Ready… Set… Net! Bristol Bay Setnet Fishery Opens

Sockeye on ice. (Credit Mike Mason/KDLG)
Sockeye on ice. (Credit Mike Mason/KDLG)

Setnetters in the Nushagak Section had their first opportunity to put their nets in the water Sunday night. KDLG checked out the first hour or so of fishing, and we didn’t see many fish. But Dee Barker, who pulled up to Rebel, a Peter Pan tender, about 30 minutes into the first setnet opening in the Nushagak Section on Sunday night, says he had a couple fish in his net.

“We got four fish in nets so far. That I could see. And yeah, looking for a good season. Get the bugs worked out, this is a good time to do it. Early. Yeah. See what works, what you need to change. I thought we’d go out, maybe Tuesday. But we were ready, pretty much. I’d had, I got a new motor in the boat, and I brought it out, run it in the water, but we didn’t have this, first time we set the gear out. We still have some gear to put up on the beach.”

Barker was about the eleventh boat to get ice and water at the Rebel on Sunday.

Onboard the Rebel, Kris Straub says the tender gave out about 4 tons of ice in the first 20 minutes of the opener.

“Pretty much everybody that’s fishing is coming to get ice and taking care of their fish this year, and so it’s good with this extra heat. Yeah, it makes a way better quality and that’s what it’s all about this year.”

District Manager Tim Sands says that when the first drift opener in the district occurs will depend on the numbers from those first two setnet openings plus sonar and tower counts, and an aerial survey.

We’ll have more numbers and info from the opener later today.