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The Alaska Department of Fish & Game has released the initial two opening periods for the Chitina Personal Use Dipnet Fishery. The fishery will open Friday, June 7 at 12:01 a.m. for 72 hours ending Sunday June 9 at 11:59 p.m., and then reopen on Monday, June 10 at 12:01 a.m. through Sunday, June 16. This results in an initial fishing period running from 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 7 through 11:59 p.m. on Monday June 10. The opening is based upon the passage of fish through the Miles Lake sonar and established escapement goals. 

According to the Miles Lake sonar, the cumulative number of salmon passing the counting station was 291,684 fish as of June 4. Last year’s number was 81,768 for the same period. This is approximately 90,000 more fish than the escapement objective. The daily numbers are steadily increasing and have approached 30,000 fish per day, significantly above the projected 14,000 daily management objective. 

Numbers traditionally begin to drop off in mid-June.

Hem Charters, which operates a shuttle service to place participants in the fishery, says in a Facebook post that fish have arrived at Chitina and they are open to take overnighters out, and will operate from 4:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily expect for Sunday. New this year, Hem will be offering reservations online at www.hemandcopperrivercharters.com.

Hem is also offering a shuttle service from the old store to the fishing area to help address issues created by flooding damage that reduced available parking.

A rockslide covered the trail between O’Brien Creek and Haley Creek in Chitina several weeks ago, about three miles from the head of the trail. 

In a press release, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) is urging the public to stay off of the rockslide, which has been deemed significant and unstable to cross with a four-wheeler and on foot. In the release, DOT&PF warns individuals of injury or entrapment in the area and encourages the public to avoid the area.

The trail is frequently used by fishers and dip-netters. DOT&PF says it will not be able to clear the rockslide from the trail this season, but says they plan to add it to their work list for trail improvements later in the fall.

Michael Paschall is the editor and publisher of Delta Wind and can be reached at editor@deltawindonline.com.