The fleet took care of business, landing 2.3 million sockeye Friday. Plus the Nushagak fleet went elsewhere, then in came the fish.
DILLINGHAM: The Bristol Bay catch Friday was 2.27 million sockeye, bringing the season total to 16.5 million. The 2015 total sockeye run, through Friday, is 24 million fish.
The F/V Pandalus stopped fishing for the Port Moller Test Fishery Friday, after noting a daily replacement index of 53. The test fishery reported big catches the three days prior, but did not offer an interpretation of those results. (See Thursday's BBFR for more.)
Naknek-Kvichak netted 1.1 million yesterday, it's biggest catch to date. KDLG reports that some processors had already started letting people go because of the smaller-than-forecast run. Activity at the Bristol Bay Port is ramping up, though. "In the last 24 hours we've taken in 98 reefers of salmon," said Robert "Herk" McDermott, the port manager, speaking Friday. For context, he said 139 was the most they had ever moved in a 24-hour period.
Egegik landed 524,000 sockeye, and unconfirmed reports from there say a lot of jellyfish have shown up on the beaches. Ugashik fishermen harvested 340,000 sockeye, and the average delivery size has dropped to 934 as the fleet size has grown to 316 permits on 246 boats.
The Nushagak fleet has been heading east this week, and on Friday many skippers had their nets out of the water or were in transit to other grounds ... just as a big surge of fish decided to show. "We could see a column of jumpers like 10 or 15 miles long," skipper Alex Smith said. He noted those fish just past the Nushagak south line as he steamed past heading for Ugashik.
Nushagak fishermen, 217 permits on 188 boats, tallied 262,000 fish Friday, way up from the day before. The surge came in on the midnight flood, and the rest of what was reportedly an excellent haul should be tallied with Saturday's catch.
The harvest was big enough to "plug" up the Icicle and Peter Pan processing plants in Dillingham. Icicle told KDLG News Saturday much of their fleet had their best catches of the season, even better than last week's storm. Icicle said they were working quickly to process yesterday's catch and open the tenders to buy more fish, but did have a restriction in place for at least one tide. Peter Pan managers in Dillingham declined to comment to KDLG Saturday morning, but fishermen say that Peter Pan's 1 p.m. announcement set restrictions for the evening. Peter Pan's west side drifters will be limited to 4,000 pounds from 10:30 p.m. Saturday through 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The Peter Pan set net fleet, who did not see much (or any) of the Friday night surge in their nets, were told they would be limited to 1,500 pounds for the same time frame.
Togiak fishermen hauled in 5,000 sockeye Friday. Escapement is struggling to build there, too, with just over a thousand sockeye counted past the tower. The total escapement this season is just 4,000.
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