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Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: June 24, 2022

20200610 Hali Fitka, 11, cutting chum in St. Mary's. June 10, 2020.
Serena Fitka
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Fitka
Serena Fitka's daughter, Hali, cutting chum in St. Mary's. June 10, 2020.

The bay-wide run is over 3 million fish, and the Nushagak fleet had a big first opener, hauling in more than 800,000 fish. And the number of people fishing on the west side will only grow over the weekend. Egegik fishermen caught just under half a million fish.

Bristol Bay is expecting another huge sockeye run this summer. But in other parts of the state, salmon runs have been low for years, and people are struggling to feed their families.

Continued efforts to get Bristol Bay salmon to communities facing low runs and food insecurity

220601 An empty drying rack in St. Mary's. June 1, 2022.
Serena Fitka
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An empty drying rack in St. Mary's. June 1, 2022.
KYUK's Olivia Ebertz on the record-low chum returns to the Yukon River

You can find out more about the seafood donations program at alfafish.org/seafood-donation-program

Messages to the fleet

Message for Nick on the Sumo fishing vessel in Bristol bay

“Hi Daddy! I really miss you and I love you! Love, Margaux”

For Jehra on the Tectonic,

The most handsome fisherman in the bay, and the hardest working man I know, I am the luckiest woman in the world to call you my husband and am so proud of you every day, I miss you every second of every day. You guys are going to kill it this year. I’ll see you soon.

Love Allison

If you’d like to get a message out to the fleet on this show, perhaps to say hi from back home or wish them luck, send your messages to the fleet to fish@kdlg.org or call us at 907-842-2200.

Food Friday

This summer, we’re launching a new series — Food Friday! Tune in for recipes, ideas for leftovers, and to whet your appetite. This first recipe is from our friend Nick Rahaim on the Diamond V, you may want to take some notes here for your boat cook, Nick breaks down his favorite recipe for salmon leftovers: salmon croquettes.

Nick Rahaim shares recipe for salmon croquettes

Some Crew.bv.JPG
Brian Venua
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KDLG
Fishermen on the water in Bristol Bay.

The numbers

1.6 million salmon came through Bristol Bay on Thursday for a total run of 3.27 million. Fishermen caught about 1.34 million salmon — more than half of which went to Nushagak District fisherfolk. The harvest total so far is now 2.4 million.

312,000 salmon escaped up rivers across the region for a season total of 857,226 fish.

Nushagak District

The Nushagak District saw another 1.04 million sockeye swim through the waters on Thursday, bringing the total run to 1.48 million fish.

Fishermen had a big day — the catch was 832,000 fish for a season total of 850,334, with about 964 sockeye per drift delivery. 213,103 sockeye made it past the fleet and counting towers.

Nushagak River

The Nushagak River had 111,853 sockeye escape yesterday, for a season total of 386,850.

The Nushagak sonar crew counted another 11,169 Chinook on Tuesday — the largest single push so far. Total Chinook escapement is about 38,821.

Chum saw a push of 12,746 for a season total of 37,235 fish.

Wood River

The Wood River saw an escapement comparable to the Nushagak’s, at about 101,250 salmon for a season total escapement of 248,106.

Igushik River

We should also start getting numbers for the Igushik River starting on Saturday!

Togiak 

Togiak Fishermen yesterday caught 500 fish for a total of 1,259 fish so far. Average drift delivery was about 90 sockeye. Still no numbers for escapement.

Naknek-Kvichak District

The Naknek-Kvichak District is off to a bit of a slower start, with about 126,782 fish Thursday and a season total so far of 271,795.

Fishermen caught 78,000 fish for cumulative catch of 194,983 and their average drift delivery was about 508 fish.

District-wide escapement yesterday was 48,762, more than doubling the escapement total so far to 76,812 salmon.

Naknek River

The Naknek River saw the vast majority of that district’s escapement, with about 47,586 fish, for a total so far of 75,636.

Kvichak River

The Kvichak River started counting on Thursday, with a first tally of 1,176 fish.

Alagnak River

No numbers for the Alagnak River yet.

Egegik

The Egegik District had a solid run yesterday: About 474,340 fish swam through. The district's total run is at 1.47 million fish.

Harvest on Thursday was 424,000 sockeye with an average drift delivery of 805 sockeye. Egegik's total harvest is at 1.3 million.

50,340 fish made it past the nets to escape up the river for a total of 145,458. There are an estimated 15,000 fish in the river.

Ugashik 

In the Ugashik District, about 10,000 fish were caught for a season total of 43,758. Fisherpeople there had 362 sockeye per drift delivery. No numbers for Ugashik escapement yet.

Registrations: June 24 9:00 a.m. - June 26 9 a.m.

There are 1,488 permits and 1,139 vessels registered to fish in Bristol Bay. On Sunday, that will go up to 1,537 permits and 1,185 boats. There are currently 349 D-boats, and that will go to 352 D-boats on Sunday.

Nushagak has the most permits and boats of any district by far — there are currently 960 permits and 704 vessels in the district, and that will go up to 981 permits and 724 boats on Sunday at 9 a.m. D-boats are at 256, and that will go up by just one on Sunday.

A distant second is Egegik, where 339 permits are fishing on 268 vessels. Those numbers stay the same through Sunday morning, while the 71 D-boats will decrease by one.

In the Naknek-Kvichak, there are 136 permits on 120 vessels. That will bump up to 164 permits on 145 boats on Sunday. The number of D-boats will go up as well, from 16 to 19.

In Ugashik there are 32 permits on 26 vessels, and 6 D-boats. No changes there.

In Togiak there are 21 permits on 21 boats, and that stays the same through Sunday morning.

Chignik Weir 

At the Chignik River Weir, the final count for Wednesday was 10,164 fish. Thursday's count as of 5:25 p.m. saw a bit more, at 12,851 salmon, for a cumulative escapement of nearly 106,815.

Area M

Over in Area M, yesterday their fishermen caught 618,892 fish for a season total of 5.16 million salmon.

Of the salmon harvested, about two-thirds of the catch was sockeye at about 466,728. The total harvest for that species to 3.8 million.

126,143] were pinks, the total harvest for that species is now just under 1 million salmon.

Chum salmon were the third largest harvest Thursday, although significantly lower at 25,876 fish for a total of 352,918.

Only 145 Chinook were caught Thursday for a total of 2,467.

No silvers were caught. The harvest remains at 152 fish.

Port Moller Test Fishery

The average weight of sockeye caught in the test fishery so far is around 4.8 pounds, according to test fishery technicians.

Station 2 caught 1 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 13 fish in the 5 ⅛. That catch index is 30.

Station 4 caught zero fish.

Station 6 caught 51 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 50 in the 5 ⅛. The index is 155.

Station 8 caught 28 fish in the 4 ½ and 6 in the 5 ⅛. The catch index is 62.

Station 10 caught 2 in the 4 ½ and 0 in the 5 ⅛. That index is 4.

Station 11 caught 1 in the 4 ½ and 0 in the 5 ⅛, bringing that station index to 2.

Station 12 caught 1 fish in the 4 ½ and 8 in the 5 ⅛, for an index of 25.

Station 13 caught 4 fish in the 4 ½ and 2 in the 5 ⅛. The index is 18.

Station 14 also caught 11 fish in the 4 ½ and 0 in the 5 ⅛ inch mesh for a catch index of 31.

Station 15 caught 85 in the 4 ½ and 19 in the 5 ⅛, for an index of 266.

Station 16 caught 0 fish.

Station 18 caught 0 in the 4 ½ and 3 in the 5 ⅛. That index is 9.

Station 20 caught 0 fish in the 4 ½ and 48 fish in the 5 ⅛. The catch index for station 20 is 125.

Stock composition

The fishery analyzed 186 fish for the June 20 - 21 stock composition analysis

A whopping 37% of the fish sampled were on their way to the Nushagak River. Another 13% were swimming to the Wood. Just under 30% were headed to the Egegik River.

North Peninsula 1.1%

Ugashik .6%

Egegik 28.9%

Naknek 2.5%

Alagnak .2%

Kvichak 14.4%

Nushagak 37.1%

Wood 13%

Igushik .1%

Togiak .3%

Kuskokwim 1.8%

Get in touch with the team at fish@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200.

Izzy Ross is the news director at KDLG, the NPR member station in Dillingham. She reports, edits, and hosts stories from around the Bristol Bay region, and collaborates with other radio stations across the state.
Brian Venua grew up in Dillingham and attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. He got his start in journalism at KDLG in 2020, interviewing and writing for the Bristol Bay Fisheries Report and signed on as a full-time host and reporter later that year.
Corinne Smith is a reporter and producer who grew up in Oakland, California and on her family’s horse ranch in rural San Rafael, CA, a contrast that nurtured a deep appreciation for the complexities of identity and belonging, and connection to place, land and the natural world. She began her reporting career at KPFA in Berkeley, first as a general assignment reporter and then as lead producer of UpFront, a daily morning news and public affairs show. In 2020, she served as the summer reporter for KFSK in Petersburg where she first got hooked on Alaska stories. For the last year, she's been a general assignment reporter for KHNS based in Haines, and thrilled to experience a new part of Alaska and cover the Bristol Bay fishing season this summer with KDLG!