Dipnetting goes 24/7

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game Monday announced the extension of Kenai River personal-use dipnet fishing to 24 hours per day through the end of the month.

The department is allowed by state law to extend fishing hours when the Kenai River late-run sockeye salmon run is expected to exceed 2.3 million fish.

The defined dipnet fishing area remains the same.

Until Monday night, fishing was allowed only from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Prior to Monday’s state order, Kenai City Manager Rick Koch sent an email to the commissioner of fish and game protesting the more liberal hours, saying that the city of Kenai may have no choice but to close the beaches, which are city property, to the public so that tons of fish waste may be cleaned nightly. Koch asked the commissioner to reconsider the order to extend fishing hours.

“The City of Kenai made a commitment to its residents that our maintenance efforts would reduce/eliminate the unhealthy conditions created by hundreds of thousands of pounds of fish waste on the beaches, and other solid waste on our beaches through aggressive maintenance programs,” Koch wrote.

— Staff report

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