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Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 14, 2022

Amelia Boger
Boats in the Dillingham Harbor

The bay-wide run is now 66.7 million salmon, just shy of last year’s record run of 67.7 million. The Nushagak District also has its second-largest run of all time with 28.3 million, just 100,000 over last year’s count of 28.2 million.

Belugas in Lake Aleknagik

Fishermen aren’t the only ones hunting salmon in Bristol Bay. This week, people on Lake Aleknagik spotted mysterious shapes in the water. KDLG’s Izzy Ross has more.

14Beluga pkg.mp3

Perspective on subsistence fishing in Naknek

As commercial fleets haul in millions of salmon a day, people across Bristol Bay are putting up subsistence fish as well. Correspondent Mackenzie Mancuso sat down with one subsistence fisher who is back home in Naknek for the summer.

14BBFR Mackenzie Shaelene.mp3

Ted Krieg reads a Dave Carlson diary entry from July 5 - 11, 1939.

This summer, we’re taking a few minutes each week to sit back and listen to a day in the life of a commercial fisherman from more than 80 years ago. Local historian Ted Krieg started reading daily entries from the 1930s diary of Dave Carlson, who lived and worked in Bristol Bay. Each Thursday, Ted joins us to read another passage from Dave Carlson’s life, transcribed by Arlene Atkinson.

Messages to the fleet

To the Dutah family fish company in Egegik and Danny McPherson
Spike and Penny in Cathlament, WA wanted to give a shoutout

To the F/V Twin Tuition

To: Captain Mike "Fishhead" Fourtner and hardworking crew on the Twin Tuition. Been following the details on KDLG Fish Reports. Looking forward to fish and sea stories. So glad you got the boat on the bay in time for this historic season. Savor the moment! Stay safe

From: The tug Deborah Ann - Charleston SC

To the F/V Tango Whisky: 

Charlie needs fish.

The numbers

Bristol Bay fleets hauled in another 2 million fish on Wednesday, for a total harvest of 51 million salmon. Another 943,000 fish escaped up rivers yesterday, and total escapement is now at 15.6 million. The in-river estimate dropped significantly to 130,000. The total bay-wide run is now at 66.7 million fish - now just one million fish shy of the largest run of all time.

Nushagak District

Another half million sockeye came through the Nushagak District on Wednesday and the total run is now at 28.3 million. That’s more than last year’s count of 28.2 million, past the 2018 record of 33.7 million fish.

The Nushagak fisherfolk hauled in 470,000 fish on Wednesday, for a total catch of 21.3 million. Average drifters brought in 619 sockeye per delivery.

96,807 sockeye escaped for a total count of 7 million so far.

Nushagak River

33,554 fish escaped in the Nushagak River on Wednesday, for a cumulative count of 3.46 million. To break that down by species,

32,835 were sockeye for a total count of 3.3 million fish.

1,679 were chum for a total of 87,163.

And just 40 were kings for a total of 42,903 Chinook.

Wood River
The Wood River had 53,724 fish come through on Wednesday. Tower counters reported -360 fish this morning. Area Management Biologist Tim Sands says that happens on large tides when the flow reverses at the tower and the fish swim down river because it is into the current. He says when the tide drops the current returns to normal and the counts jump back up.

The total escapement there is now 3.46 million fish.

Igushik River

The Igushik River had another 10,248 fish come through with 2,838 this morning. Total escapement there is now over 223,000.

Togiak District

The Wednesday run in Togiak had 24,224 fish come through, and 1,134 fish this morning. Total escapement is now over 30,900.

Togiak fisherfolk hauled in 20,000 fish on Wednesday, and average drift deliveries at 181 fish. Total harvest there is now just over 154,000.

The total run in Togiak is now just over 184,600.

Naknek-Kvichak District

The Naknek-Kvichak District saw over 1.4 million fish come through and the total run is now 16.67 million fish.

On Wednesday, the harvest was 822,000 fish for a total harvest of 10.8 million sockeye. Average drift deliveries there were 1,249 sockeye. Escapement was 639,876, for a total of about 5.8 million.

And to break it down by river,

Naknek River

The Naknek River had 46,722 fish escape past the tower for a total of 1.6 million this season, double the lower end of the escapement goal.

Kvichak River

The Kvichak River had another big surge of fish that came by their tower with 454,830 fish, for a total of 3 million sockeye, well within the escapement goal there.

Alagnak River

The Alagnak had 138,324 fish counted for a running total of 1 million fish so far, 5 times its lower boundary of the escapement goal.

Egegik District

Egegik’s fleet harvested 426,000 fish on Wednesday, with an average drift delivery of 1,009 fish. That brings the total harvest to 13.8 million.

Escapement up the Egegik was 56,682 on Wednesday, for a total count of 1.6 million.

Egegik’s total run is now 15.4 million.

Ugashik District

Over to Ugashik, fleets caught 337,000 fish for a total harvest of 4.8 million fish. The average drift delivery continues to be the highest out of all districts. On Wednesday fishers brought in about 1,308 fish per delivery.

Another 145,600 escaped up river, for a cumulative count of 1.13 million fish - over double the lower escapement goal. 130,000 fish are estimated to be in-river.

Ugashik’s total run is at 6 million.

Vessel Registrations

In Egegik, there are 280 permits on 214 boats. Those numbers will increase slightly to 287 permits on 220 boats by Saturday. DBoats will go from 66 to 67 vessels.

More crews are starting to fish in the Naknek-Kvichak District - there are 627 permits now, but that will rise to 658 in two days. The number of vessels will go from 506 to 527 and the number of DBoats will go from 124 to 134.

The Nushagak District has 447 permits on 330 boats. Those numbers will drop slightly to 442 permits on 326 boats. DBoats will go from 118 to 117.

The Togiak District has 38 permits on 38 boats, and that will stay the same through Saturday.

In the Ugashik District, there are 325 permits on 244 boats. That number will go up by one to 326 permits on 244 boats. The number of Dboats will stay the same at 82.

Chignik Weir Counts 

The Chignik River Weir counted 8,677 sockeye and 18 Chinook on Wednesday. 3,791 sockeye were part of the early run, which is now at 395,425 fish. The late run had 4,886 fish for a count of 89,644 sockeye. The total Chinook run is now 278.

Area M 

The Area M fleet caught 161,535 salmon on Wednesday, for a total harvest of 8.7 million. Again, the vast majority were sockeye, with 161,407 fish. There were 85 chum caught, 41 pink, just 1 Chinook, and 1 silver.

Total harvest for each species is 7.08 million sockeye, 1.19 million pinks, 588,027 chum, 6,674 Chinook, and 1,507 silvers.

Port Moller Test Fishery

The Port Moller Test Fishery is wrapping up for the season. The vessel Half Moon Bay which covered Stations 10 - 1, finished the season on Tuesday. The Ocean Cat covered the outer stations yesterday, and finished covering the inner stations today. The technicians thank the captain and crews for helping to make the Port Moller Test Fishery happen.

Station 10 caught 6 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 2 fish in the 5 ⅛. That catch index is 17.

Station 12 caught 3 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 1 fish in the 5 ⅛. That catch index is 7.

Station 14 caught 2 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 3 fish in the 5 ⅛. That catch index is 12.

Station 16 caught 0 fish.

Station 18 caught 1 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 0 fish in the 5 ⅛. That catch index is 4.

Station 20 caught 0 fish in the 4 ½ inch mesh and 1 fish in the 5 ⅛. That catch index is 3.

Stock Compositions - July 10 - 11

For the last stock composition analysis of the season - the test fishery crew analyzed 190 fish for the June 10-11 stock composition estimate.

The largest percentage of the fish sampled were swimming to the Kvichak River – an estimated 22% were headed there. Next was the Ugashik with 19%. About 17% of the sampled sockeye were swimming to the Nushagak. An estimated 9.8% of the samplings were on their way to the Naknek, and 9.2% to the Alagnak. 5% are swimming to the Wood, about 5% to the North Pensinsula, and 5% to the Egegik. About 4% were headed to the Igushik, 2% to the Togiak, and 1% to the Kuskokwim rivers.

North Peninsula 5.4%

Ugashik 18.8%

Egegik 5.3%

Naknek 9.8%

Alagnak 9.2%

Kvichak 21.6%

Nushagak 17.4%

Wood 5.4%

Igushik 3.6%

Togiak 2.3%

Kuskokwim 1.2%

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.
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.
Corinne Smith is an award-winning reporter and producer who grew up in Oakland, California. She's reported for KFSK in Petersburg, KHNS in Haines, and most recently KBBI in Homer. This is her second season as a fisheries reporter, and now returns as director of the Bristol Bay Fisheries Report.