BRISTOL BAY DATA REPORT NO. 85-4
Summary of Historical Escapement Data for King, Chum, Pink,
and Coho Salmon in the Naknek-Kvichak, Egegik
and Ugashik Drainages 1926-1984.
Richard B. Russell
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Division of Commercial Fisheries
King Salmon, Alaska
ARLI§ . .
Alaska Resources Lihrary & !nf~)fmatJon ScrvJCC~
Ubrary Bui\(\ing, Smt~ 111
3211 Providence Dnve
Anchorage. A K 9950R-Hi 1.1
AREA PATA REPORTS: This series of reports is designed to facilitate
archiving of small data sets and internal agency information. It
generally consists of data sets of less significant nature that
frequently are combined on an annual basis and published through the
ADF&G Technical Data Report-Series. This series also includes
noteworthy field observation, feasibility ~tudies, Board of Fisheries
Reports and staff meeting notes. To pranote docunentation of as many
observations as possible which would otherwise remain unreported, this
informal report series receives very little editing, thus caution is
recommended in use of data and any analysis persented within.
List of Tables.
List of Figures
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF TABLES
Tab 1 e l. Salmon counts, Kvi chak River, 1932-1984 . .
King salmon escapement counts, Alagnak (Branch)
River, 1961-1984. . . . . .
Chum salmon escapement counts, Alagnak (Branch)
River, 1961-1984. . .
Pink salmon escapement counts, Alagnak (Branch)
River, 1961-1984. .
Coho salmon escapement counts, Alagnak (Branch)
River, 1977-1984. . . .
King salmon escapement counts, Naknek River
drainage, 1929-1984 . .
Chum salmon escapement counts, Naknek River
drainage, 1929-1984 .
Pink salmon escapement counts, Naknek River
drainage, 1929-1984 .
Coho salmon escapement counts, Naknek River
King salmon escapement counts, Egegik River
drainage, 1932-1984 .
Table 11. Chum salmon escapement counts, Egegik River
drainage, 1932-1984 .
Pink salmon escapement counts, Egegik River
Coho salmon escapement counts, Egegik River
drainage, 1953-1984 .
Table 14. King salmon escapement counts, Ugashik River
drainage, 1926-1984 .
Table 15. Cnum salmon escapement counts, Ugashik River
drainage, :1926-1984 .
Table 16. Pink salmon escapement counts, Ugashik River
drainage, 1926-1984 .
Table 17. Coho salmon escapement counts, Ugashik River
drainage, 1926-1984 . .
Figure 1 Bristol
The Kvichak, Naknek, Egegik, and Ugashik River drainages of Bristol Bay
(Figure 1) support runs of sockeye, king, chum, pink, and coho salmon.
Sockeye are the most noteworthy species in terms of numbers and commercial
value and hence have been studied the most extensively. Total run data
(catch plus escapement) are available for sockeye from the early 1950's to
the present, permitting managers to evaluate escapement-return relationships
and set appropriate escapement goals on a drainage by drainage basis. Total
run data for the other four salmon species are far less complete and escape-
ment goals have not been set for these species in the above drainages.
As part of an effort to detail what data exists pertaining to the escapements
of king, chum, pink, and coho salmon in east side Bristol Bay drainages a
revie\"1 of the literature (both published and unpublished) was conducted. Addi-
tional data was extracted from the files of both the Alaska Department of Fish
and Game, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in King Salmon. Results of
that review are presented in this report.
Escapement data for king, chum, pink, and coho salmon have been collected
periodically from east side Bristol Bay drainages since 1926. Data have been
obtained using a variety of methods including \"leirs, aerial surveys, foot surveys,
float surveys, and counting towers. Numerous observers have participated in
the data collection. Often projects generating the data \"/ere principally
targeting on other species (generally sockeye salmon) so entries pertaining
to the above incidental species may be incomplete or not totally descriptive
for use as an escapement index for a particular stream in a given year. Data
listed in this report are subject to the above constraints. Raw counts rather
than expansions are presented whenever a distinction could be made between them.
Any potential user of the data listings in this report should consider the above
constraints and use the data with appropriate caution. In nearly all cases the
escapement data presented should be considered index values rather than total
Historic Kvichak River escapement counts for king, chum, pink, and coho salmon
are presented in Table 1. Very little data exists for any species other than
pink salmon. Aerial ·surveys during six years have yielded a mean escapement
index value of 115,000 pinks. With a few more years data some escapement return
relationships for pinks may become apparent. King salmon are known to spawn
in the upper mainstem Kvichak, Pecks Creek, Kaskanak Creek, and possibly in
some smaller tributaries such as Yellow Creek. Afew also enter Iliamna Lake
but the numbers are very small. The data in Table 1 are too spotty to yeild
anything other than a possible range of spal"lning indices for kings. There is
DRISTOL DAY AREA
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Table l. Salmon counts,ll Kvichak River, 1932-1984.
Year King Salmon Chum Salmon Pink Salmon Coho Salmon
1932 y 6 '113 l ,018 200 No surveys
1966 67,500 "
1968 88,000 "
1976 35 16 'l 00 "
1978 440,000 "
1980 1,000 25,000 "
1984 200 165,000 "
Totals 7,348 l ,018 801 ,800
Mean Index l ,837 l ,018 114,543
ll Aerial peak counts unless otherwise noted
y Weir count
(Literature Cited: 2 and 5)
only one observation regarding Kvichak chums and there are no data on file
describing coho escapements although small numbers of cohos have been re-
corded at locations around Iliamna Lake such as the Lower Talarik Creek weir
(n = 109 in 1973, n = 13 in 1974). Additional surveys will be necessary in
the future if escapement trend information for the above species is desired.
Alagnak (Branch) River
Salmon escapement counts for species other than sockeye date from 1961 to the
present. King salmon counts are presented in Table 2. Counts from both count-
ing towers and aerial surveys are presented with the aerial counts probably
serving as a more reliable indicator in this case. Counting tower operations
generally terminated during early August while kings were still migrating up
the river to spawning areas so fish were probably missed at the tower for
that reason. Additionally, kings are often mid river migrants making them more
difficult to count from counting towers. The aerial surveys conducted since
at least 1968 were scheduled to target directly on spawning kings and they
provide the most useful indicator of king escapement trends. Overall, aerial
surveys have yielded a mean annual escapement index of 5,348 kings in the
Alagnak River and the run currently appears to be quite healthy. Chum salmon
counts are presented in Table 3. Aerial survey counts during recent years
have yi e 1 ded much higher mean index va 1 ues than tower counts from earl i er-·years.
It is strongly suspected that the aerial survey counts again are a more accurate
indicator of chum escapement magnitudes than the earlier tower counts for the
same reasons mentioned above in discussing king counts. The Alagnak is the most
significant chum salmon spawning area in the Naknek-Kvichak drainage and as
such should be considered a prime chum index stream for future escapement
Alagnak River pink salmon counts are presented in Table 4. Both counting tower
and aerial counts are listed but much more reliance should be placed on the
aerial counts. Again, the tower counts were terminated too early to yeild
accurate pink tallies and also many pinks spawn in lower river areas downstream
of the counting tower sites. An even year mean escapement index of 283,079
pinks has been obtained.