Amendment to the 2008 Copper River Personal Use Dip Net Salmon Fishery Schedule

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The Chitina Subdistrict will remain closed until Thursday June 5 at 7:59 p.m. Fish passage past the Miles Lake sonar is sufficient to allow a personal use fishery opening during the week of June 2 – 8. The duration of this opening will be 72-hours from 8:00 p.m., June 5 through 8:00 p.m., June 8. As a reminder, the Copper River Personal Use Dip Net Salmon Fishery Management Plan and the Statewide Personal Use Fishing Regulations state that:

  • The seasonal bag limit is a total of 15 salmon, one of which may be a king salmon for a household of one, and 30 salmon, one of which may be a king salmon for a household of two or more.
  • Personal use fishers must possess both their Chitina Personal Use fishery permit and a valid resident sport fishing license when fishing.
  • Of the total bag limit only one king salmon can be kept.
  • Steelhead cannot be kept, and must be returned to the water unharmed.
  • When a harvestable surplus of 50,000 salmon or greater will be present in the Chitina Subdistrict, by emergency order, a supplemental permit for 10 additional sockeye salmon will be issued to Chitina Subdistrict personal use permit holders.
  • 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.

During May 19 – 25, there were 34,942 salmon counted past the Miles Lake sonar. The preseason projection for this period was 54,350 salmon, which results in a deficit of 19,408 salmon. Copper River sockeye salmon migratory timing and the previous five-year average harvest and participation rates indicate sufficient numbers of salmon available to allow 72 hours of fishing time during the week of June 2 – 8. Depending on actual numbers of salmon passing the Miles Lake sonar, future openings may be increased or decreased, accordingly.

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 to participate in this personal use fishery. There is no fee for the Chitina Subdistrict personal use fishing permit. Public access, without a fee, to the Copper River is available in those areas where the eastern boundary of the 300’ wide O’Brien Creek Road easement reaches the ordinary high water mark of the west bank of the Copper River. Boat launch and fish wheel access to the Copper River is available via the 17b easement located upstream of the Chitina-McCarthy Bridge on the east bank of the Copper River. Public access and boat launching is also available downstream of the Chitina-McCarthy Bridge on the east bank of the Copper River within the DOT ROW where it reaches ordinary high water.

Uplands on both banks of the Copper River within the Chitina Subdistrict boundaries are private. Vehicle and foot access to the Copper River remains restricted along these private lands and at O’Brien Creek. Boat launching is currently not available at O’Brien Creek. Landowners in the area have incorporated a fee-based permit system which allows public access over their private lands along the Copper River. Not all private land is posted. A brochure, which offers guidance into private land locations within the fishery area, is distributed with the permit. The Department urges dipnetters to respect the rights of private landowners. DOT has replaced the O’Brien Creek Bridge, which was washed away by flooding in October 2006, with an ATV bridge. Highway vehicles may cross O’Brien Creek at the designated crossing. The road approximately one mile beyond O’Brien Creek sustained extensive landslide and wash-out damage in the 2006 flooding and remains closed from that point and beyond.

If you are launching a boat from the Chitina-McCarthy Bridge please do so safely and with respect to operating fishwheels. When cleaning fish, the carcasses should be disposed of in fast moving water that washes the carcasses downstream such as O’Brien Creek or the Copper River. Leaving carcasses along the road, stream bank or in lakes is considered littering and subject to a $1,000 fine. Camping space is reduced and limited. Public camping is available at the DOT wayside on the east bank of the Copper River by the Chitina-McCarthy Bridge, waysides along the O’Brien Creek Road ROW, and a private campground at the Chitina Airport. The Liberty Falls Recreation Site is currently closed due to flood damage. Wood cutting within the DOT ROW is prohibited.

Information regarding the fishery can be found at the ADF&G web site: 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 Emergency Orders. If you have any questions regarding the Chitina Subdistrict personal use fishery, please contact the ADF&G office in Glennallen at (907) 822-3309. Changes in the fishery openings will be announced at least 48 hours in advance. Fishery information is available 24 hours each day at (907) 822-5224 in Glennallen, (907) 459-7382 in Fairbanks and (907) 267-2511 in Anchorage. Please contact the information phone line prior to planning your trip to Chitina to insure that the fishery will be open when you arrive.

For additional information contact Mark Somerville, UCUS Area Management Biologist, 907-822-3309.