WASILLA — The Alaska Department of Fish and Game on Tuesday issued an emergency order opening the popular Fish Creek dipnet fishery near Wasilla at 6 a.m. Wednesday.
Fish Creek drains Big Lake and empties into Knik Arm. The personal-use fishery doesn't open every year.
The area open to dipnetting is from regulatory markers located on both sides of the terminus of Fish Creek, upstream to markers located approximately one-quarter mile upstream from the road. It's accessible by boat or from Knik-Goose Bay Road.
This year's fishery is scheduled to close at 11 p.m. July 31, according to the Fish and Game order. Participants can keep all salmon except kings, which must be immediately released.
Dipnetting is allowed from a boat or from the notoriously muddy shore.
State managers say they opted to open the fishery after more than 16,700 sockeye salmon passed a weir on the creek. The state's escapement goal — the number of salmon making it upstream to ensure future runs — is anywhere from 15,000 to 45,000 fish. Managers say they're predicting a total escapement of more than 35,000.
A 2017 Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use permit is required to dipnet salmon at Fish Creek. Some vendors are running low and the state is recommending dipnetters get their permits online.
Dipnetters need to stay off private property in the area of Fish Creek, state officials say.