Tues. July 24th- We headed on up the road towards Anchorage, but decided to stop for the night in Kenai. We had bypassed this town on our last trip, and wanted to see if we had missed anything.
We stayed the night at Beluga Bluff Campground, a private campground overlooking the Cook Inlet and the Kenai River. As we were checking in, we kept hearing about dip-net fishing.
As it turned out, we were camped on the bluff overlooking one of the hottest fishing spots for dip-net fishing for salmon. Dip-net season is the last two weeks in July and is open only to Alaskan residents of at least one year.
You use a 4-5 foot net, like a big butterfly net……
Then stand chest deep in the water and let the salmon swim into the net. This is considered subsistence fishing, not sport fishing.
The goal is to fill your freezer with salmon. Each person gets an allotment, or limit. 25 fish per head of household, and 10 fish for each other member. So, a family of four has a 55 fish allotment.
Dip-netting is a family affair.We saw men, women and children helping to clean the fish,
The atmosphere was that of a camp-out. Tents, campfires, kids playing in the sand on the beach and all.
But, if you notice, I did not crop out the fish-guts in the pictures. Fish heads and guts were left in piles everywhere. It was DISGUSTING. I know that the tide will reclaim the fish, and the remains become food for the gulls and other animals…….But is was pretty gruesome. You probably have to grow up with it to be OK with having your kids play in the sand right next to the fish heads.
Our time walking along the beach was kept pretty short…..So we moved on to appreciating the pretty aspects of Kenai…..the lovely fireweed growing everywhere……
And Holy Assumption Church, the oldest Russian Orthodox Church in Alaska.
I really love the beautiful light blue and white colors, and the domes, which the Russian Orthodox church is known for.
The inside was modestly done, and lovely.
There was, also, this small chapel. It was not restored on the inside, but was set in such a natural setting.
We chose to just leave our truck hitched up to the camper, so we were limited in exploring Kenai to just what we could see on foot……which was not much. We were so glad to get such a first hand view of dip-net fishing, and to visit with some of the locals about fishing and filleting techniques, but we decided that one night was enough in Kenai.
The next morning we headed to Anchorage.