Chitina and Kids
I am curious how and WHERE people dipnet with kids at the Copper. Every year I go and I see kids there. I have two that IMO are old enough (12 & 14) to help pa with the chores . I also have my lovely bride and a 2.5 yr old.
I KNOW BETTER than to let mom and baby near the water, but what about the others? Should I trek down the canyon via wheeler, out on the sand bars below the bridge? On the bank down river from the fish wheels below the brigde? I am curious what you all think.
Seems to me that there are places it is doable, and with the numbers looking decent, I may just make a run/campout for the family.
I promised myself that I would NEVER take a kid younger than 20 to the Copper where I fish, and it isn't all that bad comparatively speaking at the Famous Secret Fishing Hole.
Then again, some college guys (20-somethings) showed up there a few years ago with no food, only one of them a resident (the others exchange students) and lots of booze.
Then again, the guy I -used- to fish with (he's in his 50's) decided to do some rock climbing across a sheer face right over the river.
The issue is a person's judgment. Do you trust their judgment to not kill themselves by being careless or ignorant of the dangers? Do you think you can monitor their behavior constantly to keep them safe? What about when you're tired and making mistakes yourself? When I start tripping and falling from being tired, I know I'm likely to be making other mistakes.
The Kasilof was invented for families. The Copper deserves your greatest respect and caution. There is no room for error.
I agree that it's -all- about the person's judgement. Being an adult doesn't necessarily instill good judgement, and being an adolescent doesn't necessarily make them inherently irresponsible; inexperienced, maybe, but not necessarily irresponsible..
If in fast, turbulent, or deep currrent with under-tows and whirlpools, then ALL of them need to be roped off, regardless of age. And wearing PFDs, too. That's my opinion.
I've taken my (very) responsible, now-16-yr.-old daughter with me the last two years, and she's fished spots that were mundane, as well as those where I wouldn't allow her to be out on the rock face I was fishing.
In that particular case she clubbed, clipped, and strung fish for me. She still had more work to do in that spot than she wanted, as we netted 19 fish there in 1 hour, not counting those I dropped, didn't quite get into the net, etc. It was HOT action there, and so she never had time to get bored.
I'd probably also take my sometimes-less-responsible 14-yr.-old son, but he'd get a more stern talk before embarking on the day's events.
I would absolutely not take my 6-yr.-old, simply 'cause he's not old enough to be capable of understanding the degree of risk that exists in -some- of the riskier locations there.
My wife has gone dip-netting with me there many years ago, before we had any kids, and if we had some way to make certain the 6-yr.-old was truly safe, she'd be welcome to come with me -any- time.
(*I typically take care of the kids, but when I'm gone on such trips, the care obviously typically becomes my wife's job...)
My brother takes his family down, including his 10 and 7 year old daughters and his 3 dogs. They stay in camp though and go on hikes and take trips into town. They don't get on the boat or get very close to the river.
I've seen infants on rafts floating the Copper, which I thought was insane. We were dipping from shore and people were floating by on tours with their <2 year olds strapped in on the center of the raft. It really amazed me at the risks some people take with their children, but I can only be responsible for my own, which is why they don't go to Chitina with me.
My husband & I have taken our kids out dipping on the Copper at least 3 yrs now, they are currently 9 and 11 yrs old. However, we dip out of a very stable boat & above the bridge. The kids knock the fish out and clip tails. They've been running in the boat since they were infants so they certainly know about boat safely and when mom and dad say to SIT DOWN, we mean it.
We often make runs to Chitina w/ other families so all the kids swap out playing on the silt bars by the wheels & "working" in the boat.
I would never dip off the rocks with pre-teen, but that's me.