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Thread: "Party" dipnetting regulations

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    Default "Party" dipnetting regulations

    So, here's a scenario: Guy 1 has a boat, Guys 2 and 3 go dipnetting with Guy 1 in his boat. Guy 1 drives the boat while Guys 2 and 3 dipnet. Guy 2 nets 20 fish, Guy 3 nets 10 fish. They split the fish evenly, 10 apiece. This appears to be illegal (assuming Guy 1 is not immediate family to Guy 2).

    The regulations state that you may only share dipnetted fish with your immediate family, but for starters, I think we can all agree that this is one of the most often violated and impossible to enforce laws on the books. Once you have the fish filleted and packaged, who is to say if you caught them in a dip net or on rod and reel, and there does not appear to be a law against giving away sport-caught fish. So how much debate does an unenforceable law warrant?

    But for a purely theoretical discussion - is my scenario above legal, expressly or implicitly? Second question - should it be legal? I think it should. For any other type of hunting or fishing excursion I do, my friends and I are pretty consistent about evenly splitting the spoils. It doesn't matter who pulled the trigger or who caught the fish, if you were there, you have an equal share. I know not everyone does it this way, but this is the way we like to do it, and for hunting and sport fishing, it appears to be completely legal (with one caveat: with waterfowl, you are technically supposed to fill out a transfer of possession form for every duck you kill and give to anyone else, even if the duck is cleaned / vacuum sealed / part of a casserole! Your possession limit on ducks is also supposed to include ducks you have in your freezer. Gotta love the feds. Again - good luck enforcing that one!)

    So anyway - is it legal to split fish within a party? If not, should it be? What purpose does it serve to have the driver of the boat rotate so that Guy 1 can actually keep some of the fish that are being harvested on his boat? For instance: Guy 2 drives over a mooring anchor, swamps the boat, and they lose ALL of their fish ... but at least they weren't doing something bad like splitting fish to Guy 1 who technically didn't dip any?

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    One qualifier: Guys 1-3 are all residents with valid fishing licenses and dipnetting permits. I understand the issue that would arise if Guy 1 were a non-resident, and it is clear that would be illegal anyway, as non-residents are not allowed to at all participate in PU harvest. Driving the boat is pretty obvious participation.

    But one thing further: does the answer to my question change if neither Guy 2 or Guy nets more than his family limit? Is it okay as long as each individual nets up to his own personal limit, but it is illegal if both Guys keep netting until they reach the aggregate boat limit? Thoughts?
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    I think when one person, or one household in this case, catches their limit they are done legally, regardless of how the other fisherman are doing.

    Too my knowledge you can't figure out the total of all the limits and everyone fish until the total is reached. In theory, anyway, but as you noted it's fairly common practice and almost impossible to enforce.

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    Quote Originally Posted by coho slayer View Post
    I think when one person, or one household in this case, catches their limit they are done legally, regardless of how the other fisherman are doing.

    Too my knowledge you can't figure out the total of all the limits and everyone fish until the total is reached. In theory, anyway, but as you noted it's fairly common practice and almost impossible to enforce.
    Right on, and I guess that makes more sense as a law, similar to party sport fishing for a combined limit - clearly illegal. If the limit is 3, your buddy can't catch 5 and you catch 1; you only each get to catch 3, BUT if you catch 3 and your buddy catches 1, you can each come away with 2 fish, and there's nothing illegal about that for sport fishing. Not clear if that's the case for dipnetting.

    And just because it's impossible to enforce doesn't mean we should all ignore the law. But with the s show that is the Kenai PU boat fishery, it's better for everyone involved if my friend drives his own boat while I fish for the both of us. My own family limit is more than enough for both of us, so as long as I don't catch 55, is it legal for me to split with my friend? (These are all purely hypothetical situations, of course!)

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    well here's a thought. The guy driving the boat is participating to some extent. He doesn't have a net in the water, but those guys with nets in the water wouldn't be there if not for the boat.

    Personally I don't see a problem with your scenario. While it is probably illegal, I don't think it should be. Wasn't the law changed a few years ago to allow you to give away dipnet caught fish? So as long as people are marking their permits correctly and "giving it away" that would be legal right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by oakman View Post
    well here's a thought. The guy driving the boat is participating to some extent. He doesn't have a net in the water, but those guys with nets in the water wouldn't be there if not for the boat.

    Personally I don't see a problem with your scenario. While it is probably illegal, I don't think it should be. Wasn't the law changed a few years ago to allow you to give away dipnet caught fish? So as long as people are marking their permits correctly and "giving it away" that would be legal right?
    That's where this discussion is interesting. During the actual fishing, it's probably technically illegal, but what difference does it really make if, as soon as you're done, you can divvy up the fish however you want?

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    It's not illegal to split the fish. It's illegal to physically catch more than your limit. More than 1 person should always know how to drive the boat IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    It's not illegal to split the fish. It's illegal to physically catch more than your limit. More than 1 person should always know how to drive the boat IMO.
    Got it - I just realized I was looking at an outdated FAQ sheet online that listed you are only permitted to give PU fish to immediate family. You are correct that they changed it a number of years ago to allow you to give it to anyone - forgot about that. So my scenario is legal as long as no individual person catches more than his/her household limit. I still think the person driving the boat is an integral part of the netting activity, so 1 person driving and 1 person dipping should be able to get their combined limit imo, but I'm sure the strict interpretation of the law says they should switch up driver/dipper once one hits his limit.

    ... and there's a difference between being able to drive a boat and being adept at dodging the bullets down in the melee that occurs at the Kenai in a typical day in July. I don't own a boat and never have, so while I have driven other people's boats enough to know the basics, you don't want to step into that circus without more of an abundance of experience than I have been able to get in the 10-20 times I have driven others' boats.

    My daughter knows how to drive, but when we travel out of state into 80 mph bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic, I'm sure she could get the job done, but it's just a much more comfortable situation for everyone if I drive. -Gr
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithtb View Post
    It's not illegal to split the fish. It's illegal to physically catch more than your limit. More than 1 person should always know how to drive the boat IMO.
    So, hypothetically speaking, let's just say two people are fishing from a boat. Don't worry about the driver. One has a limit of 25, and the other has a limit of 45.

    The first guy gets his 25. Second guy still has 20 to go. Can the first guy keep fishing until they have all 70 fish?

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    Quote Originally Posted by coho slayer View Post
    So, hypothetically speaking, let's just say two people are fishing from a boat. Don't worry about the driver. One has a limit of 25, and the other has a limit of 45.

    The first guy gets his 25. Second guy still has 20 to go. Can the first guy keep fishing until they have all 70 fish?

    I think about it like this...warden pulls up to the boat....which fish belongs to who? The two guys could "theoretically" give each other fish on an ongoing basis so that both remain under the limit until the next to the last one is caught. Tough conviction to make and I doubt any trooper would waste his or her time at it when folks are hauling out 4-5 kings at a time and dragging out double limits just begging to get busted.

    As long as the boat had under the limit for all the permit holders combined, I doubt there's much digging going to happen.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    I think about it like this...warden pulls up to the boat....which fish belongs to who? The two guys could "theoretically" give each other fish on an ongoing basis so that both remain under the limit until the next to the last one is caught. Tough conviction to make and I doubt any trooper would waste his or her time at it when folks are hauling out 4-5 kings at a time and dragging out double limits just begging to get busted.

    As long as the boat had under the limit for all the permit holders combined, I doubt there's much digging going to happen.
    I agree. There seems to be some debate on whether it's technically legal, though.

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    I dunno, I can see and understand several views here that are plausible, but it seems that there is a lot of the infamous philosophy of he seagull going on here that you hear them chant 24/7, namely, "Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine." Maybe if it bothers you enough to worry about it, just don't do it. However, as hodeman aptly advocates, and I agree, the Fish Cops really have bigger buggers to fry, and I wish them luck in that regard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by uhldwm View Post
    I dunno, I can see and understand several views here that are plausible, but it seems that there is a lot of the infamous philosophy of he seagull going on here that you hear them chant 24/7, namely, "Mine, Mine, Mine, Mine." Maybe if it bothers you enough to worry about it, just don't do it. However, as hodeman aptly advocates, and I agree, the Fish Cops really have bigger buggers to fry, and I wish them luck in that regard.
    It's not something anyone here necessarily does or advocates. The question came up in an unrelated thread and was moved here.

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    If you have a moment enjoy this gem!!! Lots of good points and alot of mumbo jumbo IMO.
    Non-family members catching Personal use fish for you
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    But i would start at the beginning.
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    Quote Originally Posted by coho slayer View Post
    So, hypothetically speaking, let's just say two people are fishing from a boat. Don't worry about the driver. One has a limit of 25, and the other has a limit of 45.

    The first guy gets his 25. Second guy still has 20 to go. Can the first guy keep fishing until they have all 70 fish?
    Negative ghost rider - the pattern is full. Technically speaking.

    If it's a problem just find an old person and get a proxy. Then you can keep fishing out of kindness rather than over-indulgence. Haha.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kmagers View Post
    If you have a moment enjoy this gem!!! Lots of good points and alot of mumbo jumbo IMO.
    Non-family members catching Personal use fish for you
    Whoa! That's quite a thread!! I didn't read through the whole thing but skimmed the pertinent points. FWIW, I did try to do a forum search and a google search before starting this thread, and if I had found that string, it would have answered my questions. The only game changer (and it's a significant one) between 2014 and now is that it is legal to give PU fish to anyone. So again, as long as nobody on the boat individually catches more than his/her household limit, the fish can be divvied however the group wishes. Once one fisherman reaches his/her limit, that individual must switch with the driver and let the driver net in order to be completely legal. It would still be legal to evenly split the fish even if 2 guys get their limit and the third guy only nets 2 fish, as long as the permits are recorded with the actual catch for each individual. Legally caught fish can be doled out however the fishing party likes.

    It has also been duly noted that this strict practice is often not followed, and others have suggested that there is really nothing immoral with this, but that is a different topic that has been discussed out the wazoo, and I do not see the need to hash it out here.

    Anyway, thanks! Got my answer! -Gr
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    OK, so the law is the law but it is often enforced based on the interpretation of the officer. Every time I have been checked, the only thing that they ask is to see the tails, license and the card. I fish the beach so we always have it straightened out before we ever leave "the area"

    I do know of one incident in which a Trooper issued tickets to boa dippers because when they pulled up to the dock they had not yet recorded and when asked, the could not give specific numbers for each dipper...sort of a "we are counting to see how may we have" A dead give away that they were party fishing.

    So was the Trooper heavy handed? He was enforcing the law. Only those names on the card can fish it,unless here is a proxy in place. It isn't a possession issue, it is recording issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ERDucker View Post
    OK, so the law is the law but it is often enforced based on the interpretation of the officer. Every time I have been checked, the only thing that they ask is to see the tails, license and the card. I fish the beach so we always have it straightened out before we ever leave "the area"

    I do know of one incident in which a Trooper issued tickets to boa dippers because when they pulled up to the dock they had not yet recorded and when asked, the could not give specific numbers for each dipper...sort of a "we are counting to see how may we have" A dead give away that they were party fishing.

    So was the Trooper heavy handed? He was enforcing the law. Only those names on the card can fish it,unless here is a proxy in place. It isn't a possession issue, it is recording issue.
    I think the trooper was a little heavy-handed, although the dippers in question were clearly not following the letter of the law. A warning and explanation of the correct procedures would have been more appropriate imo, but let that be a lesson to us all: each individual should keep a running count of their fish as they net. With the new law that PU fish can be given to anybody, the methods of marking your individual fish discussed in the linked discussion are no longer necessary per my understanding, but you do need to make sure you do not exceed your individual limit. If you get to the dock with 52 fish, and you know George got 23 and Ringo got 29, I don't see what cause you would have for getting a ticket (assuming tails clipped, fish recorded, Ringo's limit is at least 29, etc.)
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    "If you get to the dock with 52 fish, and you know George got 23 and Ringo got 29, I don't see what cause you would have for getting a ticket (assuming tails clipped, fish recorded, Ringo's limit is at least 29, etc.)"

    It's Paul's fault -- the sneaky little bugger ratted you out.

    Actually on a slightly different scenario, I have a place in the area and just get on y 4 wheeler and go down to he mouth with it. If the fish are there I fish, if not I come back and do something else for a while, then try again. If I get one or two per trip, that can mess things up on the tally if I fill out my ticket before leaving the immediate area, as required. I asked a Fish Trooper an she told me I could just put the numbers caught off to the side of my permit by the date until finished for the day and when done coming down for that day I could then fill in the total. HOWEVER, I would not advise anyone else to do that as each Trooper, as noted, may interpret it differently and you could wind up explaining it t a judge. Seems like a sensible solution to me, but you just never know.

    There is also the chance that the ticketing Trooper above had been harassed earlier and although they are supposed be immune to that , they are still human and he just over reacted when they didn't even know how many fish they had when docking. No one likes to be accused of being a Fish Nazi, or worse, and you should at least know how many fish are in your boat, but here I am second guessing what really went on from what is reported here.

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