The following press release is courtesy of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game:
The Chitina Subdistrict will close, until further notice, effective 12:01 a.m.Monday, July 16.
The Copper River personal use fishery is managed under direction of the Copper River Personal Use Dip Net Salmon Fishery Management Plan (5 AAC 77.591). The plan establishes the season from June 7 through September 30, and directs the department to establish weekly periods based on Miles Lake sonar counts. However, the 2018 Copper River sockeye salmon run has required the department to modify management strategies to compensate for low sockeye salmon wild stock abundance, a stronger than projected hatchery stock run, and greater than expected king salmon entry into the river in order to achieve the wild sockeye salmon sustainable escapement goal. Daily sonar counts have begun to lag behind projected passage, and stock and abundance data from a July 9 commercial fishery in the Copper River District indicate insufficient wild sockeye salmon stocks needed to achieve the lower bound escapement goal. It is therefore justified to close the Chitina Subdistrict personal use dip net salmon fishery until further notice.
The personal use fishery will continue to be managed weekly through the end of August with any potential fishing opportunity dependent upon sonar passage and further adjustments needed to ensure wild sockeye salmon escapement. In order to provide additional fishing opportunity fishery openings may be announced with less than 5 days’ notice. Regardless of sonar passage, the Chitina Subdistrict personal use fishery will reopen by regulation beginning September 1.
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.
Any changes on the status of this fishery 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.