Since we had planned to be fishing today and that didn't work out we had to find something else to do.
Around noon we took a ride about 15 minutes away to the Kasilof River. (Ka-See-Lof)
We dressed warmer than we had been since we were going to the river. Once again, we're back in jeans, sweatshirts and windbreakers. It wasn't as warm as it has been the last few days, high 70's to low 80's, because it was overcast today.
We were going to check out the people doing the dip netting thing.
Just outside of the campground we saw MOOSE! A cow with her twins.
Dip netting is a form of fishing that only Alaska residents can participate in. Out of state-rs can't buy a special tag for it or a license, no exceptions, this is strictly an Alaskan privilege. A privilege that is anticipated as much Christmas, vacation, and your birthday,,,,all rolled into one.
This very special time of year last only about six weeks and you can bet the residents of this state put everything else on hold during this time. This is the time year that the residents fill their freezers full of SALMON! Alaska is the only state that allows dip netting.
Bob and I had heard of dip netting since we have been here but today we were going to see it up close and personal like.
We drove in on a washboardy dirt road through a wooded area and when we reached the clearing I think we were both a little surprised at what we saw. People! Hundreds of people. Every age, shape and size, babes sitting on mom's hip, to toddlers playing in the sand, to youngsters chasing each other and riding bikes, to teens hanging around with cell phones stuck to their ears. The adults had much more important things to do. There were hot dogs to be eaten and beers to be downed.
The place was jammed packed with RV's and tents, and vans. Little tent communities were set up everywhere. Tents of every size and color imaginable.
Rv's and trucks and van of all sizes, parked wherever they could find space. No organization to it at all.
Every few feet you heard a different kind of music. Country from the left, rock from the right and a little further up the road it might be smooth jazz.
Every "camp" had a fire or BBQ going and the smells were tantalizing. Hot dogs and hamburgers sizzling, potato salad being dished up, and sandwiches packed for a day trip were being devoured.
It wasn't until we got a little further down the road that we understood why there was so many people about. The tide was out. WAAYYY out. There would be no fishing until the tide came back in and that wouldn't happen until early this evening. Oh boy, we're battin' a thousand! We headed back to the campground.
We hung around, Bob walking about, talking to fisherman in the park, I read, watched TV and got some computer time in. Around 6:45 we headed back.
When we arrived this time there were a lot less people, RV's, tents and vans. The ones who were there were on the beach and in the water. Tide was in and we were going to get a chance to see dip netting.
The group of people I came to were not fishing at the moment but were cleaning their catch. They did it while standing in the water and the seagulls had a feast!
This is what everyone is after.
Dip netting equipment consist of the net. That's it, just the net. Its a long pole, usually 10 - 15 feet long and net on the end that can't be any bigger than five feet in diameter.
That's it, the net....oh and waders. In this cold water, waders are must. One stands in the water and waits to feel the fish in the net and then quickly turns it so that the fish can't escape. At that point it is brought to shore as quickly as possible and put out of its misery either by being hit on head with a club or killed with a knife.
Each head of household is allowed 25 fish and 10 for each dependent. Each fish caught has to be recorded on a special permit that each person fishing must carry with them. In addition to being recorded on the permit, each fish must have its tail fins cut off. I don't know why. Its dead, its not like it can swim away.
Further down the beach there was a more concentrated area of people.
These dip netters seemed to have all the room they needed. We had been told that during the daytime high tide, the fisherman stood elbow to elbow.
It is advised to wear a head covering during this time because of all seagulls flying overhead. I know it was something on MY mind while I was there.
This just doesn't work with a hole in the net!
I guess since this is really like Christmas in July, its time to break out the sleds!
We came, we saw, it was time to leave. Some parting shots.
On the way home we went over this bridge and the color of the water below caught by attention.