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Thread: Dipnetting-lesson learned

  1. #41
    Member coho slayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskabowhunter View Post
    This is what happened to me a few years ago. I had just got down to the south beach on the Kenai on the first friday night of the season. I had my net in the water for about 15 minutes when a commercial boat went by kicking up some wake water. As everyone started backing up into shallower water to ride the waves out, my net-handle broke in half at a splice I had made in the center of it(so it would fit inside my truck box). I could see other half of my handle and net bobbing out to sea and I headed into the river to grab it. I quickly reached my net and stood on it while getting pounded in the chest by the boat wakes. The water I was standing in was too deep to grab the net without bending over. I was already taking in water from the top of my chest waders so I plunged down and grabbed my net .... which I am still standing on. I was still holding the other half of my handle with one hand so I only had one free arm. As I am trying to untangle my feet out of the netting, then the buttons on my coat at my wrist tangle in the netting as well.. not good... . I can't even stand up to get my head out of the water. I rip the buttons and netting holding my arm with one hard jerk, stood up, got a breath and started dragging myself back to shore. My waders had filled up with so much water I could hardly walk but I was fine.

    I was dipnetting alone so no one nearby me knew me, or even knew why I walked out into the river and just disappeared below the surface. "darndest thing I ever saw, a dipnetter going totally under water. ", one guy said to me afterwards. Yep, it a funny story now....

    Lessons learned:

    - do a better job of splicing a handle if I ever cut one in half again.

    - bring an extra dip-net, an extra set of waders, and dry clothes.

    - tie a belt off at my waist on the outside of my chest waders to not allow water to go below my waist in the event of another emerrsion experience.

    - dip net with someone else so there is someone there to help.

    - maybe wear a pfd... one of those inflatable neck yokes?

    -leave your cell phone in your truck....
    That's a great story, and it's funny now to hear but I'm sure it wasn't funny at all at the time. You hear stories like this all the time up here, though. Where what you do in reaction to a seemingly small problem only serves to progressively make things worse.

    I've got one of those about me, a bear, the end of a log on a lake, and my rifle leaning against a tree on shore......

  2. #42
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    Thumbs up Lessons Learned

    Great posts to an important part of our subsistence lifestyles;

    I have a couple of my own suggestions that have worked quite well for me;

    1. Bring extra cash - This can come in handy if you don't want to carry your cooler back to road (I can't; my knee's are tore up) find a couple of strapping young lads and ask them if they want to make a quick $10.00

    2. LEAVE THE BEER DRINKING UNTIL THE END OF THE DAY - As luck will have it; your hydraulic breakfast, snack and lunch will catch up to you as soon as the fish start hitting. Some elect to whiz in their waders; some hightail it through the sand to the outhouse... whatever the case - drinking and dipnetting at the same time is a bad idea.

    3. Earplugs for sleeping. The loudness of the south shore has always been obnoxious for those of us fuddy-duddy types that like to sleep at night. If you value your slumber, invest in some hearing protection to combat ambient sounds like "WHOOO HOOOO, and BRRAAAAAAAAMMMMM and ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"

    4. Zip ties are the cats pajamas - your net WILL get torn up, be ready for it.

    6. A small piece of fence board with a screw through it (put the screw through it at the beach) this will be a great fillet holder and you can burn the board when you are done (but not at home... ewww) and take the screw with you.

    7. USE A KENAI KEEPER - as mentioned in a previous post (thanks for the Kudos by the way) it is a very stout product and proven to increase productivity by keeping you in the water. you get to keep your fish fresh and most of all keep your spot when they are running hot. (available at B&J's netloft in Anch, 3 Rivers in Wasilla and Trustworthy in Soldotna).
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  3. #43
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    Plenty of good information here, all of it appreciated.

    I am curious about where I might find replacement gill nets for Kenai/Kasilof style dipnet frames. The nets I am currently using are six seasons old and I think I spent almost as much time patching holes in the nets as I did in the water this year.

    Mike's Welding in Sterling lists replacement nets on their website, but aside from that I have had no luck finding them (either online or in stores). I am hoping to find something online, since I am in Fairbanks and the vast majority of people here choose Chitina over the Kenai Peninsula for dipnetting. I doubt any place local carries the proper netting, so unless I wait until next year's foray onto the Peninsula I will be unable to replace the nets when I actually have the time to do so.

    Thanks in advance....

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Wes- View Post
    Plenty of good information here, all of it appreciated.

    I am curious about where I might find replacement gill nets for Kenai/Kasilof style dipnet frames. The nets I am currently using are six seasons old and I think I spent almost as much time patching holes in the nets as I did in the water this year.

    Mike's Welding in Sterling lists replacement nets on their website, but aside from that I have had no luck finding them (either online or in stores). I am hoping to find something online, since I am in Fairbanks and the vast majority of people here choose Chitina over the Kenai Peninsula for dipnetting. I doubt any place local carries the proper netting, so unless I wait until next year's foray onto the Peninsula I will be unable to replace the nets when I actually have the time to do so.

    Thanks in advance....
    Call B&J's in Anchorage at (907) 274-6113. They will ship and have an assortment of replacement nets.
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  5. #45
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    Also try the thread from 5 days ago regarding replacement nets. I have used Donalson Net Co. They make nets right there for the gillnetters and others as well as have supplies. There number in Anchorage is on the thread and you can probbaly do business over the phone as I recall they accept plastic.

    Donalson Co.
    Warehouse and Net Loft
    5631 Silverado Way, Anchorage
    561-2894
    Last I paid was around $25.00, but that was a couple of years back. If they have the time, I am sure they can make up anything you want rather than their out of the bag net packages.

    This is THE place. Cheaper than other places, plus sell lots of other neat stuff.

  6. #46
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    Thanks, garnede, I will give them a try. I noted the referral (for Kenai Keepers) by Robb and visited their website, but the inventory listed there was highly limited. They have a very convenient location, though, so I will either call or stop in there and take a look.

    Since this threat is called "lesson learned," I thought I would share a few lessons learned as a novice a few years back:

    1. Plan for a few days on the river as there are many variables that can determine a good or bad catch. If you spread your time over a few days, you are less likely to go home empty (or light) handed. Among these variables are the activity of the commercial fleets and tide/river levels.

    2. Dress and plan for both good and bad weather! Sunblock is as important as warm layers and rain gear... leave none of it at home.

    3. Do not wear clothing or shoes with small loops or other snag points, as you will inevitably get tangled in your net or others' nets. I wore some old hiking boots for the first year and did not have too many problems. The next, I had the privilege of fishing on a strong run day when I was pulling doubles to shore minutes apart. The only problem was that the crowd was large and not everyone was considerate in the water. There was a man fishing behind me that refused to move his net when others were pulling out catch, so they had to walk through or around his net. I tangled in his net four or five times, the last of which involved me having three fish in my net that were large and fighting with fury. I stopped to untangle, was unsuccessful, lost two of the fish, and fell into the water. Finally, I just ripped his net off my boots which both freed me and removed him from the water for about 45 minutes while he fixed his net. Happily, I limited out before he returned but hopefully he was more considerate after that. I learned my lesson too, though. I picked up some "Sloggers," which are low-cut rubberized neoprene shoes for the next year. I wear them over my bootless Hodgson neoprene waders, and they are fantastic: Lightweight and snag-free.

  7. #47
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    Default Protecting your fish, efficiently, and effectively!

    A little tip that may prove useful to some more than others.

    After filleting your salmon, most would seal it with a vacuum, and a (thin, in my experiences) bag.

    For casual, or maybe dippers that do not have a vacuum sealer at their disposal, I offer an alternative!!

    1) purchase the freezer safe ziploc bags with diuble zips on them (the correct ones are not too bulky)
    2) place 2-3 fillets in the bag, accompanied by water, filling to slightly about where the fish rest.
    3) Zip the bag, an leave about an inch unzipped.
    4) squeeze out all the air you can, and let a small amount of water exit the bag through the unzipped portion.
    Theory:
    If done correctly, the releasing of the small amount of water, after removing as much air as you can, displaces the remaining amount of air.

    If done incorrectly, you will see pockets of air, where there is no water!

    It is late, and VERY possible that my tip is hard to comprehend.
    Feel free to shoot me a PM if you're interested in a bit more detail!

  8. #48
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    Default Water sealing

    The ziploc with water will work quite well if that's what you have to work with. The important concept is that there is no air in contact with flesh. That is what causes "freezer burn".

    I've posted my method somewhere around here before, but I might as well do so again as it is similar but uses a vacuum sealer instead of baggies.

    You need a big flat space in your freezer to do this. Easiest with an upright freezer where you place some wax paper on the bottom or a large pan/board on top of the wire racks. A sheet of plastic from those roll up sleds also works great as long as you've taught it to lie flat.

    During cleaning, ensure that there are no bones sticking up out of the fillet as these will puncture the vacuum bag. Lay out your cleaned and wet fillets skin down on the wax paper and let them freeze for a couple hours until they are solid. The caution is not to leave them so long as to dry out the surface of the flesh. If you have to leave them for a day before you can finish, then you should place a piece of saran wrap plastic on the flesh side before placing in the freezer. If you use plastic wrap here, you must remove and discard it immediately before the next step.

    Once they are frozen solid, take each fillet out and dip it in clean, cold water. Immediately return the fish to the freezer. The new layer of water should freeze solid in a matter of minutes. After that layer is frozen solid, repeat the cold water dip and let the second layer freeze solid. It usually takes a minimum of 2 dippings to get a contiguous glaze over the entire fillet. You shouldn't see any dull areas where the flesh is exposed to air. A ready-to-pack fillet has the entire surface covered with a glossy layer of ice. Sometimes it takes 4 or 6 layers to completely seal the fish.

    After glazed and frozen, I like to run a finger down the flesh to feel for any bones that might puncture the bag. If you get one poking up, cut it back with a sharp knife and add another water glaze to smooth over the surface. After your glazing is all finished, vacuum pack the fillets.

    To get a good seal with your vacuum bags, make sure you cut and put the first end seal on the pouch leaving it at least 2-3" longer than the fish. Put the fillet in and center it, then put the open end into your vacuum sealer. To get a bullet-proof seal after pulling vacuum, the part of the bag within the heat sealer must be absolutely flat. Most bag failures at the seal are caused by getting a wrinkle in the bag. As the bag sucks down, it will want to pull the outer edges inward at the sealer. You must counter this by holding onto each side of the bag adjacent to where it enters the sealer. Pull them sideways away from the fish to maintain the bag in a flattened state along the sealer until the vacuum and heating operation is complete.

    Throughout the year, I'll look through all the vacuum sealed bags in the freezer every time I go in there, just to check for any bags that have broken seals. Every once in awhile you'll get one, but by checking frequently you just grab the broken bag and cook it up for dinner that night. The water glaze continues to protect the fish for quite some time after a broken seal. I've never had to take a properly vacuum sealed fish to the landfill and the meat is still in perfect shape well over a year later. I think I've stumbled onto a fish or two that was nearly 2 years old and it was still in great shape.
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  9. #49
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    I think I've stumbled onto a fish or two that was nearly 2 years old and it was still in great shape.

    Well, that all by itself is excellent testimony to the effectiveness of this technique! Not having a vacuum sealer, I wonder how long the fillets tend to keep using Sgt. Chilly's technique.

    I usually pressure-can most of my fish just to avoid having them take up significant freezer space and risk frost bite as the year progresses; mine typically go about nine months before the quality really starts dropping off, using plastic wrap followed by freezer paper. We have a few jars that were processed in July of 2007 and quality is the same as it was in August 2007, but it certainly is not the same as fresh/frozen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by -Wes- View Post
    I think I've stumbled onto a fish or two that was nearly 2 years old and it was still in great shape.

    Well, that all by itself is excellent testimony to the effectiveness of this technique! Not having a vacuum sealer, I wonder how long the fillets tend to keep using Sgt. Chilly's technique.

    I usually pressure-can most of my fish just to avoid having them take up significant freezer space and risk frost bite as the year progresses; mine typically go about nine months before the quality really starts dropping off, using plastic wrap followed by freezer paper. We have a few jars that were processed in July of 2007 and quality is the same as it was in August 2007, but it certainly is not the same as fresh/frozen.
    Usually, if you're using quality bags, and freezing the product in water, then they will typically last two seasons. I had a few filets from '07 zipped up in bags. We use Ziplock bags with the double zipper, as well. The way we stack them, ensures that the FIFO (First In First Out) rule is in effect, as well as keeps them undisturbed, until we're ready to use them.

  11. #51
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    I double seal everything with the vacuum sealer. It only takes a second and provides an extra level of protection if the first seal weakens.
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  12. #52
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    Default Can hardly wait for dipnetting again...

    Thread recap: Lessons learned
    Good ideas from experienced dipnetters so far. This technique/lessons learned thread was started to give newcomers and others still learning (like me) the benefit of others' experiences. Most comments in the thread are for salmon, but hooligan are also dipnetted using a smaller net (smaller mesh and smaller net opening) - along Cook Inlet beaches plus a few rivers. The salmon dipnetting comments support different gear (and techniques) depending on whether you dip the Copper River at Chitna, or the Kenai/Kasilof Rivers.

    1. Net color:
    a). Chitna: Net color does not seem to matter.
    b). Kenai or Kasilof: clear or translucent net mesh seem to work better, possibly due to clearer water?

    2. Net size:
    a). Chitna: The very strong current and long net handles (preferred by some for better reach) limit the size of the net opening - because a large net is more work to handle. Long consistant sweeps that don't bottom out on the rocks thereby dumping your net (aktrouttamer).
    b). Kenai/Kasilof: Large is good from shore - and so is weight. The large/maximum diameter, fairly heavy nets with hoop made from aluminum rod do a good job from shore. The opening maximizes opportunity and the weight makes working in strong current (tide changes) much less work. We use two nets from Mike's Welding in Soldotna, similar probably to others'.

    3. From a boat, some would use a lighter net - but any dipnet can work here. My first net was the flyswatter-shape, extruded aluminum tubing which I bought from Soldotna Hardware on the advice of my boat-dipnetting mentor. From the boat, this net is primo. We occasionally would net 2 or even 3 fish at a time. Summer, 2008 however, my wife and her friend used the large heavy nets from a jon boat (Kenai R) and did well.
    a). Any net should be tied off (from just above the net) to the bow
    b). Some net handles will break off if you try to pry the loaded net on the gunwale into the boat.

    4. Take care of your fish. This is our current system and seems to produce better tasting, better looking fish, especially around February coming out of the freezer:
    -bleed (cut or rip the gills) then gut the fish,
    -clean the dark kidneys from alongside the spine (an old spoon works well)
    -put the fish on ice ASAP, (hauling 1 or 2 bags of ice to the beach does increase the hassle factor but ...our fish doesn't taste "off" in February like it used to).
    -rub slime off with salt (Call me crazy, but saw some guys do this one year and tried it. Don't know why but the meat seems to stay brighter and better flavor the following spring).

    Miscellaneous:
    5. Zipties make for a fast net repair if needed when the fish are running (alaskanmoosehunter).
    6. Tie yourself off to keep from falling in on the Copper River. There is a real risk of drowning along the Copper River due to the fast, turbulent water and the high silt load - which can weigh you down quickly, complicating self-rescue.
    7. Tie a fish-bonker and a stringer to your waist to save time (GreenTea) if you're wading out at Kenai or Kasilof.
    8. Electric knife speeds filleting salmon - some remove bones with needle nose pliers before vacuum-sealing then freezing.
    9. Be careful: the rocky, steep shores along the Copper River present some fall hazards. And stay out of the Copper River. At the Kenai mouth, currents get strong when the tide changes and sometimes within minutes. When you feel the current picking up quickly, think about easing your way onto firm footing at least.
    10. Consider using a wading belt outside your waders - to limit their capacity for filling up (from the outside at least ).
    11. "-leave your cell phone in your truck...." (Alaskabowhunter).
    12. When dipnetting is slow, maybe try higher (or elsewhere) in the water column.

    Great contributions on this thread.
    The mouth of the Kenai is a good place for beginners - just get your permit, then bring a big, clear/transulcent mesh net and cooler and do what everyone else is doing. What you'll need: permit, appropriate net, fish bonker, cooler. You'll need to wear waders and most people use gloves. The water is cold and anything you can do to stay dry helps stay in the water longer.

    13. Safety:

    Copper River: If you dipnet on the Copper River, tie yourself off.
    An old timer, who ran a fish wheel on the Copper, but used to dipnet, told me about seeing 2 guys fall into the Copper while dipnetting. One climbed out...onto a rock yards downstream, the other never did. But the survivor, a big guy, could barely stand due to the weight of all the silt collected in his clothes.

    More recently was this story - which had a humorous aspect (after) because he tied himself off a little longer than he should have. The rope length allowed his feet to dangle precariously in the River while he struggled to climb out. The River kept swatting at his feet, making it tough to climb out.
    Dipnetter wins fight for life after Copper River slip


    Author: S.J. KOMARNITSKY
    Anchorage Daily News Staff
    Date: June 17, 2006
    Publication: Anchorage Daily News (AK)
    Page: A1
    One minute, Patrick McPherson was slinging a chrome-bright Copper River sockeye salmon into his net. The next he was in the 40-degree water, being tossed around like a rag in a washing machine by a current that roars and churns through Wood Canyon at 10 mph.. "I remember thinking, 'That's it, I'm gone,' " McPherson said this week.

    Kenai River: The current is quite strong, but when the tide changes, you'll know. Another guy did tell me a story though, of watching 2 moose, mom and calf, swim across the mouth of the Kenai. But the strong current overcame the calf, who was swept out to sea.

    I've never heard of any dipnetters having problems with the current on the Kenai (or Kasilof) though.

    Hooligan: along Cook Inlet, I haven't heard of hoollgan dipnetters having problems either, but that glacial silt will grab your boots sometimes. There are tragic stories (Danger Stalks the Land, by Larry Kanuit) about some who got trapped in Cook Inlet's silt flats, but... the biggest risks hooligan dipping may be related to the cold water.

    Be careful out there and good luck!

  13. #53
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    All this talk of dipping is getting me excited, especially as we've just about exhausted our supply of fish from last season. Hard to believe it, but I guess we've been dipping for over 10 years now.

    I used to dip the Copper, mainly because friends always dipped there. My first solo trip I was skunked, but met a guy that called himself Copper River Gary, who showed me how he did it, and following his advice I'd dip at a big back eddy where you could tie your net to the shore as the water was going upstream in the eddy and you didn't have to physically dip, just hold your net in the water. He recomeneded dipping the 3rd week in July, and that typically worked pretty well for me, the best time yielded 26 reds and a king in 3 hours of fishing. But after nearly getting stuck in the first slide, and not having a wheeler, I switched the Kenai. Which is a good thing as it's a more kid friendly local.

    A former co-worked dipped the kenai, and told me how to check the sonar counts online. We went down together and even as a neophyte I pulled in 35 reds in a few hours, he had 48. He'd brought his son along to help, but at the end of our dipping we had alot of fish to clean, and darn near killed ourselves getting them from the shore to the road.

    So I came up with a plan to involve the whole family, took them down a few days later, and got the rest of our limit. The big difference was after a couple hours of dipping I had 30 fish that were gutted and on ice, vs. a pile of fish that had been sitting in the sun for hours. I've used that plan ever since, and for us this is what works well:

    Instead of waders, get a wetsuit. You can get them used off of e-bay for $100 or less. You'll stay warmer then with waders, you won't be draining the water that will get in your waders, and honestly I'd say it's safer because you don't have the water filled waders to contend with. I won't recomend kicking out with scuba fins and drifting in the current unless you're a strong swimmer and comfortable with that. I think it's less physically demanding to float then contending with a 20' pole and fighting the net in the current, but that's just me. Sometimes being further out is more effective, sometimes not. I've had 6 fish in the net in one drift, so it's not a bad way to catch fish. I try to start dipping 2-3 hours after a high tide.

    But back to the process. I bring two jumbo 160 qt coolers and fill them each with 5 bags of ice. I leave the coolers by a tent and close to the trail head. We have a couple of cheap kids snow sleds with a rope harness on them. When I come in with fish, I rip a gill and bop them, and my kids take over gutting the fish and rinsing them off. We bring a block of wood and hatchet for notching the tails, very quick. A sharp pair of kitchen shears would also do the trick. When they get 3 or 4 fish, they put them in the sled, pull them up to the cooler, then pack them in ice. We repeat until we've either caught enough fish, or have had enough fishing for the day. As far as efficiency, last year from the time we parked to the time we left was 3 hours, and we had 46 reds.

    Bring water and snacks to where you are dipping, its physically demanding and you can get dehydrated quickly. Setting up a tent to change into dry clothes, or get out of the rain isnt a bad deal. Bring extra clothes for your kids, they will play in the river and get soaked, but will have a great time doing it.

    There have been times where I've gotten a limit of 65 fish in a few hours of dipping. But honestly I just can't process that many fish effectively when back home. So I've found it's better to limit the number of fish we catch to 30 or 40, though it's hard to stop when the fishing is good. If I had to pick a date, Id say between July 15-18th has high odds of being productive, but keep an eye on commercial openings and the run chart. I prefer fishing midweek on the first peak of the run as it typically isnt too crazy down there. Ive been overenthusiastic and thought the run was early one year and ended up with 1 fish after 5 hours of dipping. But the year prior I was right and limited out on opening day.

    I know many people fillet their fish right on the beach, but I have a hard enough time keeping the sand off the fillets when processing them at home, I dont know how people can keep their fish clean when filleting them on the beach.

    When were done filleting the fish, well vac pack and freeze most, and smoke up some right away. With a big haul of fish its easy to over-load a chest freezer, so I keep a 5 gal bucket of ice in the freezer to have some cold thermal mass to more quickly freeze the fish.


  14. #54
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    Default Sonar counts...

    Paul H - so that's you I see bobbing by in a wetsuit! Ha! Sounds like you do fine out there too! Good story and picture with your kids there.

    Checking the fish counts (http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/Fishc...displayResults) is a good idea that I don't think has been mentioned in this thread yet. We plan our week on the Kenai around historical peaks - though I'll admit it's not foolproof. The fish come when (and where) they want, eh?

    Late-run sockeyes are coming! Wont' be much longer.

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    Default For those dipnetting from boats on the Kenai...

    how do you deal with growing congestion at the Kenai R boat ramp/s? I guess the best thing is to avoid weekends, but if you can't - get there to launch early?

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6XLeech View Post
    how do you deal with growing congestion at the Kenai R boat ramp/s? I guess the best thing is to avoid weekends, but if you can't - get there to launch early?
    Launch up river and motor down from Eagle rock or the Pillars. You will spend less time boating up/downstream than you will waiting in line.
    This also gives you some time to king fish at all those lower fishing holes if you want to.
    If the tide is high there is also the ramp across the river at the Kenai Landing.
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    a post a page or so back caught my attention, it was recommending tying off when fishing the rivers, (copper, chitina). while the anecdotes of some guy being saved from a nasty swim because he was tied off might sound convincing, this is bad advice. unless you are trained in the right procedures with the right equipment IT IS ALWAYS UNADVISABLE TO BE TIED OFF IN MOVING WATER. if the rope goes tight for any reason with you on the end of it you are going DOWN! no two ways about this one. if you are concerned about losing footing in the rivers, wear a PFD (lifejacket), but please do not tie off. be safe out there folks!

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtysteev View Post
    a post a page or so back caught my attention, it was recommending tying off when fishing the rivers, (copper, chitina). while the anecdotes of some guy being saved from a nasty swim because he was tied off might sound convincing, this is bad advice. unless you are trained in the right procedures with the right equipment IT IS ALWAYS UNADVISABLE TO BE TIED OFF IN MOVING WATER. if the rope goes tight for any reason with you on the end of it you are going DOWN! no two ways about this one. if you are concerned about losing footing in the rivers, wear a PFD (lifejacket), but please do not tie off. be safe out there folks!
    A pfd would probably not save you in the copper river.It has way too much salt in it,Hence why tying off is the best option.
    There's a fine line between fishing....

    and standing on the shore like an idiot! ALLEN BRADLEY-TANGLE LAKES ADVOCATE/FANBOY

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albradley View Post
    A pfd would probably not save you in the copper river.It has way too much salt in it,Hence why tying off is the best option.
    Dippers if you wear a PFD please make sure you secure all the straps and hooks associated w/ a PFD, gillnets are expensive and I know I'd reep havoc on my net trying to get it untangled when I peel the web away from the bloated corpse of some dipper that wasn't tied off..





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  20. #60

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    Quote Originally Posted by Albradley View Post
    A pfd would probably not save you in the copper river.It has way too much salt in it,Hence why tying off is the best option.
    im not trying to nit pick or hijack this thread, but tying off is not a sound idea in any moving water deep enough to lose footing, which by search and rescue standards is knee deep. albradley, im guessing you mean 'silt', not 'salt' in the copper, and the old saw that 'the copper is so silted it will drag you down' is pure myth. in fact, more silt load actually increases the density of water, thereby making pfd's and the like slightly more buoyant. people drown in the copper (and other rivers) because they go swimming wearing waders and no pfd, which can be a hard situation to swim out of in any water.
    just trying to keep people educated and safe. steve

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