First Timer Chitina Dipnetting Advice/Help
I'll be Dipnetting for the first time this year and was hoping I could get some advice. I'm having a hard time figuring out all that I'm going to need for processing fish. I know that I want to do it there, onsite at the river but I don't know what the best way is to do that. Do those of you that have fished there before do you just take a table and process the fish by the river? Are there places that have running water where one could hook up a hose? Do most of you just fillet by the river then take them home to vacuum seal them? Are there electricity outlets there?
Just trying to get an idea of what I need to bring and try and pre plan a little bit. Don't really want to take a bunch of stuff that I'm not going to use. I am going on a charter and they offer to fillet and vacuum seal for $2 a pound. Is that a good deal? Don't really want to get in over my head trying to fillet a bunch a fish when I don't know what I'm doing.
Thanks in in advance for any advice!
Expect to get dirty. No clean city water or outlets. Not even ****ters. There is usually a fish cleaning setup at O'Brian Crk that you can pay to use the table and water that is pumped from the creek. I've had the best experience putting fish on ice and saving the filleting and processing at home. That way I end up with clean fish and a good vacuum pack. We've been using a cheap Foodsaver for years. Overheats and slow, but works. Fish taste great a year out with double shrinkwrap before vacuum sealing.
What do you do with all the fish waste that you bring home with you? I live near the dump in ER could I take the waste there? Little worried about cleaning all of my fish at home in the yard. I've got kids at home and I don't want to attract any bears to the yard.
Guts go in the river. Heads and spines go in the dumpster. Some like to use them for fertilizing the garden, but it may attract bears.
I would suggest going with the charter service there. It's been a few years since I was there last, it used to be $100. Hem would drop you off somewhere by yourself to fish in a good spot. Catch your fish. Clean them where he does pick ups and drop offs. They have a little cleaning station there. It used to be you could just make a donation for using the tables. Otherwise, I make up my own "chitina cutting board". Couple of ways I have done this. A little piece of plywood with either a piece of astroturf or the bottom side of a chair mat (the clear plastic kind with little bumps on the bottom). Drive a nail up through the bottom. When it's time to clean fish, stab an eye through that nail, the fish isn't going anywhere then. I just fillet them on the river. Less weight to haul back and almost no waste when you get home.
Correction, looks like the charter is $110 now.
there is now a 20 minute for editing. My bad took a while
Most of this can be found at AIH:
All my secrets: you will need one sharp Dexter filet knife per 30 fish you intend to catch
lots of cooler space
space and lots of ice
glacier gloves and gray atlas gloves that are kind of tight
100' of rope to the yourself off (I use 3/8 sash cord)
50' of very stout cord ( I use sash cord 1/4 inch)
tin roof shears to clip fins (use rope to tie them to your rain bibs)
one burlap bag and one 40" by 20 inch (think salmon size) chunk of plywood.
Use subfloor adhesive to glue the burlap to the board 4 days before you go (it will be your cutting board)
a 5 gallon bucket (good to store rope filet knives Ect on and can ride on your dipnet pole)
50-100 gallon freezer bags get ziplock bags
the method- as you get fish put them on a rope stringer and keep them in the river in a calm place. I keep whole salmon for 2-3 days this way no problem, just stun them, pass the rope though the gills, snip the tail, pop a gill with your thumb to bleed the fish, put it on the stinger and put it back in the river
DO NOT PUT MORE THAN 10 fish in a stringer- it gets heavy fast. It is ok to have one main line up to a tree and tie as many 10 fish stringers to it as you would like
As as they sit on the stringer under water they bleed out slowly- much better tasting. The river is about 34 degrees so it's like keeping the dead fish in the fridge.
After you have how ever many fish you want, bring the buck and board down to where your fishing
If the river is steep, attach a rope to the bucket handle. Fill it full of copper river water... Casting it out is ok, and pulling it back to fill it works very well. Bring a stringer near to start processing. Grab a fish and rinse it off in the bucket, just scrub the silt off with your hands maybe put the glacier gloves on, they will keep your hands warm. Lay it on the board with the burlap (find a rock and make it stable, it's worth the effort) filet away- watch videos and take your time. It's an earned skill and i seriously screw my first 5 fish up every year.
Keep the guts off the flesh- it will sour the meat. Also take a few bites of salmon roe- it's Devine
Fold the filets innhalf and put in ziplock bags- fold them flesh to flesh try not to let the skin touch flesh. You can get 4 filets per bag usaly and put them in a pack in the shade.
After 3-5 fish the bucket water will be dirty- rinse the board off and refill the bucket as needed.
The burlap helps keep the fish from sliding around
Once done hammer down for the cooler and ice and home, the sooner the better the fish!
now that the filets are done take them home on as much ice as you can afford. I like one layer of ziplocks and a layer of ice (Keep them in ziplocks)
at at home fill up a tote with water, rinse the filet off in there and scrub the slime off (glacier gloves here for sure)
make a a mix of 50-50 lemon juice and water in a Tupperware (the the cheap stuff 1/4 gallon in the juice isle) use this with paper towel roles or lots of rags to final deslime the fish skin and flesh side (repeat when you defrost them, there will be no fishy taste
do any final trimming of Fins or ribs and pat dry the filet (I cut them in half and they fit nice into quart seal a meal bags
vacune bag them- I spent the money up front with a 400$ vacunebagger from cabellas. I really like it.
Some people pack whole fish out of that canyon, I have no idea why.