Only legal State of Alaska Residents may participate in the Copper River Personal Use Fishery. This generally means you must have resided in the State of Alaska for at least one year. (https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=license.residency)
All fishers 18 or older must have a valid State of Alaska sport fishing license for the current year or a senior or disabled veteran license in their posession. Licensing is not required for Alaska residents under 18.
Only one permit per household!
Your household must purchase a $15 Copper River Personal Use dipnet permit. Only one permit is allowed per household but anyone listed on the permit may use it. The dipnet permit is required to be on your person while fishing. Your catch must be immediately recorded on the permit when you're done fishing. Fishing licenses and dipnet permits must also be on your person while transporting fish caught under personal use.
Fishing licenses and personal use dipnet permits are available at https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/Store and some sporting goods vendors. The permit fee pays for trash and outhouse services in the fishing areas and maintaining the O'Brien Creek road and the Copper River Highway Right-of-way (CRHR) trail maintenance - dipnetters pay their way!
Permits must be filled in each time you fish and all fish must be marked
You must remove both tips from the tail fin of each fish immediately upon landing. See the regulations for more details!
Each time you go dipnetting, you must fill out the harvest section of your permit immediately after fishing, even if you caught no fish. When you are done fishing for the season, you must file an online catch report. Deadline for submitting the report is Oct 15.
You must file an online fishing report with the ADF&G before October 15th, even if you did not go fishing or did not catch any fish on your permit. Failure to file a timely report may lead to suspension of your future fishing privileges (https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/Harvest/).
All fishing trips must be reported, even if no fish were caught - Fish and Game looks at these post-season reports as part of their in-season self-critique for better management. If not for accurate and timely post-season reports, we would need to submit in-season reporting requirements and, likely, more invasive enforcement efforts to ensure accurate reporting.
Chitina Personal Use Fishery Regulations
What area is open to fishing?
The Chitina Personal Use dipnet fishery boundaries are restricted to the mainstem Copper River from the downstream edge of the bridge just outside Chitina on the way to McCarthy downstream to a marker about 200 yards upstream of the mouth of Haley Creek to a matching marker on the east side of the Copper River. All tributaries and areas downstream of the markers are closed to personal use dipnetting.
When can you fish?
The dipnet season is available to us from June 7th until September 30th. Fishing may only take place during Emergency Orders issued by ADF&G. Openings are based on the Miles Lake escapement and pre-season projections of the year's run. CDA copies and redistributes the fishing schedule every six hours.
Legal fishing gear is a bag shaped net supported on all sides by a rigid frame. No measurement between two points on the frame may exceed 5 feet. The netting bag must be at least 1/2 as deep as the widest measurement across the frame. Other rules apply, but if you purchase a dipnet for either the Chitina or Kenai Peninsula personal use fisheries at Alaskan sporting good retailers, you'll get a legal dipnet. Pay close attention to the rules if you build your own dipnet or commission a fabricator to build one for you.
Only salmon may be kept while fishing under your Chitina personal use fishing permit. Steelhead, dolly varden and other non-salmon fish must be returned, unharmed, to the river. It is your responsibility to know the difference between salmon and other types of fish you may find in your net.
What are the bag limits?
Limits are per household. Head of household is allowed 25 salmon. Each additional household member qualifies to add 10 more salmon to the permit. The permit's bag limit for the household is determined when you apply for the permit, so ensure you have a accurate count of people in your household when applying.
The whole enchillada
The definitive and authoritative source for the Chitina Personal Use Dipnet Fishery is available at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's website: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=PersonalUsebyAreaInteriorChitina.regs.
This link to the regulations is current as of April 4, 2023. Please let the webmaster know if you notice the URL to the regulations changes.