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Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 1, 2023

Courtesy of Brian Venua
A tender docked at Peter Pan Seafood's processing plant in Dillingham

Bristol Bay fishing crews saw a big push of salmon yesterday, putting their first "million fish day" of the season in the books. Fleets across the bay harvested over 1.5 million fish on Friday with Egegik and Nushagak crews banking over 600,000 salmon each and the Naknek-Kvichak district re-opening fishing in time to haul in almost 300,000. Total run in Bristol Bay is coming up on nine million.

If you’d like to send a message to the fleet, get in touch or give some perspective, give us a call 842-5281 or send an email to

The Numbers

Fleets harvested over 1,587,015 salmon bay-wide, boosting the total catch this season to 5,834,117. The total run as of yesterday was 8,960,128 sockeye, and cumulative escapement was at 3,074,511. In-river estimates are another 51,500, over 3 times as much as yesterday.

In the Nushagak District, fleets hauled in 657,679 fish yesterday, with an average drift delivery of 644 sockeye. The total catch is at just over 3,445,156.

The drift fleet has caught the lion's share of that total harvest -- 78.4% -- while Nushagak set netters have harvested about a fifth, at 17.5%, and set netters in the Igushik have harvested just 4.1%.

Over at the Nushagak River sonar, the run slowed pretty significantly with 33,635 spawners passing on Friday, about half of previous days numbers, for a total of 1,071,561 fish up the river so far.

No kings were counted past the Nushagak sonar, leaving the season’s total at 23,082, about halfway to the escapement goal for chinook this season, which is at least 55,000.

Roughly 2,864 chum salmon showed up at the sonar yesterday, for a total of 59,157.

51,810 sockeye passed the Wood River counting tower on Friday, for a total escapement of 1,597,074.

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

27,384 sockeye passed the Igushik River counting tower on Friday, for a total of 125,592 fish this season.

Togiak fleets caught 3,759 fish yesterday, for a season total of 11,543 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 282,050 fish. The total season harvest is almost 644,858 salmon. For total escapement this season, so far it is159,882, and another 19,578 of those fish swam upstream yesterday.

The drift fleet caught about 79.4% of the total harvest, Naknek setnetters caught around 13.2% and Kvichak setnetters about 7.4%.

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 613,679 fish yesterday, keeping tenders busy with an average drift delivery of 1,534 fish. The season’s total catch is now over 1,623,992 fish.

Egegik drifters have hauled in about 86 % of the harvest and setnetters have caught about 14%.

Another nearly 10,404 fish escaped upstream Friday, bringing the season’s total escapement to 118,638 fish, and another 40,000 fish in-river, that is 8 times yesterday’s in-river numbers. The total run is now at 1,782,630 fish.

Ugashik fleets caught about 29,848 fish Friday. The season total is 108,568 fish harvested. Ugashik drifters represent 93.6% of that, and setnetters, the other 6%.

Escapement is 1,206 fish, and the total run at 111,832.

At the Chignik River weir, nearly 35,934 sockeye swam through the weir Friday, for a season total of 309,345.

An estimated 31,713 fish were part of the early run, and about 4,221 fish part of the late run.

In Area M, North and South Peninsula fleets harvested 52,714 sockeye Friday. The season’s total is 1,272,143 this season.

They caught 38 chinook, for a season total of 2,724. Another 174 chum were caught. No cohos and no pinks yesterday.

The total Area M season harvest across species is now at 1,688,635.

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 but all of yesterday's catch came from the North Peninsula, bringing their total harvest to 390,865 sockeye and 987 chinook.

And now on to the Port Moller Test Fishery:

No stock composition to report today.

For Port Moller catches on Friday, no fish were caught at Station 2 or Station 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 12 fish in the big net. That catch index is 34.

Station 6 caught 91 fish in the small net and 70 fish in the big net. That catch index is 284.

Station 8 caught 71 fish in the small net and 22 fish in the big net. That catch index is 243.

The test fishery reported data on two different catches at Station 10 last night, those are 1 fish in the small net and 3 fish in the big net for a catch index of 10 and then another reported catch index of 71, comprising 12 fish in the small net and 14 in the big net. Overall catch index at Station 10 yesterday was 38 and we are waiting on further clarification.

Station 12 caught 28 fish in the small net and 16 fish in the big net. That catch index is 94.

Station 14 caught 27 fish in the small net and 32 fish in the big net for a catch index of 126.

Station 16 caught just 4 fish in the big net for a whopping catch index of 10.

And finally, Station 18 caught 1 fish in the small net and 5 fish in the big net for a catch index of 14.

Vessel Registrations

As of 9 am today, in Egegik, there are 423 permits on 319 boats. Permits will jumping up to 432 permits on 328 boats by Monday, and the number of DBoats boats will stay the same at 104.

The Ugashik District has 62 permits on 50 boats, which will stay the same through the weekend. DBoats will stay the same at 12.

With Naknek-Kvichak District fleets hauling nets again, permits have filled out 393 on 319 boats. That will increase to 431 permits on 346 boats by the start of next week. DBoats will go from 74 to 85.

In the Nushagak, there are 717 permits on 517 boats. In the next 2 days, that will go to 719 permits on 518 boats. One DBoats will be added, making it 202 in the district by Monday.

The Togiak District has 18 permits on 18 boats, one more is expected in the next 48 hours.

In total bay-wide, there are 1,613 active permits on 1,223 boats and 391 DBoats

Get in touch at

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.