From an ADF&G press release:
The Chitina Subdistrict will open from 12:01 a.m., Monday, July 25 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 31. In addition, a supplemental harvest of 10 additional sockeye salmon will be allowed for the personal use dip net salmon fishery in the Chitina Subdistrict during this period.
Supplemental permits are incorporated in the Chitina Subdistrict fishery permit and supplemental harvest must be recorded on this permit before leaving the fishing site. The supplemental harvest portion of the permit is valid only if the original permit limit has been harvested.
Supplemental sockeye salmon may only be taken from 12:01 a.m., Monday, July 25 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 31. A permit holder who has filled their original permit limit is entitled to take 10 additional sockeye salmon during each supplemental period.
This announcement does not change the eighth opening of the Chitina Subdistrict, which will remain at noon on Tuesday, July 19 until 11:59 p.m., Sunday, July 24.
The Chitina Subdistrict Personal Use Dip Net Salmon Fishery is closed to the retention of king salmon for the remainder of the 2011 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, as amended by 2011 emergency orders, state that:
The seasonal bag limit is a total of 15 salmon for a household of one, and 30 salmon for a household of two or more.
Personal use fishermen 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.
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 July 4 – July 10, there were 114,418 salmon counted past the Miles Lake sonar. The pre-season projection for this period was 41,880 salmon, which results in a surplus of 72,538 salmon.
Copper River sockeye salmon migratory timing and the previous five-year average harvest and participation rates indicate sufficient numbers of salmon to justify 168 hours of fishing time during the week of July 25 – July 31, which is an increase of 6 hours over the preseason schedule.
In addition, an excess of more than 50,000 salmon above the preseason sonar projection for this period allows a supplemental harvest of 10 additional sockeye salmon to those permit holders who have already harvested their original permit limit.
The king salmon harvest within the Copper River District commercial gillnet fishery is essentially complete and the harvest of about 18,400 king salmon is below the 10-year average commercial harvest of 29,872 king salmon.
The current cumulative catch of king salmon in the Native Village of Eyak research fish wheels at Baird Canyon and recaptures at Canyon Creek indicate the king salmon return is similar to the poor returns of 2009 and 2010. Copper River king salmon migratory timing and five-year average harvest rates indicate insufficient numbers of king salmon to sustain a king salmon fishery in the Chitina Subdistrict and still attain a spawning escapement of 24,000 or more king salmon in the Copper River drainage.
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. The road from O’Brien Creek to Haley Creek is unmaintained and is closed to highway vehicles.
Travelers proceed by other means at their own risk. Boat launch 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 Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT) right of way (ROW) where it reaches ordinary high water. Boat launching is currently not available at O’Brien Creek.
Landowners in the area have incorporated a fee-based permit system that 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.
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.
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, the Liberty Falls Recreation Site, and a private campground at the Chitina Airport. Wood cutting within the DOT ROW is prohibited.
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 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.