2018 Cost Recovery Update

Neets Bay Cost Recovery Harvest, 13 August 2018:

We started cost recovery harvest on the 1st of July.  Fishing was slow through the 16th.  Catching improved through the last month. Broodstock collection began in earnest three weeks ago.  Because of the unknown related to egg collection at Burnett Inlet, there is still some uncertainty surrounding broodstock needs at Neets Bay, though the situation is more clear today.  Consequently, we have harvested fish through this week.

The current harvest is slightly more than 60% female and fish are only averaging about 8 pounds at the moment.  There will only be some small schools entering the bay through the next several weeks. The run is ending.  It is likely there will little harvest beyond today.

The cost recovery harvest through stat week 32 was: 348,476 chums at 3,509,439 pounds.  Fish size has decreased to about 8 pounds with the overall run averaging close to 10.2 pounds.

Broodstock collection: an estimated 161,500 fish were placed over the barrier.  Females were predominant when brood collection started.  The brood does not appear to have suffered any significant mortality behind the barrier.  All things being equal, there may be enough fish set aside at this point to meet the egg take goal of about 150,000,000 plus or minus, depending on what is collected at Burnett Inlet. About 66,000,000 eggs will have been collected at the end of the day today.  But, all things are never equal…it wouldn’t be a surprise to have to scratch up a little more brood in a week or ten days.

Other 2018 Cost Recovery: 

A number of kings and summer coho have been harvested: 4,172 kings (64,000 pounds) at Neets; 3,254 excess kings from the raceway at Whitman; 1,813 kings at Port St. Nick; and, 5,896 Snow Pass Coho from the raceway on Neck Creek.  There was another harvest of 2,242 summer coho at Neck Lake this past Saturday.  Fall coho cost recovery will occur at Klawock Hatchery and Whitman Lake when those fish enter the system later this summer/fall.

Neets Bay Cost Recovery Harvest, 5 August 2018:

We started cost recovery harvest on the 1st of July.  Fishing was slow through the 16th.  Catching improved through the last three weeks and broodstock collection began in earnest two weeks ago.  Because of uncertainty surrounding broodstock needs between Neets and Burnett and the unwillingness of fish to move from saltwater to the broodstock raceways at Neets (related to the current weather situation)…we have harvested very few fish through the past week.

As you can see from the graphics, we are still about a week behind what was anticipated.  At this point we are less optimistic that the run is simply a week late.  The Kendrick return is generally a week to 10 days ahead of Neets and it appears that return will be about 70% of what was forecast.  If the Neets return is similar, there are still some fish coming: but this isn’t certain.  Our normal indicators are not easy to read as there are some Neets chums being harvested in several of the corridor fisheries, but the troll harvest in the mouth of the bay is dead at the moment. There is still a decent abundance in the inner SHA, but that may be what is left of the return. A long-term high pressure weather pattern makes this process difficult.

The cost recovery harvest through stat week 31 was: 264.556 chums at 2,833,000 pounds.  Fish size has decreased to about 9 pounds with the overall run averaging close to 11 pounds.

Broodstock collection: we have moved an estimated 104,500 fish across the barrier and are adding another 30,000 today and tomorrow. Egg collection is going slower than usual; because of water flow and temperature as well as weather, the fish are not much interested in entering freshwater.  At this point we are continuing to stand down with harvest and collecting additional brood every several days. This is not unusual with this weather pattern and current water temperatures – but we would prefer it otherwise. We anticipate putting somewhere between 150,000 and 170,000 fish across the barrier…perhaps more, depending on the survival of those put across and the success of egg collection at Burnett Inlet. Brood collection will probably continue through mid-August.

The four-year-old component of SSRAA’s chum returns is generally 70% or more of the return.  Though the 3’ are stronger than anticipated, they cannot make up for the missing 4’s.  This run will not reach forecast.

Other 2018 Cost Recovery: 

A number of kings and summer coho have been harvested: 4,172 kings (64,000 pounds) at Neets; 3,254 excess kings from the raceway at Whitman; 1,813 kings at Port St. Nick; and, 5,896 Snow Pass Coho from the raceway on Neck Creek.  This hasn’t changed in the past week. Fall coho cost recovery will occur at Klawock Hatchery and Whitman Lake when those fish enter the system later this summer/fall.

Neets Bay Cost Recovery Harvest, 29 July 2018:

We started cost recovery harvest on the 1st of July.  Fishing was slow through the 16th.  Catching improved through the last two weeks and broodstock collection began in earnest this past week.

As you can see from the graphics, we are about a week behind what was anticipated.  We are well into a powerful stationary high pressure system (sunny/hot weather).  This kind of weather pattern has always slowed the return.

The cost recovery harvest through stat week 30 was 234,366 chums at 2,527,000 pounds.  The fish are large, still averaging close to 10 pounds in the daily harvest.  They are also still slightly more male – though we are likely just now reaching the peak of the return. We use “peak” as the period of highest abundance in the inner bay, which generally lasts at least 4 or 5 days – sometimes several weeks.  The run tapers away from the peak for several weeks, but the back shoulder is not as strong as the front shoulder of the return.

Broodstock collection: we have moved an estimated 64,500 fish across the barrier. The fish are still not much interested in entering freshwater. At this point we are standing down on harvest and brood collection for several days…not because of fish abundance, instead waiting for some of the brood to move into freshwater raceways. This is not unusual with this weather pattern and current water temperatures. We anticipate putting somewhere between 150,000 and 170,000 fish across the barrier…perhaps more, depending on the success of brood at Burnett Inlet. Brood collection may continue through mid-August.

It is time we note that 3-year-olds are the predominant fish in the return.  This is not going to change as from this point the 3’s will only get more prominent. Only a small portion of the 4’s forecast from 3’s that returned last year are in this return.  There is no obvious explanation for the disappearance of these fish.  The current number of 3’s is very unusual.  Unusual enough that we have not seen something like this in the last 21 years…nothing remotely close to this.  It’s not time to assess what this might mean to subsequent returns; but, it is pertinent to consider how this will impact the current return.  The 3’s tend to come back later than 4’s and 5’s and they tend to be slightly more male than female.  It is probable that this return will last longer than anticipated and that we will enter the peak period with slightly more males than females.  And, it will take longer for the fish to ripen and spawn.  More later….

Other 2018 Cost Recovery: 

A number of kings and summer coho have been harvested: 4,172 kings (64,000 pounds) at Neets; 3,254 excess kings from the raceway at Whitman; 1,813 kings at Port St. Nick; and, 5,896 Snow Pass Coho from the raceway on Neck Creek.  The king return is done, while it is possible for several additional harvests of summer coho.  Coho cost recovery will occur at Klawock Hatchery and Whitman Lake when those fish enter the system later this summer/fall.

Neets Bay Cost Recovery Harvest, 23 July 2018:

We started cost recovery harvest on the 1st of July.  Fishing was slow, generally a scratch, through the 16th.  Catching has improved through the last week.

As you can see from the graphics, it continues to look like we are about a week behind what was anticipated.  A seemingly omnipresent high pressure system (sunny/warm weather) has slowed the return, which is also normal with that weather pattern.

The harvest through stat week 29 was 176,309 chums at 1,958,500 pounds.  The fish are large, averaging 11 pounds through week 29.  They are still slightly predominantly male – suggesting we have not reached the run’s peak, though that should occur within several days to a week.  We use “peak” as the period of highest abundance in the inner bay, which generally lasts at least 4 or 5 days – sometimes longer.  The run tapers away from the peak for several weeks, but the back shoulder is not as strong as the front shoulder of the return.

Broodstock collection began several days ago with about 15,500 fish across the barrier. The fish are not yet much interested in entering freshwater, which is usual for this date.  We anticipate putting somewhere between 130,000 and 170,000 fish across the barrier…perhaps more, depending on the success of brood at Burnett Inlet. Brood collection goes on through early to mid-August.

Considering the current weather pattern, it is reasonable to think the run is a few days late.  This may cause some confusion in comparison as last summer’s return was several days earlier than usual.  We will be able to assess the terminal return better through stat week 30, next week.

Other 2018 Cost Recovery: 

A number of kings and summer coho have been harvested: 4,172 kings (64,000 pounds) at Neets; 1,192 excess kings from the raceway at Whitman; and, 4,342 Snow Pass Coho from the raceway on Neck Creek.  The king return is generally over but for a few late fish, while it is possible for the summer coho return to continue through the next several weeks.

Neets Bay Cost Recovery Harvest, 16 July 2018:

We started cost recovery harvest on the 1st of July.  Fishing was slow through the first 10 days, as is generally the case with a run the size as what was forecast.  The last several net rotations in Neets Bay, at the end of June, were well attended; there was little build up when we started.

In recent years we have fished exclusively inside of Bug Island to leave troll harvest undisturbed.  Historically our early season harvest took place along “Football Beach” outside of Bug Island.  Ultimately this doesn’t change harvest numbers as much as it pushes harvest back in time.

As you can see from the graphics we are about a week behind what was anticipated.  A seemingly omnipresent high pressure system (sunny/warm weather) has slowed the return, which is also normal with that weather pattern.  With or without a low pressure system, we anticipate fish moving to the inner part of the bay in the next few days.  A day or two of serious rain would be a good thing.

The harvest through stat week 28 was 57,566 fish at 692,573 pounds.  The fish are large, averaging 12 pounds through week 28.  They are still generally bright and predominantly male – what you would anticipate in the early run.  The run generally peaks in 10 days to two weeks from now.

We have not collected any broodstock yet.  The fish generally don’t reach the inner bay in sufficient numbers until somewhere between the 18th and 21st, at least that has been the case.  We will put the first few brood across on the 18th, if they are available near the barrier; if not, we will put fish across as soon after that as possible.  Brood collection goes on through early August.

It is too early in the return to draw any conclusions about the run.  Considering the current weather pattern, it is reasonable to think the run is a few days late.  We will be able to assess the general return better after another week.

Other 2018 Cost Recovery: 

A number of kings and summer coho have been harvested: 3,963 kings at Neets; 1,192 excess kings from the raceway at Whitman; and, 2,100 Snow Pass Coho from the raceway on Neck Creek.  The king return should be winding down while it is possible for the summer coho return to build through the next few weeks.

SSRAA Harvest (Common Property and Cost Recovery) Update, 10 July 2018

It is too early in harvest for the normal detailed updates to be meaningful.  It is possible to make general comments about the ongoing fisheries.

Summer Chum:  Returns to all of SSRAA’s release sites are in the early stages.  As usual, summer chum will return to Nakat and Kendrick earlier than Neets, Burnett, and finally the Anita Bay.  They simply have further to go to get to the more “inside” sites.  As I write it appears the returns to Nakat and Neets are in the ballpark of what was anticipated.  The Kendrick return, on the other hand, is unusual in that at this point the 3’s are the predominant year class.  This doesn’t mean this group is strong: more likely the 4-year-olds – that usually predominate -are not returning in anticipate numbers.  It is too early to say anything about the returns to Anita Bay or Burnett except that some of these fish are already being caught.

Cost recovery at Neets Bay is slightly ahead of last year.  Both this year and last year the fishery only started in earnest on about this date.  Today less than 10% of the Neets cost recovery goal has been harvested.

Chum troll at Neets:  there is greater effort this year, at this date, than we have seen for several years.  The boat count yesterday was 58. Harvest, both per boat and total, has lagged recent years.  And, there is more disparity between the individual boat harvest numbers…a bigger range in daily per boat harvest.

There has been some confusion about what is open and what is closed for troll at Neets Bay.  The Bay (SHA) is now open from Bug Island outward to Chin Point – and into whatever area of the Behm that is currently open to troll.  This area (Bug to Chin Point) will likely remain open after 31 July as on August 1 the SHA shrinks from the Chin Point Line to the Bug Island line…the area outside Bug is not in the SSRAA SHA after 1 August every year.

Chinook:  we have not carefully tabulated chinook numbers and probably won’t do that until after the July chinook fishery is closed.  Anita, Whitman Lake, Neets Bay, and Crystal Lake releases all produced noticeable adult harvest this spring.  There are also some Deer Mountain fish in the harvest (Carroll Inlet and Ketchikan Creek), though only one year class was available at Carroll.  Because of time and area constraints on the troll fishery, most of this harvest took place in terminal areas as opposed to spring troll corridor fisheries.  Neets and Anita SHA’s were the primary producers for net fisheries while Mountain Point will probably prove the best producer for troll harvest of SSRAA fish.

 

Snow Pass Coho:  SSRAA summer coho, released at Neck Lake and Whitman Lake Hatchery, are starting to show in the D106 drift harvest and sport harvest in Whale Pass and the Mountain Point area.  About 2,000 coho were harvested in D106 during stat week 27. The survival of almost all coho (wild and enhanced) returning to southern SE in 2017, summer and fall fish, was poor to very poor.  At this point the summer coho return this year seems similar.  Historically these fish have not moved during extended periods of good weather (high pressure).  This is certainly the case at the moment.  We are hopeful that this will pick up, at least somewhat, with some weather.

Going Forward:  We will begin providing the more usual detailed updates next week.