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Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: June 26, 2024

Tyler Barnhart (left), deckhand for F/V Ambition with members of the crew.
Meg Duff
/
KDLG
Tyler Barnhart (left), deckhand for F/V Ambition with members of the crew.

The bay-wide catch is up to nearly 472,000 fish so far this season, with most fish yesterday caught by Egegik and Ugashik fleets. Commercial drift netting is set to open in the Nushagak district at 6 p.m. tonight. Westside management biologists are projecting a big push of sockeye today, which would meet the Nushagak King Action Plan’s trigger of 210,000 sockeye past the Nushagak River sonar.

Get in touch and share some perspective — give us a call at 907-842-5281 or send an email to fish@kdlg.org. If you’d like to get a message out to the fleet on this show, send your messages to the fleet to fish@kdlg.org.

Tim Sands Check In

Crews are out on the water in abundance for the first Nushagak opener of the season. KDLG’s Jessie Sheldon checked in with westside management biologist Tim Sands this afternoon, to bring you the latest.

The Nushagak opens for commercial fishing: Checking in with Tim Sands, westside management biologist

Net Recycling

Hundreds of nets hit Bristol Bay’s waters every year. But what happens to those nets once they’re retired? In Bristol Bay, fishing gear recycling company Net Your Problem partners with the Curyung Tribe to bring new life to old nets.

Bristol Bay net recycling

Read more about net recycling here.

Weather Wednesday

There's a chill in the air and 30 plus knot winds out on the water today. For this week's Weather Wednesday, visiting fish reporter Jack Darrell sat down with Rick Thoman for the tale behind the gale and how it bodes for the rest of the season.

Weather Wednesday

Message to the Fleet

To Capt. Sean Guffy, F/V Waterman
“You're good. l can find nothing in maritime law that prohibits feeding the crew cat food. Should l send Tender vittles? Little friskies? Meow mix? Let us know.”
From, The Committee

The Numbers

The baywide catch on Tuesday was 176,063 fish, bringing the total season catch to 471,502.

Nushagak

At the Nushagak River sonar, fish counts are picking up again after a lull. 7,375 sockeye passed on Tuesday, about ten times more fish than the day before, for a total of 100,524 fish up the Nushagak so far.

761 Chinook passed the Nushagak River sonar, for a total of 10,997 so far this season.

4,163 chum salmon passed the sonar yesterday, for a total of 49,943 so far.

The Nushagak River is estimated to see a 3.5 million sockeye run this season, with an escapement goal range of 370,000 to 1.4 million.

For chinook salmon, the escapement goal range in the Nushagak River is 55,000 to 120,000.

Wood River

At the Wood River counting tower on Tuesday 33,750 sockeye passed, bringing the total escapement to 190,602, with another 29,256 fish passing the tower as of 6 a.m. this morning.

The escapement goal range for the Wood River this year is 700,000 to 3 million fish, and the forecast is for around 7.8 million sockeye.

Igushik

The Igushik tower crew is now set up and escapement counts are coming in. 342 fish passed yesterday, with an additional 12 fish counted as of 6 a.m. this morning.

Togiak

Fishing crews in Togiak caught 1,024 fish on Tuesday, for a total catch of 3,081 so far.

Togiak’s escapement counts are scheduled to begin on July 5th.

The total inshore run for Togiak River sockeye is forecasted to be around 680,000 fish, with an escapement goal range of 120,000 to 270,000.

On the east-side…

Naknek-Kvichak 

Naknek and Kvichak fishing fleets caught an estimated 26,620 fish yesterday. The new season total is 28,436 fish. So far, drifters in the Naknek and Kvichak Rivers have caught 89.5% of the season’s total catch. Setnetters on the Kvichak have caught 6.1% of the season’s catch and setnetters on the Naknek have caught 4.4%.

The Naknek tower crew counted 3,336 spawners yesterday, bringing their total to an estimated 3,774 fish so far.

And the Kvichak tower crew counted just 366 fish yesterday and a total of 726.

Alagnak escapement numbers will likely start coming in on June 29th.

An inshore run of approximately 15 million sockeye is expected across the Naknek/Kvichak district this season.

The Naknek River escapement goal range is 800,000 to 2 million sockeye. In the Kvichak River, the escapement goal range is 2 million to 10 million, and the Alagnak River has a minimum escapement goal of 210,000.

Egegik 

Egegik fleets brought in 82,220 fish yesterday, bringing the cumulative catch to 327,172, with an average drift delivery of 436 fish. So far, Egegik drifters have caught 82.8% of the season’s total catch, and setnetters have caught 17.2%.

6,942 spawners made it past the counting towers in Egegik yesterday, bringing the season’s total escapement to 11,844 fish so far.

The Egegik district’s inshore run this season is forecasted to be about 5.5 million sockeye salmon and the river’s escapement goal is 800,000 to 2 million fish.

Ugashik

Ugashik crews brought in 66,199 fish yesterday, and their season’s cumulative catch more than doubled, to 112,813. So far, Ugashik drifters have caught 90.8% of the season’s total catch, and setnetters have caught 9.2%.

The district’s inshore run this season is forecasted to be about 4.6 million sockeye salmon and the river’s escapement goal is 500,000 to 1.4 million fish.

Ugashik escapement counts are scheduled to begin tomorrow.

Vessel Registrations

As of 9 a.m. this morning, in Egegik, there are 235 permits on 174 boats. That will decrease to 233 permits on 173 boats by Friday. D boats will go from 61 down to 60.

The Ugashik District has 152 permits on 104 boats, which will increase to 165 permits on 112 boats in the next 2 days. DBoats will move up from 45 to 53.

In the Naknek-Kvichak District, there are now 229 permits on 181 boats. That will bump up to 247 permits on 194 boats by Friday. DBoats will increase from 48 to 53 in 2 days.

In the Nushagak, there are 420 permits on 312 boats. By Friday, that will increase to 584 permits on 429 boats. DBoats will increase from 108 to 155.

The Togiak District will remain the same at 14 permits on 14 boats.

In total bay-wide, there are 1,050 active permits on 785 boats and 265 DBoats.

Chignik River weir

At the Chignik River weir, 9,930 sockeye swam through the weir on Tuesday, for a season total of 128,502 so far.

An estimated 9,361 fish were part of the early run, and 569 fish were part of the late run.

Area M

Over in Area M, fleets harvested around 47,768 sockeye on Tuesday for a season total of 1,046,919 sockeye.

64 chinook were caught in Area M yesterday, bringing the total season harvest to 1,300 so far.

30,424 chum were caught yesterday. Their season harvest is just under 313,954.

Three coho were caught on Tuesday. Their season total is 138.

5,241 pinks were caught bringing the pink’s season total to 244,488.

The majority of commercial harvests this season have been caught on the South Peninsula by South Unimak and Shumagin Islands fleets, with increasing sockeye harvests coming in from Port Moller to Outer Point Heiden and Nelson Lagoon.

Port Moller Test Fishery

A new stock composition estimate for June 25 found that yesterday, the largest percentage of the fish sampled were swimming towards the Wood River – around 27 percent were headed there.

Another 24 percent of the sampled sockeye were swimming towards the Nushagak River.

An estimated 21 percent of the samplings were on their way to the Kvichak River, and another 11 percent to the Ugashik River.

About 7 percent were heading towards the Alagnak River. Almost 2 percent were heading to the Naknek and Kuskokwim rivers.

Less than 1% are on their way to the North Peninsula and to the Igushik and Togiak Rivers.

North Peninsula 0.6%

Ugashik 11%

Egegik 5.5%

Naknek 2%

Alagnak 6.6%

Kvichak 20.9%

Nushagak 24.4%

Wood 26.7%

Igushik 0.4%

Togiak 0.3%

Kuskokwim 1.5%

Due to rough weather conditions, crews were unable to fish at stations 20, 22, and 24 yesterday. They will attempt to fish this evening if the weather permits.

For Port Moller catches on Tuesday, no fish were caught at Stations 2 and 14.

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 1 fish in the small net and 0 fish in the big net. That catch index is 3.

Station 6 caught 41 fish in the small net and 27 fish in the big net. That catch index is 132.

Station 8 caught 22 fish in the small net and 16 fish in the big net. That catch index is 95.

Station 10 caught 120 fish in the small net and 84 fish in the big net. That catch index is 306.

Station 12 caught 12 fish in the small net and 22 fish in the big net. That catch index is 73.

Station 16 caught 0 fish in the small net and 4 fish in the big net. That catch index is 9.

Station 18 caught 22 fish in the small net and 30 fish in the big net. That catch index is 108.

Get in touch at fish@kdlg.org or 907-842-2200.

Meg Duff is a fisheries reporter for KDLG's Bristol Bay Fisheries Report. She is also a freelance journalist, writing and making audio stories for publications like Scientific American, MIT Technology Review, Outside, Slate and Yale Climate Connections. Meg has a master's in journalism from New York University.
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.
Ryan Berkoski just finished his freshman year at New Saint Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho. This summer, Ryan is working as an announcer at KDLG running Open Line, thanks to generous funding from BBEDC.