Dip Netting

dip netting

Open only to Alaskan residents, dip netting is a way for locals to fill their freezers with prime Alaskan salmon during a three-week period of the summer.

Jacque Greenman, Anne Engbers and Marjorie Van Kooten always take part in the annual ritual. Dressed in neoprene chest waders and armed with a five-foot net on a 16-foot pole, the women take turns wading into the fast-moving and very cold Kenai River near the Cook Inlet. Holding the net perpendicular to the river bottom in the water while the red salmon run, each waits for a pull on the net to signal a catch.

After a quick twist and jerk out of the water, the fish is landed and brought to shore where one of the women stands by with a club.

“They’re flipping all over the place,” said Greenman. “You have to clunk it right on the nose.”

One of the women then guts the fish and puts them on ice. Once they have their limit—which is usually somewhat below the state household limit of 45 fish—their freezer is filled for another year.