Alaska, Featured, Fishing, Food, Outdoors

2017 Dipnet Season: New Limits on Kenai Kings, Changes in Chitina

Salmon. Photo: Isaac Wedin

Summer is just around the corner, and with summer comes dipnetting. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has released the season and limit information for 2017 Personal Use Fishing. The Personal Use Fisheries are available only to Alaska residents.

2017 Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use Dipnet Season Information

The limits for salmon other than king salmon are unchanged from last year: 25 per household, plus ten for each additional member. For example, a family of 4 would have a limit of 55 (25 + 10 + 10 + 10). Kenai, Kasilof, and Fish Creek salmon are part of the same fishery: the Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use Fishery. If you reach your limit on the Kenai River, for example, you may not take additional salmon on the Kasilof River or in Fish Creek.

There are new limits restricting king salmon retention in the dip net fishery. This year, no kings may be kept at all on the Kasilof River. King salmon retention on the Kenai River is limited to ONE fish 20” or greater and no more than ten king salmon under 20”.

The Kenai River dipnet season will be July 10 through July 31. The Kasilof River season will be June 25 through August 7.

According to the Department of Fish and Game, the Kenai River dipnet harvest peak has historically been July 16 through July 25. The Kasilof River dipnet harvest peak has been July 11 through July 21. Fishing on the Kasilof River, especially, is best during a very limited window of the season. Although fish enter the river from mid June through late July, about half of the dipnet harvest occurred during the July 11-21 peak dates. 

Check Out Montem Trekking Poles:

As always, the Department reserves the right to manage the fishery “In Season.” This means that if the numbers on the ground are lower than predicted, The Department can declare an emergency closure to protect the fishery. During the season, call the recorded hotline for up to date information at (907) 267-2512 whenever you are thinking of fishing.

For a complete list of all regulations associated with personal use fisheries on the Kenai Peninsula, visit

Changes in Chitina

Alaskans from all over the state have flocked to Chitina in recent years to dipnet. This has resulted in trail erosion, trash and human waste problems in this isolated part of the state. Chitina has extremely limited services. For example there are no public dumpsters or other public trash services. Unfortunately, this has resulted in people littering rather than taking their trash back where they came from. New this year, there will be a $15 fee for a Chitina dipnet permit. The proceeds will go towards sanitation and road maintenance.

The Department of Fish and Game will open and close the Chitina dipnet season by Emergency Order in season, June 7 through September 30. Look for a tentative schedule later this month on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game website. Up to date Chitina dipnet information will be available during the season at: (907)267-2511


Chitina dipnetters should also check the water level in the Copper River when planning their trip, as it is nearly impossible to catch fish during high water. 

Pickled Salmon. Photo: Isaac Wedin

Salmon Again???

I’ll admit it: I got stuck in a major salmon rut for awhile.  I got out of my rut when I looked around for new recipes. The classic Cooking Alaskan is a good place to start, and I also enjoy inserting salmon into many different world cuisine recipes including curries, pad thai, and North African dishes. Pickled salmon and gravlax are also great treats!

Freezing and Canning

Freezing fish well requires patience and good technique. A well frozen piece of fish is almost as good as fresh. However, a rush job will result in freezer-burned fish that nobody wants to eat.

Do not fill your freezer all at once. The mass of fish will freeze slowly and the fillets will not retain their texture. Instead, add fillets in layers, and wait until one layer is frozen before adding another. Turn the freezer to the coldest temperature possible for this procedure. If you keep the fish that are waiting to go into the freezer refrigerated and did a good job with your packaging, you can keep layering fish into the freezer for at least a couple of days without sacrificing quality.

The cooperative extension has a detailed publication on home fish freezing:

If you have wanted to smoke and can your own salmon, but have been unsure about safe procedures, there is a pdf for you! The University of Alaska Cooperative Extension has an excellent guide to safely smoking and canning your own salmon. Access it here:


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