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Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 16, 2023

Courtesy of Tav Ammu
Sunset drift set

Another big harvest day Saturday in a weekend of banner late-season catch numbers for Naknek-Kvichak fleets. Total haul across the bay yesterday was 2 million fish. The total season catch is now at 33 million of a 44 million fish run. Though it remains to be seen how many fish are behind this shocking pulse, the season’s forecast is an estimated 51 million fish run. Escapement yesterday was 540,000.

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

A tsunami warning has been lifted for the coastline of the Alaska Peninsula and Kodiak Island. That’s after amagnitude 7.2 earthquake hit 60 miles southwest of Sand Point, just before 11 p.m., last night, followed by several aftershocks, according to the Alaska Earthquake Center.

Bristol Bay was not affected, but a tsunami warning was issued for Kodiak Island, and the Alaska Peninsula including Chignik area communities.

Sirens sounded in local communities, including Sand Point, Chignik area and Kodiak, with officials urging residents to seek higher ground. The tsunami warning was later downgraded to an advisory and was canceled altogether by 1 a.m. Sunday.

The National Tsunami Warning Center said the maximum observed height of waves off King Cove and Sand Point was half a foot. It said some areas may continue to see small sea level changes.

The warning also stirred Anchorage residents late Saturday, with some reporting that they got the emergency alert on their phones.

Seismologists with the U.S. Geological Survey said residents in Sand Point, Clark’s Point, Cold Bay and King Cove reported feeling the initial quake and aftershocks.

Chignik area communities also evacuated last night under the tsunami warning. We spoke with the mayor of Chignik Bay, Robert Carpenter, on the latest.


Messages to the Fleet

To the F/V Beachcomber fishing in Ugashik - call Edward. It's NOT an emergency.

Happy birthday to Jones on the F/V Whiskey Creek! Love, Big Al.
P.S. hope you guys are crushing it in Ugashik 

Cheers to Captain and Skipper of the Salamatof -
3 things:
It’s hot at home in Montana just like it is at home in Malaysia. Rainbow has our dog sitter taking her to Wellcraft regularly now. Billie's hair is growing out and she’s been sleeping on the patio waiting for her boy to return.

To the Greenhorn Deckhand:
Maja is really proud of you. Make sure your dad doesn’t yell at you too much. If you can do this, you can do anything, especially your freshman year in college. Keep at it.

Finally, to the more experienced deck-hand:
Super proud to call you family now. Keep hard at it and show my boy how it’s done. Hope you come back next year.

With love,

Your Malaysia/Montana Matriarch

The Numbers

Another big harvest day Saturday in a weekend of banner late-season catch numbers for Naknek-Kvichak fleets. Total haul across the bay was 2,080,017 fish.

The total season catch is now at 32,130,975 of a 43,884,739 fish run. The season’s forecast is an estimated 51 million fish run. Escapement yesterday was 539,773, for a season total across Bristol Bay of 10,158,186 spawners up-river, and another 350,000 estimated in-river.

Though it remains to be seen how many fish are behind this surprise pulse, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced today that eastside districts have met escapement goals and will begin the fall fishing schedule tomorrow, Monday July 17th.

Let’s dig into it.


The Nushagak harvest Saturday was 376,391 fish, with an average drift delivery of 825 sockeye. The total catch is now an even 11,000,000.

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 24,193 sockeye passed yesterday for a total of 1,701,264.

Just 51 Chinook passed the Nushagak River sonar for a total of just over 30,519 this season. The escapement goal this year is at least 55,000.

Another 1,744 chum salmon passed the sonar after just 100 pushed past the previous day. That makes for an estimated total of 85,953 this season. Still a long 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 40,176 sockeye passing on Saturday. That brings the total escapement to 2,514,438. But that is still well within the upper boundaries of the goal range in the Wood, which is 700,000 to 3 million fish.

Igushik River

In the Igushik River, an estimated 15,402 sockeye passed on Saturday, for a total of 353,856 fish this season. That is also still well within the Igushik’s escapement goal range of 150,000 to 400,000 fish.


At the Togiak counting tower, crews estimate 7,404 reds passed on Saturday, working the total up to 63,084 this season. The escapement goal in Togiak is double that: 120,000 to 270,000.

Togiak fleets hauled in 15,755 sockeye yesterday, which pushes the season total catch to just over 135,114. The total run in Togiak is 198,198 fish.

On the east-side…


Naknek and Kvichak fleets had the biggest catch of the day again yesterday, another season-making haul for fishing crews of 980,914 spawners, with an average drift delivery of 1,170 fish. The total season catch is now 10,249,041 fish. Saturday's escapement was just 180,180, with another 100,000 estimated in-river. The season’s total run is at 15,324,889.

The drift fleet caught about 81 percent of that total harvest, Naknek setnetters caught around 10 percent and Kvichak setnetters around 9 percent.

In the Naknek River, tower crews estimated 97,050 fish escaped yesterday. That carries the river’s cumulative escapement just over 1,011,576 fish. Also carrying us closer to the middle of the river’s escapement goal range of 800,000 to 2 million.

In the Kvichak River, an estimated 59,238 fish made it upstream past the counting tower, with another estimated 100,000 fish in-river. Total escapement is at 3,113,676 fish so far - in the escapement goal range of 2 to 10 million.

In the Alagnak River, roughly 23,892 fish passed the tower crew yesterday, bringing the total season escapement to 850,596 fish. 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 hauled in 464,016 fish, with an average drift delivery of 795 fish. The season’s total catch is now at 9,426,847.

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

Escapement yesterday was an estimated 165,462 fish. Total escapement is estimated at 1,247,256 fish, and the total run is an estimated 10,674,103. That passes the lower escapement goal for Egegik of 800,000 to 2 million fish.


Over in Ugashik, 242,941 fish were caught Saturday. The season total catch is now 1,319,973 fish.

Escapement yesterday in Ugashik was estimated at 106,956. Total escapement is at an estimated 548,018 fish, with another 250,000 estimated in-river. The escapement goal range for the Ugashik River is 500,000-1.4 million fish, meaning Ugashik is the final eastside district to make escapement goals.

The total run in Ugashik has hit 2,117,991 fish. The run is forecasted to be 3.35 million this season.

Vessel Registrations

As of noon today, in Egegik, there are 384 permits on 292 boats. That will increase slightly to 385 permits on 293 boats by the 18th, and the number of DBoats will still be 92.

The Ugashik District has 231 permits on 171 boats and 60 DBoats which won’t change 48 hours from now.

The Naknek-Kvichak District has 713 permits on 542 boats. That will jump up to 720 permits on 549 boats by Tuesday. DBoats will stand at 171.

In the Nushagak, there are 339 permits on 251 boats. That won’t change by Tuesday. DBoats will also stand at 89.

The Togiak District has 24 permits on 24 boats, which will stay the same in the next two days.

In total bay-wide, there are 1,691 active permits on 1,280 boats and 412 DBoats.

Chignik River

The Chignik River weir saw about 9,961 sockeye passing yesterday, for a season total of 561,862 fish.

An estimated 6,027 fish were part of the early run yesterday, for a season total just under 480,926. An estimated 3,934 fish were part of the late run yesterday, for a total of 80,936 fish.

Area M

In Area M, North and South Peninsula fleets harvested another 93,195 sockeye on Saturday, for a season total of 1,895,763.

They caught 536 chinook, for a season total of 3,531. And, surprisingly, 22,885 coho were caught, alongside 195,677 pinks, and 47,463 chum salmon. Those are the largest non-sockeye numbers we’ve seen from Area M all season.

The total Area M season harvest across species is now 2,741,708.

For the South Peninsula, total harvest is at 1,046,396 sockeye, 2,376 chinook, 28,028 coho, 441,304 pinks, and 366,718 chum.

In the North Peninsula, total harvest is just over 849,367 sockeye, 1,155 chinook, and 6,210 chum.

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.