Friday dipnet report
I drove down to the Kasilof first, since they've opened dipping all the way to the Sterling Highway bridge. Unfortunately, someone (the state?) has closed the parking area just before the bridge as you're headed south.
I stopped in the gas station right at the bridge and asked the guy running the place where there was good access other than the beach. He wasn't happy to hear about the extended hours and range of dipping, saying that most of the riverfront property is private and the locals don't like dippers using their property. So much for Kasilof.
I headed to Kenai, got there about an hour or two before low tide. Drove the south beach, which was great because we're getting sort of negative tides and the packed sand was as good as I've seen down there. The current was running hard, so virtually everyone walked their nets. Fishing was okay, but nothing to brag about.
As the tide started to slacken, dipping picked up. With the tides for the next several days, expect a quick flood as the tide starts coming around. Lots of coolers floating around. Dipping was fairly productive, but not what I expected after hearing reports from the past two days.
Also - biggggg also - it almost looks like there are two different year classes of salmon showing up. The small ones are tiny, like 3 pounds. The big ones are huge; I got two that were easily as long as my cooler (40 quart). (The size has nothing to do with gender - I only got one female all day, and she was small, but I had males that were just as tiny.)
Everyone was wondering why the size differences. I've never seen such a complete dichotomy. My fish were 70% small ones. Other people got a good number of big ones. But everyone was wondering whether to throw back the little ones so they didn't count against the limit. The way things went today, I was glad I kept the small ones.
Not a great day dipping by any means, particularly at high tide. We saw perhaps 3 fish caught in the 2 hours from 5 p.m. to 7. High tide was 6:02.
Driving note / beach access note: I drove back to Anchorage this evening and I'd say every third car heading south had a dipnet on the roof. When I left the south beach at about 7, there was a line of vehicles about 15 deep waiting to get on the beach. The guy parked next to me said he tried getting on the north side at 6:30 this morning and the parking was full.
Moral of the story: Go to the south beach and drive in the sand. Try to arrive anywhere from 2 hours before to 2 hours after low tide to get best driving conditions.
Big tip from today: Don't worry about driving all the way to the mouth. We saw more fish caught at the near end of the line of parked cars. In other words, the farther from the mouth, the more action. I don't know if that's typical. If today is an indication, I'm betting the sonar on Sunday is going to show less than 20,000 fish...if you can actually believe the sonar.
(Plenty of deeeeeeeelishus starry flounder today too....I left mine for you to enjoy...)
WE fished the north side on Thursday afternoon. One fish. Fished again on Friday, 7 fish on the morning dropping tide until about 2 hours before low slack. Then returned at 2 to catch the rising tide. Had 9 big fish in an hour, and on more in the three hours after that. 17 total for Friday, all from the north side, all but one were big. Even mix of males and females.
We park on the bluffs near the RV campgrounds and walk the trail down. It's only 10 minutes, and you can take your truck around to drop off coolers and nets beforehand.