Every July, thousands gather at the mouth of the Kenai river, twenty foot long nets, coolers, and families in tow. They stand side by side in the water, chest deep, as the sockeye salmon return home.The people present are as colorful as the tents that pack the beach. Every ethnicity, age, and walk of life are represented. Everyone is friendly, generous, and happy to lend a helping hand. This isn't combat fishing, it's a party and we're all here for the same reason--to fill our freezers for the winter.
Dipnetting is a tradition I married into three years ago, and one that my husband's family has kept for years. This year Austin and I made the trip with our good friends Anna and Levi. Being pregnant this time around, I wasn't able to get in the water (those nets + fighting fish are HEAVY) but instead took the opportunity to document bits and pieces of this uniquely Alaskan event. We didn't quite catch a run of salmon, and ended up bringing back only five, but still had a great trip. My father in law took the rest of the family dipnetting the following weekend and limited out at just under 90 fish within two hours...it really is all about the luck of the draw. However it happened, I'm just happy to have a freezer stocked full of fresh salmon!