Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: June 29, 2020

Jun 29, 2020

The total run in the bay has passed 2 million. The run in the Naknek-Kvichak is late -- that’s in line with the past five years. And there are fewer boats around the bay than the past several years. But the harvest on the east side is bigger than it has been. A boat also caught fire Saturday in the Nushagak District.

Credit KDLG/Sage Smiley

The total run in the bay has passed 2 million. The run in the Naknek-Kvichak is late -- that’s in line with the past five years. And there are fewer boats around the bay than the past several years. But the harvest on the east side is bigger than it has been.

The run in the Naknek-Kvichak District is just starting to pick up, and the harvest so far is bigger than last year. But this year’s fleet is also smaller -- bay-wide, there are about a hundred fewer boats than at this point in 2019. 


A boat caught fire Saturday in the Nushagak District.  And we’re trying something new on the Fish Report this season, Two Minutes a Day in the Bay.


First we’re going to take a look at the numbers. The total run in the bay passed 2 million yesterday. 

Starting with the West Side…...

Nushagak District

The Nushagak District represents about half of the baywide run, with 1.4 million fish escaped or harvested. 

A Nushagak harvest of 240,000 yesterday brought the total harvest in the district to 740,000. Igushik set-netters caught 6% of that catch, Nushagak set-netters caught 26%, and the drift fleet caught 68%. 

Total escapement in the Nushagak was 59,000, bringing total escapement to 597,000 fish. 

Nushagak River

The Nushagak River sonar counted 14,600 sockeye yesterday, bringing the total escapement to 284,500. 2,700 kings passed the sonar for a total king escapement of 30,000, and chum escapement yesterday was 7,800 for a total of 40,000 fish. 

Wood River

The Wood River counting tower had counted 14,300 fish at 6am this morning, bringing sockeye escapement totals for the Wood River to 311,000. 

Igushik River

In the Igushik River, tower crew counted 2,300 fish as of 6am this morning, rounding out escapement in the Igushik at 18,200. 


No fish were caught in Togiak yesterday and there are no escapement numbers available; the total run is still 914 salmon. 


Daily catch in the Naknek-Kvichak was 9,000 fish yesterday, making the total catch in that district 268,000. That breaks down to 7% from Kvichak set-netters, 23% from Naknek set-netters, and the remaining 70% of the catch from the district’s drift fleet. 

6,600 sockeye escaped in the district yesterday. Season escapement in the Naknek-Kvichak district is 113,000. 

The total run in the Naknek-Kvichak district is just under 400,000. 

Kvichak River

1,300 fish escaped up the Kvichak river yesterday for a season total Kvichak escapement of 1,700. 

Naknek River

In the Naknek River, a daily escapement of 5,300 fish making the season total escapement in the Naknek River 111,000. 


In Egegik, fishermen caught 126,000 fish. That's just over one-fourth of the season’s harvest yesterday. The season total harvest is 476,000, caught 89% by the drift fleet and 11% by set-netters..

30,500 fish escaped up the river in Egegik yesterday, rounding out season escapement at 750,000 fish. The total run in Egegik is almost 700,000. 


In Ugashik, fishermen caught half of the season’s total harvest. Yesterday’s catch of 9,000 yesterday brings the season’s harvest to 18,000. That’s 63% from the drift fleet, and 37% from the set-netters. 

Escapement in Ugashik was 1,700 yesterday, more than doubling the total escapement to a grand 2,700. 


In the Chigniks, 4,746 sockeye passed the weir yesterday, and 294 fish passed this morning before 9am, bringing the sockeye season total to 64,652: 62,638 in the early run and 1,936 in the late run. 

No chinook or pinks passed the weir yesterday or today. The total king run in the Chigniks this year is 48, and the pink run is 6 fish. 

Area M

Strong winds on the North Peninsula limited fishing there yesterday, so harvest numbers are being kept confidential. 

On the south peninsula, the fleet caught 9,600 sockeye for a season total of 363,000. They also caught 42,000 pinks for a total catch of 1.7 million pinks, and 17,000 chum for a season total harvest of 469,000 chum. 

Commercial salmon fishing in the south peninsula is now closed, and will resume on July 6. 

Permit registration on June 29 9:00 a.m. to July 1 at 9:00 a.m.

1,596 permits are fishing the bay on 1,237 vessels as of 9am this morning. That’s 879 single-permit vessels and 358 D boats. That will increase to 1,255 vessels at 9am on Wednesday, 362 of which will be D boats.

Breaking down where people are fishing across Bristol Bay: 

The Nushagak still has the lion’s share of the fleet: 42%. That’s 516 vessels, 159 of which are D boats. At 9am on Wednesday, the Nush will add one single permit vessel and one D boat, for a total of 518 vessels, 160 of which will be D boats. 

In the Naknek-Kvichak district, the 238 single-permit vessels and 99 D boats fishing there make up 30% of the fleet. That will increase in 48 hours by 8 single-permit boats and one D boat: a total of 346 vessels. 

27% of the fleet is fishing in Egegik. There are 327 vessels there as of 9am today, 92 of which are D boats. That will increase to 334 boats on Wednesday, 94 of which will be D boats. 

Togiak is still holding down 3% of the fleet. 34 boats are fishing there, and no D boats. That won’t change in the next 48 hours. 

And finally, just 2% of the fleet is fishing in Ugashik. 23 boats, 8 of which are D boats, are fishing the district, and those numbers will stay the same until 9am Wednesday. 

Port Moller

The boats of the Port Moller test fishery did not fish yesterday. The Ocean Cat stayed in Port Moller after a medical incident on Saturday, and was kept there by inshore bad weather which made the Ocean Cat unable to reach fishable stations. 

Scott Raborn said in an email that the test fishery will resume fishing ASAP and that they are aware of the urgency of collecting data. 

Boat a "total loss" after fire near the Western Channel

The F/V Legion caught fire on Saturday west of the Western Channel. That’s according to Joel Zarate with Icicle Seafoods and Petty Officer Laura Dean with the Coast Guard. 

The fire was fully involved and the crew abandoned ship. All three crew members were recovered by another fishing vessel. There are no reported injuries at this time. The Legion was reported as a total loss to the Coast Guard. Coast Guard assistance was not requested at the time of the incident. 

If anyone involved in the fire would like to reach out, please give us a call us at 907-842-2200 or email at

Update from Naknek-Kvichak management biologist Travis Elison

The run in the Naknek-Kvichak District is just starting to pick up, according Travis Elison, management biologist for the district.

“Well it was real slow fishing last night, and pretty slow this morning. But a few hours into the period it sounded like some fish started showing up at Johnson Hill Line. So I think that’s kind of the start of the next push of fish.”

Elison says there are reports of fish between Naknek and Egegik, and that the weather should push them into the district. 

The sockeye run is about three to five days later than historical averages. But it’s following the later run pattern seen since 2015. Elison says the tail of the run determines where the midpoint is, but he says that so far, Naknek’s run is about average for the past five years, while the Kvichak’s run is late. But the district’s harvest is bigger than what it has been.

“We’ve been fishing pretty consistently. Partly because we have a small fleet we’ve been able to fish and still get the escapement we need upriver. Some of the past years we were kind of struggling to maintain our escapement level, and so we weren’t fishing.”

Elison says this year’s fleet is smaller -- bay-wide, there are about a hundred fewer boats than at this point in 2019. 

“I think there are some boats that are registered that are still working out some mechanical issues and those kinds of things. It sounds like it’s been extra-challenging this season to get boats worked on, just with a lack of people to fix them, and with all the COVID plans that have kind of forced some captains out on the water before they would have in previous years. So there’s definitely a challenge there with getting the fleet up and running.”

Elison says that with windy, rainy weather in the forecast, he expects fishing to pick up through this week. 


Fire Truck Allegedly Stolen in King Salmon


An Eagle River man allegedly broke into the King Salmon Fire Department and stole a fire truck on Saturday (6/27). 

According to a press release from the Bristol Bay Borough police department, 22-year-old fisherman Dawson Cody Porter used a piece of lumber to break a window and enter the fire station. He took the truck and drove it through the closed garage door. Police Chief John Rhyshek told KDLG that Porter cut the building’s power before breaking in.

Porter turned on the emergency lights and drove the firetruck 15 miles to Fishermen’s Bar in Naknek. He parked the truck in front of the bar when police officers arrived and arrested Porter.

Porter was also arrested several weeks prior for a DUI, and was sent to Anchorage where he posted bail. Chief Rhyshek says there is no clear motive to the crime.

Porter is being held on a $10,000 bail at the Bristol Bay Borough detention facility on charges of burglary, vehicle theft, criminal mischief, and violating his conditions of release from a previous arrest. 

This season on the Fish Report, Deenaalee Hodgdon and Maio Nishkian  came to us with a new project. It’s called Two Minutes a Day in the Bay…


We’ll be airing those stories throughout the season, and we encourage everyone to participate!

Messages to the fleet:

To Captain Doug Morgan, F/V Miss Emma

Doug. Mom wants to send you a home cooked meal. Which Ramen do you want? Shrimp or chicken? ( the shrimp comes with real shrimp dust). Oh, and your neighbor found out you spliced into his cable.


We would like to wish Willi on the FV Finnegan Happy Birthday today. 




Griff, Natalya, and baby Maya

Thanks to everyone tuning in. Just a reminder that our pledge drive is next week. Call 842-5281 or donate on the website

Good night, good fishing, and see you back here tomorrow. Here’s Tunder Kiss ‘65 by White Zombie.

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