As the salmon dipnet fishing season fast approaches, the city of Kenai is busy making facility improvements at the Kenai River mouth’s north beach and at the city dock. All work is scheduled to be done before the season opener.
In Kenai, personal use dipnet fishing for salmon is allowed from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 10 through 31.
The boat launch facility at the city dock is being renovated with 265 prefabricated concrete planks being installed for the boat ramp.
On Monday, City Manager Rick Koch said all the planks are in place and now work is being done on installing the floating section of the dock between the two ramps. The cost to launch a boat remains at $15.
City workers also are building a new exit road from the boat launch area creating a one-way loop into and out of the city dock.
The entrance road will be the same as in past years, but now, instead of returning along the same route, people exiting the boat launch will drive straight up from the ramp and tie into the exit road to Bridge Access Road to leave.
The new road is expected to greatly reduce traffic congestion, especially during the dipnet fishery.
At the north beach, the permanent restrooms off the main parking lot are being rebuilt.
The old, wooden frame buildings have been demolished and new, “more durable, block buildings” are being built, according to Koch.
He said he also has received bid packets from “three little concessions” that want to operate in the north beach parking lot and one that plans to have a hand-pulled cart on the beach.
Behind the scenes, the city has signed the paperwork to add two temporary officers to patrol the beaches during the dipnet fishery, according to Koch.
He said he will meet with the city’s dipnet committee Wednesday to finalize preparations for the upcoming season.
The dipnet fishery is open to Alaska residents only, and those participating must have a resident sport fish license in their possession as well as one personal use fishing permit per household.
From shore, dipnetters may fish from the commercial fishing markers in Cook Inlet north and south of the mouth of the Kenai River, upstream to the downstream edge of the Warren Ames Bridge on Bridge Access Road.
One section on the north shore is closed, however. Dipnetting is not allowed from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game marker below the end of Main Street to the Fish and Game markers near the city dock.
Central Kenai Peninsula dipnetting also is allowed on the Kasilof River from the Fish and Game markers in the inlet at the mouth of the river to about one mile upstream to Fish and Game markers.
On the Kasilof, dipnetting is allowed 24 hours a day, seven days a week from June 25 to Aug. 7.
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