Copper River Drainage Closing To Sockeye Recreational, Dipnet Fishing

The following is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:

Copper River Drainage Sockeye Salmon Sport Fishery Closed: Effective August 3, 2020

Effective August 3, 2020, the department is closing sport fishing for sockeye salmon in the Upper Copper River drainage for the remainder of the season to provide more sockeye salmon towards the escapement goal.

As of July 28, a total of 530,313 salmon have been counted past the Miles Lake sonar compared to an objective of 624,709 salmon for this date, a deficit of 94,396 salmon with 95% of the run past the sonar. Additionally, sonar passage is trending below the daily objective by 72% indicating the Copper River sockeye salmon run may be near its end. Due to overall low sockeye salmon passage and concerns the sockeye salmon escapement goal is at risk of not being met, it is justified to close the Upper Copper River drainage sockeye salmon sport fishery for the remainder of the season.

Copper River Personal Use Dip Net Salmon Fishing Closed Through August 

The Chitina Subdistrict personal use salmon dip net fishery will remain closed through Monday, August 31 to provide more sockeye salmon towards the escapement goal. The fishery will open, by regulation, September 1 – 30.

The Copper River personal use fishery is managed under the Copper River Personal Use Dip Net Salmon Fishery Management Plan (5 AAC 77.591) and directs the department to establish weekly fishing periods based on Miles Lake sonar counts. As of July 28, a total of 530,313 salmon have been counted past the Miles Lake sonar compared to an objective of 624,709 salmon for this date, a deficit of 94,396 salmon with 95% of the run past the sonar. Additionally, sonar passage is trending below the daily objective by 72% indicating the Copper River sockeye salmon run may be near its end. Due to overall low sockeye salmon passage and concerns the sockeye salmon escapement goal is at risk of not being met, a full closure of the Chitina Subdistrict personal use salmon dip net fishery for the remainder of August is justified.

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.

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