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Thread: Copper River Unsuccessful

  1. #1
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    Default Copper River Unsuccessful

    Went yesterday and fished from 6am to about 3pm... total of about 20 fish two of which were kings; between the three of us. Mark Hem stopped by in the middle of us not catching fish and updated us that it was slow everywhere but we were slower than others. He also made it clear in no uncertain terms that heavy duty dip nets are frowned upon by him and his crew. I got the "KENAI dipnet" reply when I handed him our gear... this was my first (and last) time going to the copper and suffice to say that a valuable lesson was learned. I had a good time with my Dad and SummitX; he shared the gas and was a great fishing companion... he caught as much as Dad and I combined. Maybe he's got a rep with the fish and they found out he was there...

    The fellas that we took the spot from overnighted there and had about 60+ fish between the two of them... and they earned it. The night was gusty winds and they had a small fire in a secluded rock cove to enjoy a little reprive from the weather. They were pretty helpful and after learning their technique we promptly set to fishing. SummitX popped a nice king within the first two minutes of fishing and shortly after, one of the guys that stayed the night mentioned that he "got tired of catching kings" through the night. Never thought I'd hear that in a million years.

    There is road construction so be prepared for delay's; two five mile stretches of highway were getting paved and I guess that there'll be more and the wait is about 20 minutes from start to finish. Gas in Glenallen was $3.48 a gallon so make sure a donated organ is on your list of things to do and refinancing your house probably wouldn't hurt if your going to fish this year. Some crazy's were actually driving over the slides downriver from O'Brian creek so if you qualify for that program you might give that a turn too.

    Gonna wait for the Kenai from now on... just seems more economically viable and less hassle to do that. No new dipnets and deadly currents or hurricane force winds to deal with there. Sure you get some wind and a couple of big waves here and there but it sure seems a lot more safe and financially friendly than Chitina. Good luck and keep your nets in the water.
    "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city." ~ Proverbs 16:32

  2. #2

    Default kenai nets

    [QUOTE=Back Country Robb;112895] He also made it clear in no uncertain terms that heavy duty dip nets are frowned upon by him and his crew. I got the "KENAI dipnet" reply when I handed him our gear... this was my first (and last) time going to the copper and suffice to say that a valuable lesson was learned. QUOTE]

    That's funny, they said the same thing to me about the Kenai nets, and said something to me about it being hard to get those kings out of the net. I told him I had released the last three without removing the net from the water or even touching the fish. I got the feeling they didn't like the kenai nets either, just don't know why. I don't see why he wants us to use those black things...
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

  3. #3
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    Default Oh Good

    Oh good, now I don't have to feel special or singled out... my experience is validated by yours. I'm thinking that one of the other reasons are the size and the gill net (thin stuff) getting hooked on everything. He might find it more palatable if everyone knoted their bag and then bungeed the slack to the main stem? Little bungee's at your local hardware store do a fine job.
    "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city." ~ Proverbs 16:32

  4. #4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Back Country Robb View Post
    Oh good, now I don't have to feel special or singled out... my experience is validated by yours. I'm thinking that one of the other reasons are the size and the gill net (thin stuff) getting hooked on everything. He might find it more palatable if everyone knoted their bag and then bungeed the slack to the main stem? Little bungee's at your local hardware store do a fine job.
    I zip-tied mine in a "pony-tail fashon" then tied the pony tail in a knot. I just remember a very slight bit if attitude about the net though. I have to say it worked better than the guys with the black copper river nets, a family of four got 18 in six hours and I got 39 in 3 or 4 hours along with 9 kings.
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

  5. #5
    Member Arctic Hunter's Avatar
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    Default Real Slow on the Fishwheel

    Just got back. Was pretty slow, checked the wheel in the morning and nothing. Started to pick up when I left. The largers fishwheels that were designed to go deeper were doing well.

    The boaters floating the river seemed to be picking them up pretty steady. Brought back enough to keep me going until the Kenai opens up.

    AH

  6. #6
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    Unhappy SLoooooow!

    Got back last night from the copper. It was pretty slow. We finally got on the water at 8:30 since the charter had too many people who were out all night and weren't ready to come in yet. Weather was great, but a bit windy. we fished until 1:30 and got 22 total, but for 3 fisherman. The folks we talked to on the way out said for the time we fished, we actually did pretty good. It was HARD fishing. Boy how I miss the year 2 years ago when they just seemed to FALL into the net. Yesterday was Sweeping and Sweeping. Didn't even have the luxury of setting it in and letting it just sit. I guess there's always the Kenai and next year.
    Be safe
    Holli

  7. #7
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    Default Access

    Seems like folks are pushing too far down past O'Brien. There was good fishing near the McCarthy bridge. Easy vehicle access and most folks caught their limit from the shore. Hard work, I'm still sore. Got back thurs nite late. Long weekend with two flat tires on the atv trailer. Didn't even use the machines. Probably go with Hem next time.

  8. #8
    Member summitx's Avatar
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    Default

    I think Chitna is on the back burner for awhile or until they get the atv road fixed, or I need to hook up with a bud who has a fishwheel, Had a good time with Back Country Robb and his dad, seen some wheelers starting to push their way back on the road, but some of those slides still look bad, Robb I will give you a shout and see if you want to go to Russian on Sunday evening, did not get a chance to prep the boat so that will have to wait till I get back,

  9. #9
    Member fishmaster's Avatar
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    Default Had a Great Trip With Hem

    I have been going with Hem for the last 5 years. he always puts me in a safe spot and usually right on the fish. I got my 40 on 6/12 but I had to work for them. Quite a few people are too cheep to pay the $ for the charter, for me its well worth it. I have learned through experience that if the river is raising fast, Stay home. When the river is stable or just starting to drop the fishing should be excellent.
    As for using gill nets I also get the feeling that they don't like people using them esecially the 5' Kenai type. I feel that a 5' gill net is a bit much for the copper river. After a fish has been gilled, Its chances of survival are pretty slim, I don't care how good you are at getting them out of the net. I think that sometime in the future gillnets will not be allowed on the copper. Eventhough I catch a lot more fish using a gillnet bag on my salmon landing net I will most likely use my black net from now on.

  10. #10
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    Default I agree with Hem actually

    only becuase there is no way you are not doing harm on the kings in a gillnet...just no way. I guess if the king limit was still 5, maybe it wouldnt be an issue, but when its one and you go early - your probably going to bang a few more kings than the one alloted, and a gillnet is going to do damage

    Use a Kenai Net on the Kenai, and use the Cummings Style on the Copper and all will be good - they are two totally different fisheries thats all.

  11. #11
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    Default

    Cutter is right on. I used the black net this year. I did miss some fish because I was not fast enough but I was able to release about 5 small ones unharmed and I got my 40. In the past I used a gillnet and I was forced to keep even the small ones because they were gilled so bad that they would not have lived very long. I am sure that some people will throw back any fish that they don't want eventhough it is almost dead. Also the fact that you are only allowed 1 King and most people were getting quite a few kings in the net. I wonder how many Kings were wasted because they were caught in a gillnet.
    The copper River Fishery is a very valuable resource to many Alaskans. We must respect and work to protect it. I will use my black net on the Copper and my gillnet on the kenai.

  12. #12

    Default Have to respectfully disagree

    Quote Originally Posted by fishmaster View Post
    Cutter is right on. I used the black net this year. I did miss some fish because I was not fast enough but I was able to release about 5 small ones unharmed and I got my 40. In the past I used a gillnet and I was forced to keep even the small ones because they were gilled so bad that they would not have lived very long. I am sure that some people will throw back any fish that they don't want eventhough it is almost dead. Also the fact that you are only allowed 1 King and most people were getting quite a few kings in the net. I wonder how many Kings were wasted because they were caught in a gillnet.
    The copper River Fishery is a very valuable resource to many Alaskans. We must respect and work to protect it. I will use my black net on the Copper and my gillnet on the kenai.
    I don't really see it that way. Look at how many fish are messed up from the commercial guys at cordova, they don't use black nets, they use gill nets. Also people catch lots of kings dipping in the Kenai, they don't switch to black nets.
    Kings don't get messed up from gill net dip nets that I could tell when I was at the copper two weeks ago, any more than they would a black net, maybe I'm wrong, but the netting is 5 inches stretched max, so their head doesn't even fit and they don't get gilled, only their teeth, and occasionally the edge of the gill plate (barely). I was able to release most of them without removing them from the water with my kenai net.
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

  13. #13
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    Default Good luck with that

    you dont have to believe it - thats the beauty of living here in America you do what you want when you want and how you want and believe what you want. Use the gillnet if you want - I dont really care - I dont deny the gill net is deadly on the reds. But if you think you are not harming those kings you are rolling back in the water you are sorely mistaken. Its ok though becuase noone will ever see it becuase the river is so muddy and there are kings galore anyway. I mean - those Comm guys use gill nets! the seals get thier share! we should too right?

    Fishmaster has the right idea - use the resource, and protect it for future Alaskan generations.

    Geez - them black nets are a heckuva alot cheaper anyway. and You can buy some extra deep nets to replace the one you get with the hoop.

  14. #14
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    Default Fishing on the Copper

    Years ago I moved to Colorado, fortunately I am able to visit relatives and friends regularly. I have found the discussion in these forums to be interesting and informative.

    My brother, a resident plans to dipnet on the Copper next week. He used Hems previously. Do any of you know if Hem allows non dipnetters on the boat if they're paying the 90.00? I will have my non resident license and understand all the rules regarding my inablility to help with the dipnetting.

    I am also wondering about the likelihood of being able to land either red or king with a pole or if the water is just too cloudy. Does anyone down there ever use a pole with success?

    I do have some other plans for areas to fish, but thought the Copper is way less crowded than the Russian which I understand has been closed due to bears.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  15. #15
    Member akjw7's Avatar
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    Default

    As far as I know the Russian is not closed. There is an emergency order on one side of the bank below the ferry closing it to access due to bears. Up from the ferry, through the sanctuary and all the way until the line near the falls is open for business!

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    Default Non res and Hems...

    As of last year, we were able to take a non-res. visitor so she could WATCH us dip net. Hems had no problem with that. Of course...her boat ride still cost $90.00. :-)
    Good Luck and Enjoy.

  17. #17
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    Default rod and reel

    Best try the Klutina or Gulkana for that - you'll have better luck on the 'Kana - take Bug Dope!

    read the regs about pole fishing for the Copper - dont trust anything you see here

    Yes - Hem's gonna charge anyone that rides

    As far as the color of the water....you'll have as much luck as seeing through a chocolate milkshake

  18. #18
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    Default

    Last year I asked Mark how much additional he charges if I took my wife along. He said that if you had 2 people but only 1 limit the rate was an extra $50.00. I am not sure what he is charging this year as it may have changed. At the start of the season his rate for a proxy was an additional $50.00 but I called the recorded line last weekend and it said that he was charging an additional $90.00 if you fill a proxy.

  19. #19

    Default You're probably right

    Quote Originally Posted by Cutter View Post
    you dont have to believe it - thats the beauty of living here in America you do what you want when you want and how you want and believe what you want. Use the gillnet if you want - I dont really care - I dont deny the gill net is deadly on the reds. But if you think you are not harming those kings you are rolling back in the water you are sorely mistaken. Its ok though becuase noone will ever see it becuase the river is so muddy and there are kings galore anyway. I mean - those Comm guys use gill nets! the seals get thier share! we should too right?

    Fishmaster has the right idea - use the resource, and protect it for future Alaskan generations.

    Geez - them black nets are a heckuva alot cheaper anyway. and You can buy some extra deep nets to replace the one you get with the hoop.
    Don't the black nets do some damage too? I mean, they scratch their eyes, catch the gill plates too, right?
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

  20. #20
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    Default How about that counter at Miles Lake?

    The Fish and Game turned me on to the fish sonar down at Miles. They said that historically the fish fget to the dipnettting area about two weeks later. I know this can certainly fluctuate depending on flow of river and temp.
    Here's the site:
    http://www.cf.adfg.state.ak.us/genin...s/ml_sonar.php
    Many may all ready know about it. It certainly is interesting to see the pattern.

    Thanks all for the advice. I may be out there, if not just for the awesomeness of the place.

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