Copper River Dip Netting Opening Approaching

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

The first personal use dip-net and subsistsence opening on the Copper River is less than month out.  The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has tentatively set the first opening at Chitina for June 3-5, depending on fish numbers.  Area management biologist Mark Summerville says ice conditions look favorable for early salmon migration.

That could set up a good year for dip netters and subsistence fishers, including fish wheel operators. Last summer’s red salmon catch in the dip-net fishery was above the 10 year average, but the take from the much smaller king salmon return was below average. Summerville says 2011 outlook for the Copper River return again favors a strong sockeye take.

Summerville says access to the Copper River at Chitina will remain the same this summer, but this year the Department will be enforcing the 75 foot minimum distance between fish wheels.

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