Division of Sport Fish
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
CONTACT: Mark Somerville
The Chitina Subdistrict will open for 84 hours during the week of July 13 – 19 from 12:01 p.m. (noon) Thursday, July 16 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 19. The Chitina Subdistrict Personal Use Dip Net Salmon Fishery remains closed to the retention of king salmon. King salmon incidentally taken must be released immediately and returned to the water unharmed.
The 2020 Copper River sockeye salmon run is currently 88% of the inriver sonar objective for this date. The department is reducing the personal use fishing opening by 84 hours from the normal schedule to help achieve sockeye salmon escapement of wild stocks. The personal use fishery will continue to be managed weekly through the end of August with any potential fishing opportunity dependent upon sonar passage and further adjustments needed to ensure wild sockeye salmon escapement.
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 and king salmon 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 29 – July 5, there were 61,708 salmon counted past the Miles Lake sonar. The preseason projection for this period was 40,807 salmon, which results in a weekly surplus of 20,901 salmon. This associated level of sonar passage would normally allow for 168 hours of fishing time during the week of July 13 – 19, an increase of 30 hours from the preseason schedule. However, commercial harvest of sockeye salmon in the Copper River District is 89% below average, with only six 12-hr commercial fishing periods this season through July 6, compared to 16 fishing periods of 12 – 48 hours during a normal season. In addition, total salmon passage by the Miles Lake sonar is 12% below the inriver goal objective for this date. As of July 5, a total of 428,438 salmon have been counted past the Miles Lake sonar compared to a preseason projection of 486,711 salmon for this date, which results in a deficit of 58,273 salmon with over 75% of the expected run already past the sonar. Due to overall low sockeye salmon passage and concerns of achieving the sockeye salmon escapement goal, a reduction of 84 hours from the normally calculated fishing time is warranted. This reduction in fishing time is intended to spread harvest and provide fishing opportunity throughout the run while taking a conservative management approach.
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.