Dipnetting red salmon on the Kenai River

This year’s personal use fishery on the Kenai river has been giving good yields to a number of my friends.  I had several friends who went dipnetting over the weekend, and most of them came back with 50-100 red salmon.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the dipnet fishery, it’s a personal use fishery that is open on the Kenai and Kasilof rivers in the month of July.  You must be an Alaskan resident to participate.  There are designated areas by the mouth of the rivers where you can use a large net (usually around 4 feet in diameter) to catch red salmon.  The limit is 25 salmon for the head of household, and 10 salmon for each additional household member.  So our family of 4 can bring home 55 salmon (if we manage to catch that many!).

It’s a great way to fill your freezer, and thousands of Alaskans take advantage of these fisheries.  On most weekends in July, it looks like a circus on the Kenai!  The down side to catching that many fish is the processing, which can take hours.  We tend to fillet our fish before we bring them home, then vacuum pack and freeze them once we are back.  Many people can the catch, which is a good way to preserve your fish.

This year we opted not to go, just because it would have been too difficult with a 3 year old and a 5 month old.  Hopefully next year will be easier!

There is also a dipnet fishery on the Copper River, but it’s not as crowded or as popular.  It’s more difficult to access, but it can give a nice yield as well.  That fishery is usually pretty good around mid-June.

Occasionally (depending on red salmon runs) Fish & Game opens up dipnetting on Fish Creek, and they have done that this year.  For more information on that fishery, visit Fish & Game’s website.

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