An amazing phenomenon occurs for a short time each summer in the Last Frontier as thousands of Alaskan residents, take a break from whatever they are busy doing at the time to storm the shores of Alaska's rivers. Last weekend we set off to the mouth of the Kenai River to dip net with the Pete family. Dip netting is only open to Alaskan residents. Since Alaska is known for world class salmon fishing, dip netting is an unparalleled and not to be missed, opportunity for all Alaskan residents to fill their freezers with prime subsistence for the coming winter.
(It was a beautiful 2 days i.e. the SUN was out so it was probably in the mid to upper 60's. I didn't know it was possible to get a sunburn at that temperature, but our faces show that it is not only possible, but inevitable. Don't waders scream sexy ? ;)
How does one dip net? First you need a long pole with a handle, usually 10 to 15 feet, with a large net no bigger than 5 feet in diameter. You wade out as far as you feel comfortable in waders and hold the dip net straight out in front of you into the current. Now you wait. You may wait a long time before you feel a tug in your net. You then give the net a quick twist to the left or right depending on the direction of the current so the salmon can't escape and then walk back towards shore pulling the net behind you and empty out your fish on the shore and then whack the fish, my least favorite part. I'm not desensitize to that part yet, a 12 yr. old did that part for me. Long story short, it doesn't take much skill, which is why I even caught one.
(To clarify, the orange thing in my hand is a fish whacker)
(My first Salmon, and only salmon caught. Jeff did the rest of the fishing, while I watched the kiddos in the camper and beach)
You might reach your limit in one day (25 for head of household and 10 for each additional person in the home) or over several days or weeks. Dip netting is like the luck of the draw or "the great equalizer" as Alaskans like to say about this adventure extraordinaire. Sound incredible? It is and it's only found in Alaska. If you happen to be fortunate enough to be in Alaska during this season, don't miss the sight of these elbow-to-elbow dip netters as they get together with family and friends to have a bit of fun while dip netting for their food for the coming year.
P.S. One must wear a hat of some sort because with all the seagulls feeding off the fish guts and eyeballs, a person will get nailed on top of their head with seagull feces. Did I mention this is a glamorous sport???
5 years ago