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Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: June 25, 2022

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Brian Venua
/
KDLG
A sockeye salmon. June 25, 2022.

The Nushagak District saw a huge pulse of fish on Friday. Half a million sockeye swam past the Nushagak River sonar. More than a quarter million escaped up the Wood River. Nushagak’s commercial harvest was a bit more tempered than earlier in the week, but still the largest of the districts. More than 1 million fish returned to the bay on Friday.

The numbers

Across the bay, fleets hauled in 580,400 sockeye, for a total harvest of 2.9 million. Friday’s escapement was at 873,677 — the vast majority of which came from the Nushagak District. Total escapement is at 1.7 million. Bristol Bay’s total run went up by over 1 million on Friday: It’s at 4.8 million fish.

Nushagak District

Fishermen in the Nushagak District caught 394,000 fish yesterday, with an average drift delivery of 362 sockeye. The total harvest is now over a million fish, at 1.2 million. The district’s run is now 2.6 million.

Nushagak River

Half a million sockeye swam past the Nushagak River sonar on Friday — 509,000 fish. That’s almost five times the previous highest count. To put it in perspective, that’s more than half of the season’s total escapement up the Nushagak so far. The total escapement is at almost 896,849.

Chinook escapement was much lower than recent days, at just 114 fish. The total escapement for kings up the Nushagak is 38,935.

And the sonar crew counted 8,226 chum swimming upriver, for a total of 45,461.

Wood River

More than a quarter million sockeye swam up the Wood River. The tower crew counted 288,672 sockeye. That more than doubled the river’s total escapement so far. The crew counted 74,862 fish as of 6 a.m. this morning. Total escapement up the Wood is now at 611,640.

Igushik River

The Igushik tower crew had to work on their cabin, so they’ll be setting up towers today and counting later today or tomorrow.

Togiak

The Togiak fleet caught 1,000 fish on Friday, doubling its total harvest to 2,296. The average delivery there was 114 sockeye. No escapement numbers from Togiak yet.

Naknek-Kvichak

Fishermen in the Naknek-Kvichak caught 78,000 fish on Friday for a total harvest of 273,390. The average drift delivery was the highest in the bay, at 720 sockeye. Escapement was at 15,186 for a season total of 91,998.

Naknek River

The Naknek River crew counted 8,850 fish swimming upriver on Friday, for a total escapement of 84,486.

Kvichak River

Kvichak’s daily escapement was 6,336 for a total of 7,512. An estimated 50,000 fish are in the river.

Egegik

The Egegik fleet harvested 107,000 sockeye for a total of 1.4 million — the largest cumulative harvest in the bay so far. The average drift delivery was 344 sockeye. Almost 60,000 fish swam past the counting tower, for a season total of 205,278.

There are around 60,000 fish in the river.

Fish and Game says at this rate, Egegik’s run will likely pass the upper end escapement goal of 2 million

The total run there is at 1.6 million sockeye.

Ugashik

Ugashik fishermen caught just 400 fish on Friday, with an average delivery of 78 sockeye. The total harvest is 44,312. No escapement numbers there yet.

Registrations: June 25 9:00 a.m. and June 27 9:00 a.m.

As of this morning, almost a thousand permits are registered to fish in the Nushagak. There are 983 permits on 727 vessels. On Monday that will go up to 995 permits and 738 boats. D-boats are at 257, and that will increase by just one to 258 on Monday.

Things are a little calmer in Egegik, where 343 permits are registered to fish on 271 vessels. Egegik will see a little bump on Monday as well, as 352 permits on 276 vessels. There at 72 D-boats in Egegik, and that will go up to 76 on Monday.

Next we have the Naknek-Kvichak fleet, which currently comprises 175 permits on 152 boats. That goes up to 203 permits on 177 boats on Monday. D-boats will go from 23 to 26.

Ugashik is currently housing 37 permits on 30 boats. Those will both go up by one on Monday, to 38 permits and 31 boats. There are 7 D-boats, and that stays the same through Monday morning.

In Togiak, there are 26 permits and 26 boats. No changes for Monday.

Chignik Weir 

At the Chignik River, 27,451 sockeye passed through the weir on Friday. As of around 10 a.m. today 36 sockeye swam through. Total sockeye escapement through the weir is at 135,479.

The Chignik River watershed has two sockeye runs — an early run and a late run. The early run typically peaks in late June, and returns to Black Lake and the surrounding tributaries.

The early run’s escapement so far is less than half of the minimum escapement goal of 350,000 sockeye.

Fish and Game forecast a run of 1.2 million sockeye to the Chignik River watershed this season. The early run forecast is 639,000 and the late run is predicted to be 633,000.

The harvests for early and late run sockeye was forecast at 239,000 and 323,00 fish, respectively.

The department doesn’t forecast other salmon species in the Chignik area.

Area M

In Area M, daily sockeye harvest was 61,300. Just 26 chinook and 7 chum were caught. The total sockeye harvest for Area M is around 3.8 million. Pink harvest is 995,000. Chum is 353,000, and Chinook are 2,500.

Fleets from the Dolgoi Island Area harvested 16,360 sockeye so far. The Shumagin Islands has caught over 682,000 fish. South Unimak fishermen have caught 2.8 million sockeye.

In all, the South Peninsula has hauled in 3.5 million sockeye, 2,100 Chinook, and just under 1 million pink salmon. The chum harvest is at 353,000.

Port Moller Test Fishery 

Stock composition from June 22 - 23

The test fishery crew analyzed 185 fish for the June 22 - 23 stock composition estimate.

The largest percentage of the fish sampled were swimming to the Nushagak River — an estimated 36% were headed there, with a range of 27 - 45%. About 26% of the sampled sockeye were swimming to the Egegik. An estimated 18% of the samplings were on their way to the Wood, which could see between 9 - 27%. The estimate for the Kvichak is 13%. 4% are swimming to the Igushik, about 1% to the Kuskokwim, and less than 1% to the North Peninsula, Ugashik, Naknek, Alagnak and Togiak rivers.

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North Peninsula .5%

Ugashik .4%

Egegik 25.8%

Naknek .5%

Alagnak .3%

Kvichak 13%

Nushagak 36.2%

Wood 18.2%

Igushik 4%

Togiak .3%

Kuskokwim .9%

We don’t know exactly when the next stock composition will come in — that uncertainty is due to rough weather ahead.

Catches from June 24

Technicians at the test fishery say that so far, this year’s daily catch index and the catch and escapement appear in line with the preseason forecast. That is, the run is either larger or a couple days earlier than last year’s run of 68 million fish.

Let’s take a look at Friday’s catches across the transect:

Station 2 caught 0 fish.

Station 4 caught 0 fish.

Station 6 caught 13 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 28 in the 5 ⅛. The index is 123.

Station 7 caught 71 fish in the 4 ½ and 64 in the 5 ⅛. The catch index is 266.

Station 8 caught 50 fish in the 4 ½ and 73 in the 5 ⅛. The catch index is 238.

Station 10 caught 0 in the 4 ½ and 5 in the 5 ⅛. That index is 16.

Station 12 caught 39 fish in the 4 ½ and 10 in the 5 ⅛, for an index of 92.

Station 14 caught 0 fish in the 4 ½ and 4 in the 5 ⅛. The index is 7.

Station 15 caught 0 fish.

Station 16 caught 7 fish in the 4 ½ and 32 in the 5 ⅛, for an index of 75.

Station 17 caught 23 in the 4 ½ and 1 in the 5 ⅛. That index is 55.

Station 18 caught 0 fish.

Station 20 caught 0 fish.

If you’d like to get your message out to the fleet on this show, send it over in an email to fish@kdlg.org. If you’d like to get in touch about anything else, give us a call at 842-2200 or send an email to fish@kdlg.org.

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.