Salmon bounty opens Fish Creek to dipnetting

The muddy banks of Fish Creek off Knik-Goose Bay Road were flooded with personal use dipnetters around 9pm on Saturday, July 24, 2010, on the day the fishery was opened for the first time in several years by an ADF&G emergency order to harvest the returning sockeye salmon after a projected escapement goal of 70,000 fish was reached.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Jenny Mills, right, and Jenny Owens carry dipnets back to a vehicle parked along Knik-Goose Bay Road on Saturday, July 24, 2010, on the day the personal use dipnetting fishery was opened for the first time in several years by an ADF&G emergency order to harvest the returning sockeye salmon after a projected escapement goal of 70,000 fish was reached.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Aaron Smith, left, got help from a stranger caring a canoe with about 13 salmon across Knik-Goose Bay Road on Saturday, July 24, 2010, on the day the fishery was opened for the first time in several years by an ADF&G emergency order to harvest the returning sockeye salmon after a projected escapement goal of 70,000 fish was reached.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
The muddy banks of Fish Creek off Knik-Goose Bay Road were flooded with personal use dipnetters around 9pm on Saturday, July 24, 2010, on the day the fishery was opened for the first time in several years by an ADF&G emergency order to harvest the returning sockeye salmon after a projected escapement goal of 70,000 fish was reached.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Walter Campbell, 11, left, and Robert Campbell, 9, right, hold up a couple of sockeye after a successful dipnetting outing to Fish Creek with their father Walter Campbell on Saturday, July 24, 2010, on the day the fishery was opened for the first time in several years by an ADF&G emergency order to harvest the returning sockeye salmon after a projected escapement goal of 70,000 fish was reached.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Walter Campbell drags a cooler with fish as he walks back to his vehicle with his sons Walter, 11, and Robert ,9, after they went dipnetting at Fish Creek on Saturday, July 24, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News
Walter Campbell of Palmer clips the tips of the tail fins off (ADF&G requirement) the 4 reds and a pink salmon that his family caught while dipnetting during an emergency order opening at Fish Creek on Saturday, July 24, 2010.
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News

A torrent of red salmon into Fish Creek near Knik has prompted the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to open the Mat-Su stream to personal use dipnetting through the end of the month.

Dipnetters can work from shore or boat from markers at the mouth of the creek to markers a quarter-mile upstream of Knik-Goose Bay Road.

Through Sunday, 91,220 red salmon had been counted at the weir nearly a mile upstream of Lewis Road -- the biggest return since at least 1993. However, the peak appears to have passed. On Sunday, only 155 reds passed the weir.

The creek's minimum escapement goal of 20,000 reds was exceeded in a single day last week and nearly reached on two other days. The opening was triggered when the run exceeded 70,000 fish, the upper boundary of the ideal escapement range. An Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use permit and sportfishing license or ID card for seniors is required to dipnet at Fish Creek.

Fish and Game is reminding dipnetters that most of the property adjacent to Fish Creek downstream of the Knik-Goose Bay Road bridge is private, and they must stay off. Legal access to the mouth of Fish Creek is restricted to below the mean high tide line.


Anchorage Daily News / adn.com