The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has announced its preliminary schedule for the Chitina Subdistrict personal use dip net salmon fishery, which is due to start with a 24-hour period on June 8 and run through Sept. 30.
The full schedule can be found online here: bit.ly/3drXQmZ.
The 2020 Copper River forecast is 1.53 million wild and hatchery sockeye salmon and 60,000 king salmon. Typically, the bulk of the king salmon run is over by mid-July. The wild sockeye salmon run is usually highest in June and then drops off through the season. Over the past 20 years, the department has issued between 5,000 and 12,500 permits annually and the average annual totally harvest over the past decade is around 145,000 fish.
The schedule is based on projected daily sonar counts at the Miles Lake sonar and is designed to distribute the harvest throughout the run based on actual salmon abundance. Fishing periods may be adjusted through emergency order each week, based on in-season sonar counts.
Travel time for salmon between the Miles Lake sonar and the Chitina Subdistrict is approximately two to three weeks; as a result, changes to the preliminary schedule will be announced approximately one week prior to the fishing period. After Aug. 31, the fishery will remain open, by regulation, through Sept. 30.
The in-river goal, for the number of salmon passing the Miles Lake sonar, is 661,000–1.05 million salmon. This goal ensures sufficient salmon for spawning escapement, subsistence, personal use and sport fishing needs, and hatchery broodstock.
All residents of Alaska qualify to participate in this personal use fishery. A Chitina Personal Use Salmon Fishery Permit and a resident Alaska sport fishing license are required. Both dip net permits and fishing licenses can be obtained online at bit.ly/3foUHWV.
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 is notifying fishery users that all 2020 Chitina Personal Use Salmon Fishery permit participation and harvest reporting must be completed online through the ADF&G website by the Oct. 15 deadline. 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.
The penalty for failure to report Chitina Personal Use Salmon Fishery harvest online by the 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.
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 or Ahtna, Inc at 907-822-3476.
The current fishing schedule will be announced on the Chitina Fishery information line at 907-822-5224 for Glennallen, 907-459-7382 for Fairbanks, and 907-267-2511 for Anchorage. The department advises fishermen to contact an information phone line prior to planning your trip to Chitina to ensure that the fishery will be open when you arrive. For more information regarding the Chitina Subdistrict personal use fishery, you can contact the ADF&G office in Glennallen at 907-822-3309.
Contact staff writer Alistair Gardiner at 459-7575. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMoutdoors.