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Thread: Dipnetting Section on Outdoors Directory

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Dipnetting Section on Outdoors Directory

    Okay folks, we rarely (if ever) announce projects we are working on until we launch them ( learned that from Steve Jobs), but since so many of you have Dipnetting on the brain right now, we're making an exception.

    We are in the process of creating a Dipnetting section on Outdoors Directory. We have been gathering content for it over the last two years, and have looked at the Copper River fishery (dipnetting and fish wheels), the Kenai and Kasilof fishery, and the hooligan run at Twentymile.

    It will include photos, video and text. The purpose is instructional, and informational. Rather than me telling you what we have in mind for the content, I thought we should ask you what you'd like to see in there. How about it? What would you like to see in our new Dipnetting pages?

    Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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    Default organization

    Possibly one of the larger challenges is organization and find ability. Newcomers arrive in Alaska every day and that won't stop; they'll need to know everything. Some would love online checklists of equipment that would pertain to each individual fishery; same for schedule. Dipnet pros will want to get in and out quickly, seeing only the most relevant info fast, like OTF current to the day counts and EOs.

    And if there will indeed be an entire section to just dipnetting, it wouldn't be complete without a pile of info on how to become an (instant, of course, this is the Internet ) expert at predicting fish run timing and magnitude.

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    I know for myself when i was first getting into it, I didn't know what length of pole to what fabric for the net or how big the hoop should be. Maybe a section talking abou tall types of nets and pros/cons for each fishery.
    Trying to play enough to make working for the money all worth it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kmagers View Post
    ...pros/cons for each fishery.
    I think that's a big issue for many folks that are just getting into it. I've not yet dipped the Copper, but the fisheries at the Kasilof, Kenai, and Fish Creek (when it opens) are each very different than the other - each with benefits and drawbacks that one should know about when making plans. The same is no doubt true about the Copper, which by my understanding is the most unique of all.

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    Ya the poeple who sweep by the bridge is a big contrast from the cliffs in the canyon. There could even be a whole forum to discuss what is the best method to get the fish from the river up the 2 hundred feet to the atv trail. That is almost indescribable pain if you havn't done it with 3 guys each with their families limit its hard to imagine. Then the copper has the fish wheels. The copper has such diverse ways to get the fish.
    Trying to play enough to make working for the money all worth it.

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    How about something about the logistics behind dipnetting? I went on my first ever dipnetting trip last week to Kasilof and it was unclear if we could drive right up or had to walk in. The F&G sites don't discuss camping areas, fees, or services available. Another thing I wish I had known was the "mood" or atmosphere of the beaches. For example, I learned don't take your family on a weekend. By Friday night, Kasilof turned into a drunken revelry with kids riding 4 wheelers through people's camping areas and fireworks until 2 am. Thurs night someone was shooting a firearm. These would be good things for a first timer to know. (I would have left Fri afternoon had I known.) I guess you call it a "What To Expect" section.

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    I believe ahtna needs to be addressed, they are overstepping their bounds

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post
    Okay folks, we rarely (if ever) announce projects we are working on until we launch them ( learned that from Steve Jobs), but since so many of you have Dipnetting on the brain right now, we're making an exception.

    We are in the process of creating a Dipnetting section on Outdoors Directory. We have been gathering content for it over the last two years, and have looked at the Copper River fishery (dipnetting and fish wheels), the Kenai and Kasilof fishery, and the hooligan run at Twentymile.

    It will include photos, video and text. The purpose is instructional, and informational. Rather than me telling you what we have in mind for the content, I thought we should ask you what you'd like to see in there. How about it? What would you like to see in our new Dipnetting pages?

    Mike

    First and foremost, we need to start with proper etiquette. Most of us know them, a lot don't. The ones that don't know simply have never been taught and we need to address that. The Chitina dipnetting fishery entertains individuals and groups that are looking for something else outside of Kenai and Kasilof. It's not just another fishery so let us not confuse it. I'm not saying those that dip Chitina are better in any way to those fishing other fisheries, but what I am saying is that Chitina is to Kasilof/Kenai as combat fishing the Russian is to fishing Deep Creek (yes I get different fish but you get my point). The allure of "better" tasting fish or "wild" salmon is always there, but it's way beyond that and I am noticing a lot of talk about Chitina and it's already being viewed as just another resource to pillage. There is a reason why Chitina is not trashed like Kasilof/Kenai. There is a reason why we don't have as many thefts, as many swoopers (those jerks that take your spot as soon as you step away).

    Keeping the aforementioned in mind, I agree with a how to section for dipping different fisheries. Dipping Kasilof/Kenai is not the same as China Poot or Chitina vs Twenty Mile. Lots out there and it'll open up more time for the rest of us to get back to fishing

    Particularly a section on the Copper. Chitina is much more dangerous, the lines and areas for fishisng are not clearly defined as they when dipping the mouth of a river. The gear, the safety equipment, the footwear, the way fish is stored, methods and areas all differ greatly from Cook Inlet. You will not be using a 20lb Kenai 6 foot net to hang off a cliff or sweep with, just as you don't need a PFD and rope to tie off to the cliff you're standing on, you don't wear waders or hip boots unless you are doing the kenai shuffle on one of the 5 sand bars on the Copper unless you want to turn them into a sea anchor in the 15mph current(yes, it's about 15mph with 30 foot trees floating downriver), you don't have to worry about dipnet bags to keep your net from snagging every person/pole/tree in sight when you are on Cook Inlet, you don't care spare poles, nets, hoops.



    Will

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    Will makes some excellent points about the Copper. It's important to stress that it is a remote wilderness experience (relatively speaking) and that the Copper is potentially a very dangerous river. I don't think twice about floating in the Kenai, I have absolutely no interest in entering the Copper in the canyon.

    I kinda have mixed emotions about making dipnetting so accessable to the masses. The information has always been out there with just a little bit of searching one can find it. I don't have a problem sharing the resource but if people are willing to put in almost no effort to learn about it are they the best candidates?

    I think the key things to stress are that catching the fish is the easy part, the real work begins in cleaning the fish and properly handling and storing the fish. You need to be prepared with the proper equipment to clean, cool and transport the fish and allow enough time to handle the fish when you return home. Dealing with 2-3 fish caught on a rod/reel is an entirely different ball game than dealing with 30-60 fish. Caring for that many fish is an all day job for several people and I bet all of us would be shocked at how much of the p/u fish end up being of poor quality even before they hit the freezer not to mention how many get freezer burned and dumped in the spring.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    Will makes some excellent points about the Copper. It's important to stress that it is a remote wilderness experience (relatively speaking) and that the Copper is potentially a very dangerous river. I don't think twice about floating in the Kenai, I have absolutely no interest in entering the Copper in the canyon.

    I kinda have mixed emotions about making dipnetting so accessable to the masses. The information has always been out there with just a little bit of searching one can find it. I don't have a problem sharing the resource but if people are willing to put in almost no effort to learn about it are they the best candidates?

    I think the key things to stress are that catching the fish is the easy part, the real work begins in cleaning the fish and properly handling and storing the fish. You need to be prepared with the proper equipment to clean, cool and transport the fish and allow enough time to handle the fish when you return home. Dealing with 2-3 fish caught on a rod/reel is an entirely different ball game than dealing with 30-60 fish. Caring for that many fish is an all day job for several people and I bet all of us would be shocked at how much of the p/u fish end up being of poor quality even before they hit the freezer not to mention how many get freezer burned and dumped in the spring.
    Paul, you make an excellent point regarding proper fish processing. I have had many individuals ask me how I intended to store my fish and transport my fish if I intend to stay in the area for several days without my fish spoiling. How do people show up not knowing what in the world they will do with the fish on a 5 day camping trip and expect it not to spoil?

    As an example, let's say you are dipping from a cliff side so now you are standing on an edge with about 2 feet of space or maybe on a 45 degree inclined rock. You don your PFD(I hope), tie yourself off to a rock with hopefully not rotting cordage, designate a landing area, designate an area to gill and clip tails, find a suitable area to string your fish where it won't get tangled or dragged away by the 13 knot current (yes, it's that fast) or 15 mph for you land lovers. If you go in the water at the mouth of the first canyon, hopefully a boater is nearby or someone can call out and get a boater out to you, let's give it 20 minutes to responsd and find you, that means you'll be well into the second canyon before that 20 minutes is up. That is a lot of 30 foot trees, boulders, and cliffs to be banging against before you're found. Yes, this has happened and it happens every year, only they don't always get found. So now you start dipping, set your pole in the eddy and wham you get a fish! Take your bucket, rinse your area off with water so the blood doesn't start to rot on the rocks and smell like sewage(thanks to the jerk offs that didn't do this when I was out this week, I love getting splashed by rotting stench everytime I haul a fish up) start hauling it straight up the cliff side, your pole handle is banging against the rock behind you as you lift it, you pivot the handle to the side so you can get the net on the rocks, you hit your partner in the head with your pole, net with fish is on the rocks now flopping and twisting your net to all hell, shimmy over the cliff and tap your fish on the head with your B!t(h Be Good Stick, gill it, untangle from net, cut the tails, retrieve your stringer out of the water while dodging the surging river that is rising and falling 18 inches every few seconds, run your stringer through and throw the fish back into the river. Imagine doing this for 30-40 fish. Not all areas are like this, but other than the sand bars, the 3 beaches, this is pretty much what you are looking at for maybe 3hrs to days.

    So now you have your fish, haul it back to camp, now what? You wash your fish off at the creek, do you fillet it or just gut it? Say you fillet 40 fish, that's a 150qt Igloo cooler FULL, about 150lbs of meat plus. Where do you get your ice? How much ice do you need? It's 11PM, where do you get ice? Do you go to Chitina, Kenny Lake, Liquor store, Glenallen, Valdez, who's open and who usually has ice? Do you pack the fillets flesh to flesh or flesh to skin? Do you need to wash everything off before packing fillets? Do they need to be dried off? Do you just dump ice over the fillets or does it need to be split into multiple coolers with each zip lock bag of fillets encased in ice? Where do you find shaved salted ice? How many fillets per zip loc bag? How long will the ice last during your trip? How long can you keep the fish stored this way? Do you leave the ice water or do you leave the drain valve open? I could go on and on.

    My advice is to do the write ups on how to and etiqutte, find someone that knows more than just what they read and apply your knowledge from there.



    Will

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    Default Extended trip fish storage strategy

    Quote Originally Posted by misanthrope View Post
    Paul, you make an excellent point regarding proper fish processing. I have had many individuals ask me how I intended to store my fish and transport my fish if I intend to stay in the area for several days without my fish spoiling. How do people show up not knowing what in the world they will do with the fish on a 5 day camping trip and expect it not to spoil?
    As stated in previous years' posts, the method we use for extended, indefinite length trips:


    1. Coolers: 165qt cooler per 25 reds, or 20 reds and 1 king. 4 coolers for 90 fish.
    2. Water jugs: 5 frozen jugs per cooler. 2 sets frozen before leaving town. 4 coolers = 40 jugs.
    3. Chest freezer: larger enough for 20 1-gallon frozen jugs. 1 set of jugs in freezer, 1 set of jugs in cooler. Store frozen jugs in 1 cooler.
    4. Genset: 1kw will run my freezer for 8 hours. 2kw would be better for startup surge requirements.
    5. Gas: 5 gallon jug will last 4 days with the 1kw genset.
    6. Tarp: one side shiny; shiny side out to cover coolers and freezer.
    7. Cable and lock: to secure genset to rig.


    Fish are bled as soon as caught and kept on stringer in water until gutted. Gut only in the field; leave heads and fins on to not expose meat. Remove gills.

    Put fish in empty cooler. Place ice jugs on top of fish. As jugs melt, swap with frozen ones from freezer. Run genset only enough to keep freezer jugs frozen solid.

    With this strategy, you can keep your fish cold for as long as you have gas for your genset.

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    Quote Originally Posted by misanthrope View Post
    Paul, you make an excellent point regarding proper fish processing. I have had many individuals ask me how I intended to store my fish and transport my fish if I intend to stay in the area for several days without my fish spoiling. How do people show up not knowing what in the world they will do with the fish on a 5 day camping trip and expect it not to spoil?

    As an example, let's say you are dipping from a cliff side so now you are standing on an edge with about 2 feet of space or maybe on a 45 degree inclined rock. You don your PFD(I hope), tie yourself off to a rock with hopefully not rotting cordage, designate a landing area, designate an area to gill and clip tails, find a suitable area to string your fish where it won't get tangled or dragged away by the 13 knot current (yes, it's that fast) or 15 mph for you land lovers. If you go in the water at the mouth of the first canyon, hopefully a boater is nearby or someone can call out and get a boater out to you, let's give it 20 minutes to responsd and find you, that means you'll be well into the second canyon before that 20 minutes is up. That is a lot of 30 foot trees, boulders, and cliffs to be banging against before you're found. Yes, this has happened and it happens every year, only they don't always get found. So now you start dipping, set your pole in the eddy and wham you get a fish! Take your bucket, rinse your area off with water so the blood doesn't start to rot on the rocks and smell like sewage(thanks to the jerk offs that didn't do this when I was out this week, I love getting splashed by rotting stench everytime I haul a fish up) start hauling it straight up the cliff side, your pole handle is banging against the rock behind you as you lift it, you pivot the handle to the side so you can get the net on the rocks, you hit your partner in the head with your pole, net with fish is on the rocks now flopping and twisting your net to all hell, shimmy over the cliff and tap your fish on the head with your B!t(h Be Good Stick, gill it, untangle from net, cut the tails, retrieve your stringer out of the water while dodging the surging river that is rising and falling 18 inches every few seconds, run your stringer through and throw the fish back into the river. Imagine doing this for 30-40 fish. Not all areas are like this, but other than the sand bars, the 3 beaches, this is pretty much what you are looking at for maybe 3hrs to days.

    So now you have your fish, haul it back to camp, now what? You wash your fish off at the creek, do you fillet it or just gut it? Say you fillet 40 fish, that's a 150qt Igloo cooler FULL, about 150lbs of meat plus. Where do you get your ice? How much ice do you need? It's 11PM, where do you get ice? Do you go to Chitina, Kenny Lake, Liquor store, Glenallen, Valdez, who's open and who usually has ice? Do you pack the fillets flesh to flesh or flesh to skin? Do you need to wash everything off before packing fillets? Do they need to be dried off? Do you just dump ice over the fillets or does it need to be split into multiple coolers with each zip lock bag of fillets encased in ice? Where do you find shaved salted ice? How many fillets per zip loc bag? How long will the ice last during your trip? How long can you keep the fish stored this way? Do you leave the ice water or do you leave the drain valve open? I could go on and on.

    My advice is to do the write ups on how to and etiqutte, find someone that knows more than just what they read and apply your knowledge from there.



    Will
    Most people fill coolers with ice prior to dipping, and lots of people cry about keeping filets dry. It really doesent matter, one bag of ice in the bottom of the cooler, 30 to 40 filets then a bag of ice on top, and then on to the next cooler, keeps for 3 days easy

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    Quote Originally Posted by iyouktug View Post
    Most people fill coolers with ice prior to dipping, and lots of people cry about keeping filets dry. It really doesent matter, one bag of ice in the bottom of the cooler, 30 to 40 filets then a bag of ice on top, and then on to the next cooler, keeps for 3 days easy
    Technically, keeping fillets dry does affect the quality of the product, especially after rigor has passed. Quick overview, after a fish dies, temperature, health, exhaustion of the fish, age, type of fish, etc all affect the rigor stages of the fish. So after the fish dies, the amount of time it takes for rigor to set in is affected by all these things. Tired fish, warm fish on deck, unhealthy fish typically experience rigor much quicker than healthy properly cooled fish. When kept whole, chemicals cause muscle to contract, muscles contract and break down muscle tissue that binds the flesh together. The idea of cooling is to lower the temperature of the fish as quickly as possible to below the mid 60s to prevent quality damage such as gaping. Longer is stays in this rigor stay at higher temperatures, the more damage to the flesh. Since rigor will cause damage regardless of what is done, we try to mitigate the amount of damage caused.

    When you fillet a fish after rigor which is typically the case unless you fillet immediately after landing, you are introducing moisture into the flesh of the fish. This is the same affect as rinsing off your fillets under a high pressure stream and injecting the flesh with water. In addition to this, you are introducing contaminants and bacteria into the flesh of your meat that may not be frozen for days. Once the fish is frozen, the gaping will get worse due to the expansion of the water in the flesh causing more tissue damage in the flesh. If you notice soft spots after thawing or inconsistent quality throughout the fish, this is typically caused by bruising and gaping.

    I don't know what kind of cooler you have, but my Igloo 150qt coolers do not keep ice for 3 days when it's 70-80 outside. Shaved salted ice, yes, but bags of cubed ice, no.

    If you are going to spend the time, effort and danger of harvesting these magnificent fish, why not treat them with the respect they deserve and put quality on the dinner table. I've been fishing warm water big game for about 18 years and when you spend 2 weeks at sea and thousands of dollars to bring home prized fish, we didn't just toss ice on them and call it good.



    Will

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    Will u say magnificent fish...what they deserve...quality on the table I so much agree that I have a couple yeti coolers.

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    If u use a yeti or similar...I think its important to some ice in the day before u use it...if u put ice in a warm yeti it will melt some ice before the cooler cools down....the happy surprise I got the first time I used my yeti is when I took my fish out to process them at home the fish itself was way colder than my other coolers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brother Francis View Post
    If u use a yeti or similar...I think its important to some ice in the day before u use it...if u put ice in a warm yeti it will melt some ice before the cooler cools down....the happy surprise I got the first time I used my yeti is when I took my fish out to process them at home the fish itself was way colder than my other coolers
    Yep, wildly stronger keep ice longer, yetti is the way to go, i never thought about prepping my cooler with ice the day before, thats a good tip francis

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    Quote Originally Posted by iyouktug View Post
    Yep, wildly stronger keep ice longer, yetti is the way to go, i never thought about prepping my cooler with ice the day before, thats a good tip francis
    Or go all out and cut the gills, rub salt in cuts to prevent coagulation, bonk on head to keep from flopping(bruising), pack gut cavity with shaved salted ice(salt helps keep ice squishy so it packs instead of crumbling) and place gut side down. Then go home and glaze them then pack.

    Salted ice will keep almost twice as long if not longer than cubed ice.



    Will

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    I see no reason to spend $300 for a fancy cooler when you can find small chest freezers all day long on craigslist for $50. They are insulated better and you can plug them into a generator. I forgot to dump the ice out a week after getting back from Chitina and hardly any ice had melted. They also make great kegorators when it's not fishing season if you turn the thermostat all the way up.
    "I'd rather be fishing!"

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    Bumping this thread back to the top.

    Other projects got in the way of our dipnetting section, and I am lighting the fire on this project again. You can see the outline for the section AT THIS LINK. It's a blank page right now, because I have not turned any of the articles on yet, but you can see the outline in its own menu on the left side of the page.

    Lots of great ideas here, and I sure could use some help with this. I don't know the Copper River fishery well, and I realize it is a whole different animal than the Kenai or Kasilof. Any of you Copper River experts want to give a hand? We could even do an interview over the phone if that makes it work better for you. Drop me a line at lostcreek@ak.net and let's get started.

    I intend to make a huge dent in this by Wednesday, with some parts of the new section going live by then.

    We are working on the salmon run charts at the same time, and will populate those in different areas of the site. We will also have one page that shows all of them, if we can make that happen.

    If any of you have tidbits of info, suggestions, recommendations for commercial operators, etc, sound off in this thread or drop me an email.

    Remember, this is for you!

    Thanks!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Strahan View Post

    Remember, this is for you!
    Well...... I could say something but I won't......
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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