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Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 10, 2024

Fishermen throughout the bay continue to bring in steady numbers of fish, as crews across districts hauled in over a million fish yesterday. Kvichak river escapement counts continued to grow rapidly, reaching close to a million on Tuesday, while permits in the Naknek/Kvichak district are still going up.

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.

Westside Update
The Nushagak district saw a big push of fish last week. Westside area biologist Tim Sands talks about the season so far.

Tim Sands Nushagak Update

Eastside Update
Eastside biologist Aaron Tiernan gives an update on how the season is going in the Ugashik and Egigik rivers.

Aaron Ugashik Egegik Update

Weather Wednesday
Here in Bristol Bay, the weather is cloudy and cool. But elsewhere, people are facing record breaking heat. Climate specialist Rick Toe-men talks about what to expect from the weather.

Rick Thoman Weather Wednesday

Meet processing worker Jose Acuna

Former fisheries reporter Corinne Smith caught up with processing workers at the Dillingham library at the start of the season

Today we hear from Jose Acuna, he’s 28 years old and this is his first year working in seafood processing.

Jose Acuna Part 1

Acuna is also a dancer - specifically Electropop dance, which blends electronic and pop styles. He says the money he makes seafood processing will be going to throw an Electropop competition.

Jose Acuna Part2

Messages to the Fleet

To Shannon Couch on the F/V Icarus in Ugashik

Happy birthday! — From Mom

Happy birthday! — From Randy

Happy birthday! — From the El Dorado

Happy birthday! — From Connie and Austin Grace

Happy birthday! — From Gabe and Suz in Colorado Springs

Happy birthday beautiful! — From Thomas and Windy in Big Bear Lake California

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Hope this year is amazing and you are catching all the fish out there! — From Carly Jean

Happy birthday Shannon, we just want to wish you a very special and happy birthday. We hope you’re doing well and catch lots of fishies. Lots of love to you and cousin Captain Dirty Dave. — From Sky and Leo from Thailand

We miss you and will definitely party for you! — From Brian and Em Sanden

Hope you are enjoying your day love you beautiful — From Carol Bradley

From the Revilee’s: Tell her we love and miss her and wish her a Happy Birthday! Can’t wait to see you when you’re back home and celebrate! — Love Julie, Phil and Reed

Happy happy bday to my bestie love and miss you tons. Praying for a safe season for you and your crew wishing you the best go get those fishies — Love you mucho, Lisa

To Brent Thompson:

Happy Belated Birthday! Wishing the captain and crew of the St Charliett a wonderful day and year to come. — From your sister, family, and friends

To Steffen Refvik:

To our dearest friend Steffen Refvik and his crew in the Ugashik River. Good luck and load up this year, we all miss you. — From your girls in Anchorage.

The Numbers

The baywide catch on Tuesday was 1,154,045 fish, bringing the total season catch to 17,505,036. Cumulative escapement is at 12,276,612 so far. The total run as of Tuesday, July 9 was estimated at 31.6 million 31,561,648 sockeye.

Nushagak 

In the Nushagak District, fleets hauled in 251,556 fish on Tuesday, for a total of 8,332,069 fish, with an average drift delivery of 568 sockeye. The total run this season in the Nushagak District is now 13,780,021.

The drift fleet has caught 76.9% of that total harvest, while Nushagak set netters have harvested 20.4%, and set netters in the Igushik have harvested about 2.7%.

Nushagak River

The Nushagak River sonar counted 37,822 sockeye on Tuesday, for a total of 1,453,452 sockeye up the Nushagak so far.

265 Chinook passed the Nushagak River sonar, for a total of 35,159 so far this season. That’s more than halfway to the minimum of the escapement goal range of 55,000 to 120,000 chinook in the Nushagak.

6,276 chum salmon passed the sonar yesterday, for a total of 223,909.

The Nushagak River is past 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.

Wood River 

At the Wood River counting tower on Tuesday, sockeye escapement counts have decreased since yesterday. 101,868 sockeye passed, bringing the total escapement to 3,745,200, with another 6,864 fish passing the tower as of 6 a.m. this morning.

The Wood River is past its escapement goal range of 700,000 to 3 million fish. The run is forecasted for around 7.8 million sockeye.

Igushik

The Igushik tower crew counted 21,954 fish yesterday, for a total of 249,300 so far, with an additional 5,298 fish counted as of 6 a.m. this morning.

Togiak

Fishing crews in Togiak caught 12,268 fish on Tuesday, for a total catch of 61,275 so far, with an average drift delivery of 171 sockeye.

The Togiak tower crew counted 7,914 fish on Tuesday, for a season total of 23,544, with another 3,426 fish counted as of 6 a.m. this morning.

The total 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 more than 495,044 fish yesterday. The season total stands at 3,519,736 fish, with an average drift delivery of 620 sockeye. So far, drifters in the Naknek and Kvichak Rivers have caught 73.5% of the season’s total catch. Setnetters on the Kvichak have caught 17.7% of the season’s catch and setnetters on the Naknek have caught 8.9%.

The Naknek tower crew counted just 6,180 spawners yesterday, making their total an estimated 542,886 fish.

Kvichak escapement counts are rapidly climbing, the tower crew counted about 923,040 fish yesterday, bringing their season total to 3,342,192. Another 1,200,000 fish are estimated to be in-river, between the commercial fishing district and the counting tower.

The total season run for Naknek/Kvichak is 9,882,838 so far.

Around 124,224 fish were counted swimming in the Alagnak River yesterday, making their total 1,278,024.

A 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. The Kvichak River is now within the escapement goal range of 2 million to 10 million, and the Alagnak River is well past its minimum escapement goal of 210,000.

Egegik 

Egegik fleets brought in 156,169 fish yesterday, making the cumulative catch 3,328,287 with an average drift delivery of 433 sockeye. So far, Egegik drifters have caught 76.4% of the season’s total catch, and setnetters have caught 23.6%.

24,888 spawners were counted passing the towers in Egegik yesterday, making the season’s total escapement 974,358 fish. Another 30,000 fish are estimated to be in-river, bringing the total season run so far for Egegik to 4,332,645.

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

Ugashik

Ugashik fleets brought in 241,680 fish yesterday, making the cumulative catch 2,254,073, with an average drift delivery of 1,182 sockeye. So far, Ugashik drifters have caught 88.2% of the season’s total catch, and setnetters have caught 11.8%.

Around 205,542 fish were counted passing the Ugashik counting tower on Tuesday, bringing their total to 667,656. Another 550,000 fish were estimated in-river, bringing the total run for the season to 3,471,729.

The district’s 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 193 permits on 139 boats. That will stay the same in the next 2 days. D boats will stay at 54.

The Ugashik District has 254 permits on 173 boats, which will increase to 255 permits on 173 boats by Friday. DBoats will increase from 81 to 82.

In the Naknek-Kvichak District, there are now 724 permits on 532 boats. That will move up to 781 permits on 570 boats by Friday. DBoats will bump up from 192 to 211.

In the Nushagak, there are 411 permits on 309 boats. By Friday, that will stay the same. DBoats will stay at 102.

The Togiak District has 21 permits on 21 boats, which should stay the same in the next 2 days.

In total bay-wide, there are 1,603 active permits on 1,174 boats and 429 DBoats.

Chignik River weir

At the Chignik River weir, 21,330 sockeye swam through the weir on Tuesday, for a season total of 375,314 so far.

11,900 fish were part of the early run, and 9,430 fish were part of the late run.

Area M

Over in Area M, fleets harvested 51,996 sockeye on Tuesday for a season total of 1,749,012.

7 chinook were caught in Area M yesterday, bringing the total season harvest to 2,967 so far.

432 chum were caught yesterday. Their season harvest is 442,421.

2 coho was caught on Tuesday. Their season total is 1,157.

And 2 pinks were caught. The pink’s season total is 282,612.

Most commercial harvests in Area M this season have been caught by South Unimak and Shumagin Islands fleets, with harvest also coming in from Cold Bay, the Dolgoi Island area and from Morzhovoi Bay to South Unimak on the South Peninsula. And, on the North Peninsula, from Port Moller to Outer Point Heiden and from Nelson Lagoon and from the Northwestern District.

Port Moller Test Fishery:

No fish were caught at stations 2 and 12 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 58.

Station 6 had a catch index of 54.

Station 8 had a catch index of 46.

Station 10 had a catch index of 111.

Station 14 had a catch index of 28.

Station 16 had a catch index of 60.

Station 18 had a catch index of 110.

Station 20 had a catch index of 43.

Station 22 had a catch index of 7.

Station 24 had a catch index of 26.

Overall, yesterday’s mean catch index was 47.

Across stations yesterday, 156 fish were caught in the small mesh, and 113 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 498mm, and the mean length of fish caught in the big mesh was 514mm. That’s bigger than the season average so far, which is 488 mm fish in the small mesh, and 511 mm fish in the big mesh.

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

(Correction July 11, 2024: The Wood River escapement counts were said to have taken place on Monday; they were the recorded numbers for Tuesday.)

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.
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.
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.