Questions on Chitna - and Partner wanted
I dipnetted down at the Kasilof this past weekend and thanks to commercial boats and the setnets, in a total of 7 hours brought in a total of 0, zero, zilch, nada, fish!!! This was my first time dipnetting and it was disappointing to say the least. Add the fact that the Kasilof numbers are really high, this is likely not going to change soon, and given that the Kenai is now shut down, there were so many people there it was ridiculous.
So I was thinking of taking a trip to the Copper and try my hand there. I figure if the fish are counted at the Miles Lake sonar, there will not be any commercial boats scooping them all up. But I have a few questions on this dipnet fishery that I hope some of you can answer.
Is it worth the money to take Hem's charter to fishable spots or is this river fishable on your own? I have seen that people fall in the river and should be tied off to a tree to avoid this. Does Hem's take you to places where this can be avoided? I realize it is a hit and miss thing, but the fish counts seem to be doing well right now. Hem's does not run on Sundays, so how early should I arrive on a Saturday to be able to catch a boat out? Does he usually get you onto the fish?
Also, I am planning to do this (if at all) on the weekend of August 4-6. My wife is leaving town on the night of the 4th (Friday), so I planned to make the drive from Anchorage that night, to be there to catch the boat in the morning. Is there anybody here that would be interested in going, splitting gas money, etc.? Would drive back either Saturday night or Sunday.
Any replies can be posted here or drop me an email. Thanks in advance.
I dipped the copper on monday. It was excellent, reached limit in three hours. I drove past the slide to haily creek. I don't recomend it unless you are very sure of you vehicle. I saw a geo tracker back there but i wouldn't have taken one. It is a very long way away from a tow. If you get high centered or a flat on the sharp rocks and block the road no one else is going anywhere.
I hiked down to a spot on the river and there were other people down there that had been dropped off by hem. They were a bit surprised to see me. I don't think that i would pay the money for the charter unless dipping was very slow and he could get you to a great spot, or to go to the fa side of the river to camp. There seem to be plenty of spots to walk to even before the rock slide that can produce.
Rope is essential in some spots. From what i observed some of the spots that hem dropped off at required a rope, others didn't. I'm sure he can get you where you want to go. It looks like a heck of a boat ride though.
Find a good back eddy with a bubler and think like a fish swimming up river. It took me a couple of times to get it.
Don't feel bad, the very first time I went dipnetting, I got skunked, actually the second time as well. We all gotta pay our dues, and even then some years you need to make more than one trip.
Did you see other folks catching fish? If you were dipping from shore, did you have a gilnet, or just a landing net with the stock black net? If you were using the stock black net from shore, you're pretty much guranteed not to get any fish.
The copper is worth the trip if the fish are in. I haven't used the charter, I always drove back before the slides, and plan to go back later this year as the road sounds passable with 4wd.
When you look at the cost of driving out there, and the cost of the charter, you're at about the cost of a halibut charter, so something to consider.
Thanks for the reply guys. I have never been to the chitna dipnet area so that is why I am considering doing the charter. Also because I don't really want to tie myself off to a tree. I would ask hem to take me in where I didn't have to do that. I do have a 4 wheel drive Ford Ranger and brand new tires. I have heard nasty stuff about getting back in there though. Something to think about. I am hoping someone here will want to go with me that has done this before.
I realize it might be close to the cost of a halibut charter, but if I could limit out on my fish, I would be more than happy to do it.
Paul H - as for dipping the Kasilof, I did not see a whole lot of fish caught. I was fishing a 5 foot rectangle dipnet with gilnetting. It was very crowded because the Kenai closed Friday. Of the 500-700 people I saw out there, I saw maybe 30 fish caught all day. I am sure it picked up after the commercial boats got off at 11 p.m. but I had to be back in town so I wasn't around to see it.
For the copper I plan to just get a regular salmon landing net that has a gilnet on it. How long of a pole do you guys use over there?
I like a 12' pole. So long as you find a good backeddy with a semi flat shore, you don't need to tie off. The area I've dipped I never needed to tie off. The hike down to the river is a bit hairy is the hilside is loose shale.