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Alaska Department of Fish and Game


Frequently Asked Questions
Copper River Chitina Subdistrict Personal Use Fishery

What is "Personal Use"?

"Personal use" is a legally defined regulatory category of fishery. It is defined as "the taking, fishing for, or possession of finfish, shellfish, or other fishery resources, by Alaska residents for personal use and not for sale or barter, with gill or dip net, seine, fish wheel, long line, or other means defined by the Board of Fisheries".

The Board of Fisheries established personal use fisheries to allow Alaskan residents to harvest fish for food in areas that are not eligible for subsistence fisheries.

Personal use fisheries are only allowed when they won't jeopardize sustained yield of the resource, and won't negatively impact an existing resource use, and are in the broad public interest.

It is unlawful to buy, sell, trade or barter personal use finfish, shellfish, aquatic plants, or their parts.

Can I fish in the Chitina Subdistrict (Personal Use) using any means?

No. The only gear you may use in the Chitina Subdistrict is a dip net.

What is a dip net?

In 5 AAC 39.105 of the Alaska Administrative Code, a dipnet is defined as

  1. a bag-shaped net supported on all sides by a rigid frame;
  2. the maximum straight-line distance between any two points on the net frame, as measured between any two points on the net frame, as measured through the net opening, may not exceed five feet;
  3. the depth of the bag must be at least one-half of the greatest straight-line distance, as measured through the net opening;
  4. no portion of the bag may be constructed of webbing that exceeds a stretched measurement of 4.5 inches;
  5. the frame must be attached to a single rigid handle and be operated by hand.
legal dipnets
I have relatives coming to visit; can they help me dipnet?

No. Non-residents MAY NOT participate in personal use fisheries. Participation includes, but is not limited to, handling the gear, handling the fish, or driving the boat.

Only Alaskan residents may participate in personal use fisheries, and by regulation, only those holding a valid Alaska resident sport fishing license, or ADF&G Permanent Identification Card (senior license), or ADF&G Disabled Veteran's license may participate in these fisheries.

For fishing and hunting purposes, the Alaska State Legislature has defined a resident as "a person who is physically present in Alaska with the intent to remain indefinitely and makes a home here, has maintained that person's domicile in Alaska for 12 consecutive months immediately preceding an application for a license and not claiming residency or obtaining benefits under a claim of residency in another state, territory, or country."

Alaska resident youth under 16 do not have to purchase a sport fishing license to participate. However, they must meet the residency requirement.

Personal use fish may be used for food or for bait.

Do I need a permit to dip net in the Chitina Subdistrict?

Yes. A permit is required to participate in the Chitina subdistrict personal use dipnet fishery. Also required is an Alaska resident sport fishing license, ADF&G senior license or ADF&G Disabled Veteran's License.

Households MAY NOT HOLD BOTH the Chitina Subdistrict Personal Use Permit AND the Glennallen Subdistrict Subsistence permit. Households must choose one or the other permit.

Households that are found to have received both the Chitina personal use permit and the Glennallen subsistence permit may be subject to fines and loss of future personal use fishing privileges.

Personal use permits are household permits. This means that only one permit will be issued per household. However, all participating members of the household who are 16 years old or older must also have an Alaska resident sport fishing license, ADF&G senior license or ADF&G Disabled Veteran's license to participate, and must be named on the permit.

See the Permit page for more information on where you can get a permit, requirements of the permit and information on filling out your permit harvest card.

What is the bag limit for salmon in the Chitina Subdistrict?

Check the Fishery Regulations and Public Access for the Chitina Subdistrict Personal Use Salmon Fishery (PDF 3,835 kB)

Sometimes during the season, the department will issue an emergency order which allows an additional 10 red (sockeye) salmon to be taken per permit.

When is the Chitina Subdistrict open to dip netting?

For Chitina openers and closures, monitor the Copper River Chitina Subdistrict Personal Use Salmon Fishery Schedule.

I heard I have to "mark" salmon caught in a personal use fishery such as the Chitina Subdistrict; How do I do this?

By regulation, you must "mark" salmon harvested in a personal use fishery in which a permit is required by clipping both tips of the tail fin. Many people use strong kitchen shears to cut off both tips of the tail fin.

Because it is unlawful to buy, sell, trade or barter personal use fish or their parts, a person may not possess personal use salmon that was taken under the authority of a permit unless both tips of the tail fin have been removed from the salmon. The salmon must be marked before the salmon is concealed from plain view, such as put in a cooler, or before the salmon is transported from the fishing site, such as your vehicle. Failure to mark the salmon is a violation, and may be subject to fines and loss of future personal use fishing privileges.

Clip the tails
When is the best time to go dip netting in the Chitina Subdistrict?

The following graphs may help you plan on "When to Go" to Chitina. Each graph shows average salmon harvest by species, by day for a recent five year interval. Keep in mind that these are average harvests for the five years indicated and do not necessarily reflect what will occur this season.

Chitina Sub-District Average King salmon Harvest 2008-2012

Chitina Sub-District Average Sockeye salmon Harvest 2008-2012

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