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Frequently Asked Questions
Copper River Chitina Subdistrict Personal Use Fishery

Questions

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.

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What is a dip net?

In 5 AAC 39.105 of the Alaska Administrative Code, a dip net 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.
size specifications for a legal dip net

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I have relatives coming to visit; can they help me dipnet?

No. Nonresidents 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 (PID/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." Please refer to the Alaskan residency overview for more information.

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

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Do I need a sport fishing license to dipnet in the Chitina Subdistrict?

Yes. If you are 16 years old or older, you must have in your possession a valid Alaska resident sport fishing license, an ADF&G Permanent ID (senior license), or an ADF&G Disable Veteran's license to fish in the Chitina Subdistrict.

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Do I need a permit to dipnet in the Chitina Subdistrict?

Yes. A permit is required to participate in the Chitina Subdistrict Personal Use dip net fishery. Also required is an Alaska resident sport fishing license, ADF&G senior license, or ADF&G Disabled Veteran's License. Chitina permits are available online.

Chitina 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 a valid Alaska resident sport fishing license, ADF&G Permanent ID card (PID/senior license) or ADF&G Disabled Veteran's license to participate, and must be named on the permit.

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

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Can my household have both a Chitina dip net permit and a Glennallen subsistence permit?

No. 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.

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

Limits are per household. A head of household is allowed 25 salmon, and for each additional household member the household is allowed 10 more salmon. As a portion of these limits, the annual limit for Chinook (king) salmon is one per household. Supplemental harvest periods are no longer scheduled.

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When is the Chitina Subdistrict open to dipnetting?

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

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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.

mark salmon harvested in a personal use fishery in which a permit is required by clipping both tips of the tail fin

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When is the best time to go dipnetting 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.

Note: Due to poor run strength, king salmon retention was prohibited after mid-late June in the Chitina Subdistrict from 2009-2014.

Graph showing Chignik Subdistrict Dip Net Fishery: 2011-2015 Average King Salmon Harvest by Day.
Chitina Subdistrict Dip Net Fishery: 2011-2015 Average King Salmon Harvest by Day.
Select image to enlarge.
Graph showing Chignik Subdistrict Dip Net Fishery: 2011-2015 Average Sockeye Salmon Harvest by Day.
Chitina Subdistrict Dip Net Fishery: 2011-2015 Average Sockeye Salmon Harvest by Day.
Select image to enlarge.

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How many salmon are in the river right now?

Fish counts are conducted (from about mid-May to the end of July) using a sonar site at the outlet of Miles Lake about 70 miles from the Chitina dip net fishery area. See the Copper River/Miles Lake Sonar page for fish counts and additional information.

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How long does it take for salmon to travel from the Miles Lake Sonar to the Chitina dip net fishery area?

Prior to mid-July, it takes approximately 2 weeks, depending on river conditions, for salmon to travel from Miles Lake to the Chitina dip net fishery area (approximately 70 miles). After mid-July it takes about 3 weeks.

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Can the fish be used as bait?

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

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Do I need a king salmon stamp to harvest a king salmon under the personal use permit?

No. You do not need a king salmon stamp for personal use. You do need a king salmon stamp if you will be sport fishing for king salmon.

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Can I keep a rainbow trout while dipnetting in the Chitina Subdistrict?

No. Steelhead and rainbow trout may not be kept while dipnetting at Chitina. You are required to return these fish to the river. The Chitina dip net permit is for salmon only.

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