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Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 11, 2023

The F/V Husluh prepares to launch in the Dillingham harbor
Corinne Smith
The F/V Husluh prepares to launch in the Dillingham harbor

Bristol Bay fleets had another strong harvest day Monday with 1.8 million fish caught bay-wide. The biggest catch was in the Nushagak, followed closely by the Naknek-Kvichak. Escapement is at 7.5 million fish, and the total bay-wide run is at 31.1 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 fish in this season’s Bristol Bay sockeye run are older than usual - having spent more years in the open ocean - and significantly bigger, according to fisheries management researchers. KDLG’s Jessie Sheldon talked with Stacy Vega, area research biologist for commercial fisheries with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to learn more.

Bristol Bay Fisheries Report
Stacy Vega on Older, Bigger Fish

The NN Cannery History Project in South Naknek has won a national award of excellence from the American Association for State and Local History. As KDLG’s Corinne Smith reports, the prestigious award recognizes the project - including the local team behind it - and their effort to preserve and represent the people and culture of Bristol Bay’s processing industry.

Bristol Bay Fisheries Report
NN Cannery Award

For more on the NN Cannery History project check out

At the beginning of the season, we spoke to both new and seasoned fishers about the upcoming season. One of those was Will Cook, a college student from Georgia who, three weeks prior, had no idea he would be fishing the Nushagak aboard the F/V Sea La Vie. Now, we check-in with the greenhorn known as West Coast Will, to see how the seafaring, salmon picking life has been treating him.

Bristol Bay Fisheries Report
Will Cook, F/V Sea La Vie
Greenhorn Will Cook

Fish Facts

Our regular segment this season on fish ecology, research, and conservation - where we take a deep dive into the salmon life cycle, from the open ocean to home streams and rivers.

Today, we take a look at what the salmon are eating in freshwater. KDLG’s Jessie Sheldon has more.

Bristol Bay Fisheries Report
Salmon Diets in Freshwater

Messages to the Fleet

A big Happy Birthday to Mike on the Miss Gina in Egegik. From Gina and Coco.. we love you!!!

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

Monday racked up another million harvest day, with 1,819,822 caught bay-wide.

The total season catch is now at 23,342,190. Escapement yesterday was 322,490 for a season total of 7,504,996 spawners up-river, and another 310,000 estimated in-river.

For a total run, thanks to yesterday’s push, we are at 31,157,186.


After a nerve wracking couple days for fleets in the Nushagak District that reported seeing very little fish, there appears to have been another push. 800,911 were hauled aboard yesterday, with an average drift delivery of 1,083 sockeye. The total catch is at 9,181,257.

The drift fleet has caught about 78 percent of that total harvest. Nushagak set netters have harvested 18.6 percent, and set netters in the Igushik have harvested 3 percent.

Nushagak River

At the Nushagak River sonar, an estimated 11,496 sockeye passed on Monday for a total nearing 1,467,398 this season.

An estimated 583 Chinook passed the Nushagak River sonar yesterday for a total of 29,636 this season. The escapement goal is at least 55,000.

Another 1,635 chum salmon also passed the sonar, for a total of an estimated 79,512 this season.

Wood River

At the Wood River counting tower, an estimated 95,766 sockeye passed on Monday, bringing the total escapement to 2,159,370.

Igushik River

In the Igushik River, an estimated 16,920 sockeye passed on Monday, for a total of 253,044 fish this season.


At the Togiak counting tower, crews estimate 3,708 sockeye passed on Monday, for a total of 30,930 fish this season.

Togiak escapement is forecasted at 700,000.

10,500 salmon were harvested in Togiak yesterday. The season total is 63,339. The total run in Togiak is at 94,269 fish.

On the east-side…


Naknek and Kvichak just barely lost out to Nushagak fishing fleets yesterday, hauling in the second biggest catch of the day: just under 766,784, with an average drift delivery of 616 fish. The season total catch is now 6,102,065 fish. Monday’s escapement dropped to an estimated 162,030 with another 200,000 estimated in-river. The season’s total escapement is now at 8,985,685 fish.

The drift fleet caught about 76 percent of that total harvest, Naknek setnetters caught around 13 percent and Kvichak setnetters around 11 percent.

In the Naknek River, tower crews estimated 22,914 fish escaped yesterday, up from 3,800 yesterday. That brings the river’s cumulative escapement to over 691,788.

In the Kvichak River, an estimated 112,434 fish made it upstream past the counting tower, for a total escapement of 1,551,090 fish so far. The in-river estimate for the Kvichak was 200,000.

In the Alagnak River, tower crews estimated 26,682 fish swam upstream yesterday. The total season escapement is estimated at 440,742 fish.

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.


Egegik fishing crews caught 241,620 fish on Monday, with an average drift delivery of 575 fish. The season’s total catch is now at 7,254,269.

Egegik drifters have caught about 81 percent of the harvest this season, and setnetters have caught 19 percent.

Escapement yesterday was an estimated 3,714 fish. Total escapement is estimated at 804,834 fish, with another 10,000 fish in-river. The total run is now at 8,069,103.


No fish were caught in Ugashik yesterday. The season total catch is 741,260 fish.

Escapement yesterday in Ugashik was estimated at 28,856. Total escapement is at an estimated 94,304 fish, with another 100,000 estimated in-river.

The total run in Ugashik is at 935,564. The run is forecasted to be 3.35 million this season.

We’re going to take a short break here, we’ll be back with vessel registrations, peninsula harvests and the latest from the Port Moller Test Fishery.

We want to also give a shout out to the crew of the Nushagak River sonar for hosting the fish report team on a visit to the sonar camp. Look for that story later in the week, on the sonar site and the folks that keep it running all summer long, right here on the Bristol Bay Fisheries Report.

Vessel Registrations

As of noon today, in Egegik, there are 395 permits on 301 boats. That will increase slightly to 397 permits on 303 boats by Thursday, and the number of DBoats will stand at 94 boats.

The Ugashik District has bumped up significantly to 229 permits on 171 boats, which will jump to 238 permits on 178 boats in the next 2 days. DBoats will go from 58 to 60 by Thursday.

The Naknek-Kvichak District has 684 permits on 516 boats. That will increase to 697 permits on 528 boats by Thursday. DBoats will increase from 168 to 169.

In the Nushagak, there are 325 permits on 243 boats. In the next 2 days, that will increase slightly to 336 permits on 250 boats. DBoats will increase from 83 to 87.

The Togiak District has 23 permits on 23 boats, which will stay the same in the next two days.

In total bay-wide, there are 1,656 active permits on 1,254 boats and 403 DBoats.

Chignik River

Chignik fleets have harvested 120,983 sockeye this season, as of the latest update on July 4.

At the Chignik River weir, 4,945 sockeye swam through the weir Monday, for a season total of 414,938 fish.

An estimated 2,743 fish were part of the early run yesterday, for a season total of 370,998. An estimated 2,202 fish were part of the late run yesterday, for a total just under 43,940 fish.

Area M

In Area M, North and South Peninsula fleets harvested just 9,642 sockeye on Monday, for a season total of 1,676,676.

They caught a single chinook on Monday, for a season total of 2,907. After a stretch of no reported coho, pink, or chum salmon harvests, fleets brought in 9 coho, 1,248 pinks, and 3,315 chum in Area M yesterday.

The total Area M season harvest across species is now just under 2,199,326.

For the South Peninsula, total harvest is 911,082 sockeye, 1,775 chinook, 800 coho, 225,589 pinks, and 288,678 chum.

In the North Peninsula, total harvest is just under 765,594 sockeye and 1,132 chinook.

And now on to the Port Moller Test Fishery:

The test fishery tentatively announced they plan to close up shop on July 13, but we will re-evaluate after today’s results.

Not enough genetic samples were collected on July 8-9 to allow for a stock composition estimate. The boats will meet up today though, and monitor the need for another stock composition estimate

For the July 10 indices, no fish were caught at Stations 14 or 18.

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

Station 2 caught 1 fish in the small net and 0 fish in the big net. That catch index is 2.

Station 4 caught 1 fish in the small net and 1 fish in the big net. That catch index is 5.

Station 6 caught 4 fish in the small net and 28 fish in the big net. That catch index is 71.

Station 8 caught 6 fish in the small net and 7 fish in the big net. That catch index is 31.

Station 10 caught 12 fish in the small net and 8 fish in the big net. That catch index is 46.

Station 12 caught 3 fish in the small net and 11 fish in the big net. That catch index is 32.

Station 16 caught 1 fish in the big net. That catch index is 2.

And Station 20 caught 9 fish in the small net and 9 fish in the big net for a catch index of 40.

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.
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.
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.