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By Steven Merritt “Seventy-five fish.” The early-morning text needed no more explanation. I envisioned my friend Mike in his garage with coolers full of sockeye salmon, a pot of coffee, a fillet knife and the satisfaction of putting a winter’s worth of enjoyment in the freezer. Mike’s success dipnetting with a colleague on the Copper River dovetails nicely with my time behind the iMac these days. The crew at Alaska magazine is working on the September issue—our annual food edition—which celebrates the importance of Alaskans’ connection with the land and water. And for my family, early July means our dipnetting rite of summer on the Kenai River is close at hand. Sockeye salmon begin arriving in decent numbers there by mid-month, with the fishery’s peak usually coming a week or so later. A family dipnetting haul from the Kenai River puts wild salmon on the menu year-round. It’s a perk…

A Kenai River king salmon tale

[by Kurt Jacobson]


WHEN I MOVED TO THE KENAI PENINSULA IN 1984, I heard it took an average of 40 hours to catch a Kenai king salmon.  That is assuming you do most things correctly while fishing for the monster-sized prize of the Kenai.