Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: June 30, 2021

Jun 30, 2021

Another day, another million sockeye to the bay. The bay-wide run is now at 8 million. The team at Port Moller doesn't think the run is early, as catch indices boomed after a dip on Monday. Egegik had the biggest daily catch of a fairly modest day. The Nushagak’s harvest dropped off yesterday, but it might tick back up tomorrow.

Set netters at Nushagak Point. Wednesday, June 30, 2021.
Credit Stephanie Maltarich/KDLG

Special harvest area opens to set netters during an early run up the Wood River

Yesterday, the Wood River Special Harvest Area opened to commercial set netters.

Fisherman Mike Davis returned to the Nushagak today, after elbowing his way through the Wood River opener.

“It’s so chaotic, so cut throat, people move you aside and steal your side and it’s not a pretty sight,” he remarked.

A special harvest area has a different baseline for openers to help manage the Wood River salmon returns. Opening the Wood River is normal in years with large runs, because managers know they will meet or exceed escapement goals.

And large runs have become the norm over the past several years -- totals have reached two times the average return. 

The sockeye run on the Wood River passed one million on Monday, which is much earlier than usual -- managers attribute that to the big storms and more conservative commercial openers to protect the low king run.

Mike Davis holds a jack while set netting in the Nushagak District near Coffee Point. Wednesday, June 30, 2021.
Credit Stephanie Maltarich/KDLG

Egegik’s run nears escapement goal

Egegik’s fleet was out fishing earlier than most districts this season. One person who works on a tender in the district told KDLG activity has been "slow and steady" so far. 

That earlier run is pretty typical. Managers say Egegik will probably hit its escapement goal soon. Right now it’s just over 600,000, and the escapement goal for the season is between 800,000 – 2 million sockeye. As KDLG’s Mackenzie Mancuso learned from Area Management Biologist Aaron Tiernan, the next few days will tell us more about how far along Egegik's run is.

Ekuk’s set net setup sets it apart from other areas of the Nushagak. KDLG’s Tyler Thompson took a trip to Ekuk today, and we caught up with him when he got back.

Messages to the fleet

“This message is for Mason and crew on the Nancy O. II. Hope you’re catching lots of fish! Missing you and sending love from the F/V Crane in Juneau!” -Maggie

Message for the Linda K.

Wish the guys on the Linda K a great season. And big hugs to the captain.

Signed Miss Denver

Another message for the Linda K:

Girls Gone Wild in Greece. We miss you and wish you a great fishing season 

All our love

And that’s from Diane 

June 27th . Happy Happy Birthday to Austin Adler , FV Megalodon from all his family & friends in Texas!

Thank you KDLG:

Jeff Adler

Weatherford, TX

Hi, can I request "simply the best" by Tina Turner to go out to detto working sonar on the nush!

Thanks so much!

Peri Lee

The numbers

Another day, another million fish returned to the bay, bringing the total run to 8 million fish. Fleets harvested almost half a million of those yesterday -- total harvest is just over 4 million. Escapement yesterday was almost 400,000

Nushagak 

Taking a look at the Nushagak District -- the harvest dropped off yesterday, with the fleet hauling in just 85,000 fish. There was an average of 117 sockeye per drift delivery yesterday. The total catch is approaching 2 million.

The fleet has also harvested 1,749 Chinook.

The drift fleet has caught three quarters of that total harvest -- 75.8% -- while Nushagak set netters have harvested about a fifth, at 18.7%, and set netters in the Igushik have harvested just 5%.

Nushagak River

The Nushagak River sonar counted 120,488 sockeye yesterday. The total sockeye run is now 1.7 million.

The Chinook run was 3,746, bringing the total this season to 24,395 -- just under half of the river’s minimum escapement of 55,000.

The chum run picked up a bit yesterday after a slow start to the week -- the run came to 2,792 yesterday, for a chum sum of 43,172.

Wood River

The Wood River’s daily run was over 100,000 for the sixth day in a row -- it came to 106,014. Another 21,204 fish passed the tower as of 6 a.m. this morning. The total escapement up the Wood is at 1.2 million.

Igushik River

The Igushik’s escapement was 27,918 yesterday, and another 9,936 passed the tower as of 6 a.m. A total of 90,852 fish have escaped up the Igushik so far. 

Togiak

The Togiak fleet harvested 5,000 sockeye yesterday, with an average of 81 fish per drift delivery. No escapement numbers for Togiak. Total harvest there is now 10,756.

Naknek-Kvichak 

The run in the Naknek-Kvichak is at 413,222.

The fleet hauled in 51,000 fish yesterday, with an average of 471 sockeye per drift delivery. The total harvest is now at 227,270.

The drift fleet caught more than half -- 54.2% -- of that total harvest, Kvichak set netters caught about a quarter -- 24.7% -- and Naknek set netters caught around a fifth -- 21.1%.

Escapement in the Naknek-Kvichak District was 38,868 yesterday. So far, 125,952 fish have escaped in the district.

Naknek River

6,498 fish escaped up the Naknek yesterday, for a total of 83,286 so far this season.

Kvichak River

The Kvichak had the highest daily escapement in the district yesterday, as 37,800 returned. The total escapement there is 42,666.

Egegik   

Egegik had the highest harvest by far yesterday; the fleet hauled in 261,000 fish, bringing the total harvest to 1.7 million. The average drift delivery yesterday was 522.

Egegik’s drift fleet has harvested four-fifths, or just over 80%, of the total harvest so far, while set netters have hauled in the remaining fifth -- 19.8%.

Escapement up the Egegik River was 38,868 yesterday, bringing that total to 632,046. The in-river estimate is 20,000, and Egegik’s total run is at 2.4 million fish.

Ugashik 

Ugashik didn’t have the biggest harvest yesterday, but the drift fleet did haul in the most sockeye per drift delivery -- the average was 1,054 fish for each delivery. Harvest was at 82,000 yesterday, bringing the season’s total to 225,932.

14,238 fish escaped up the Ugashik. The total run is at 240,170.

Chignik

At the Chignik River, 12,325 sockeye passed the weir as of 5 p.m. today.

The total sockeye run is at 160,658. The early run is at 155,634, while the late run is at 5,024.

Area M

Fishermen in Area M harvested 138,109 sockeye yesterday, for a total of 3.4 million so far this season. The fleet also caught 107 Chinook -- that harvest is at 2,857. The chum harvest was 76, bringing the total to almost 800,000. The fleet harvested just 12 pinks, for a season total of 3.2 million. Finally, just 1 coho was caught, for a total of 2,593.

Almost 90% of the sockeye harvest from Area M have been caught in the South Unimak and Shumagin Islands. The Chinook harvest is split between that area and the North Peninsula. And virtually all of the pinks, coho and chum were caught in the South Unimak and Shumagin Islands.

Port Moller Test Fishery 

The numbers are booming out at the Port Moller Test Fishery. Catches picked right back up after Monday’s dip. Stations 10 and 12 lead the pack with catch indices of over 400. That’s despite a technical hold-up, as the Pandalus stayed in port yesterday.

The test fishery researchers suspect that Bristol Bay’s run is not early -- higher catch indices over the next few days could hint at a later run than recent years.

The crew expects some dicey weather tomorrow, but the Ocean Cat will still try to get out and fish.

Now, here’s the station-by-station breakdown:

Station 6 was not fished.

Station 8 caught 18 in the 4 1/2 inch mesh and 7 in the 5 1/8. The catch index is 68.

Station 10 caught 231 in the 4 1/2 inch mesh and 84 in the 5 1/8. The catch index is 461.

Station 12 caught 127 in the  4 1/2 inch mesh and 46 in the 5 1/8. The catch index is 433.

Station 14 caught 13 in the  4 1/2 inch mesh and 6 in the 5 1/8. The catch index is 52.

Station 16 caught 17 in the  4 1/2 inch mesh and 10 in the 5 1/8. The catch index is 62.

Station 18 caught 12 in the  4 1/2 inch mesh and 4 in the 5 1/8. The catch index is 53.

Station 20 caught 27 in the  4 1/2 inch mesh and zero in the 5 1/8. The catch index is 54.

Stock composition #6 for June 26-27

Stock composition estimates from June 26-27 were released this afternoon.

Credit PMTF

The Nushagak District’s runs still rule the day -- half of the fish sampled were headed to that district. Around 28% were swimming toward the Nushagak, 21% to the Wood River, and just .2% to the Igushik. 

Around 12% of the sampled stock is going to Egegik and 11% is going to the North Peninsula. It looks like Alagnak will get a bump in the next few days -- more than 9% of the fish were headed there. Another 9% were going to the Naknek, and around 5% were swimming toward the Kvichak. Just about 3% were swimming toward the Ugashik. Kuskokwim fish made up just 1% of the sample, and .2% of the fish were going to Togiak.

A tender offloads at Peter Pan Seafoods in Dillingham. Wednesday, June 30, 2021.
Credit Stephanie Maltarich/KDLG

Contact the fish team at fish@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200