Chitina Personal Use Salmon Fishery
Harvest & Effort

Over the last 20 years the Department has issued 4,982 – 12,635 permits annually for the Chitina Subdistrict Personal Use Fishery (see table below). About 65% of these permits are actually fished each year. The number of permits issued in this fishery dropped when a $15.00 fee was added in 2017, but the number of permits fished has remained steady.

Generally, more people fish in the beginning of the season when king salmon are present in the fishery (see figures below). Harvest of king salmon is highest early in the season and corresponds with the fishing effort. While king salmon may be present all season, the bulk of the king salmon run is over by mid-July. The wild sockeye salmon run is usually highest in June and then drops off through the season. In late July and early August hatchery fish, bound for the Prince William Sound Aquaculture hatchery on the Gulkana River, provide a boost of salmon into the fishery and account for an average of about 16% of the overall harvest and as much as 75% of the harvest in a given week. Although total harvest is usually highest in June, corresponding with the highest effort, the number of sockeye caught per permit is highest in July and early August.

Harvest in the fishery is most affected by the number of fish running upriver, followed by the number of permits being fished, and then by water level. Harvest is generally lowest during high water events but can also be low during very low water with a lack of adequate dipping sites. The most productive fishing can be immediately after a high water event, when the fish that have held in the river finally start moving.

Permit holders dip from shore or dip from boats. Generally, fishing from a boat is more productive since dipnetters can compensate for fluctuating water levels by moving to different locations. However, there are high productive shore fishing sites accessible from the road right-of-way or by drop off from a boat.

  Permits Harvest
Year Permits
Issued
Permits
Fished
King Sockeye Coho Other Total
harvest
Harvest per
permit fished
2000 8,146 7,216 3,168 107,856 3,657 203 114,884 16
2001 9,458 6,644 3,113 132,108 2,720 484 138,425 21
2002 6,804 4,480 2,056 86,543 1,934 317 90,850 20
2003 6,441 4,257 1,921 81,513 2,603 264 86,301 20
2004 8,156 4,955 2,502 108,527 2,878 509 114,416 23
2005 8,230 5,330 2,094 122,463 1,869 478 126,904 24
2006 8,497 5,291 2,681 124,810 2,735 464 130,690 25
2007 8,377 5,549 2,722 126,154 1,783 660 131,319 23
2008 8,041 4,803 2,022 82,318 2,811 407 87,558 18
2009 7,958 4,830 223 90,917 1,723 267 93,130 19
2010 9,970 6,075 718 140,811 2,043 365 143,937 24
2011 9,217 5,710 1,080 129,985 1,712 444 133,221 23
2012 10,016 5,781 572 128,058 1,393 267 130,298 22
2013 10,592 6,768 762 182,915 805 710 185,194 27
2014 11,717 7,116 733 158,879 1,198 329 161,149 22
2015 12,635 7,829 1,585 225,425 855 1,341 229,213 29
2016 11,394 6,219 726 150,303 1,193 609 152,831 24
2017 9,490 6,161 1,973 134,294 723 673 137,663 22
2018 4,982 3,044 1,374 80,542 1,470 375 83,761 27
2019 * 8,071 5,467 2,911 177,203 1,164 609 181,887 32
Average
2014 - 2018
10,044 6,074 1,278 149,889 1,088 665 152,923 25
Average
2009 - 2018
9,797 5,953 975 142,213 1,312 538 145,040 24
Graph showing Chignik Subdistrict Dip Net Fishery: 2013-2017 Average King Salmon Harvest by Day.
Average king salmon harvest by day in the Chitina Personal Use Salmon Fishery.
Select image to enlarge.
Graph showing Chignik Subdistrict Dip Net Fishery: 2013-2017 Average Sockeye Salmon Harvest by Day.
Average Sockeye salmon harvest by day in the Chitina Personal Use Salmon Fishery.
Select image to enlarge.
Graph showing Chignik Subdistrict Dip Net Fishery: 2013-2017 Average Sockeye Salmon Harvest Per Permit by Day.
Average sockeye salmon harvest per permit by day in the Chitina Personal Use Salmon Fishery.
Select image to enlarge.

When to fish

Watching the sonar counts at Miles Lake can provide an indication of the number of fish moving toward Chitina. It takes 2 – 3 weeks for fish to travel from the sonar site to the Chitina Subdistrict. The sonar counts total salmon and the counts are 95% sockeye salmon. Remember though, just because the sonar says lots of fish should be arriving in Chitina, the fishing may still be bad. Success can range from epic to terrible with changes in water level that are unpredictable and can occur anytime during the season.

The Department has three call-in hotlines (Glennallen: 907-822-5224, Anchorage: 907-267-2511, Fairbanks: 907-459-7382) that are updated at least weekly with sonar passage numbers and times the fishery is open. These hotlines do not provide current river conditions.