Chitina dip-netting

Because of low red salmon numbers, the Chitina personal-use dip-net fishery closed "until further notice" on June 18, 2018. There currently aren't any plans to re-open it despite a late surge of red salmon.

Robin Wood file photo

Based on early season reports, it looks like the Chitina personal use fishery will be off to a better start than last year, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Mark Somerville reported in an email sent to the Chitina Dipnetters Association this week.

Last year, dip-netters faced a weekslong closure starting in June because of bad early season numbers. Fish numbers picked up and fishing opened later in the summer.

Somerville based this year’s outlook on commercial fishing harvest numbers in the Gulf of Alaska and early season sonar counts in the Copper River.  

“For the upper river, the Chitina personal use fishery will open at 12:01 am on June 7th, and if sonar passage continues as it is now that fishery will remain open through at least June 16,” he wrote. “I have had reports of sockeye being caught already by hook and line, and the federal subsistence (fishery) is currently open. With the early river entry, we are seeing at the sonar, there should be good fishing in the subsistence fishery starting the first week of June.” 

The commercial fishing numbers are within the expected range for red salmon and slightly below expected for king salmon, he said. As of Monday, 73,766 reds and 4,064 kings had been caught in the commercial harvest. 

Somerville also wrote that the Copper River is at historically low levels and that fish are moving upstream earlier than usual. 

“Sport anglers should see sockeye salmon in the Klutina River the first couple of weeks of June and king salmon in the Gulkana River by mid-June,” he said. 

Boat swap planned at Tanana Lakes 

Epic Kayak Ultimate is hosting a boat swap on Memorial Day at Tanana Lakes. 

People can bring boats and other paddling gear to sell between 10 and noon. The swap is from noon to 4 p.m. Ten percent of proceeds go to Epic Kayak Ultimate, the nonprofit that runs the aquatic ultimate game. 

A barbecue and epic games will be going till 9 p.m. 

Contact the newsroom at 459-7572.