Kenai plans changes for dipnet fishery

Jun 23, 2020

Credit Redoubt Reporter file photo

The annual throngs of fishermen that come from all over Southcentral Alaska to the Kenai River personal-use dipnet fishery are due to arrive in about three weeks, and the city of Kenai is letting them know to expect a few changes this year.

The fishery usually involves big crowds of people congegating on Kenai’s north and south beaches, all filling coolers full of salmon for the winter. In 2018, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game recorded more than 20,000 angler days fished in the Kenai River dipnet fishery. This year, the city of Kenai is making a few changes in hopes of preventing the spread of COVID-19 among the crowds.

Payments for camping will be credit card only. Visitors will swipe their own credit cards at the city’s fee shacks, won’t have to sign a receipt and will communicate with the attendants through intercoms. Camping will be allowed on the beach but campsites should be spaced out. The city is asking people to limit their interactions and use he hand washing stations the city is installing on the beach. The city is also asking people to wear cloth face coverings when within six feet of others.

Camping is still not allowed in the dunes and is limited by a sign at the northern end of the beach and private property on the southern end of the south beach.

The Kenai River personal-use dipnet fishery is scheduled to open on July 10. The Kasilof River personal-use fishery is open now, but only to set gill nets. The fishery is scheduled to switch over to a dipnet fishery Thursday. Reach Elizabeth Earl at eearl@kdll.org.