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Thread: Chitian sidebars; drive, hangingout in Chitina, Valdez, ect

  1. #1
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    Default Chitian sidebars; drive, hangingout in Chitina, Valdez, ect

    Aiming to talk about anything non-direct dipping in Chitina. For example I find the drive from Fairbanks to be the best scenery I see yearly in Alaska. Black Rapids area is always in some way spectacular. Drove down Thurs nite/Fri am (June 14) and at that lookout just before you drop down in the valley the view was spectacular. Someone coming North had just stopped in their lane and they were staring at the view. From a rainbow to snow falling over on the mountains across the river and just the view of the river and flood plane was something special. Driving on I was chasing the rainbow and enjoying following the river and the views as they rolled by.

    Traffic is always light, compared to the Parks, and so I find the long drive relaxing and enjoyable. Usually stop in Delta at the store and sometimes the Buffalo drive-in for food. Glenallen for gas and restrooms.

    In Chitna I have stayed at the Hotel Chitina for the night before and or after dipping a couple times. Nice to have a shower and a bed. Restaurant is good and one can always go clubbing around town. Ok walk across the street to Uncle Tom's Tavern and check out the locals which can be entertaining. The Palin memorabilia seems to have been sold on ebay or something so it's back to a sleepy dive with occasion free fried halibut. Sure was nice the one time they had it. Very fresh and nice with beer.

    This year and last year have finally made it to Valdez. Worth the additional 86 miles. This is figuring you're headed back to Fairbanks.
    From the turnoff to Chitina on the Rich to Valdez is 86. So to and from would be 170-ish additional miles. Even more spectacular scenery as you go up through Thompson pass and also go right past the waterfalls in Keystone Canyon toward Valdez. Last year when I went there was a full Moon just coming up over the mountains as one topped off on top of Thompson Pass. Spectacular.
    Bridal Veil falls was blasting yesterday. Must be spring melt off and more flow because just did a imagine search on google and there is no picture with nearly as much water flowing as was Fri night and Sat morning when I went by. A big cloud of mist at the bottom of the falls was being produced from the massive water flow.

    Valdez you can get your fish cleaned for $1 a fish or at least The guy I got, Jim Thayer I think, charged that. He filleted them butterfly style with more meat on fillets than I can get. And was quick as can be. Tipped him a bit more as was extremely happy not to have to fillet them back home. Will fillet but don't like to.

    Harbor Master office closes at 10 and so as I got into Valdez at 9:30 was able to get a token for the shower, $4.00. Nice to get that Copper River Silk out of ones ears ect.

    Right across the street from both fish cleaning station and Harbor Master Office and showers is the Potato Head Restaurant, https://www.theroadsidepotatohead.com/ which I found to be excellent. Breakfast burrito to go in the morning and a great roasted pork sandwich with fries (hand cut by them fresh) in the evening. Plus a couple beers. Last year I got down to Valdez later in the evening and just settled for a beer or 2 at the Fat Mermaid. Can't give any opinion on food there or anywhere else.

    Valdez is a happening spot during fishing season and enjoyed it a lot the little bit I've spent there on the way back North this and last year.

    Chitina is a great drive with the best scenery I see on a yearly basis. And even better when one heads back with a cooler full or fish and even better yet if one heads back with fish already filleted.
    Paul Holland
    Board Member Chitina Dipnetters Association
    chitinadipnetters dot com

  2. #2
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Great write-up, Chitina! Always enjoy the journey as well as the destination.
    But just curious, why didn't you have your fish filleted by one of the young folks working at Hem's?
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Sometimes I feel like a mushroom. Last I herd was that dipnetting, due to a low return and poor condition of the fish was closed for the foreseeable future at Chitina, but here it sates that you dipnetted and posted less than our ago. Did I miss something or was I given incorrect information?

    Thanks,
    Jim

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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    ADF&G issues the dip-net openings and closings on the Copper River for only one week at a time, and about a week in advance. So, there's a lag of a few days before the E.O.'s actually go into effect. Some folks, who were able to get there fast, got the opportunity to dip for a few days before it closed again. But, this next closing is "Until further notice".
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

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    Thanks Dave, I was not aware it was that, "flexible", but sounds like they are tightening that up with the, "Until Further Notice." I have run into times the limit was increased, but don't recall any time it was closed, but I may be wrong there. Not a god sign.

  6. #6
    Member coho slayer's Avatar
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    Chitina, great post.

    One could always adventure up the McCarthy road. I still haven't done that.

    Valdez is the coolest little town in Alaska (at least on the road system) IMO. Lots of good food during fishing season. The Halibut House is one of our standard stops. Also, the burger place by the big RV park. I can't think of the name, but they have excellent food. Of course everything always tastes better after a long road trip or a long day fishing.

    There are lots of places to camp for free in Valdez. They don't "fee" you to death. You can park pretty much anywhere and not have to worry about paying. Other towns could learn a lot from Valdez in making their towns accessible and user friendly.

    Glad you mentioned the fillet guys, too. It's a great alternative to handling all of your fish yourself or paying AK-X ridiculous fees to do it for you. Hem's has people that are reasonably priced, but they lack the finesse and waste a lot of meat in my experience compared to the guys at the cleaning tables in Valdez.

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    Considering copper river reds are going for over $30 a lb right now I would consider $1.50 a lb for filleting and vacuum sealing a steal at AK expeditions.

  8. #8
    Member coho slayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwf99 View Post
    Considering copper river reds are going for over $30 a lb right now I would consider $1.50 a lb for filleting and vacuum sealing a steal at AK expeditions.
    If you have the money for it, that's great. Most people do that fishery to save money. If you have say 30 fish, it's a $150 or so difference between them and a guy in Valdez that'll do it for a buck a fish regardless of weight. And I prefer to package my own fillets. When I went with them they wouldn't just fillet the fish and let me pack them later. It's all or nothing.

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