Yesterday Anchorage Daily News published the following article about Kenai River Dipnetting. At the end of it are two informative links that lead to many more web pages' links related to dipnetting and management of related fisheries - include personal use dipnetting across the state. Enjoy.
Kenai River dipnet fishery starts Saturday
TIME TO FILL THE FREEZER: Alaskans looking to stock up for winter get their opportunity.
By MIKE CAMPBELL
Published: July 7th, 2010 10:56 PM
Put away those poles. Mothball the reels. Bag those silly lures and flies.
Time to haul some serious fish flesh.
Beginning Saturday, Alaskans can emphasize the catching part of their fishing formula at the mouth of the Kenai River when one of the state's most popular personal use fisheries opens.
Dipnetting starts just after dawn and runs 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily for the rest of the month. Typically, the peak is July 16-25 -- although the early returns of second-run red salmon to the Kenai have been strong. Nearly 29,000 reds have passed the Kenai's in-river sonar during the first five days of the count, with more than 10,000 going by Monday.
"We're getting some good counts early in the year," noted Jason Pawluk, assistant area management biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. "And we're getting good indices from our offshore test boat."
Unlike most sport fishing, personal-use dipnet limits are set by household, not angler -- 25 salmon per season for the first household member and 10 for each additional member participating in the Kenai and Kasilof fisheries. Of the total household limit for the Kenai dipnet fishery, only one may be king salmon. In addition to a resident fishing license -- nonresidents are barred from fishing or helping in any way -- every netter needs a free permit on which fish are logged as they're landed.
Alaskans with a huge yen for salmon can gain another 15 fish -- or 30 per household -- at the Chitina dipnet fishery downstream of the Chitina/McCarthy bridge, which began last month.
Typically, the one piece of information of greatest interest to Kenai and Kasilof dipnetters is when northern Cook Inlet commercial fishermen will have their nets in the water. Traditional openers are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday and Thursday, but strong red runs can trigger extended commercial fishing periods, and Fish and Game notes that the Kenai's late red run is managed primarily for commercial users by order of the state fish board.
Fish and Game has announced a 12-hour opening beginning this morning at 7, followed by a 36-hour window without commercial fishing that ends Saturday morning.
"I'm trying to think of my personal experience," Pawluk said. "We've gone out on days when they're commercial fishing and done good. I don't think there's really any strategy."
There are, however, three main approaches:
• Rooted. Wade out to a spot, stand there, stick your net out and wait for reds to hit it.
• Moving. Walk the riverbank with net extended, which can develop into a rotating loop with other netters doing the same thing.
• Afloat. Dipnetting from a boat offshore can be the most effective -- as well as the most difficult -- type of dipnetting.
"It's difficult to dipnet from a boat if you haven't done it before," Pawluk said.
Two people per boat -- one dipping, one driving -- works best.
"Drag from fish in the net can cause your boat to want to turn in a direction," Pawluk added. "It can be pretty crazy out there. There can be a lot of close calls."
Veteran Anchorage netter Petr Bucinsky uses his jet ski for greater maneuverability.
"It can be a zoo out there," Bucinsky said. "I saw one boat last year take on a bunch of water. I've seen people hit sandbars."
But Kenai police chief Gus Sandahl said that, overall, last year went well. His biggest issue tends to be maintaining smooth traffic flow on busy weekends.
"There's a little more of that road rage with people who just get impatient," said Sandahl, who was in a two-hour meeting on the forthcoming fishery with Kenai city officials Wednesday afternoon. "But we don't get partyers coming down for dipnetting. It's not like the Fourth of July."
Sandahl will deploy four seasonal officers in khaki uniforms during the fishery, with officers on a Polaris Ranger all-terrain vehicles patroling the north and south beaches.
His advice: Prepare so you can load or unload in a couple of minutes, including boaters at the city dock.
"Be prepared for a quick deployment of gear," he advised. "Be ready to launch. It's the people who aren't prepared who hold up everyone else."
The Kasilof dipnet fishery has been open since June 25 and may start seeing the meat of the run beginning this weekend.
Kenai River Classic
The Kenai River Classic, a three-day king fishing invitational that raises money for habitat restoration, education and research, begins today. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich as well as Rep. Don Young and 16 state legislators and numerous corporate executives are expected to participate, according to Bob Penney, a co-founder of the nonprofit Kenai River Sportfishing Association.
"They're all here because they're conscious of the need for conservation of the fishery," Penney said.
It's the 17th classic, and some $12 million has been raised to date.
Reach reporter Mike Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4329.
• When: 6 a.m.-11 p.m. daily through July 31
• Who: Alaskans only. Sport fishing license and personal-use permit, available from license vendors, required.
• Limits: 25 salmon per permit, plus 10 more for each household member. Only one of the 25 may be a king.
• Handling Catch: Immediately record your catch on your permit. Tail lobes must be removed before bagging and before leaving the beach.
• Boat Motors: Only boats powered by four-stroke motors, two-stroke motors with direct fuel injection or electric motors are permitted. No horsepower restrictions below river mile 4, which is approximately one mile below the Warren Ames Bridge. For information regarding boat and motor restrictions above river mile 4, contact the Department of Natural Resources at (907) 262-5581.
• Dipnetting Fact Sheet: www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/Static/region2/pdfpubs/dipnet%20101.pdf
• Rules, Maps, Charts: www.adfg.state.ak.us/special/special_fisheries/pers_subsist_home.php