(Released: June 14, 2017 - Expired: August 31, 2017)
Division of Sport Fish
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Contact: Mark Somerville, UCUS Area Management Biologist
The Chitina Subdistrict will open for a 168-hour period from 12:01 a.m. Monday, June 19 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, June 25. The retention of king salmon is allowed in the Chitina dip net fishery effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, June 19.
As a reminder, the Copper River Personal Use Dip Net Salmon Fishery Management Plan and the Statewide Personal Use Fishing Regulations state that:
- The annual limit is 25 salmon for the head of household and 10 salmon for each dependent of the permit holder.
- Of the total limit only one king salmon may be retained per household.
- Personal use fishers must possess both their Chitina Personal Use fishery permit and a valid resident sport fishing license when fishing. Steelhead cannot be kept, and must be returned to the water unharmed.
- Harvest must be recorded on the permit immediately.
- The tips of the tail of personal use caught fish must be clipped immediately upon landing a fish.
- Immediately is defined as before concealing the salmon from plain view or transporting the salmon from the fishing site. Fishing site means the location where the fish was removed from the water and became part of the permit holder’s bag limit.
The Copper River personal use fishery is managed under direction outlined in the Copper River Personal Use Dip Net Salmon Fishery Management Plan (5 AAC 77.591). The plan establishes the season from June 7 through September 30, and directs the department to establish weekly periods based on Miles Lake sonar counts. During June 5 – June 11, there were 96,411 salmon counted past the Miles Lake sonar. The preseason projection for this period was 106,326 salmon, which results in a deficit of 9,915 salmon. Copper River sockeye salmon migratory timing and the previous five-year average harvest and participation rates indicate sufficient numbers of salmon available to maintain 168 hours of fishing time during the week of June 19 – June 25.
The Copper River King Salmon Fishery Management Plan directs the department to manage the Copper River fisheries to achieve a sustainable escapement goal in the Copper River of 24,000 or more king salmon. On June 2, 2017 the department rescinded king salmon bag limit restrictions in the Glennallen Subdistrict subsistence fishery and relaxed upper Copper River sport fishing restrictions to allow for a 2-fish annual bag limit of king salmon. These actions were based on a greater than expected commercial harvest of king salmon in the Copper River District indicating the 2017 run may be greater than forecast. The commercial harvest of king salmon above expectations and available measures of abundance from the Native Village of Eyak mark/recapture study, proportion of tagged king salmon observed in harvest sampling and anecdotal catch rates from the Glennallen Subdistrict subsistence fishery, and higher than average cumulative king salmon counts at the Gulkana River counting tower continue to indicate the 2017 run of king salmon may be greater than forecast and that a harvestable surplus, above the minimum escapement goal of 24,000 king salmon, exists in the upper Copper River. It is therefore justified to allow the retention of king salmon in the Chitina Subdistrict personal use fishery.
All residents of Alaska qualify to participate in this personal use fishery. A Chitina Subdistrict Personal Use Fishing permit and a resident sport fishing license are required. There is $15.00 fee for the Chitina Subdistrict personal use fishing permit.
The department urges dipnetters to respect the rights of private landowners in the area and know the regulations before fishing. For information on access across private lands contact Chitina Native Corporation at (907) 823-2223.
Information regarding the fishery can be found at the ADF&G webpage. This site provides information regarding the Upper Copper River fisheries including: fishery descriptions and summaries, maps of the subdistricts, a listing of vendors that carry the permits, and links to the sonar numbers and fishing schedule emergency orders.
The current fishing schedule will be announced on the Chitina Fishery information line at (907) 822-5224 (Glennallen), (907) 459-7382 (Fairbanks), and (907) 267-2511 (Anchorage). Please contact an information phone line prior to planning your trip to Chitina to ensure that the fishery will be open when you arrive. If you have any questions regarding the Chitina Subdistrict personal use fishery, please contact the ADF&G office in Glennallen at (907) 822-3309.