Dipnet newbie with questions.
I talked four friends into sharing the gas to go to Chitina this weekend, its the first time for any of us to dipnet. I hate to be unprepared when I make an excursion, but with the cost of gas, a recon mission is not in the budget. I've been reading all the posts but a few question come to mind:
1. How long a net is necessary when fishing from the shore (walking in)?
2. What size/construction is best for the hoop, I talked to a guy at B&Js yesterday who said "smaller diameter but make sure it is not hollow tubing".
3. When walking the ATV trail in, how far do you have to walk to get to fishable water? Do we need a cart or are backpacks the way to go?
4. With the amount of fish being cleaned at the shore, are bears an issue?
5. Which bag is best, black thicker mesh or gray/white thin net (gill)?
6. Do you need tie off rope when fishing from the ATV trail or just the spots that the boats drop off? How long is needed?
Thanks for any answers, having a gameplan before we leave will really help.
I can give you a little help so far. I've not been very successful at Chitina due to lack of equipment or poor equipment.
I have not been down the ATV trail. It starts from O'Brien crick just south of Chitina. The first time I went I did not have a 4 wheeler and walking was out of the question. Last year I went twice aand had a 4-wheeler and I went half way but the trail was a mess because of slides. Scared to walk on it in some places.
Note: Many volunteers fixed the trail last year. A big thanks from me for this year I intend to get back there.
Your net is very important. I've only really fished below the McCarthy bridge. First time last year I had a 5ft round kenai net. The water was low. I tied my net to a log and caught 1 fish in 4 hrs. Sweepers on the other hand were hauling them in. Pretty much a fish with every pass. My net was too heavy and the pole too short to sweep, though I made a ridiculous attempt at it. The sweepers had small hoops 3-4ft or shovel landing type shapes. They used either black mesh or gill. I did not see an advantage to either. Some used floats on top of their hoop. (empty water bottles zip tied).
The key to this method was long poles. The sweepers used 14-18ft poles. They were able to reach out to the fish. I wasn't. The second time I went, I rigged a 30in hoop with gill net and 14ft pole. Fairly wimpy set up but I got 8 fish holding in current and sweeping.
This year I have a more durable rig. 4ft alum hoop. 17ft pole. Gill net. Bought those poles at B&J's ($25 ea!). I prefer gill net because you have a good chance of snaring a fish when it hits the outside of the bag. The black mesh seems to require better skill but they are easy to dump the fish out on shore.
Chitina is a diferrent kind of fishing and requires a different net. My 5 footer slaughters on the Kenai/Kasilof. Not worth it's weight on the Copper.
For near guaranteed success, take a charter boat. They'll put you on a hot spot. $90 per person last year. You'll find them at O'brien crick.
The experts here will answer your other questions.
Thanks for the description. I like the idea of water bottles for floats.
I just got back from my first time dipnetting at Chitina. I parked at O'brien creek and walked in over 5 miles with my wife. Fished several areas with no luck closer to O'brien. Once I walked into the canyon we found some fish. Basically you need a net with 12-18ft worth of handle. I also brought a life vest and some rope, one for a harness and one 120' to tie off to an anchor above the cliff. Its pretty steep. Just look for little goat trails going down the canyon from the ATV trail and see if anyone is there and if you are comfortable fishing that spot. If you have an ATV it would be a piece of cake b/c the trail isnt too bad in the slide areas. If you dont and have a cart that would help with the gear. I brought back 5 sockeyes and a king. I gutted them, however hindsight being 20/20 if you filleted them out you would cut down on the weight and could pack more out. Good luck.