KDLG Header Banner Image
Public Radio for Alaska's Bristol Bay
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: June 26, 2022

Boats in the Nushagak District. June 26, 2022.
Boats in the Nushagak District. June 2022.

Egegik fishermen hauled in the bay's biggest harvest on Saturday. Ugashik fishermen hauled in the smallest, but their drift deliveries were huge. Sockeye runs to Nushagak and Wood rivers were over 200,000. We also have revised numbers for the Nushagak's king escapement.

The numbers

The daily catch on Saturday was 682,000 sockeye, for a season total of 3.6 million fish. Across the bay, 635,606 fish escaped for a total of 2.3 million so far. An estimated 240,000 fish are in those rivers. The bay’s total run is at 6.2 million sockeye.

Nushagak District

Nushagak District fleets caught 112,000 sockeye, for a season total of 1.3 million. The average drift delivery was the smallest in the bay, at 163 sockeye. Escapement in the district was 437,384 for a total of 1.8 million. The district’s run is now at 3.2 million sockeye.

Nushagak River

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has revised its Chinook count from earlier in the week.

You may remember a day earlier this week where king escapement was over 11,000 fish. That brought the total escapement for kings close to 39,000. Well, the sonar crew hadn’t actually caught enough fish in one of the offshore strata. The apportionment spreadsheet used the prior day's catches and apportioned them mainly as kings. The test fishery then caught enough fish in the strata the next day, and the numbers were finalized.

That means that the 11,000 count is now at 6,510. The total king escapement is at 35,325. The numbers from Friday are higher than reported, at 688. And Saturday’s king escapement is at 475.

Here’s a summary of how the sonar works, from our 2018 fisheries report:

Sonar records 10-minute snapshots every hour all day long from a site about 25 miles upstream from the commercial fishery, near Portage Creek. Technicians then total up the number of fish swimming by to get a raw count.

The sonar can’t distinguish between species of fish. So the crew goes out and does test sets. There’s an in-shore and off-shore zone on both sides of the river, and they have to catch five fish in each zone before they can be confident in their apportionment data. Technicians then apply the proportion of each species caught in those sets to the raw count from the sonar.

The Nushagak River’s sockeye escapement has slowed down since Friday’s huge push. The index for Saturday’s sockeye count was 215,234. The river’s total run is at 1.1 million.

Wood River

The Wood River’s run topped 200,000 fish for the second day in a row. The tower crew counted 222,150 sockeye. Another 20,286 were counted as of 6 a.m. this morning. The Wood’s total escapement is at 779,214.

Igushik River

Igushik’s tower crew started counting at 8 a.m. this morning. We should get escapement numbers for the Igushik early this week.

Togiak

The Togiak fleet didn’t fish on Saturday. The total harvest there remains at 2,299.

Naknek-Kvichak

The Naknek-Kvichak fleet caught 184,000 fish on Saturday, for a season total of 457,438. Drift deliveries averaged out at 856 sockeye. The district saw 66,468 fish escape up its rivers, for a total of 158,466. The total run for the Naknek-Kvichak is 675,904.

Naknek River

At the Naknek River, 18,690 fish swam past the counting tower on Saturday, for a cumulative total of 103,176.

Kvichak River

The Kvichak tower crew counted 47,778 for a total of 55,290. Around 60,000 fish are swimming up the river there.

Egegik

Egegik’s fleet hauled in the largest harvest on Saturday, at 316,000 fish. The average drift delivery was 1,057. The total harvest is also the heftiest in the bay, at 1.7 million. Escapement was at 131,754 fish, for a total of 337,032.

There are a lot of fish swimming up the Egegik River right now: The in-river estimate is at 180,000.

Egegik’s total run is at 2.2 million sockeye.

Ugashik

Ugashik fishermen hauled in the bay’s smallest harvest, at 70,000 fish. But the drift deliveries were huge — fishermen there delivered an average of almost 2,500 sockeye. Ugashik’s total harvest is 114,300. We should start to get escapement numbers from the Ugashik in the next couple days.

Registrations: June 26 9:00 a.m. and June 28 9:00 a.m.

More than 1,500 permits are registered to fish in the bay. Total permit registration is at 1,583, and vessel registration is 1,227. On Tuesday morning that will increase to 1,625 permits on 1,259 boats. Across the bay, there are 359 D-boats. That will go up to 368 in 48 hours.

In the Nushagak there are 978 permits on 724 boats. That will increase slightly to 980 permits on 727 vessels on Tuesday. The number of D-boats will drop a bit, from 256 to 254.

In Egegik 344 permits are registered to fish on 273 boats. Those numbers will see a small bump on Tuesday to 350 permits and 275 vessels. Egegik D-boats will increase from 71 to 75.

The Naknek-Kvichak fleet is at 197 permits registered on 173 boats. That district will see the highest influx of activity, with 229 permits and 199 boats registered to fish on Tuesday. D-boats will go from 25 to 31 in the next 48 hours.

On to Ugashik, where there are 38 permits on 31 vessels. They’ll see a small increase as well, to 40 permits on 32 boats. D-boats will go from 7 to 8.

Togiak’s fleet will remain the same through Tuesday, at 26 permits and 26 boats.

Chignik Weir 

At the Chignik River, 10,589 early run sockeye passed through the weir on Saturday, and another 581 late run fish swam through. As of around Total sockeye escapement through the weir is at 146,032 early run and 4,491 late run fish.

That escapement is higher than it has been at this time since 2018. But it’s still far below the numbers before that crash.

Chignik’s 2022 early run is forecast to be a quarter-million fish below the 10-year average of 905,000. But it is expected to be almost 400,000 fish higher than last year.

Area M

In Area M, daily sockeye harvest was 199,200. Fishermen caught 411 Chinook, 66,900 chum, and 23,400 pinks. The total sockeye harvest for Area M is at 4 million. Pink harvest has reached 1 million. Chum is 419,800, and Chinook are 2,900.

On the South Peninsula, sockeye harvest from the Dolgoi Island Area is still at 16,360 for the season. The Shumagin Islands fleet has caught over 776,600 fish. South Unimak fishermen have caught 2.8 million sockeye.

In all, the South Peninsula has hauled in 3.6 million sockeye, 2,500 Chinook, and 1 million pink salmon. The chum harvest is at 419,700.

On the North Peninsula, Nelson Lagoon fishermen have harvested 17,700 sockeye and 170 Chinook so far this season. From Port Moller to Outer Port Heiden, fleets have harvested 376,800 sockeye and almost 300 kings. The total harvest from North Peninsula is at 394,500 sockeye and 450 kings.

Port Moller Test Fishery 

Genetic samples for June 24 and 25 were successfully transferred to the onboard gene lab. However, rough seas hinder sampling processing so a stock composition for these dates is not likely to be released before very late tonight or Monday morning

Catches from June 24

The technicians say there’s about a six-day travel time from the test fishery to the bay’s commercial districts. Catch and escapement dropped off a bit on Friday, which technicians say follows what the daily catch index suggested. If this relationship holds, catch and escapement should fluctuate between one and two million for the next several days. But there is another likely outcome – fish may surge into the districts after holding outside for several days, which would be similar to 2017 and 2021.

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

Station 2 caught 1 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 2 in the 5 ⅛. The index is 9.

Station 4 caught 1 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 0 in the 5 ⅛. The index is 3.

Station 6 caught 3 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 26 in the 5 ⅛. The index is 81.

Station 8 caught 73 fish in the 4 ½ and 75 in the 5 ⅛. The catch index is 261.

The crew didn’t fish at Station 10 due to weather.

Station 11 caught 7 fish in the 4 ½ and 1 in the 5 ⅛, for an index of 18.

Station 12 caught 8 fish in the 4 ½ and 3 in the 5 ⅛, for an index of 25.

Station 13 caught 35 fish in the 4 ½ and 9 in the 5 ⅛. The index is 91.

Station 14 caught 0 fish.

Station 16 caught 29 fish in the 4 ½ and 14 in the 5 ⅛, for an index of 96.

Messages to the fleet

For my husband and friends on the Sea Hawk:

I hope you’re all having a blast out there doing what you love. Be safe and catch lots of fish!

All of my love!

Garland

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.