Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 8, 2022
Fleets across the bay hauled in 2.8 million fish. The Naknek-Kvichak fleet saw its biggest harvest of the season so far, hauling in 800,000 fish. The Nushagak fleet broke its streak of million-fish days – falling just short. The Nushagak’s king run has come to a standstill, with the second day of no Chinook counted past the sonar.
Coast Guard medevacs crewmember near Egegik
Coast Guard aircrews medevaced one crewmember from a fishing tender, the Pacific Producer, which was near the Egegik River on Saturday, July 2. According to the agency’s press release, the emergency call for assistance came at about 9:15 p.m. from the 167-foot tender six miles west of the Egegik River, for a crewmember apparently experiencing sepsis-like symptoms. Air Station Kodiak launched an HC-130 Hercules aircraft and MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew. The helicopter crew hoisted the crewmember and transported her to Dillingham for medical care.
Fishermen braces for fuel squeeze on the East Side
We caught up with Brad Angasan, the owner and operator of the F/V Novarupta. He’s fishing in Naknek this summer.
When we talked, Angasan was on shore – taking a laundry day during a lull in the run. He says they got a notification that fuel may be an issue for fishermen – the fuel barge had a mechanical issue at port. That put him on edge.
"We're waiting for the Naknek-Kvichak to do its thing, and do what I call 'pop,' and you know, be prepared for that," Angasan said. "And not have to worry about where we're gonna get our fuel to take care of business. So it's kind of a distraction, I think it's going to be a minor one, I understand that processors and fuel providers are working to get that figured out, and I'm sure they will."
He’ll keep an eye on the situation, but he’s confident that the suppliers will get the fuel to the fleet, and he’s not going to let a potential shortage deter him from fishing.
"There's a hot report of fish running in a certain part of the district, and you know, I'm not going to be hindered I'm going to get up and go. Course, like all jet boats it's fun to go fast but when you're faced with fuel shortages you're kinda subject to the same pressures as everybody else. So you manage your operation a little bit more conservatively," he said.
While Angasan is set to stay in the Naknek this summer, that wasn’t originally the plan.
"My goal was to be in Nushagak, with all six hundred and seventy some boats that ended up there, but happenchance had it that I ended up staying here, and rescuing my season so to speak. I had a bit of a breakdown after weighing my odds and uncertainties, I chose to stay here and eek out a season," he said.
Angasan sent over pictures that show thousands of pounds of fish on the deck and in the holds of his boat. He says those were the good days.
"There's streaks of really good luck here," Angasan said. "And you know, just like anywhere else. Naknek and the Kvichak are my stomping grounds, this is where I'm from. Fishing in the district that my grandpa, my dad, and others taught me, so I think I combination of local knowledge and history has really helped out quite a bit. But other than that, it's been pretty inconsistent."
As Chignik 's early run nears lower end escapement goal, its first commercial opener is set for July 11
On to the Chignik fishery, which is set to see a commercial opener on Monday. We talked to Acting Area Management Biologist Carl Burnside about early and late run escapement and what the fleet might expect.
It’s Food Friday! A time to tune in for recipes, leftover inspiration, or to whet your palate. Today we have a recipe from Melanie Brown, a set-netter in the Naknek River, who’s been commercial fishing for over 40 years. She shared her favorite breakfast leftover recipe, and her crew agrees.
Messages to the fleet
Shout out to Bryce McKinley and the Roadster crew! Everyone is pulling for ya back home in Portland buddy. Smack em boys!
Love Mom and Dad Mckinley
To Elma on the F/V Caribbean Sun. From the Red Dog set net camp in Ugashik. We miss you Elma, and hope you're rockin' in out there on the bay. Remember, we're all fishing until we're not. Love you from past and present Red Dog crew.
Now, the numbers. We have a correction to make on our Chignik escapement counts. Chignik's early sockeye run has not met its lower-end escapement goal of 350,000. It is currently at 330,506. Our apologies for this error.
878,470 fish escaped up rivers across the bay, bringing the bay-wide count to 10 million. Another 940,000 fish are swimming up rivers toward their spawning grounds. The bay-wide harvest was 2.8 million fish, for a cumulative of 35.6 million. The bay’s total run is now 46.6 million sockeye.
The Nushagak District’s total run is now at 22 million fish.
The fleet broke its streak of million-fish days. Thursday’s harvest was 950,000 fish, for a cumulative of 16.1 million.
216,106 fish escaped up rivers across the district, for a total count of 5.8 million salmon.
Let’s break that down by river.
No kings passed the Nushagak River sonar for the second day in a row, so king escapement remains at just under 42,000.
The chum run dropped off drastically on Thursday – the daily count was 290 fish. The chum escapement is at 80,021.
Meanwhile, the daily sockeye run past the sonar was still strong – 81,082. Total sockeye escapement is just under 3 million fish.
The Wood River’s run was still over 100,000 on Thursday – 125,694 salmon swam past the counting tower, and another 28,644 joined them as of 6 a.m. this morning. The Wood’s total run is at 2.7 million.
To the Igushik now, where the tower crew counted 9,330 on Thursday and another 4,482 this morning. The Igushik’s total run is now 169,806 fish.
The Togiak fleet caught 11,600 fish, with an average drift delivery of 131 sockeye. The total harvest there is now 71,617.
Togiak’s daily escapement was 2,886 on Thursday, and another 1,692 fish friends joined them this morning. Togiak’s total escapement count is now 9,090.
The total run up the Togiak River is now 80,707.
The Naknek-Kvichak fleet saw its biggest harvest of the season so far, hauling in 800,000 fish. Drift deliveries averaged 1,154 sockeye. The district’s cumulative harvest is now at 6 million.
455,898 fish escaped up rivers across the district, for a total spawning population of 2.6 million.
And to break it down by river,
The Naknek River’s escapement was the lowest in the district again, at 59,664 fish. The river’s total run is now 996,906.
The Kvichak’s run upriver was even bigger than the day before, as 303,612 fish were counted swimming past the tower. That brings the total escapement to 1.1 million – halfway to the Kvichak’s minimum escapement goal.
92,622 fish escaped up the Alagnak, for a total escapement there of 433,464.
Egegik’s fleet caught 768,000 on Thursday, with average drift deliveries of 1,493. That brings the total run to 10.5 million. Escapement up the Egegik was 96,066, for a total count of 1.1 million. Another 90,000 fish are estimated to be swimming up the Egegik toward their spawning grounds.
Egegik’s run is at 11.7 million.
In Ugashik, fleets caught 319,000 fish, bringing their total harvest to 2.7 million fish. Another 107,514 evaded those nets and made it past the counting tower, for a cumulative of 362,040. A quarter-million fish are swimming up the river toward the counting tower.
Ugashik’s total run is at 3.3 million.
As we mentioned earlier in the show, we had to correct our counts fro the Chignik River’s early run escapement. Fish and Game's website lists the total sockeye run and the late run counts, but does not explicitly list the early sockeye run, so we listed the total run count instead of the early run. You can find the correct numbers online at kdlg.org under the Bristol Bay Fisheries Report or on the Fish and Game website.
On to the numbers for Thursday: Another 14,724 sockeye swam past the weir on Thursday, bringing the total early run to 330,506.
The 355,384 count is the total number of early and late sockeye that have escaped past the weir.
Another 7,030 late run fish swam through, bringing that run to 46,632. That’s the highest the late run has been at this point in the season within the last nine years.
A small pulse of kings swam through on Thursday. The weir crew counted 48 Chinook, for a total of just 128.
We’ll have more from the Chignik area biologist later in the show.
In the Area M intercept fishery, harvest was at 179,398 fish for a cumulative total of nearly 7.7 million salmon.
Sockeye harvest was 148,519 yesterday for a running total of 5.9 million so far. 18,914 chum were harvested as well for a total of 579,210. Pink harvest was at 10,375 for a total of 1.17 million this summer. 1,347 Chinook were caught on Thursday, the total for that species is now 5,430, and 243 Coho were caught for a season total of 436 so far.
Port Moller Test Fishery
Crews with the Port Moller Test Fishery were able to cover the entire transect on Thursday – fishing all the way from station -1 to station 24. That’s the widest transect they’ve run this season.
The highest index actually came from Station -1, which is just 3 miles offshore of Port Moller. However, Technician Scott Raborn said in an update that the stock composition of that catch will remain unknown, and local stocks could make up a good proportion of Station -1’s catch.
Catches diminished from there to Station 6, which Raborn says indicates that a major band of fish was probably not passing through the innermost stations.
Stations 12 and 20 caught 0 fish.
Station -1 caught 9 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 5 fish in the 5 ⅛. That catch index is 34.
Station 1 caught 1 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 3 fish in the 5 ⅛. That catch index is 10.
Station 2 caught 0 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 1 fish in the 5 ⅛. That catch index is 3.
Station 4 caught 2 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 0 fish in the 5 ⅛. That catch index is 5.
Station 6 caught 0 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 1 fish in the 5 ⅛. That catch index is 2.
Station 8 caught 5 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 1 fish in the 5 ⅛. That catch index is 12.
Station 10 caught 10 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 2 fish in the 5 ⅛. That catch index is 25.
Station 14 caught 2 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 14 fish in the 5 ⅛. That catch index is 32.
Station 16 caught 7 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 3 fish in the 5 ⅛. That catch index is 15.
Station 18 caught 1 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 9 fish in the 5 ⅛. That catch index is 21.
Station 22 caught 4 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 0 fish in the 5 ⅛. That catch index is 9.
Station 24 caught 0 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 1 fish in the 5 ⅛. That catch index is 2.
We’re looking to document what a day in the life looks like for a commercial fishermen. If you’re willing to have one of our fish reporters aboard your vessel for 12-24 hours, give us a call at (907) 842-2200.