National Fisherman

July 6, 2011 — Hello from the Naknek fishing district of Bristol Bay. We have been out fishing, without returning to shore, since June 21st or so — I've lost track.

Fishing has been good in Naknek, which has been good for me because that is where I fish, good or bad. Unfortunately, for many other fishermen, fishing is slower in other districts. Egegik is really slow — but not so bad as last year, I think. Regardless, many boats have been transferring up to Naknek. When a fisherman transfers, he has to sit out 48 hours; so it is a big, and sometimes painful, deal to transfer. Lately fishermen from Nushigak have been transferring to Naknek as well.

We started fishing in Naknek with around 350 boats in late June and we are up to about 550 now. Part of the enticement lately has been the opening of the Westside — the expansive area of the Kvichak River District. The Naknek/Kvichak is separated by a line that makes the Naknek section quite small. We have only fished in the Kvichak section three times so far, and when we fish in the Naknek section only, it is very crowded. The boundary line is simply bananas.

Overambitious fishermen with way too much horsepower have stepped up the competition to the boiling point. Guys are going way over the line, and it is getting tough to scratch out a decent day of fishing. I believe the peak of the run has passed and we are on the downhill slide, but there are always pulses of fish that push through. I'll be fishing until it slows way down, so I still have a way to go.

TO BE CONTINUED...

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Alaska Gov. Bill Walker is required by state statute to appoint someone to the Board of Fisheries by today, Tuesday, May 19. However, his efforts to fill the seat have gone unfulfilled since he took office in January. The seven-member board serves as an in-state fishery management council for fisheries in state waters.

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