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Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: June 30, 2023

From L to R: Curry Cunningham, Aaron Lambert, Kelly Neal, Grace Henry, Michael Kinneen, Ray Hilborn.
Jack Darrell
UW Alaska Salmon Program's 2023 Fishery Management Class (From L to R: Curry Cunningham, Aaron Lambert, Kelly Neal, Grace Henry, Michael Kinneen, Ray Hilborn)

Over a million fish have now swam up the Nushagak. Fleets hauled in almost 850,000 fish baywide on Thursday, and the total run is at 7.1 million fish.

Get in touch and share some perspective — give us a call 907-842-2200 or send an email to

The Fisheries Research Institute is a project of the University of Washington monitoring the Nushagak salmon runs since the 1950s. Researchers and students return each summer to the station on the shores of Lake Aleknagik -

This year, Aaron Lambert, Grace Henry, Kelly Neal, and Michael Kinneen are students in a class focused on Alaska fisheries management - like a model UN - simulating Fish and Game biologists management of Bristol Bay. Fisheries reporters Jessie Sheldon and Jack Darrell sat in on a class today.

Bristol Bay Fisheries Report
Fisheries Management Class
From L to R: Curry Cunningham, Aaron Lambert, Kelly Neal, Grace Henry, Michael Kinneen, Ray Hilborn.

Fisheries Reporter Brian Venua, KMXT

We had a familiar voice on tonight, that’s KMXT's Brian Venua - he was born and raised in Dillingham, and got started in radio here at KDLG and was a fisheries reporter here for the last two seasons.

Bristol Bay Fisheries Report
Fisheries Reporter Brian Venua

Food Friday

Today…for Food Friday we talk sourdough with Casey Chandler. This season, she started selling her homemade sourdough bread in Dillingham, and KDLG’s Jessie Sheldon met her in the boatyard to talk toast.

Food Friday
The Bread Sled

The Numbers

First, the numbers, featuring Brian Venua.

Another day, another half a million fish harvested in the Nushagak. Fleets harvested 846,622 fish baywide, and the total season catch is at 4,246,640. The total run as of yesterday was 7,192,134, and cumulative escapement was at 2,930,494 with another 15,000 in-river.

In the Nushagak District, fleets hauled in 553,575 fish yesterday, with an average drift delivery of 692 sockeye. The total catch is at just over 2.7 million.

The drift fleet has caught three quarters of that total harvest -- 75.6% -- while Nushagak set netters have harvested about a fifth, at 20%, and set netters in the Igushik have harvested just 4.5%.

At the Nushagak River sonar, the run slowed a bit with 68,787 sockeye passing on Thursday for a total of 1,037,926 fish up the river so far.

588 Chinook passed the Nushagak River sonar for a total of 23,082 this season. That’s just about halfway to the escapement goal for chinook this season, which is at least 55,000.

And another 3,415 chum salmon passed the sonar, for a total of 56,293.

59,676 sockeye passed the Wood River counting tower on Thursday, for a total escapement of 1,545,264. Another 18,678 swam up by 6am this morning.

About 8 million sockeye are expected to return to the Wood this season.

28,518 sockeye passed the Igushik counting tower on Thursday, for a total of 98,208 fish this season. Another 2,190 swam past the tower as of 6 am this morning.

Togiak fleets caught 400 fish yesterday, for a season total of 7,784 fish.

Escapement is still at zero, but the forecast is an estimated 700,000 sockeye, and about 500,000 for harvest.

On the east-side…

Naknek and Kvichak fishing fleets hauled in 162,417 fish. The total season harvest is 362,346 fish. This season’s total escapement is just over 140,304, and another 44,460 of those fish swam upstream yesterday.

The drift fleet caught about 78 percent of the total harvest, Naknek setnetters caught 10.7% and Kvichak setnetters10.8%.

The Naknek is forecasted to see a 6.5 million sockeye run, and the Kvichak is expecting to see over 8 million fish. The Alagnak is forecasted to get around 4.2 million, but no Alagnak counts are in yet.

Fishing crews in Egegik caught 130,223 fish yesterday, with an average drift delivery of 444 fish. The season’s total catch is now 1,010,313 fish.

Egegik drifters have hauled in about 88 percent of the harvest and setnetters have caught about 12 percent.

Another nearly 13,998 fish escaped upstream Thursday, bringing the season’s total escapement to 108,234 fish, and another 5,000 fish in-river. The total run is now at 1,123,547 fish.

Ugashik fleets caught zero fish on Thursday. The season total is 78,720 fish harvested, with Ugashik drifters caught 97 percent of that, and setnetters have caught 3 percent.

Escapement is 432 fish, and the total run at 79,278.

As of 9 am on Friday, in Egegik, there are 422 permits on 318 boats. Permits will drop slightly to 421 permits on 317 boats by Sunday, and the number of DBoats boats will stay the same at 104.

The Ugashik District has 63 permits on 51 boats, which will also increase slightly to 65 permits on 53 boats in the next 2 days. DBoats will stay the same at 12.

In the Naknek-Kvichak District, there are now 346 permits on 286 boats. That will increase to 419 permits on 338 boats by Sunday. DBoats will increase from 60 to 61.

In the Nushagak, there are 725 permits on 524 boats. In the next 2 days, that will go to 726 permits on 525 boats. DBoats will stay the same at 201.

The Togiak District has 18 permits on 18 boats, which won’t change in the next two days.

In total bay-wide, there are 1,574 active permits on 1,119 boats and 377 DBoats

At the Chignik River weir, 31,642 sockeye swam through the weir Thursday, for a season total of 273,411.

An estimated 28,483 fish were part of the early run, and 3,159 fish part of the late run.

In Area M, North and South Peninsula fleets harvested 49,954 sockeye Thursday. The season’s total is 1,635,921.

They caught 58 chinook, for a season total of 2,686. Another 142 chum were caught, and no cohos and no pinks.

The total Area M season harvest across species is now at 1,635,921.

Most of the season’s harvest has been caught on the South Peninsula, with the South Unimak and Shumagin Islands fleets' total harvest now at nearly 881,278 sockeye and 1,737 chinook.

In the North Peninsula, total harvest is at 338,363 sockeye and 949 chinook by fleets in Nelson Lagoon, Port Heiden, and the Northwestern District.

And now on to the Port Moller Test Fishery:

Technicians report the daily catch index increased again Thursday, which suggests that run strength at the test fishery is building. They say the average fish size from the test fishery has been about 5.6 lbs (about one pound heavier than last year).

No stock composition to report today.

For Port Moller catches on Thursday, no fish were caught at Stations 2, 18, or 20.

At the following test fishery stations, the smaller mesh size is 4 ½ inch and the bigger mesh size is 5 ⅛.

Station 4 caught 53 fish in the small net and 29 fish in the big net. That catch index is 214

Station 6 caught 24 fish in the small net and 31 fish in the big net. That catch index is 143

Station 8 caught 37 fish in the small net and 43 fish in the big net. That catch index is 209.

Station 10 caught 142 fish in the small net and 52 fish in the big net. That catch index is 306.

Station 12 caught 26 fish in the small net and 54 fish in the big net. That catch index is 145.

Station 14 caught 11 fish in the small net and 10 fish in the big net for a catch index of 47.

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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.
Jack Darrell is a reporter for KDLG, the NPR member station in Dillingham. He is working on the Bristol Bay Fisheries Report and is passionate about sustainable fisheries and local stories that connect communities and explore the intersections of class, culture, and the natural world.
Jessie Sheldon is a fisheries reporter for KDLG. She has spent several summers working in Alaska, both on the water and in the recording studio. Jessie is passionate about marine ecosystems, connection through storytelling, and all things fishy.
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.