Tips from a wildlife trooper for successful dipnetting
Fishing in Alaska can provide a quiet, peaceful escape from everyday life. However, during dipnetting season on the Kenai River, that often is not the case. Midday Sunday, the mouth of the river is lined with people hoping to catch sockeye salmon.
Since July 1, roughly 500,000 sockeye salmon have been counted by the Department of Fish and Game in the Kenai River — more than twice last year.
Combine that with warm weather, and Soldotna-based wildlife trooper Glenn Taylor has plenty of work.
“We want people to have fun while they’re down here. We just want to make sure they’re following the rules, too,” said Taylor.
He said most people do their best to abide by the rules. However, sometimes, an attempt is made to take advantage of the system. He said a few times each year, he catches people from out of state dipnetting — something only open to Alaska residents.
“If someone has a real thick accent and they’re dipnetting or something, we might want to check them,” said Taylor.
Taylor said many of the people fishing are from the Anchorage and Matanuksa-Susitna area.
“You can’t beat the scenery and enjoying the fish all winter long,” said Eric Robson of Big Lake, who was fishing with his family.
A 16-year veteran of Alaska State Troopers, Taylor said a few easy steps can help people avoid a citation. For instance, make sure fish are filleted — or have their tails clipped — before leaving the fishing area. Also, keep paperwork organized and nearby. Taylor lauded one family for following all the regulations.
“Thanks for having everything done right. Makes my job a lot easier,” he said.
Taylor added that a little bit of preparation can go a long way toward avoiding a pricey ticket.
“Read up on the [regulations] and if you didn’t know what you were doing down here, call Fish and Game or call the Alaska Wildlife Troopers and ask questions before you come down,” he said.
One person per household is allowed a maximum of 25 fish; each additional person in the home after that is allowed 10. Each household can also bring home one king salmon this year, according to Taylor.
The Kenai River is open to dipnetting until the end of July; the Kasilof River is open until August 7.
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