a bunch of kings go by but at the same time we had to respond to espacement in Wood River. The true measure of the escapement in the Wood River, is not what the escapement was when we made the announcement, but the true measure is what it will be Friday morning, because regardless of what the escapement is when we start fishing, there is still 24 hours of fish that are already past the district, but haven’t got to the tower yet.”

A new rule makes seasonal fishermen and crew members eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program

Today is the first day on the job for Bristol Bay Borough’s new manager.

Mark Lynch will act as interim borough manager for an undetermined amount of time. Lynch has been shadowing departing borough manager Gregg Brelsford since June 15.

Lynch was previously City Manager of Whittier and Cordova, and holds a Masters of Science with an emphasis in Public Administration.

In a statement published on Facebook, departing borough manager Gregg Brelsford said he will be in Anchorage, spending time with family and in church and volunteer work.


Many people in Bristol Bay know Dr. Cathy Hyndman from her 20 years of work with the Bristol Bay Area Health Corporation. She was the clinical director there, and she recently retired. But before she did, she dropped by the KDLG studio to give fishermen some tips on staying healthy during the season.

Read the answer to the million dollar question of station catches and inshore fishing, from Port Moller Test Fishery data analyst Scott Raborn

Nushagak District

Yesterday’s catch in the Nushagak District was 12,000, bringing the season total to 26,288. 

That total catch came from Igushik set-netters. Nushagak drift and set net fishers had their first full-district opener this morning.

The Nushagak’s district-wide escapement was 96,247 yesterday, bringing total escapement to 243,114. That means the total run in the Nushagak crested 269,402 yesterday. 

That puts the total run in the Nushagak almost 1.7 million fish behind where it was at this point in 2019.  

Nushagak River

The Nushagak River sonar counted 4,544 kings, bringing the total escapement for the king run to 15,945. 26,095 sockeye passed the tower, bringing the total sockeye escapement in the Nushagak river to 113,646. Chum escapement was 3,056, making the chum escapement total 14,313.

Wood River

As of 6 a.m. this morning, the Wood River crew counted 11,502 fish, bringing total escapement in the Wood River to 126,774. That means escapement has passed the 100,000 fish floor for commercial fishing to be allowed. 

Igushik River

The Igushik tower crew counted 1,170 fish as of 6 a.m., bringing the escapement total to 2,694.


Fishers in Togiak caught 300 fish yesterday, bringing the total catch to 662. No escapement numbers from the district, though. 


Now over to the eastside… Daily escapement reached 49,908 in Egegik yesterday, bringing the total escaped fish count to 97,362. 

That’s 7,000 escaped fish more than this point last year. 

After an opener yesterday, estimated harvest in Egegik was 59,000 for a total catch of 146,126 fish. The drift fleet caught 85.4% of that total harvest, while set-netters caught the remaining 14.6%.

Egegik's harvest is behind where it was last year. On this day in 2019, Egegik harvest topped 578,344. 

Egegik has another opener going on right now for both set and drift fleet that will end at 11:00 p.m. tonight. 


Yesterday’s escapement up the Naknek River was 12,270 fish for a total escapement of 37,254. No numbers yet for Kvichak or Alagnak escapement. 

2019’s escapement in the Naknek-Kvichak District for June 24 was 92,718, putting 2020 almost 60,000 fish behind.

After yesterday’s drift opening in the Naknek section, and a set opening in the full district, harvest increased by 19,500 fish, bringing the total harvest in the district up to 34,804 fish. 

Cumulative harvest broke down with Kvichak set-netters hauling 6.3%, Naknek set-netters bringing in 29.5% of the catch, and drift fleet harvesting the remaining 64.2% of the total catch. 

That’s also about a 60,000 fish deficit from where the district was last year's 98,843.

The current openers for drift fleet in the Naknek section and set-netters in the Naknek-Kvichak district will end their 7-hour opener at 10:30 p.m. tonight. 


To wrap things up, we don’t have numbers yet from the Ugashik opener yesterday, or escapement from that district. 


6,731 sockeye passed through the weir yesterday. As of 2 p.m. today, no additional sockeye had passed through the weir. The total run so far is at 41,804. The early run is at 41,084. The late run total is at 720.


6 chinook passed through the weir yesterday. No additional passed through the weir as of 2 p.m. The chinook run is still at 24.

Area M 

The South Peninsula commercial fishery was closed, so there is nothing new to report. As it stands, the fishery has harvested 2,230 chinook, 268,919 sockeye, 1.5 million pinks, and 409,800 chums. 

Permit registration on June 25 9:00am and June 27 at 9:00am

Now let’s break down where people are fishing. There are a total of 921 vessels fishing the bay as of 9am today, 232 of which are D boats. That will increase to 983 vessels in 48 hours, with 261 D boats. 

The Nushagak leads the bay, with almost 52% of the vessel registrations. There are 478 vessels in the Nushagak, 146 of which are D boats. That will increase to 515, 166 of which will be D boats, on 9am Saturday. 

Egegik comes in second. It’s being fished by 242 boats, 58 of which are D boats. That’s 26% of the fleet. Those numbers will increase by 10 for a total of 252 Saturday morning, 61 of which will be D boats. 

In third, we’ve got the Naknek-Kvichak, which has 17% of the bay’s fleet, or 134 single-permit vessels fishing there, and 24 D boats. That will increase to 170 boats on Saturday, 28 of which will be D boats. 

Togiak has 31 vessels and no D boats… and that won’t change in the next 48 hours. That’s just 3% of the bay’s fleet. 

Only 1% of the fleet is in Ugashik. There are 12 vessels in Ugashik, of which 4 are D boats. That will increase to 15 boats at 9 a.m. Saturday, with 6 D boats. 

Port Moller 

Down at the Port Moller Test Fishery, the boats fished stations 4 to 22 yesterday, catching a total of 231 fish.

Station 10 had the largest index again yesterday: 108.

Here’s a breakdown of yesterday’s numbers: 

Station  Index

Station 4 had an index of 2 -- 1  in the 4 ½ inch mesh.

Station 6  had an index of 8 -- 1  in the 4 ½ and 2 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 8  had an index of 31 -- 12 in the 4 ½ and 2  in the 5 ⅛.

Station 10 had an index of 108 -- 24   in the 4 ½ and 41 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 12 had an index of 47 -- 10  in the 4 ½ and 16 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 14 had an index of 2 -- 1 in the 5 ⅛ inch mesh.

Station 16 had an index of 37 -- 2   in the 4 ½ and 21 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 18 had an index of 75 -- 29  in the 4 ½ and 15 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 20 had an index of 41 -- 6  in the 4 ½ and 15 in the 5 ⅛.

Station 22 had an index of 23 -- 2  in the 4 ½ and 10 in the 5 ⅛.


The Americanus was able to bring in more genetic samples from June 22 and the 23. In the stock composition: 


Stock Composition (22-23 June; Stns2-20):

There were 367 Catch Index points across these dates and stations

Kuskokwim        0.3%

Togiak                 0.1%

Igushik                0.6% 

Wood                  24.9% 

Nushagak           5.5%

Kvichak               9.1%

Alagnak              0.3%

Naknek               22.5%

Egegik                 28.7%

Ugashik              5.1%

North Pen.         3.0%