Potential Changes in the Dipnetting Agenda 2017

Alaska is known for its fishing industry. It’s a state pastime to head out onto the Kenai to fill the freezer with red salmon and maybe even keep a few for dinner that night. After all, there’s nothing better than fresh caught fish for dinner. And we just love hearing the stories our Alaska SUV rentals clients have about fishing in Alaska’s numerous rivers.

This year, however, there may be some changes to the dipnetting regulations around the Kenai. Before you panic – don’t worry, this practice will still be enjoyed and encouraged around the river. But regulations may shift to prevent 24-hour fishing and boat use, among other things. What are these regulations? And how will they affect you and your Alaska SUV rentals? Let’s find out.

Extended season

Let’s begin with the good stuff. When the proposal goes before Alaska’s Board of Fisheries, with it will be presented a proposal to extend the dipnetting season until August. Currently the season is from June until July. The extra month may benefit those who are also spending the summer hunting or fishing in other regions.

This proposal stems from a concern from dipnetters who claimed that last season, runs weren’t as strong as they’d like. Because of this, they believe that an extension of the season would help both their own need for fish to last the winter and to help manage fish population.

Increased bag limit

Present regulations allow fishers to bag 25 salmon and 10 flounder per household in the Upper Cook Inlet personal use fishers: Kenai dipnetting, Fish Creek dipnetting, Kasilof dipnetting, and Kasilof set gillnetting. The increases by 10 salmon for every additional household member. However, if the proposals are passed, the household bagging limit for salmon would increase by 10 fish. Now you really will be able to fill up your Alaska SUV rentals!

Use of boats and motors

There are several proposals that may ban or restrict the use of boats when fishing on the river. One proposal would entirely eliminate boat use on the river, while another focuses purely on the use of motors on the Kasilof River. The latter would allow boats with motors that do not exceed 10 horsepower.

Extension of territory

The Kenai River Sportfishing Association is looking to extend dipnet boat fishing boundaries. This proposal would see the boundaries move upstream towards Cunningham Park at river mile 6.6.

Elimination of the 24-hour emergency order

Regular fishing hours on the Kenai are the same daily, regardless of tides, and are from 6am until 11pm. But, these times may change in the instance of an emergency order for 24-hour opening. These orders follow the “Kenai River Late-Run Sockeye Salmon Management Plan” as outlined by the Board of Fisheries.

However, the City of Kenai has put forth a proposal that would eliminate the use of these emergencies orders due to safety risks to fishers. Their reasons rest in the difficulty of ensuring safety during the hours when heavy machinery are cleaning the beach.While fishers may not like this new elimination, it certainly makes sense in the overall consideration of civilian safety.

Shore-based dipnetting

Finally, a proposal has been put forth to allow landowners to fish from the shore. This would affect mainly those property owners who have property directly on the Kenai River. And their friends of course!

Mainly, these proposals shouldn’t too heavily affect our Alaska SUV rentals clients – except perhaps for the better. We are personally hoping for an increase in the bagging limit and extension of territory!

This is by no means a comprehensive outline of the nearly 200 proposals that will be put forth in the 14-day long public meeting. The meeting is currently in action, having begun on February 23 and will run until March 8. Only time will tell which of these proposals will be put into action.

In the meantime, start thinking now about your own fishing trip. It’s never too early to start planning! Reserve your Avis Alaska SUV rentals early to make sure you get the vehicle you want.