"Big push" of fish in Bristol Bay's westside rivers will trigger short notice for fleet

Jun 19, 2017

With what looks like a "sustained push" of reds up the Nushagak and Wood Rivers, coupled with stronger winds in the forecast, ADF&G's Tim Sands to tell the fleet get ready and "don't go dry."

Boats are going "in the water" every day, but the PAF yard is still probably half full as ADF&G readies the fleet for "short notice" Monday.
Credit Avery Lill/ KDLG

Tune in to the Bristol Bay Fisheries Report tonight at 6 p.m. (replays at 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.), and catch local news updates at 7:04 a.m., 8:18 a.m, 12 p.m., and 4:30 / 5:30 p.m.  Keep in touch: news@kdlg.org or fish@kdlg.org, or give us a call 907-842-5281.

"There was a big uptick in passage yesterday: 59,000 raw count and still pushing this morning," was the word from west side area manager Tim Sands early Monday. The problem is "technical difficulties" were creating problems sorting that the fish by species.   

Through Saturday, the Nushagak king count was just 1400 fish, well below what is expected, but the sockeye total of more than 27,000 is above the curve.

The Wood River tower started counting at midnight Sunday, logging nearly 12,000 sockeye on day one, and another 9,500 through 6 a.m. Monday.

He said an announcement would probably come at 12 p.m. to ready the fleet for possible fishing time, soon.

"We want to put the fleet on short notice, and we know it's not ideal for the fleet to be on short notice for three days, but I'm hoping to wait several days till we actually fish. But it's supposed to blow today and tomorrow, and if there's a lot of fish in the district, a lot of those fish could move up on the blow, and we have to be able to respond to that," Sands said Monday morning.

The Egegik fleet has harvested 143,000 sockeye this season, after 74,000 were landed Sunday. Ugashik has 7,000 sockeye landed. The Igushik catch is still confidential based on the number of buyers, but set netters have had steady opportunity there since last week. The total Bristol Bay catch so far is close 160,000 sockeye.

The Port Moller Test Fishery caught 24 sockeye in the 4-1/2" and 20 in the 5-1/8"  mesh nets Sunday. All of the catch came from Stations 6 and 8. Water temperature along the transect has risen to 9 degrees Celcius, up from 6.5 C when the test effort started a week ago.

According to BBSRI, the test boat encountered a mechanical issue Sunday evening and headed back to Port Moller overnight. It is not expected to fish again till Tuesday.

Statewide, a total of 2.3 million sockeye are now on the books, half of which have come from Area M's South Peninsula fisheries this month.

dave@kdlg.org or fish@kdlg.org