Does anyone have any experience fishing this river? What is access like? Run Timing--similar to other Copper rivers? Water condition, clarity, flow? I noticed the river shows a sockeye run and was wondering if it might be worth a try and what other fish might be available?--Grayling, Dollie, rainbow, any other salmon? I haven't seen much info posted on this river and I'm guessing access is difficult? Thank you for any info you would share.
I've been wondering the same thing about that river. I know its glacially fed like the Klutina and the run timing is pretty much the same as the Klutina. I've heard of some people catching Silvers in there from late August into September, might give that a try in another month or so. I know that there is a campground on the river, I think its called Squirell Creek, and its run by the State, and also the Tonsina River Lodge, but it always looks closed when I drive by. I also know that the Little Tonsina is accessible from the road, but I'm not sure if its open to Salmon fishing, gotta check the regs. Hope others have more input than me on this one.
Originally Posted by GregT
I wondered the same thing a few years ago, so inquired with the local fish biologist. His response to my inquiry is below.
"Access to the Tonsina River is pretty limited. The anglers that do fish it,
either fish the confluence of the Tonsina and Copper rivers or at the
Edgerton Highway. There is a private road that is on the southwest corner
of the Edgerton Highway Bridge that follows the river to a private
residence. Prior to the gate there is a large eddy that folks fish, and as
long as the area is treated with respect the owners have not run people off.
The mouth is accessed either by boat from the Chitina-McCarthy bridge or
from a couple trails on the Edgerton Highway on the Chitina side of the
Tonsina River bridge. These trails are near the guardrails as you go up the
hill past the Edgerton Highway Bridge. These are not well marked, but you
can see the area where people have parked (generally enough room for one
vehicle). I'm not sure of the land status here, but I believe it may be a
mix of Native Corporation lands, private, and possibly some state. Bears do
frequent this area, so be prepared.
Run timing for the Tonsina River kings is similar to the Klutina, they enter
the river in mid-June and peak around mid-July. The season closes on July
19th, the tributaries and within a 1/4 mile of the Tonsina River tributaries
are closed to king salmon fishing. The Upper Copper River seasonal limit of
4 applies to the Tonsina, also, and the daily bag and possession limit is 1
king. Not many people target red salmon on the Tonsina, but timing for the
reds is primarily July and early August. The season is open year round,
with a daily bag and possession limit of 3. Hope this helps, good luck!"
Don't know if this helps, but thought you might find it interesting. I never fished it after the inquiry, but have looked many times. I did notice recently that it appears the land owner may have put up additional "Posted" signs, so the trail down from the bridge may be off limits. I imagine there is a lot of Native land in the access area, so it is probably worth an inquiry with Ahtna before going in.
I have not been there and was possibly going to go next week. I have a friend who was there last week and said there were a lot of chum. here are some pics that he took http://gallery.shortpants.ca/main.php?g2_itemId=14014
I don't think the Tonsina River has a run of Chums. The Tonsina River is about 40 miles sound of Glenallen.
Originally Posted by mixer911
Couldn't be Tonsina
Mixer911--I don't think those pictures are from the Tonsina. I don't beleive it would have any tidal influence and have not heard of chums in there. I would be interested to know where the pics are from though?
I thought he said it was tonsina, but i might have mistaken him about where those were taken..... I will see where those were taken.....
Actually that is Tosina creek by seward, not Tosina River...... I was thinking you were talking about Tonsina creek ..... My mistake.
Tonsina River Camping
There are two campgrounds near the Tonsina River / Richardson Highway crossing which is approx 3 miles south of the Edgerton Highway cut-off to McCarthy / Kennicott.
Squirrel Creek Campground: This campground is state owned and maintained under private contract. These are pretty campsites in a wooded campground that meanders along Squirrel Creek. Some sites are large enough to accommodate RVs. There are standard drop toilets.
Tonsina River Lodge RV Park & Campground: This is a privately run facility that is recently under new ownership (May 2009). [Disclosure, I'm currently assisting the new owners with various improvements and efforts]. Tonsina Lodge is open all year. Tent Camping is free. RV Park has hookups. Flush toilets are open all summer. The lodge offers many other services including fuel, rooms, bar, and a spa.
A 1400' primitive airstrip is adjacent to the lodge. Av fuel is available. Local pilots can ferry adventurers to remote locations from here.
Fishing for Silvers, Kings, Dollies, Greyling is good in Squirrel Creek and Tonsina in this area, although Kings had special restrictions in the Copper Basin in 2009.
Fishing Permits are available from several nearby vendors.
The Bernard Creek trail is primitive but is passable by 4 wheelers and snowmachines. Few people have attempted to mountain bike it. Some enjoy access by horseback. It starts just south of the airstrip, providing access to Kimball Pass and a wide array of backcountry snowmachine trails in winter.
There are no developed boat launches on Tonsina. However people do drop rafts into the river near the Richardson Highway crossing and take out downstream at the Edgerton Highway crossing. The river has moderate rapids, but the real danger when rafting is the high amount of sweepers and strainers in the water. The river braids out and comes back together frequently, route selection with regard to trees in the water can be challenging. Be careful
Have fun exploring!
Tonsina River Rafting & Kayaking
Per Andy Embick, the lower run of the Tonsina, from the Mile 79 Richardson Hwy crossing to the Mile 19.2 Edgerton Hwy crossing, the river is Class III+, suitable for kayaks and rafts. Gradient is 35ft/mile for 25 miles.
The Upper Run of the Tonsina is Class V+ with multiple portages of waterfalls and is for experts only. Put in requires helicopter or small plane to the Tonsina Glacier. Take out is at the Mile 79 Richardson Highway crossing. This run is 16 miles with a gradient of 57ft/mile.
Don't forget to give someone your trip plan
Any photos of the lower section?