dipnet

Photo: Sabine Poux/KDLL

When you start laying out the expenses line by line, a weekend of dipnetting doesn’t sound so cheap.

How much does it cost Kelly and Larry Williams?

“A ton! I was just thinking about that," said Kelly Williams. "We’ve spent, like, hundreds of dollars already and we haven’t gotten anything."


You don't have to know a lot about fishing to know that dipnet season is back in Kenai.

But if you do want to learn more about the fishing that makes the city a summer destination for AK anglers, we've got you covered. This week's Kenai Converstaion is a 2020 online presentation from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game on the basics of dipnetting, from what to bring to how to avoid a ticket.

In the second part of the presentation, how to navigate the personal use fisheries in the Kenai, Kasilof and China Poot fisheries.

Alaska Salmon Fertilizer

Earth Day was April 22. For this week’s Econ 919, Ryan Bacon with Alaska Salmon Fertilizers talks about his company’s work to recycle fish waste into nutrient-rich plant fertilizer.


Photo: Redoubt Reporter

Imagine if you could catch a couple salmon and then get your coronavirus vaccine, all without even leaving the beach.

This summer, Kenai’s popular dip-net fisheries might also be public health hubs.


Kenai Fire Department

The Kenai and Nikiski fire departments worked together to remove a sunken boat from the mouth of the Kenai River late last night.

The boat reportedly swamped on Sunday due to the wake from another passing vessel near Kenai’s city dock. Many personal use dipnet fishermen float near the dock while they’re fishing, but it’s also a high-use area frequented by commercial boats and other sportfishing boats passing through. The boat that capsized Sunday was a twenty-foot alumaweld loaded with five to six people, said Kenai Fire Chief Tony Prior.

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

It’s a relatively calm day on the Kenai beach for the opening day of dipnet. Weather is supposed to move in this weekend, bringing some increased winds and rain, but for now, the slack tide in the mouth of the Kenai River is almost glassy.

The beach is actually fairly quiet as well, though it’s still noon on a Friday. At the peak of the fishery, there can be hundreds of people lining every inch of the shore, each with a dipnet and a cooler to fill.

Peter Micciche/Facebook

Every year, Alaskans flock to the Kenai and Kasilof rivers for a chance to scoop up some of the sockeye salmon that pack the estuaries on their way upriver to spawn. Many peninsula residents have mixed feelings about these fisheries, but one thing that's pretty clearly unpopular is the mess the fisheries often generate.

A photo of overflowing dumpsters at the mouth of the Kasilof River, near the personal use dipnet fishery, touched off angry debates on social media this week. The photo, taken Monday morning after a busy three-day holiday weekend loaded with beautiful weather and a healthy sockeye run to the Kasilof, shows four dumpsters packed to the brim with trash and more scattered across the pavement nearby.

Redoubt Reporter

The Kenai River personal use dipnet fishery opens on Friday at 6 a.m. This year, though, dipnetters are not allowed to keep any king salmon they net. They have to let those go immediately.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced the restriction on Monday. The department is concerned about enough king salmon making it up the river for escapement, so dipnetters are restricted from keeping them. Sportfishermen are not allowed to use bait, either, and are restricted as to where they can fish and how many big fish they can keep.

Elizabeth Earl / KDLL

 There’s just under a week until the Kenai River dipnet opens on July 10. But if you want to get out and get some dipnetting done this weekend, there’s a little more space at the Kasilof River to do it.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced that the Kasilof dipnet is open to shore fishing all the way from the mouth upstream to the Sterling Highway Bridge. Dipnetting from a boat is allowed, too, but only up to a marker around mile 3 of the river. No king salmon can be kept, though.

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.

Redoubt Reporter

If Senate Bill 232 makes it through the Legislature, it will cost $5 for an Alaskan to get a personal-use fishing permit. Sen. Peter Micciche sponsored the bill. It gives the Legislature the ability to appropriate money for the fees for municipalities that host personal-use fisheries.   

At its meeting Wednesday, the Kenai City Council voiced support of the measure. Councilman Robert Peterkin submitted the resolution.

"It’s something that I feel is very important for our community. I don’t feel that the dip-netting operations should fall on city of Kenai residents to support it and I think that this is the first step in trying to get some help with the revenue on this to help provide the services that we’re paying for,” Peterkin said.

Where there are masses of fish, there’s likely to be masses of people. And where there are masses of people, there are likely businesses attempting to make some money.

That’s the case with the Kenai personal-use, dip-net fishery. All sorts of businesses have sprouted up along the mouth of the Kenai River, trying to net revenue off the fishermen trying to net fish.

One of those types of businesses came under fire at the Alaska Board of Fisheries this week. The board is meeting in Anchorage to review Upper Cook Inlet fishery proposals through next Wednesday. On Thursday, they voted on a proposal that would ban a relatively new practice — guiding for dip-netters.

Glen Trombley, of Chugiak, owns Expeditions North LLC guiding service. During July, when the reds are running, he runs the Dip Ship in the mouth of the Kenai River, taking dip-netters out to get their personal-use sockeye.

“Some, for whatever reason, cannot physically access this particular fishery without some type of assistance. Not to mention families with small children that would normally not be able to participate from shore due to safety issues,” Trombley said.

Late run reds returning strong

Jul 29, 2019

        The late run of sockeye salmon to the Kenai River has returned surprisingly strong this summer, prompting the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to liberalize fishing time and limits for several fisheries.

The Kenai River personal use dip net fishery has been thrown wide open and will remain open 24 hours per day through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday(July 31, 2019) when the fishery closes by regulation.

Kenai River dipnetting closing two days early

Jul 26, 2018
City of Kenai Dipnet app

 

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has issued two emergency orders restricting the harvest of sockeye salmon on the Kenai River.

Spring may still be around the corner, with summer just a fond hope for the future, but the city of Kenai is actively working on projects to make the July dipnet season more convenient for participants. 

At last week’s meeting, the Kenai City Council voted to move funds from a completed South Beach access project, to needs on the north side of the river.

Annual dipnet report spotlights city's new app

Dec 8, 2017
Redoubt Reporter

 

The Kenai City Council heard and discussed the annual dipnet report at its meeting this week.

 


Fishing slows as dipnet season winds down

Jul 31, 2017

Dipnet fishing at the mouth of the Kenai River ends Monday, but it will continue through Aug. 7 on the Kasilof River.


The sockeye run continues its slow burn into the Kenai River.

Slow fishing, quick clean up

Jul 24, 2017


There can be a fair amount of things to grumble about for locals during the dipnetting season on the Kenai.

Dipnet app proving poplular in first season

Jul 20, 2017
City of Kenai

 

 

 


 

It’s just about the midway point for the annual personal-use fishery on the Kenai River. So far, fishing has been a bit on the slow side.

Sluggish sockeye return slows down commercial fleet

Jul 18, 2017

Commercial fishing for the drift and set-net fleets was generous last week, but things look to be slowing down a bit.

Camper totaled in South Beach fire

Jul 14, 2017

Firefighters in Kenai responded to a fire on the Kenai River south beach Thursday night.

 

“It was a fully involved fire," said Kenai Fire Chief Jeff Tucker.

 

"It turned out to be a Westfalia Volkswagen camper van. We responded down on the beach, we used one of our brush trucks, which are pickup trucks with 200-gallon water tanks with a pump. Our fire engines aren’t able to drive on the beach. We put the fire out. There were no injuries and at this time there’s no determination for what caused the fire.”

Locals unsure about Kasilof River improvement plan

Jun 16, 2017
Alaska Department of Natural Resources

New plans for expanding access to different fisheries around the Kasilof River is raising concerns among residents.