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Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 19, 2023

A crewman takes a quick nap
Courtesy of Nick Rahaim
A crewman takes a quick nap

The Bristol Bay run is slowing down, but still had a strong harvest yesterday of 722,000 fish. Total harvest is now at 35.3 million, and total escapement is at 12.8 million. The total bay-wide run is estimated at 48.2 million fish.

This is the second to last show of the 2023 season, get in touch at Our last show is Friday July 21, 2023.

Fisherman plan protest in the Naknek River to oppose processors' prices

Bristol Bay fishermen from Dillingham to Naknek are planning a protest on the Naknek River entrance on Thursday [July 20] to oppose seafood processors’ low price for fish.

Fishing crews plan protest in Naknek River

Why such a low price for Bristol Bay salmon?

Bristol Bay fishing crews are outraged at the 50 cents per pound base price offered by Trident Seafoods and several other processors announced earlier this week. Some promptly ended the fishing season, and many are concerned that it could put them in debt this year.

Why such a low price for wild sockeye? Part of the answer is the economics of Bristol Bay salmon, and how it fits into the market. KDLG’s Corinne Smith talked with longtime Alaska economist Gunnar Knapp, who has studied fisheries economics for more than 35 years, to learn more.

Economist Gunnar Knapp discusses low prices and market conditions

Examining the Bristol Bay bucket system

This next story is the result of several interested community members who reached out to ask, what happens with poop in Bristol Bay? During the summer, commercial fleets put thousands of people out on the water in small boats—and they all need somewhere to go to the bathroom. KDLG’s Jessie Sheldon reports.

How much poop is in Bristol Bay?

Messages to the Fleet

Elma Burnham says,

Happy birthday to Captain Cate!! Missing you and the whole Red Dog crew. Go Maggie go! And sending big love and a strong finish to all my friends in the Nush. Plus, to the Sandy Pearl: be safe, catch fish, have fun! See you all soon.

Ed, on the F/V Nezzen,

We love and miss you! I hope the season is treating you well. The kids are doing well and your niece Lily is getting married!


Danielle, Mya, Conner and Mason

The Numbers

The total bay-wide harvest on Tuesday was 721,633 fish.

The total season catch is now at 35,323,493, with an escapement yesterday of an estimated 378,925 fish. The cumulative escapement bay wide is now at 12,838,114, with no in-river estimates.

The total bay-wide run is at 48,161,607 fish, inching even closer to the season’s forecast of an estimated 51 million fish run.


The Nushagak harvest on Tuesday was just 74,366 fish, with an average drift delivery of 407 sockeye. The total catch is at 11,444,784. Escapement for the district yesterday was 49,415, for a cumulative district escapement of 4,758,534 fish.

Nushagak River

At the Nushagak River sonar an estimated 4,157 sockeye passed yesterday for a total of 1,733,724 fish.

An estimated 140 Chinook passed the sonar for an estimated total of 30,864 this season. The escapement goal this year is at least 55,000.

A good push of 2,003 chum salmon passed the sonar yesterday. That makes for an estimated total of 92,695 this season. Still far below this year’s escapement goal of 200,000 chum.

Wood River

In the Wood River, an estimated 10,620 sockeye passed the counting tower on Tuesday, with another 4,416 fish pushing up stream as of 6 am this morning. That brings the total escapement to 2,587,296, still well within the upper boundaries of the escapement goal range of 700,000 to 3 million fish.

Igushik River

In the Igushik River, an estimated 34,638 sockeye passed the counting tower on Tuesday, for a total just under 437,514 fish this season. Another 6,966 swam by as of 6 am this morning. The Igushik run is now past its escapement goal range of 150,000 to 400,000 fish.


At the Togiak counting tower, crews estimate 6,840 passed on Tuesday, working the total up to about 83,442 so far this season, with another 2,304 spawners swimming upstream as of 6 am this morning. The escapement goal in Togiak is 120,000 to 270,000.

Togiak fleets hauled in just under 25,967 sockeye yesterday, which pushes the season total catch to over 195,526. The average drift delivery there yesterday was 304 fish, and the total run in Togiak is almost 278,968 fish.


Runs are slowing in the Naknek and Kvichak, after the million fish hauls of last weekend. District fleets caught 218,964 fish yesterday, with an average drift delivery of 411 fish. The total season catch is now at 11.3 million fish. Tuesday's escapement was 162,032. The season’s total escapement is at 5,653,058 and the total run is at 16.96 million.

In the Naknek River, tower crews estimated 12,300 spawners swam upstream yesterday. That brings the river’s cumulative escapement to over 1,101,756, still within the lower end of Naknek’s escapement goal range of 800,000 to 2 million.

In the Kvichak River, an estimated 123,732 fish made it upstream past the counting tower. Total escapement is at 3,552,270 fish so far - within the Kvichak’s escapement goal range of 2 to 10 million.

In the Alagnak River, roughly 26,000 fish passed the tower crew yesterday, bringing the total season escapement to 999,032 fish. That’s over four times the 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 had the biggest catch of the day yesterday, with the fleet hauling in 254,317 fish. The average drift delivery was 847 fish. The season’s total catch is now 10,426,579, and the total run is at an estimated 11,909,587 fish.

Escapement yesterday was an estimated 29,232 fish. Total escapement is estimated at 1,483,008, comfortably within Egegik’s escapement goal range of 800,000 to 2 million fish.


An estimated 148,019 fish were caught in Ugashik on Tuesday, bringing the season’s total catch to 1,950,063 fish. The average drift delivery yesterday was 660 fish.

Escapement yesterday was estimated at 131,406. Total escapement is estimated at 860,072 fish, still within Ugashik’s escapement goal range of 500,000-1.4 million fish.

The total run in Ugashik is now at 2,810,135 fish. The run is forecasted to be 3.35 million this season.

Chignik River

Chignik fleets harvested 179,955 sockeye in the week of July 12 through July 18, for a season total of 471,856.

At the Chignik River weir, another 15,289 sockeye swam through the weir on Tuesday, for a season total of 513,911 fish.

An estimated 3,743 fish were part of the early run yesterday, for a season total of 408,968. An estimated 11,546 fish were part of the late run yesterday, for a total of 104,943.

Area M

In Area M, North and South Peninsula fleets harvested 46,815 sockeye on Tuesday, for a season total of 1,970,960.

They caught just no chinook yesterday but the season total is 3,461. They did however catch 436 coho, 1,434 pink, and 12,996 chum salmon were caught yesterday.

The total Area M season harvest across species is now at 2,825,816.

For the South Peninsula, total harvest is at 1,050,168 sockeye, 2,302 chinook, 28,105 coho, 435,493 pinks, and 362,761 chum.

In the North Peninsula, total harvest is just under 920,792 sockeye, 1,159 chinook, 24,441 chum, 318 pink and just 278 coho.

Get in touch at

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.
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.