Howard Delo

Times are slowly returning to a “new normal,” whatever that will look like. With the release of the Governor’s Health Mandate 18, travel is now open along the state’s highway systems and the Marine Ferry System. Quoting from my source, “That means Alaskans may freely travel the Railbelt and Kenai Peninsula, as well as the Klondike, Richardson, Sterling, and Top of the World Highways. Communities served by the Alaska Marine Highway System are also part of this eased travel situation, even if people are not using the ferry system, but using roads, boats, or planes to get to communities with ferry service, no matter how sporadic.”

That’s good news for those planning to participate in the Copper River Chitina Subdistrict Personal Use Dip Net fishery, scheduled to open June 7. Continuing, “Travel to remote off-road communities is prohibited except for people who live there or are critical workers to support health, groceries, infrastructure, fuel, and other needs.”

According to the ADF&G preseason forecast for the Copper River PU fishery dated May 6, the season is open nonstop from June 7 through June 21. You’ll need to check the news release for dates and times after that period.The release states, “All residents of Alaska qualify to participate in this personal use fishery. A Chitina Personal Use Salmon Fishery Permit and a resident Alaska sport fishing license are required. Both dip net permits and fishing licenses can be obtained online at A $15 fee is charged for the Chitina Subdistrict personal use salmon fishery permit. Revenue from the fee supports the sanitation services at the fishery and trail maintenance from O’Brien Creek to Haley Creek.”\

Continuing, “Additionally, ADF&G is notifying fishery users that all 2020 Chitina Personal Use Salmon Fishery permit participation and harvest reporting must be completed online through the ADF&G website. Online reporting will be required regardless if you purchased the permit through the ADF&G online store or through a vendor. Returning permits by mail or hand-delivery will no longer be an acceptable means to report. Also, the penalty for failure to report Chitina Personal Use Salmon Fishery harvest online by the October 15 reporting deadline will be the loss of future personal use fishing privileges, and permit holders who fail to report will be denied a permit for the fishery the next calendar year.”

My week has also started toward a new normal. I had a scheduled doctor’s visit where I was checked for a fever before being allowed into the office. I attended the first scheduled blackpowder pistol shoot since the Corvid-19 pandemic was declared, and I plan to go fishing in a stocked lake near my home in Big Lake.

The doctor’s visit was a follow-up on my knee and ankle problems. Because I was running late, I didn’t shoot in the pistol match but watched, showed off my new blackpowder cartridge rifle, renewed a membership, and visited with the guys. I enjoy the comradery since I have always found that blackpowder folks are some of the nicest folks around!

I was hoping to be fishing before writing this, but deadlines and life all contribute to not always accomplishing planned tasks. I hope to have my first fishing trip of the year completed before this sees print on Friday.

The lake I’m planning to fish is a local stocked lake that is gated off, so I’m planning to walk in to fish. Since it’s a little way in from where I’ll need to park, I won’t be bringing in my canoe or float tube and will just fish from shore. I usually fish this lake from my canoe, and I know where the fish are under those conditions. Standing on the bank, I can’t cast far enough to reach those “hot spots,” so I’ll have to hope the fish are moving around in this recently opened waterbody.

I haven’t been fishing nearly as much as I would have preferred these past couple of years. My mobility problems with the knee replacement and deteriorating ankle have kept me from walking over the normally “less than flat” terrain along our rivers and lake shores.

Things now are as good as they’re ever going to be for me walking, so it’s time to get out and see just how well I can access some of my favorite fishing spots. I’m hardly crippled, but I sure miss the pre-injury days where I could go wherever I wanted with no thought of falling or missteps. This getting older really is no fun at all!

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