KENAI, Alaska (KTUU) - Dip netting season kicked off on the Kenai River, and Fish and Game said it was a slow start to the season.
Channel 2 was at Kenai Beach Tuesday afternoon, catching up with some dip netters bearing the cold and rainy weather in an attempt to fill their coolers.
Dip netters were literally taking the net into their own hands to offset what's been a pretty dismal fishing season for the Kenai River. Fish and Game said things can pick up at any time, despite the slow start.
Some dip netters had worse luck than others on Tuesday.
Anchorage woman Kathy Robinson camped out on the Kenai Beach Monday night to get a perfect spot on the bank for opening day. She said she started at 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, and by 5 p.m., she had only caught two sockeye salmon.
She said she usually only comes once a year, but after the slow day, "We might be able to come back," she said.
According to Fish and Game, Kenai River late-run sockeye numbers are pretty low, at about 5-6,000 fish per day. Just over 43,000 sockeye have been caught up to this point this year, down from almost 75,000 at this time in 2017.
"My fishing experience [Tuesday] is not good," dip netter Navezhda Voloshina said.
Mrs. Alaska America Jade Glick was out early Tuesday afternoon with her net in the water, but she said they came a little too late and missed the prime time to net some sockeye. She said she enjoyed herself nonetheless.
"I love that you're actually doing the manual labor of catching the fish,” Glick said. “A lot of people like pole fishing which I think is great, but for our family, we use it as, we just want to fill up our freezer. So we do that first and then we go to pole fishing."
Fish and Game said Tuesday was only the first day of dip netting season, so the day’s sockeye numbers weren’t necessarily an accurate reflection of what the numbers might look like at the end of dip netting season.