Division of Sport Fish
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
CONTACT: Mark Somerville
The Chitina Subdistrict will open for 138 hours during the week of June 22 – 28, a 24-hour period from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Monday, June 22 and a 114-hour period from 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 24 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, June 28. In addition, effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, June 22, the Chitina Subdistrict personal use dip net fishery will be closed to the retention of king salmon for the remainder of the season. King salmon incidentally taken must be released immediately and returned to the water unharmed.
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.
- 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.
- You must record your harvest 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 of 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 8 – 14, there were 74,082 salmon counted past the Miles Lake sonar. The preseason projection for this period was 75,510 salmon, which results in a weekly deficit of 1,428 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 138 hours of fishing time during the week of June 22 – 28.
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 upper Copper River of 24,000 or more king salmon. The king salmon run to the Copper River appears to be substantially weaker than the preseason forecast of 60,000 king salmon. The cumulative commercial harvest, as of June 16, is approximately 5,751 king salmon and is below the expected level for this date. Catch rates of king salmon in the Native Village of Eyak research fish wheels through June 16 indicated a cumulative catch 32% below average for this date. Additionally, recapture rates of king salmon at Canyon Creek indicate a potential inriver return below the lower end escapement goal of 24,000 king salmon for the Copper River drainage. A cumulative count of 54 king salmon have passed the Gulkana River king salmon counting tower through June 16. These counts are 71% below average for this date. These inseason run strength indicators through June 16, and the generally poor stock performance trend over the last 11 years, indicate the need to take restrictive action and therefore justify prohibiting the retention of king salmon in the Chitina Subdistrict personal use dip net fishery to ensure achievement of the sustainable escapement goal.
Additionally, ADF&G is notifying fishery users that all 2020 Chitina Personal Use Salmon Fishery participation and harvest reporting must be completed online through the ADF&G Harvest Reporting website. Online reporting will be required regardless if you purchased the permit through the ADF&G online store or through a vendor. Returning permits by mail or hand-delivery will no longer be an acceptable means to report. Also, the penalty for failure to report Chitina Personal Use Salmon Fishery harvest online by the October 15 reporting deadline will be the loss of future personal use fishing privileges, and permit holders who fail to report will be denied a permit for the fishery the next calendar year.
All residents of Alaska qualify to participate in this personal use fishery. You must have a Chitina Personal Use Salmon Fishery Permit and a resident Alaska sport fishing license when dipnetting. Both dip net permits and fishing licenses can be obtained online at https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/Store/. A $15 fee is charged for the Chitina Subdistrict personal use salmon fishery permit. Revenue from the fee supports the sanitation services at the fishery and trail maintenance from O’Brien Creek to Haley Creek.
The department urges dipnetters to respect the rights of private landowners in the area and familiarize themselves with the land ownership in the area before fishing. For information on access across private lands contact Chitina Native Corporation at (907) 823-2223 (https://chitinanative.com/obrien-creek-permit-program) or Ahtna, Inc at (907) 822-3476 (https://www.ahtna-inc.com/lands/).
Information regarding the fishery can be found at the ADF&G web site: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=PersonalUsebyAreaInteriorChitina.main. 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 822-5224 (Glennallen), 459-7382 (Fairbanks), and 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.