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Thread: Copper River - on foot - up or down from bridge?

  1. #1

    Default Copper River - on foot - up or down from bridge?

    No 4-wheeler, just a full size 4WD truck and my own two feet to get me around. Would I be better off dipnetting upstream or downstream from the bridge (the main large bridge)? I know that there are different rules for each side and that permits are different so I'd have to stick to one side of the bridge or the other. Any advice on where to try would be appreciated.

  2. #2

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    Trying to decide on clam digging this weekend vs. Copper River dipnetting (and which side of bridge). Any input would be appreciated on the bridge question.

  3. #3
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    bottom line is how far do you want to walk to dip, and how far do you want to walk back to your rig with your meat?

    scenery/ambience is superb in the lower chitina district, especially down in/near the canyon, approx 3 miles below obrien creek, and the river is much narrower beginning about 1 mile past obrien, which generally leads to more fish reachable from shore. I like the river down there, and enjoy walking the old RR grade, but I've never dipped upstream of the mccarthy bridge so can't compare.

    There are good spots all along the river, with lots of good spots down in wood canyon. It is a long walk, often dusty, windy, wet, and cold, but not cold enough to preserve meat very well. You can pack a couple bags of ice (down, not back) to keep the meat cold prior to the return trip but fillets always warm up in the backpack on the way back to obrien and probably the eating quality of fillets suffers a bit. Still tastes delicious though in recent years I appreciate the company of an ice-filled-cooler-hauling ATV in my party to preserve / carry the fish. I still generally walk unless i've been granted atv duties.

    It is a long walk back with your fish in a cooler on an ATV, and a much longer walk back with those same fish on your back. So, if walking, it is a long grueling pack out after success down in the canyon, but it is worth every step and back ache. On occasions my partner has made a trip back with the first half of the limit while I continue dipping, which makes the return trip a lot lighter, so if you have others in your party, this is something to consider. The majority down in the canyon are on ATVs or dropped off by hem's and these folks seem to think there is something wrong with those of us who walk or bike down. They are probably right.

  4. #4

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    I'm a stickler for putting fish on ice right away and keeping them cool, so I think that walking long distances will be out. Now I have to decide if I want a permit for above the bridge or below. If above, lots of access to the river and few people, but if the water's high then you can't walk close enough to the drop off to really get anything. If below the bridge, then better access to the river if the water is high, but not lots of access.

  5. #5

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    If you got a bike u can ride it down and out with the fish on ice, just an idea it's how I'm planning on doing it.

  6. #6

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    People drive trucks to the water just below the bridge and net. It isn't as productive as going off the canyon but you can get fish I've done it.
    "If your not the lead dog.... the view never changes"

  7. #7
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    It is not practical to walk or bike to access dipping on the copper. You've got the weight and bulk of the net, and if you're going to take care of the fish, a 160qt cooler with several bags of ice. The areas typically dipped are several hundred feet below the road bed, and it is sufficiently strenuous just to pack fish from the waters edge up to a cooler. Then having to bring that several miles back to a vehicle, with a section of the road bed dropping down and back up from near water level elevation just isn't going to happen. Heck, even in 4wd it's a bit of a workout for a truck to make it up those sections.

    If you don't have a wheeler, either pay for a charter, or dip the Kenai.

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    I've hiked and biked (sometimes one of us hikes and one bikes) the road the past 5 years, sometimes past the tunnel, but always at least a couple of miles below obrien, and come back mostly with limits (30) of fish.

    it has always been worth it, completely doable, and my fish comes home in very fine eating condition. Bringing a bag or two of ice to chill the fish before the hike back is important, but bringing a cooler is unnecessary.

    Either I violate the laws of practicality or it is a world of different strokes for different folks. my wife enjoys this method of access also. sometimes she takes approximately the first half of the limit back while I keep dipping. Works well for us, and we see others accessing the lower chitna distict by foot as well, with many choosing to bike.

    Packing 26 pairs of sockeye filets and filets from a 25# king back in one load was certainly a grunt (wife had the net and other gear), but i was at least smiling after reaching the truck.


    What is your rationale for saying bike and foot access is not practical? have you attempted these methods? I ask because they work for many people, so I'm bewildered about the basis for this statement.

    We do appreciate being accompanied by a wheeler to shuttle the fish (in some years), but human power has worked very well for us.

  9. #9

    Default You do what you have to do and hats off to you

    Ever read about the "Hand Trollers"?


    From May to October during the "Dirty Thirties," hand trollers fished a thousand miles of Vancouver Island coastline in open rowboats as they followed the migration of coho and spring salmon north through the Georgia Strait.
    At dawn, the trollers rowed or sailed to where they hoped the fish would bite. Tying the fishing line around their legs, they trailed the line over the gunwale into the water and continued rowing until a strong tug signalled that a fish was hooked. After pulling the fish into the boat with hands calloused from weeks of work, they rowed after the next catch and repeated the process. Twice daily a "tender" boat collected the fish. Although the trollers were paid only pennies per pound of weight, they were able to earn up to $300 in a successful season and avoid the breadlines and work camps of the Depression years.


    Source: http://www.workinglives.ca/trolling/hand-trolling.html

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