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Thread: How deep is your setnet for the Kasilof Personal Use Fishery?

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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Question How deep is your setnet for the Kasilof Personal Use Fishery?

    Looking to have a setnet made to catch PU sockeye at the mouth of the Kasilof.
    Deciding net length was easy, I'm going with the maximum of 60ft, which everyone seems to use.
    Likewise, the recommended mesh-square size for catching sockeyes seems to be about 5 inches.
    But, the depth is more variable. The regs limit it to a maximum of 45 mesh-squares.
    So, 45 x 5 = 225 inches, or almost 19 feet. Is this the best size or too deep?
    I saw a net in stock at Donaldson's that was only 29 meshes deep = 12 feet.
    Are there disadvantages to setting a bigger net?

    Thanx, Dave.

    Also, I plan to deploy & tend my net from a boat, rather than from the shore.
    Does that make any difference?

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    I wonder if the shorter net is designed to catch just as many reds and not get torn up by Kings, since the former travel very high in the water column, and the latter very low.

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    Can't respond intelligently because I have never personal use setnetted, but I will comment that gillnet web is sized by the mesh as being stretched. In other words if you took the top and bottom knot of an individual diamond in the net and pulled it taut a 5" web would be 5". A 45 mesh 5"web gillnet suspended in the water would be nowhere near 19 feet. I have never actually measured one, but I would guess it would be closer to 14 feet. Hope you find this helpful, I didn't explain it very well.

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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Actually Gunner, that helps quite a bit. It makes me lean toward getting a net that is a full 45 meshes deep.
    Since the tide will be pushing water through the net, there's bound to be some bulging out of the net, too.
    All of which will make the actual depth of the net, less than it's theoretical stretched out straight down depth.

    How about a follow-up question: Since the regs allow you to keep any King Salmon that get caught in your set-net,
    why not build a net that's strong enough to catch and hold the Kings, instead of letting them tear right through?

    Thanx again, Dave.

  5. #5

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    Your catch of kings will vary from year to year and date that you are fishing. You are correct in your size of 45 mesh, I would not try to set a net up for kings as your main goal is the reds. there is a max mesh size but do not have it this minute. You would not want a net less than max. Very simple more net in the water increases the chance of fish.

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    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Thanx BB,

    Yes, I plan to set the net up for Reds, most folks have suggested a 5" mesh for them.
    4.5" mesh was recommended for Pinks and 6" mesh was suggested for Silvers.
    (also, 6" is the maximum mesh size for any setnet, per the setnet regulations).
    It would follow that the best size for Kings must be something larger than 6" mesh?
    But, since targeting kings is not the idea, I plan to make/buy a setnet with 5" mesh squares.

    My question was not about building a net with "larger" mesh squares in order to catch Kings.
    But rather, to possibly build a net with 5" Red-sized-mesh, using "stronger" material in order to
    prevent King salmon from busting through my net and leaving 10-15-20" mesh squares in their wake!

    Is there any downside to making a net out of really strong mono, twine, etc,
    that will still allow Reds to get "gilled", while forcing Kings to go around or under?
    And if a King decides to roll around and entangle or otherwise trap itself in my net . . .
    well, that's OK with me, too, as long as I don't have to keep mending my net.

    Thanx for all the advice, Dave.

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    The only way that you can get away without ever working on your net is to leave it baged up in its orginal bag. You do not want a net is two stiff because of the size of material that you use. Normaly you will be able to tell when you have a king in the net and if you are working it with a boat just pull up that section and remove it. Some years the seals are around causing a lot of problems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Bend View Post
    I would not try to set a net up for kings as your main goal is the reds.
    I won't preach here, because I believe that anything us outdoorsmen do that is legal in the regs should be supported publicly by other outdoorsmen.

    That said, I'll pass on something a friend told me, almost a year ago now:

    He's harvested much fish and game here, forever just about, but he told me that if/when he caught a King on on the Kenai, he would put it back - not keep it - because the resource needs Kings more than he does.

    He's a very stand up guy; I won't name names; he knows who he is. I say for him.

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    I did not imply that he should not keep a king. His concern was that a king would tear up his net and I had stated that he did not want to use a net that was made out of real heavy and stiff material. There is a big differance in releasing a king that has been caught with a hook verses one that has been in a gill net for several hours.He will catch an ocasional king in that fisheries.

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    Given the fairly small allowance on the PU fishery, I wouldn't think that anyone would want to leave their net unattended for "several hours" or you may go over your meager limit of 25+10 fish (depending on how many +10's you get). If you have net in the water when a large school goes by, you'd better be pickin' the net fairly regular so you can pull it as you approach your limit. I'd think that as you get closer and closer to your take, you'd be shortening the net by leaving the end in the boat so you're only fishing a smaller and smaller section of net.

    I have thought about doing the PU fishery this way and even have a 60' bundle of 5" net that needs lead and cork to be fished. If I could scrounge up the rest of the gear by June and get that net put together...
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    Thumbs up no worries

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Bend View Post
    I did not imply that he should not keep a king.
    No worries BB. I didn't read it that you were implying that, in fact a snippet of your exact words were "I would not try to set a net up for kings".

    You are right I think.

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    Here's some tips from a gillnetter.

    How you hang your net will determine how deep it will fish. Stretched measure which is how web is measured for size the meshes are closed. As you pull the meshes open it pulls the bottom knot up. So, if your net is hung "even", (this opens the meshes to the max which is good as it makes it easier for the fish to get their head in the mesh) a 5 " mesh will fish just under 3.54" so for practical purposes, you could call it 3.5" per mesh and be darn close. You can figure this by using a bit of Geometry. Imagine a mesh pulled into a square. each mesh has 4 sides so a 5" mesh pulled into a square would have sides 2.5 inches long. a net hangs from a corner of the mesh, so you want to measure from a corner to the one diagonally across from it. Remember the old geometrical equation A squared plus b squared = c squared? That is used to figured the length of a line in a right triangle or one having a 90 degree angle in it. We know the two sides of the 90 degree angle are 2.5 inches so squared, each would be 6.25 inches and added together that would be 12.5 inches. the square root of 12.5 is just under 3.54. So figuring 3.5 per mesh, a 5 inch mesh net 45 meshes deep hung evenly would fish 3.5 x 45" = 157.5" or 13.125 feet deep. The next thing to figure is how deep is the water where you're going to fish? If you're fishing in 6 or 8 feet of water, you don't really need the extra web for a couple reasons. First, the extra web will catch more of the current putting more strain on your net. Second, reds hit hard and if there is extra web floating around they will go through more than one mesh, sometimes 4 or 5 and it's tougher to get them out of the net. You also have more meshes to sort through to get to the fish. Third, extra web means extra mending and it's more of a pain dealing with it, packing it, storing it, etc. It will take up more room. So if you don't need it, you might think of a more shallow fishing net. I'm a big fan of easy handling.

    A 30 mesh 5" net will fish 8.75 feet using the same formula. 30 meshes might not sound like much, but that's what Bristol Bay fishermen use to catch millions of salmon each year. So it's something to consider.

    A couple more tips...... 9 strand/ply or 10 strand/ply or equal strength web is plenty strong. kings will bust through 6 and 7 strand fairly easy, 8 will usually stop them, but 9 or 10 is plenty. Anything over that is overkill and makes for stiffer web which can cause reds to bounce off or fall out. The purpose for heavier web is if you're drifting in an area with lots of snags and you want to reduce damage to your gear.

    When you hang your net you want to measure your knots from the start of one knot to the start of the next knot when hanging the corkline. On the leadline, measure from the end of the previous knot to the start of the next knot. The reason for that is to make the leadline slightly longer than the corkline. You want the strain to be on your corkline, not your leadline. With 5 inch mesh, to hang it even if you are picking up 3 meshes, you want your knots spaced 7.5 inches or if picking up 4 meshes, space them 10 inches. (remember on the corkline you make that measurement from the start of the previous knot to the start of the next knot) How close to put your corks depends on the size of the cork and how heavy of lead line you are using. I use 120 lb leadline and Bao Long BL2 corks and space them about 36 inches or so. But that's for a net that may have a LOT of fish in it. If you're hanging 10" hangings, a cork every 4 hangings or 40" would be fine. Tie the cork first before you pick up the meshes for that hanging and double tie your corks! In other words, when it's time to tie a cork, start at the previous knot and slide the cork up to it. Go over the cork, and tie it off. Then go back over the cork and tie it again. Then pick up your meshes and make your measurement and tie that hanging. Be sure to leave a little slack in your hanging on the corkline. The hanging twine will shrink slightly and if you hang the net tightly, that can cause problems. I usually like to be able to get a couple fingers under the twine on the corkline. On the leadline it's nice to hang it so the leadline hangs down at least 6 inches from the net. This prevents the leadline from rolling up. On a 60 foot net, you'll need about 20 corks. Start with a cork and end with a cork. That keeps the end of the net from sinking. Some people like to leave a tail on each end of the net of 3 to 6 feet. Personally, I leave an eye about 12 " long and I can snap my buoys onto that. I make my buoy lines about 4 feet long. I'll tie at least 6 inches of tail on the eye to make it strong enough to tow on and slip an extra cork over the tail. That floats my stainless steel snap that attaches the buoy line to the net.

    Last tip is, there are tracer lines on the lines used for hanging a net. Follow those tracer lines and make sure each knot is on the tracer line and there are no twists in the line. If you hang your net with twists in the line, when the net gets pressure on it, the web will roll up on the line and you'll have to deal with it.

    If this sounds too complicated, most net shops that sell web have someone working there who will hang a net for you for a price.
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    One of the things (I have a list) keeping me from the personal use setnet fishery is the limit. Talking to a F&G Sportfish guy, he said that the setnet limit was the same as the dipnet limit. So, for my family that would be 55 fish. I asked him what if you got more than 55 in your set, he said that you'd be in violation. Easier to count fish in my dipnet.
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    Good info Twodux, need to spread the love before I can rep you again.

    P/U gillnetting sounds far preferable to dipnetting to be sure. And a 10 fathom shackle could get 'er done in short order. As to going over limit, no one says you have to use the whole shackle I assume? A well tended net (with a skiff) would be a brief affair given proper placement methinks.....
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    Another reason, from my list, why I don't PU setnet. NO BOAT!
    I may be slow, but I get where I'm going!

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    Quote Originally Posted by .338-06 View Post
    Another reason, from my list, why I don't PU setnet. NO BOAT!
    Yeah, that'd be a real hindrance.
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    One work around is to have multiple families using the same net. Group effort. I don't think I have ever seen regulations forbidding this, just that a family can have only one net.

    Quote Originally Posted by .338-06 View Post
    One of the things (I have a list) keeping me from the personal use setnet fishery is the limit. Talking to a F&G Sportfish guy, he said that the setnet limit was the same as the dipnet limit. So, for my family that would be 55 fish. I asked him what if you got more than 55 in your set, he said that you'd be in violation. Easier to count fish in my dipnet.
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    I have been interested in doing this PU fishery for some time, but I haven't found where to buy the right gillnet. Are there shops/stores down on the Kenai peninsula that make/sell gillnets for this fishery? If so, who are they? How much would a new gillnet for this fishery cost?

    I have done some subsistence gillnetting down in Southeast Alaska before, but I do not have a net. The net we did use was bought down in Seattle. I would like to shop locally for a net if possible, or if someone has a net they would be willing to sell, just send me a pm.

    Thanks in advance,

    CubeCove

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    The local commercial fishery supplier is/was Silvertip, which is located on K-Beach road just north of Kasilof. It's just a couple driveways north of the access road to the setnet sites for the north beach of the river (about mile 6, IIRC). He's had a for sale sign on the business for the last couple years, so I'm not sure what the status is right now.

    Down in Homer is a place called the Kachemak Gear Shed that supplies the majority of the fishermen on the southern peninsula and then there's another outfitter in Anchorage.

    All that said, when shopping for a simple 60-footer to use in the PU, I'd recommend making friends with some commercial fishermen (esp setnetters) as they often throw away a lot of used gear that can be easily salvaged and repaired by a guy wanting a little bit of net. I got a big bundle of used 5" this way and I was amazed at how few holes and tears were in the stuff they were discarding. Having a few comm fishing buddies also makes setting the net up fairly easy for a rookie. Most of them will come over and help/show you how to do it in exchange for burgers on the grill and an open access cooler of beer.
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    Anybody want a gillnet hung?? I've hung THOUSANDS of fathoms of gillnets & i'd be willing to hang a few more if anybody is interested. I've got some leadline & corkline laying around and might even have some netting to put into a few nets. Hey guess i've got to add gillnets into my business name!!

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