Early Thursday morning the reds were running but fishermen had to have the resolve to wait for them.
“We’ve caught five so far,” said Daniel Quiales. “Fifty-two to go,” he laughed.
He was one of hundreds of anglers who turned out for the opening day of dipnetting on the Kenai River.
Quiales defiantly stood out in the crowd of fishermen. While they were geared up in chestwaders and long, plastic gloves, Quiales went in wearing just a t-shirt and pair of basketball shorts.
“I guess dealing with the Fairbanks weather prepared me for the ocean I think,” he smiled.
Homer resident Josh Rudolph came a little more prepared with all of his gear and his four kids.
“Dad! Catch a fish!” screamed 7-year-old J.J. from the shoreline.
“This is part of what we do. We fish a lot,” Rudolph said. “It’s just a great experience to get the family out, do some fishing, put some food in the freezer.”
J.J. was on the beach ready with his fish whacker. The freckle-faced redhead was just waiting to get his hands on some sockeye.
“Catch a fish, Dad!” he screamed impatiently.
Rudolph’s youngest boy, 3-year-old Matthew, decided to head out for some quality time with his dad as his grandfather lifted him onto Rudolph’s shoulders.
“He’s red-headed, Irish good luck,” Rudolph laughed.
After low tide the anglers were anxious to get going.
“Tides of water, tides of people,” he said as dozens of fishermen settled in around him.
There were some sockeye during high tide, but it was pretty slim pickings throughout the afternoon.
With good weather and good company, who can really complain though?
“You can’t beat the waves and the sounds and everything like that. And the people down here are friendly,” Quiales said.
Fishermen were glad to have a little more room to fish for reds on opening day. Because by the time the weekend rolls around it will be chaos on the Kenai.
The Kenai dipnet fishery is open every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. until July 31.