March 6, 2019

March 6, 2019

Chitina dipnetters:

Hope you are enjoying the mild winter we are having and that you are getting outdoors to take advantage of the extended spring daylight hours without freezing off your keester.

The 2018 dip net season proved to be a tough one what with the threat of total season closure and the shortened weekly dipping periods. This, coupled with the many Copper River high water periods and erratic up and down sockeye run made it hard to decide on the right time to head to Chitina to harvest your salmon. The difficult season was reflected in the number of Chitina Personal Use Permits issued (4,864 vs the average 9,000 - 10,000) and in the fishery salmon harvest (78,000 sockeyes vs recent annual harvests of approximately 150,000). In 2018 we harvested a total of 1,200 king salmon. Kings were plentiful because of a healthy in-river run due in part to the commercial fishing shutdown necessitated by low sockeye returns. I hope those who made the trip to Chitina fared well.

The 2019 forecast for the Copper River salmon run is 1.4 million sockeye, just slightly above the 1.2 million for 2018, and 55,000 kings. These are mid range numbers and as we all know forecasts are forecasts and at best an educated guess.

On February 8th and 9th, CDA board member Jeremy Lindgren and I attended a Copper River salmon harvest users round table discussion held in the Copper River Valley at Tazlina. The meeting was arranged and paid for by the Copper River Watershed Project, a non-profit group out of Cordova. This meeting was a follow-up to the first user round table discussion held during the 2017 Board of Fisheries meeting in Valdez. Members from all user groups (commercial, subsistence, personal use, sport as well as hatchery personnel) were present. Salmon allocation discussion was off limits. We concentrated on ideas everyone could get behind to ensure ADF&G has our mutual support to garner funding for projects to increase the accuracy of forecasts, preserve and enhance the Copper River salmon runs and better understand ocean factors contributing to smaller salmon returns in many parts of the state. Getting representatives from the user groups talking face to face, away from the sometimes contentious BOF meetings, was a plus.

On March 4, I met with DOT and ADF&G representatives to discuss Chitina Personal Use dip net permit funds. DOT figures they have completed rehabilitation work on a third of the trail between O'Brien and Haley Creeks (pictures viewable on the CDA website Weather permitting, they will continue work this spring and fall. The garbage and toilet contract for the fishery totaled $60,000 for 2018, down from $66,000 in 2017 due to the installation of vaulted toilets.

The Fairbanks Outdoor Show will be held at the Carlson Center on April 26-28. CDA will again have a booth at the show and conduct a Chitina dipnetting seminar. Stop by and shoot the dipnetting breeze. It's also an excellent opportunity to renew your CDA annual dues for $20. We will have pictures of the DOT trail work and an array of CDA apparel. We will again need CDA members to help fill 2-3 hour booth sitting time slots. If you could help us out at our booth, please contact Paul Harrell at 488-7769. If no answer, please leave a message.

The CDA annual membership meeting will be on Tuesday May 14 at 7PM in the Tanana Valley Sportsmens Association (TVSA) clubhouse (1230 TVSA Way) off Boat St. on the way to Compeaus. It's a fun time to hob nob with other dipnetters and hear the latest on our fishery from ADF&G and DOT representatives. Please consider putting your name in during nominations and election of new CDA board members. Door prizes will be drawn throughout the meeting. Food and drinks will be served at intermission. Bring your friends!

2019 CDA $20 annual memberships can be paid at our website, at the Outdoor Show, at the CDA annual membership meeting or mailed in to the address below. Thank you in advance for your continued support.

Chuck Derrick, President
Chitina Dipnetters Association
PO Box 72665
Fairbanks, AK 99707