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Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 15, 2023

Egegik crews in a heavy set
Courtesy of Nick Rahaim
Egegik crews in a heavy set

The total bay-wide harvest kept climbing after the surprising haul Thursday. Friday’s harvest was a staggering nearly 3 million fish, making it unequivocally the biggest haul of the season. Most of those fish came from Naknek-Kvichak, cementing some of the largest late-season catch numbers in recent memory. Escapement yesterday, though, was 706,000.

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

Messages to the Fleet

To Captain Brent Cathey on the F/V Independence:

Hey Captain Charisma! Miss you tons and hope the self-tanner worked okay. I’m almost done reorganizing your shop - I hated that cold hard concrete, so had it carpeted with a really nice cream colored shag. You’ll need to remove your boots in there, but it’ll keep your feet so warm! 

Also - let Taylor know his Mom texted and he needs to use his ointment every day. 

See you soon! 

Montana Chick 

To Bobby Mayer:

Happy Birthday with love from Mom, Dad, and the whole Mayer family

The Numbers

Friday was the biggest catch of the season: 2,988,434 fish, an relatively unprecedented haul for this date historically.

The total season catch is now at 30,050,958. Escapement yesterday at 705,805 for a season total across Bristol Bay of 10,863,991 spawners up-river, and another 375,000 estimated in-river.

The total bay-wide run is at 41,289,949 fish of the forecasted 51 million fish run this season.


The Nushagak harvest Friday was 678,542 fish, with an average drift delivery of 1,138 sockeye. The total catch is at 10,623,609.

The drift fleet has caught about 77 percent of that total harvest. Nushagak set netters have harvested 19 percent, and set netters in the Igushik have harvested 3 percent.

Nushagak River

At the Nushagak River sonar an estimated 10,513 reds passed yesterday for a total of 1,677,071.

An estimated 69 Chinook passed the Nushagak River sonar for a total of just over 30,468 this season. The escapement goal this year is at least 55,000.

Another 102 chum salmon passed the sonar after over 2,000 pushed past the previous day. That makes for an estimated total of 84,209 this season. Still a ways from this year’s escapement goal of 200,000 chum.

Wood River

Over at the headwaters of the Wood River, the counting tower crew saw just 23,592 yesterday. That brings the total escapement to 2,474,262. But we are still cushioned in the upper boundaries of the Wood’s escapement goal range of 700,000 to 3 million fish.

Igushik River

In the Igushik River, another roughly 22,494 sockeye passed on Friday, very similar to the day before, for a total of 338,454 fish this season. The Igushik run is also well within its escapement goal range of 150,000 to 400,000 fish.


At the Togiak counting tower, crews estimate 10,026 spawners passed on Friday, the total now being just shy of 56,000 [55,680] this season. The escapement goal in Togiak is 120,000 to 270,000, meaning we would need to at least double this season’s total escapement numbers to hit the minimum goals in the district.

Togiak fleets hauled in 19,280 sockeye yesterday, which pushes the season total catch to 119,359. The total run in Togiak is almost 175,039 fish.

On the east-side…


Naknek and Kvichak fleets had a record catch yesterday. The biggest catch of the day, the season, and one of the biggest late-season catches in recent memory. We will have more on that on Monday. That catch in question was 1,584,768, with an average drift delivery of 1,696 fish. The total season catch is now 9,268,127 fish. Friday's escapement was just 380,844, after nearly a million fish made it up river the previous day, with another 150,000 estimated in-river. The season’s total run is at 14,213,795.

The drift fleet caught about 80 percent of that total harvest, Naknek setnetters caught around 11 percent and Kvichak setnetters around 9 percent.

In the Naknek River, tower crews estimated 85,206 fish escaped yesterday. That brings the river’s cumulative escapement to over 914,526. The Naknek’s minimum escapement boundary was hit earlier this week, with the goal being between 800,000 to 2 million.

In the Kvichak River, an estimated 281,868 fish made it upstream past the counting tower, with another estimated 150,000 fish in-river. Total escapement is at 3,054,438 fish so far - in the bottom end of the escapement goal range of 2 to 10 million.

In the Alagnak River, roughly 13,770 fish passed the tower crew yesterday, a stark contrast to the previous days 156,000. The total season escapement is now 826,704 fish. That’s quadruple this season’s escapement goal of at least 210,000 fish.

In this season’s forecast, the Naknek is expected to see a 6.5 million sockeye run, Kvichak, over 8 million fish, and the Alagnak is forecasted to get around 4.2 million.


Egegik fishing crews were still in the fish Friday as well, with the second biggest haul of the day: 576,917 fish, with an average drift delivery of 956 fish. The season’s total catch is now at 8,962,831.

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

Escapement yesterday was an estimated 158,196 fish. Total escapement is now 1,081,794 fish, and the total run is 10,044,625. We are right below the middle of the Egegik escapement range of 800,000 to 2 million fish.


128,927 fish were caught in Ugashik Friday. The season total catch is now also just barely over 1,077,032 fish.

Escapement yesterday in Ugashik was estimated at 100,140. Total escapement is at an estimated 441,062 fish, with another 225,000 estimated in-river. The escapement goal range for the Ugashik River is 500,000 - 1.4 million fish, meaning this push of fish moved us closer to that goal.

The total run in Ugashik has almost hit 1,743,094 fish. The run is forecasted to be 3.35 million this season.

Vessel Registrations

As of noon today, in Egegik, there are 387 permits on 295 boats. That will increase slightly to 388 permits on 296 boats by the 17th, and the number of DBoats will stay at 92.

The Ugashik District has 231 permits on 172 boats, which will increase to 233 permits on 173 boats in the next 2 days. DBoats will increase from 59 to 60 boats.

The Naknek-Kvichak District has 710 permits on 539 boats. That will jump up to 716 permits on 545 boats by Monday. DBoats will stay at 171.

In the Nushagak, there are 338 permits on 250 boats. That won’t change over this weekend. DBoats will also stand at 89.

The Togiak District has 24 permits on 24 boats, which will stay the same all weekend.

In total bay-wide, there are 1,690 active permits on 1,280 boats and 411 DBoats.

Chignik River

Chignik fleets harvested 167,541 sockeye in the week of July 5 through July 11, bringing the season total to 290,631 fish.

The Chignik River weir saw an estimated 13,570 sockeye passing, for a season total of 551,901 fish.

An estimated 8,408 fish were part of the early run yesterday, for a season total just under 474,899. An estimated 5,162 fish were part of the late run yesterday, for a total of 77,002 fish.

Area M

In Area M, North and South Peninsula fleets harvested another 37,881 sockeye on Friday, for a season total of 1,802,568.

They caught just 27 chinook on Friday, for a season total of 2,995. 1,022 coho were caught, alongside 3,053 pinks, and 1,543 chum salmon.

The total Area M season harvest across species is now 2,381,952.

For the South Peninsula, total harvest is at 956,613 sockeye, 1,841 chinook, 5,143 coho, 245,627 pinks, and 319,255 chum.

In the North Peninsula, total harvest is just over 845,955 sockeye, 1,154 chinook, and 6,210 chum.

The Port Moller Test Fishery:

The test fishery has closed for the season, as of yesterday July 13. We’ll have more from the Port Moller managers next week.

Outro: The Bristol Bay Fisheries Report is made possible with the generous support of our underwriters and individual contributions from you, the fishing fleet. This week was the annual KDLG Fund Drive. If you appreciate the show and what we do here at KDLG, please donate today and help keep the Fish Report and public radio going.

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.