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Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 3, 2024

Two pairs of hands wearing gloves load salmon in rows into a frozen tray.
Casey Chandler
/
KDLG
Workers load fish into a spiral freezer on board Northline's processor vessel the Hannah on Saturday, June 30, 2024. The next day, one of the Hannah's spiral freezers experienced an electrical fire.

The baywide catch yesterday was 860,000, with over half of those fish coming from the Nushagak district. Egegik daily catch numbers more than doubled, with big average drift deliveries. Test fishery crews out at Port Moller report another day of increased catch indices, and say with those numbers, a larger and later run is more likely.

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.

Electrical fire on board the Hannah reduces Northline's capacity

An electrical fire damaged one of three spiral freezers aboard the Hannah on Sunday, June 30 2024. That’s Northline Seafood's new floating processor, which is anchored in Bristol Bay’s Nushagak district this salmon season. The vessel is currently operating at a reduced capacity, although other processors are taking on some of Northline’s fleet.

Electrical fire on board the Hannah reduces Northline's capacity

Read more about it here

Nushagak district moves to catch and release for chinook salmon sport fishing

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced a new emergency order limiting sport fishing for kings on Monday. It means that sport fishermen in the Nushagak will not be taking home kings for the rest of the season. The order went into effect today as part of the department’s Nushagak King Action Plan. The goal is to protect declining king populations.

Catch and release for chinook salmon in the Nushagak

Read more here

Weather Wednesday with Rick Thoman

Jessie Sheldon talked with climate specialist Rick Toe-men about what’s coming up for the weather this week.

weather_weds_final_7_3.mp3

Messages to the Fleet

We have two messages to the fleet tonight:

To Capt. Sean Guffy, F/V Waterman: You had high bid on the G.I. Joe with kung fu grip. How did you want it shipped? —From,The Committee

To a special someone whose cutters is missing him. Hope you’re getting a lot of fish!

The Numbers

The baywide catch on Tuesday was 858,525 fish, bringing the total season catch to 5,325,594.

Cumulative escapement is at 4,304,312 so far.

The total run as of Tuesday, July 2 was estimated at 9,879,626 sockeye.

Nushagak 

In the Nushagak District, fleets hauled in 504,524 fish on Tuesday, for a total of 3,406,135 fish, with an average drift delivery of 518 sockeye. The total run this season in the Nushagak District is now 7,119,555.

The drift fleet has caught about 77.9% of that total harvest, while Nushagak set netters have harvested 19.5%, and set netters in the Igushik have harvested about 2.6%.

Nushagak River

The Nushagak River sonar counted 92,633 sockeye on Tuesday, for a total of 1,019,300 sockeye up the Nushagak so far.

3,006 Chinook passed the Nushagak River sonar, for a total of 27,927 so far this season.

About 10,334 chum salmon passed the sonar yesterday, for a total of 167,489.

The Nushagak River is now well 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 Tuesday, sockeye escapement counts have increased since yesterday. About 227,634 sockeye passed, bringing the total escapement to 2,588,478, with another 38,316 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 32,754 fish yesterday, for a total of 105,642 thus far, with an additional 6,366 fish counted as of 6 a.m. this morning.

Togiak

Fishing crews in Togiak caught 4,864 fish on Tuesday, for a total catch of 15,317 so far.

Togiak’s tower counting crew is starting to get set up today, and escapement counts are scheduled to begin on Friday.

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 115,117 fish yesterday. The season total stands at 463,270 fish, with an average drift delivery of 221 sockeye. So far, drifters in the Naknek and Kvichak Rivers have caught 70.9% of the season’s total catch. Setnetters on the Kvichak have caught 23% of the season’s catch and setnetters on the Naknek have caught 6.1%.

The Naknek tower crew counted 24,066 spawners yesterday, making their total 38,274 fish.

Kvichak escapement counts are continuing to pick up, the tower crew counted 82,434 fish yesterday, doubling their total to 180,930. Another 180,000 fish are estimated to be in-river, between the commercial fishing district and the counting tower.

The total season run for Naknek/Kvichak is 892,612 so far.

11,538 fish were counted swimming in the Alagnak River yesterday, making their total about 30,138.

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 234,020 fish yesterday, making the cumulative catch 1,033,250, with an average drift delivery of 1,138 sockeye. So far, Egegik drifters have caught 81.6% of the season’s total catch, and setnetters have caught 18.4%.

9,222 spawners were counted passing the towers in Egegik yesterday, making the season’s total escapement about 283,062 fish. Another 30,000 fish are estimated to be in-river, bringing the total season run so far for Egegik to 1,346,312.

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 407,342. So far, Ugashik drifters have caught 89.9% of the season’s total catch, and setnetters have caught 10.1%.

Around 18,132 fish were counted passing the Ugashik counting tower on Tuesday, bringing their total to almost 58,488. Another 40,000 fish were estimated in-river, bringing the total run for the season to just under 505,830.

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 (website)

As of 9 a.m. this morning, in Egegik, there are 239 permits on 173 boats. That will move up to 241 permits on 175 boats in the next 2 days. D boats will stay at 66.

The Ugashik District has 211 permits on 144 boats, which will increase to 225 permits on 154 boats by Friday. DBoats will move up from 67 to 71.

In the Naknek-Kvichak District, there are now 398 permits on 304 boats. That will bump up to 466 permits on 354 boats by Friday. DBoats will bump up from 94 to 112.

In the Nushagak, there are 696 permits on 499 boats. By Friday, that will decrease to 681 permits on 491 boats. DBoats will decrease from 197 to 195.

The Togiak District has 17 permits on 17 boats, which should increase to 18 permits on 18 boats in the next 2 days.

In total bay-wide, there are 1,561 active permits on 1,137 boats and 424 DBoats.

Chignik River weir

At the Chignik River weir, 27,517 sockeye swam through the weir on Tuesday, for a season total of 278,835 so far.

22,592 fish were part of the early run, and 4,925 fish were part of the late run.

Area M (fish@ email; Area M Daily Harvest Report)

Over in Area M, fleets harvested 42,995 sockeye on Tuesday for a season total of almost 1,385,260.

35 chinook were caught in Area M yesterday, bringing the total season harvest to 1,708 so far.

148 chum were caught yesterday. Their season harvest is 424,939.

No coho were caught on Tuesday. Their season total is 167.

And no pinks were caught, the pink’s season total is 277,233.

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 30 to July 1.

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

About 20 percent of the sampled sockeye were swimming towards the Kvichak River.

15 percent were headed to the Alagnak river, and 10 percent to the Naknek.

Almost 8 percent were on their way to the Egegik river, and 7 percent to the Ugashik.

7 percent were also headed to the Nushagak and another 5 percent were swimming to the Igushik.

And 2 percent were going to the North Peninsula, while 1 percent were on their way to the Kuskokwim river and another 1 percent to the Togiak river.

North Peninsula 1.8%

Ugashik 7.2%

Egegik 7.5%

Naknek 10.4%

Alagnak 15.0%

Kvichak 20.0%

Nushagak 6.9%

Wood 24.1%

Igushik 5.2%

Togiak 0.9%

Kuskokwim 1.0%

Furthermore, yesterday’s catch indices indicate that a later and larger run might be upon us, as compared to the season’s forecast.

No fish were caught at station 2 yesterday.

The catch index at the stations 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 4 had a catch index of 8.

Station 6 had a catch index of 69.

Station 8 had a catch index of 297.

Station 10 had a catch index of 243.

Station 12 had a catch index of 50.

Station 14 had a catch index of 3.

Station 16 had a catch index of 3.

Station 18 had a catch index of 7.

Station 20 had a catch index of 6.

Station 22 had a catch index of 4.

Station 24 had a catch index of 5.

Overall, yesterday’s mean catch index was 63, that number increasing from a recent dip in catch indices.

Across stations yesterday, 224 fish were caught in the small mesh, and 174 fish were caught in the big mesh. So far this season, 62% of the test fishery catches were in the small mesh, and 38% of the catches were in the big mesh.

The mean length of fish yesterday in the small mesh was 489 mm, and the mean length of fish caught in the big mesh was 508 mm. The season average so far is 485 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.