Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dip Netting

The weekend after my family left we headed down to the Russian River for some more fishing. We stayed at the Crescent Creek Campground for the second time. It is near this little creek that is just great for grayling fishing.

It was the first weekend the sanctuary was open so we started there. However, after about 30 minutes it was apparent that the salmon weren't running again. So, instead we took a nap by the river and enjoyed the beautiful weather (one of the best days we have had all summer). After nap time we headed back to the campground to play some Frisbee and spend the day relaxing.

Since the fish weren't running at the Russian, we decided to head down to the mouth of the Kenai River on Sunday for some Dip Netting. The only problem was we didn't have a dip net and we had no idea what we were doing.

Dip Nets are huge nets that have about a 6 foot diameter opening with a net on the end of about a 10 foot pole. You go on the beach at the mouth of the Kenai or other rivers where salmon are running and walk out in chest waders and hold out the net as far as you can. If you are lucky and time it right (the best time is right after high tide) fish will swim into your net. Once they hit you twist the net to trap them in there and drag them to shore. Dip Netting is used for sustenance fishing in Alaska and only residents can do it (must live in the state for 1 year). You can catch up to 25 for the head of household per year (more for each other member), and if you have the right net you can catch that many in just a couple of days.

All we had was regular fishing nets about 3 feet in diameter and with a 4 foot pole. And we only had an idea of where to go. We picked the South side of the river and drove as close as we could towards the mouth. There were other people with dip nets parking there so we felt content in our location.

We walked to the beach and started walking towards the river. There were no people around, but plenty of fish carcasses. So, we thought it might be a good place to try fishing... but we soon learned our mistake.

The waves were still breaking in this location which meant the waves rolling in would splash above the top of your waders. We got soaking wet.

Starting to get a little cranky we continued walking towards the mouth of the river. Once the waves stopped breaking we immediately came across about 200 people with nets in the water. We found a little opening and walked out into the ocean and stood there with our nets. Now everyone else was using proper dip nets and were catching the occasional fish. Our tiny nets seemed to miss all of the fish as we stood there in the freezing ocean water.

As we were about to give up and call it a day I felt a tug on my net. Curious, I twisted the net to keep whatever had entered my net in there and walked up to the beach. Sure enough it was a fish!

A small Silver Salmon, probably the smallest we had seen hauled in all day, but it was a fish! After that we deemed it a successful trip and went to change out of our cold, wet clothes and head home.

I don't know that I would ever want to go dip netting again, but it was definitely and interesting and eventful experience.



  1. Well - you gave it a try! Now at least you can say- you did it.

  2. In this, size does matter. Haha.