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Thread: All I Know About Dipping:

  1. #1
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    Default All I Know About Dipping:

    Okay, here ya go... I've had requests from several people to divulge my knowledge of dipnetting and it's going to be a long post; so grab a favorite beverage and snack. I hope you enjoy the read.

    For starters, we need to look at how to best predict the arrival of the salmon into the rivers, specifically the Kenai and Kasilof. This is done by observing the weather patterns first. There's going to be a trickle of fish at all times but the S and SW winds are what really blow in the bulk schools. The reason for this is that the heavier winds create surface currents on the ocean; the higher the wind, the higher the current and the more likely the fish will get "blown in". Second, we need to look at and track the OTF index. I do this on a daily basis by calling the commercial hotline; 907-262-9611. It will give you the escapement numbers, the times of the commercial EO's and various other tid bits important to knowing when things are getting fished and where. Now the OTF index is a great tool to use but it gets affected by the weather and is NOT a sole indicator that there will be fish present on a given day. It's a forecasting model used to estimate the abundance of salmon and what the escapment is going to be... that being said, the powers that be use that data to release EO's and do their best to manage the run for optimal escapement of the stocks. Contrary to popular belief, it is not solely the commercial guys and their advocates that dominate the release of the commercial fleet to anahilate the stocks - but that is a political conversation for another thread. (don't get me wrong, I strongly believe that there's room for improvement with the commercials but really, that's not what this is about). Back to the subject at hand; it takes anywhere from 2 to 3, sometimes 4 days for the fish to get from the 6 different OTF sites (which I've been told are around the Anchor Point and Deep Creek areas) to get to the Kasilof and Kenai rivers. NOW let's introduce the other variable, the commercial fleet with their Emergency Openers... this is the most volatile variable in the equation. EO's happen whenever there is fish to catch for them. There are several different gear types for this and you need to understand them and how they are fished. There are set nets, drift gill nets and I believe purse seiners (not exactly certain of the last one); they also have certain areas they can fish depending on their permit type and location. The areas that really affect the in-river populations of fish are the set gill nets that are within 1/2 mile of the mean high tide mark. That doesn't translate to a tide with a nasty attitude; it represents the AVERAGE high tide level is the marker. Those nets are are the ones that make a significant impact of the two dipnet fisheries because the fish have the scent of the river in their snouts and are bound for them close to the beach. (I know I'm going to get flamed for that conjecture but I'm gonna say it anyway so there... plbbbt. )

    Timing is the last variable and that's the easiest one to predict due to the escapement charts of mid July showing decent numbers and the end of July showing the bulk. We did have that weird year in '05 I believe when a HUGE bulge of sockeye came in the second week of September but that's a weird exception.

    So there ya have it - my forecasting model is based off of a mix of historical data and information that changes on a daily basis. Here's my links and phone numbers if you want to jump in and get your feet wet as an aspiring forecaster of dipnetting....


    OTF Index (907-262-9611)
    Anchorage Sport/Dipnet Recording (907-267-2510)
    Emergency Orders (907-262-9611) http://csfish.adfg.state.ak.us/newsr...=400&submit=Go
    Plethora of Historical and Current Commercial Activities: http://www.cf.adfg.state.ak.us/regio...n/salmhom2.php
    State Wide Salmon Escapement Charts: http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/FishCounts/
    "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city." ~ Proverbs 16:32

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    Member bigcox's Avatar
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    Default Sweet Post

    I've only dipped there once, but this gives the average joe the information to look for when thinking about heading down there for dipnetting. Thanks for sharing!

    Fish On!
    You know your not catching any fish when you start talking about the weather...


    http://www.alaskansalmonslayers.com/

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default which are best

    Hi Tide vs. Low tide - incoming or outgoing?

    How long after the nets are pulled will the fish hit the mouths of the Kas and the 'Nai ? Is one high tide cycle enough for them to get to the mouth or does it usually take 2 high tides to fish again with confidence? (assuming that there is good OTF and some wind).

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    Default Varies

    You have to take into account the variables; two tides MIGHT get them in but the tides would need to be ideal; not a lot of current and also having favorable winds and no EO's.

    Like mentioned previously, it takes from 2 to 4 days for the fish to hit the rivers from the OTF sites. They may get intercepted by commercials or have surface currents that slow their progress.
    "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city." ~ Proverbs 16:32

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    Member coho slayer's Avatar
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    Default

    Robb, great info.

    One question that I haven't been able to get an answer for: Is there anywhere you can find the OTF data for previous days? For instance, let's say I want to go down tomorrow, but would like to check the OTF's from 2-4 days ago....is there a website that has that data?

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    Default Fun facts about fish numbers on the Kenai

    I don't have any idea what the policy for commercial openers was between 2004 and 2008, but here are some numbers that might interest you. Remember, in each of the past five years there were plenty of days during the peak of the sockeye run when the commercial guys were out there, and yet the numbers seem pretty impressive. These are based on escapement figures from 2004 to 2008, with the 5 year average helping to smooth out some of the outlier data (such as the 138,000 fish counted on July 15, 2004!!!)
    • With the exception of July 20, which has averaged just under 20,000 fish per day at the 19 mile mark, every day from July 14 to July 31 has an average escapement greater than 20,000 fish.
    • July 15 - 17 and July 22, 24, 26, and 27 have average escapements greater than 35,000 fish.
    • Other than July 18, 20 and 21, every day from July 15 to July 30 has an average escapement of greater than 30,000 fish.
    But, remember a few things:
    • Each year follows its own patterns. For instance, in 2008, there wasn't a sonar count above 5,000 fish until July 15, and there were only four days with counts over 30,000 fish before the end of the dipping season.
    • In 2006 the returns until July 22 were pathetic, and then they had massive numbers into the first week of August, with an average of 48,000 fish a day in the river from August 1 - 5. That was a flat out freak year. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't ADF&G allow dipping past July 31 that year because of the ridiculous numbers going upstream (I might be confusing this with 2007)? Just shows that managing this fishery might be a bit more of a guessing game than anything else...sort of like predicting earthquakes.
    • No one is really sure how long it takes a fish to get to the sonar after entering the mouth of the river. I've heard one to three days, though I think a fish would really have to haul butt to make it in one. So, remember to subtract a day or two from the fish count day to see what the conditions would have been like at the mouth when the counted group entered the river.
    Bottom line is that there are tons of variables, including the winds, the commercial openings, the height of the tides, etc. If you go with the averages, though, and you have two days to go dipnetting, the chances are that out of any two dates after the 14th you're going to hit one where the fish are on.

    So, I guess the numbers don't teach much that most people didn't already know. I don't know if ADF&G releases daily dipnet harvest numbers after each year, but it would be interesting to chart them against the daily escapement numbers. Of course, we all know that everyone reports each and every fish they catch, so those numbers would be very reliable......

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    Member thewhop2000's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Fish and Game hotline 267-2512

    For those people that want pretty good up to date info, call this Hotline.
    If you press the commercial openings portion, it will tell you approximately when the commercial setnetters and other commercials will be in the water and when the windows will be put into play. The windows are when the commercials cannot fish. This helps load up the beaches but remember, it takes almost three tides before the fish show up. Fish and Game just added some extra info in the recording. In fact, I just sent Kudo's to the commish/ Director of sportfish and area biologists for adding that extra information. Check it out 267-2512 Ken South-Central Alaska Dipnetters Association

  8. #8

    Default

    Some of the best information I have ever read on dipnetting. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

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    Member coho slayer's Avatar
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    Default

    Speaking of the commfish reports, I just called and checked. Wednesday there is EO opening for the Kasilof sub-district set-netters all day. That is bad for dipping, I'm assuming.

    Good news is the OTF index for today exceeded 275 points. In my few years of paying attention to that, that's the highest I've ever heard it go. Given the right factors, in a few days fishing could be awesome.

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    Default You got that right

    275?

    Those should show up in the next 2 or three days and last for a few days after that; that is a bulge. And bulges take a while to migrate.

    You got that right about the set nets having and EO, but when you have such a bounty such as this; there's a good chance there will be plenty of fish escaping anyway and making it into the river. This will more than likely be Friday and Saturday's fish but there is an additional hindrance; the regular opening for ALL gear types is tomorrow and with an OTF that high there's likely going to be EO's throughout the weekend. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't go; (I am definitely going) but it does meant that you are going to work for a bit to get your limit; something that is completely ok with as I prefer to drag out the season rather than get it all done in a few hours.... I can't help it; I LOVE DIPPIN!
    "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city." ~ Proverbs 16:32

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    Default

    Hey BCR, whop2000, clear something up for me. When you say "Three tides" or so, does that mean high to high? In other words, 12 hours per tide for total of 36?

    Or high to low, 6 hrs for a total of 18?

    Also can EO's override the commercial closure window if there is a lot of fish? Or is it a mandatory closure regardless.

    The hotline just told me the 36 hr window will be sometime between 7pm Thursday and I don't know when Friday. So about "three tides" after it starts, we should see some dipnet action!!

    Thanks guys for sharing all this good info with us.

    HH

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    Default Only speaking for myself

    But I'm going to have to say three full cycles; high to high or low to low depending on the time and day. That would be in the middle of the 2 to 4 days from OTF site to river mouth. In ideal conditions it takes about 2 days, in the less than ideal it would take 2.5 or longer depending on the weather and comm pressure. One thing I forgot to mention is that the comm nets break apart the bulge (massive schools) and they spend some time regrouping in the inlet and come into the beach once some order has been reestablished but they usually don't hit the mouths in the same size bulge as in the inlet. Talk to some of the F&G spotters or other folks in private air planes and on good days the "cloud" of fish is breath taking. I've been privledged to see it once in my lifetime and it truly is a site.
    "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city." ~ Proverbs 16:32

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    Member TR's Avatar
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    Default

    Robb,

    Great synopsis and logically laid out. You got my vote for Grand Master Dip Netter.

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    Default

    Somebody needs to sticky this. Too much good info to get buried.

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