That annual, uniquely Alaskan exhibition of entitlement, waste, litter and all-around bad-behavior where thousands of gimmee gimmee gimmee Alaskans get there's while the gettin's good and wreck the place every single summer. A heady spirit of GET (edited) OUTTA MY WAY fills the air as people, real Alaskans mind you, climb over each other to get to the water. Not to mention crapping everywhere, racing around on ATVs, staggering around drunk, and offering to fight anyone who might call them out on their bad behavior.
All in the name of 100 pounds of red fillets.
I recognize that free stuff is the basis of life here in the Greatland so here's what I propose: Fish wheels on the Kenai
And not just any old ramshackle home-built fishwheels...State of Alaska fishwheels.
Yup. Outlaw dipnetting entirely and have ADF&G contract for 20 wheels and set them up just far enough upstream for the current to put them to work. 4 "sets" of 5 wheels, side by side, scooping up as much of the red run as possible. Have a floating dock tying the wheel sets together and to the shore. Have a crew of summer hire/intern types supervised by a fisheries technician or jr. biologist working the wheels and returning non-targeted species to the water.
This same crew will haul fish-barrows of fresh reds to shore where Alaskans with valid permits simply pick up "their" fish. Permits are valid for staggered 3 day windows to minimize crowding at the wheels. Clip your fins, punch your ticket and go home and break out the canner. No nets, no waders, no muss, no fuss.
People get fish and the mouth of the Kenai no longer smells like Bangkok.