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Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 22, 2022

Fishing sail crew.JPG
Corinne Smith
Bill and Eric Hill fished off the Libby McNeil Libby 76. July 22, 2022.

It’s the penultimate day of Fish and Game’s daily run summary. Another half-million fish came through the bay on Thursday and the total run is now 76.5 million sockeye. With harvest also at 58.2 million fish, this year’s records keep on growing. Let’s dive in.

Xtratufs on the ground for Fishtival!

It’s the 40th annual Fishtival in Naknek. The sea shanties we’re listening to right now are being sung by the crew of the Libby McNeil Libby 76. KDLG’s Izzy Ross caught up with Corinne Smith, who’s on the ground in Naknek.

KDLG's Corinne Smith is at Fishtival in Naknek! We hear about the historic sailboat that fished out in the bay today, the Diamond NN Cannery's place in the National Register of Historic Places, and other fun and fishy events this week.

Singing crew.JPG
Corinne Smith
The crew of the Libby McNeil Libby 76 sing sea shanties during Fishtival in Naknek. July 22, 2022.
The crew of the Libby McNeil Libby 76 sings at the 40th annual Fishtival. July 22, 2022.

William P. Johnson talks about fishing then and now

William P. Johnson has fished commercially all his life. His family moved from Igushik to Dillingham when he was born. He started by helping his family on Igushik beach in the 1940s. Johnson started his career in commercial fishing back in the 1940s. Now, at 83 years old, he has just finished his sixty-second year captaining his own boat.

22BBFR william johnson.mp3

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Brian Venua
William P. Johnson just finished his 62nd year captaining his own boat. July 22, 2022.

Food Friday

It’s Food Friday! A time to tune in for recipes, leftover inspiration, or to whet your palate. This week, we have Brad Angasan, a commercial fisherman whose family is from Naknek and South Naknek. He says that years ago, his family worked with deckhands from Vietnam who shared a soup recipe they still cook on the boat.

22BBFR Food Friday brad.mp3

The numbers

Daily harvest was 315,000 on Thursday, for a season total of 58.2 million fish.

Another 257,160 salmon escaped up rivers around the bay, for a season total escapement of 18.2 million.

Bristol Bay’s total run is now 76.5 million fish.

Nushagak District

The Nushagak District’s fleet harvested just 35,000 sockeye on Thursday, for a season total of 22.7 million. That’s the second-highest harvest on record, only coming short of the 2018 haul.

39,516 fish escaped up rivers across the district, for a total escapement of 7.4 million.

Let’s break that down by river.

Nushagak River

The Nushagak River escapement rose a bit on Thursday. 7,338 sockeye came through for a total escapement of 3.4 million.

430 kings came through for a total of 44,183 Chinook.

Chums saw a small boost of 2,409 fish yesterday for a total of 101,876.

Wood River

The Wood River got 14,826 fish on Thursday with another 6,558 this morning. Total run for the Wood is 3.7 million spawners.

Igushik River

The Igushik saw another 17,352 fish escape with 3,828 friends this morning for a total count in that river of 297,154

Togiak District

Togiak fishermen caught 32,000 fish for a total harvest of 282,000 [WEB: 281,999].

6,852 escaped past Togiak’s counting tower on Thursday and another 2,322 swam past this morning. The total escapement there is at 54,930.

Togiak’s total run is at 334,607 fish.

Naknek-Kvichak District

The Naknek-Kvichak fleet hauled in another 118,000 fish for a season total of 14.1 million.

169,968 fish escaped across the district, for a total escapement of 7.6 million,

The district’s total run is at 21.7 million fish.

And to break it down by river,

Naknek River

The Naknek River’s escapement was 12,540, for a season total of 1.9 million.

Kvichak River

The Kvichak saw 88,998 spawners come through, for a run of 4.1 million salmon so far.

Alagnak River

The Alagnak tower crew counted 68,430 on Thursday, and another 1.5 million today.

Egegik District 

Egegik’s fleet caught 96,000 fish for a total of 15.3 million. That’s the third-largest harvest on record. Another 20,358 salmon escaped past the counting tower, for a total escapement of 1.7 million.

Egegik’s total run is at 17.1 million – now the district’s third-largest run on record.

Ugashik District

Ugashik fishermen caught 34,000 on Thursday, for a season total catch of 5.8 million. Ugashik’s harvest is now the third-largest on record.

The tower crew counted 20,466 fish for a cumulative of 1.3 million.

Ugashik’s total run is now 7.1 million. That’s the fifth-largest run on record.

Chignik Weir

Chignik’s early sockeye run was 1,471 on Thursday, for a total of 417,087.

The late run is 6,926 for a season total of 166,678.

We’ll have more on Chignik’s sockeye runs later in the program.

Another 18 Chinook swam through the Chignik Weir, for a total of 518.

And 7 pinks swam by, bringing that run to 61.

Area M

Area M fisherfolk caught 68,175 sockeye on Thursday. Pink harvest was 1,177, chum harvest was 306 and coho catch was 52.

Those harvests bring the season totals to 7.5 million sockeye, 1.3 million pinks, 639,859 chum, 8,873 kings, and 6,990 coho.

Contact the team at fish@kdlg.org

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 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!