Public Radio for Alaska's Bristol Bay
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 1, 2024

Tenders and fishing vessels anchor by Clark's Point in the Nushagak District.
Jessie Sheldon
/
KDLG
Tenders and fishing vessels anchor by Clark's Point in the Nushagak District.

Numbers across the bay continued climbing over the weekend. Fleets in the Nushagak made their biggest daily catch so far this season, bringing in 740,000 fish, and escapement at the Wood River counting tower and Nushagak River sonar is starting to slow down. The latest stock composition from Port Moller shows the majority of fish is headed for the Kvichak and Wood Rivers, although Daily Catch indices are starting to drop off.

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.

Body of missing Dillingham man found in Nushagak Bay

Alaska State Troopers say they have recovered the body of Dillingham resident Carl Nunn, who went missing in May along with Rachelle Johnson. Johnson’s body was found earlier.

According to troopers, Johnson borrowed a skiff in Dillingham on May 13 and left with Nunn. The skiff was found overturned on Ekuk Beach two days later.

Troopers say they conducted a search with their own aircraft and with local search teams. They found Johnson’s body later in May, by the tideline in nearby Clark’s Point.

On June 22, a commercial fisherman found Nunn’s body across Nushagak Bay near Point Protection. Troopers say they positively identified the body as Nunn’s on Friday, June 28.

Troopers spokesperson Austin McDaniel says it appears Nunn and Johnson drowned after the skiff capsized, but the reason the boat capsized as well as the official causes of death from the State Medical Examiner's Office are still unknown.

McDaniel says, based on the state trooper’s scene investigation, troopers do not suspect foul play.

New partnership brings test fishery kings to Curyung elders

Before commercial salmon fishing opened in Bristol Bay’s thriving Nushagak District on June 26, 2024, test fishing boats were out a few days earlier to help provide information about when commercial fishing should begin. And, as it turned out, this year’s sockeye season was delayed to give chinook more time to escape upriver.

But some of the fish those test boats caught were chinook. And this year, those king salmon will go to local elders. KDLG's Meg Duff reports.

Test Fishery donations to Curyung elders

Read more about it here.

Messages to the fleet

There are no messages to the fleet tonight.

The numbers

The baywide catch on Sunday was 950,467 fish, bringing the total season catch to almost 3,696,017.

Cumulative escapement is at 3,432,738 so far.

The total run as of Sunday, June 30 was estimated at 7,398,755 sockeye.

Nushagak 

In the Nushagak District, fleets hauled in their record so far this season, with 739,888 fish on Sunday, for a total of 2,468,387 fish, with an average drift delivery of 732 sockeye. The total run this season in the Nushagak District is now at 5,570,399.

The drift fleet has caught 80.8% of that total harvest, while Nushagak set netters have harvested 16.6%, and set netters in the Igushik have harvested 2.6%.

Nushagak River

The Nushagak River sonar counted 21,808 sockeye on Sunday, for a total of 884,004 sockeye up the Nushagak so far.

1,360 Chinook passed the Nushagak River sonar, for a total of 24,041 so far this season.

4,261 chum salmon passed the sonar yesterday, for a total of 146,634.

The Nushagak River is now within its sockeye escapement goal range of 370,000 to 1.4 million fish. The river is estimated to see a 3.5 million sockeye run this season.

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 Sunday, sockeye counts are just steadily decreasing. 232,422 sockeye passed, bringing the total escapement to 2,174,670, with another 30,168 fish passing the tower as of 6 a.m. this morning.

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

Igushik

The Igushik tower crew counted 19,476 fish yesterday, for a total of 43,338 thus far, with an additional 8,814 fish counted as of 6 a.m. this morning.

Togiak

Fishing crews in Togiak caught no fish on Sunday, for a total catch of 5,298 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.

Naknek-Kvichak 

Naknek and Kvichak fishing fleets caught 89,337 fish yesterday. The season total stands at 216,764 fish, with an average drift delivery of 342 sockeye. So far, drifters in the Naknek and Kvichak Rivers have caught 67% of the season’s total catch. Setnetters on the Kvichak have caught 27.2% of the season’s catch and setnetters on the Naknek have caught 5.7%.

The Naknek tower crew counted 3,630 spawners yesterday, making of total of 12,354 fish.

And the Kvichak escapement counts have picked up, the tower crew counted 19,968 fish yesterday, their total is at 24,960. Another 200,000 fish are estimated to be in-river, between the commercial fishing district and the counting tower.

The total season run for Naknek/Kvichak is 454,078 so far.

Alagnak escapement numbers will likely start coming in any day now.

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 121,242 fish yesterday, making the cumulative catch 690,588, with an average drift delivery of 646 sockeye. So far, Egegik drifters have caught 82.8% of the season’s total catch, and setnetters have caught 17.2%.

53,400 spawners were counted passing the towers in Egegik yesterday, making the season’s total escapement 261,360 fish. Another 30,000 fish are estimated to be in-river, bringing the total season run so far for Egegik to 981,948.

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 hauled in no fish yesterday, their season’s catch is 314,980. So far, Ugashik drifters have caught 89.9% of the season’s total catch, and setnetters have caught 10.1%.

12,084 fish were counted passing the Ugashik on Sunday, bringing their total to 32,052. Another 40,000 fish were estimated in-river, bringing the total run for the season to 378,032.

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.

Vessel Registrations

As of 9 a.m. this morning, in Egegik, there are 250 permits on 183 boats. That should drop to 249 permits on 182 boats in the next 2 days. D boats will stay at 67.

The Ugashik District has 204 permits on 140 boats, which will increase to 213 permits on 146 boats by Wednesday. DBoats will move up from 64 to 67.

In the Naknek-Kvichak District, there are now 382 permits on 290 boats. That will bump up to 392 permits on 300 boats by Wednesday. DBoats will remain at 92.

In the Nushagak, there are 754 permits on 540 boats. By Wednesday, that will decrease to 738 permits on 532 boats. DBoats will decrease from 214 to 206.

The Togiak District will remain the same at 17 permits on 17 boats.

In total bay-wide, there are 1,607 active permits on 1,170 boats and 437 DBoats.

Chignik River weir

At the Chignik River weir, 22,680 sockeye swam through the weir on Sunday, for a season total of 221,262 so far.

19,715 fish were part of the early run, and 2,965 fish were part of the late run.

Area M

In Area M, fleets harvested 26,412 sockeye on Sunday for a season total of 1,299,600.

27 chinook were caught in Area M yesterday, bringing the total season harvest to 1,623 so far.

98 chum were caught yesterday. Their season harvest is at 418,191.

No coho were caught on Sunday. Their season total is 161.

And no pinks were caught, the pink’s season total is at 275,157.

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

Port Moller Test Fishery:

Yesterday the test fishery released their stock composition estimates for June 28th-29th.

The largest percentage of the fish sampled were swimming towards the Wood River – an estimated 24 percent were headed there.

About 23 percent of the sampled sockeye were swimming towards the Kvichak River.

An estimated 14 percent of the samplings were on their way to the Nushagak River, and another 13 percent to the Ugashik River.

About 10 percent were heading towards the Egegik River and the estimate for the Naknek river is 5 percent.

Another 4 percent of the fish sampled are on their way to the North Peninsula, and 3 percent are headed to the Alagnak river.

2 percent are on their way to the Igushik river, with less than 1 percent on their way to both the Togiak and Kuskokwim Rivers.

North Peninsula 4.3%

Ugashik 12.8%

Egegik 9.6%

Naknek 5.1%

Alagnak 3.1%

Kvichak 23.6%

Nushagak 14.3%

Wood 23.9%

Igushik 2.4%

Togiak 0.1%

Kuskokwim 0.7%

No fish were caught at stations 2, 16, and 18 yesterday.

Station 4 had a catch index of 2. That catch index is the number of fish that would be caught in both the small mesh and the big mesh if the station were fished for a full hour. The small mesh is 4 ½ inches, and the large mesh is 5 ⅛ inches.

Station 6 had a catch index of 3.

Station 8 had a catch index of 21.

Station 10 had a catch index of 99.

Station 12 had a catch index of 35.

Station 14 had a catch index of 21.

Station 20 had a catch index of 27.

Station 22 had a catch index of 2.

Station 24 had a catch index of 39.

Overall, yesterday’s mean catch index was 19, which is a considerable drop from last week’s numbers. Test fishery crews say they’ll need a few more days of low catches before they conclude that passage rates are declining.

Across stations yesterday, 60 fish were caught in the small mesh, and 51 fish were caught in the big mesh. So far this season, 63% of the test fishery catches were in the small mesh, and 37% of the catches were in the big mesh.

The mean length of fish yesterday in the small mesh was 483 mm, and the mean length of fish caught in the big mesh was 516 mm. The season average so far is 484 mm fish in the small mesh, and 508 mm fish in the big mesh.

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.