Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Good News and Bad News from Chitina Copper River Sockeye Dipnet Fishery

I.  Copper River Reds Not Radioactive:

The good news is that I was able to run radiation tests on livers, spleens, stomachs and other tissue of Copper River Sockeye salmon caught last night.

Their radiation levels in average millisieverts per minute was nominal.  Background radiation in the room in which they were measured was in the high 60s.

The fish tissue itself was at 73 millisieverts per minute, less than my basement, but more than my kitchen, and far lower than the ash pile at the fire pit in our front yard.

II:  O'Brien Creek Cuts a New Channel at confluence with the Copper:

The bad news is two-fold.  First, the sockeye catch remains fairly low considering the tremendous amount of fish that have entered the river.  Secondly,  this morning - at about 1:00 am, O'Brien Creek, which was in full spate, cut a new channel to the north of the long-existing one, at the entrance of its estuary below the old railway bridge.

When Kelly and I got to O'Brien Creek last night at about 10:30 pm, we were able to drive onto the Chitina Corporation land at the spit, and down to the new landing for the charter boats.  But when we came back in the early morning, the river had left its banks, and was quickly eating away land.

The cleaning trailer maintained by Mark Hem and Sam McAllister had to be moved, lest it be washed into the advancing creek.


Anonymous said...

When the copper river reds were in the stores a few weeks ago we stocked up as the price was really good. Unfortunately we don't have the time or gear to fish/dipnet them but I'm oh so happy that the commercial fishermen got plenty and we could buy them up and filet and freeze them. I hope that you got plenty!

Philip Munger said...


We did not fish, as the people we interviewed were getting between .5 and one fish per hour. We will go back when it improves.

Anonymous said...

I didn't realize you could drive back to O'Brien Creek. We used to hike back there many years ago and it was absolutely pristine. I kind of hate the idea of cars at that beautiful spot.