What an adventure!  After arriving home from our Washington/Oregon visit last Sunday we partially unpacked and then repacked for a day trip to Kenai to try our hands (and nets!) at dip netting.  Dip netting is an Alaskan adventure, that's for sure!  Really all you need is a fillet knife, a pair of scissors, a cooler, a net, and a pair of chest waders.  Of course I brought the kids so we also needed 3 changes of clothes, rain gear, towels, snacks, lunch, toys, movies, more towels, and a few more snacks.  We loaded it all into our friend Nana Diane's 7 passenger conversion van along with Nana herself and her corgi, Tug.  The van was fairly full!

Kenai is about 2.5 hours from here and we're usually able to make it all in one shot.  Coming off of an 8 hour drive on Friday, a 4.5 hour flight on Sunday, an 2 hour shopping trip and 1.5 hour drive home on Sunday, and a trip back to Anchorage on Tuesday for dentist appointments, the girls' traveling reserves were low.  Very low.  Enter the DVD player!  Tinkerbelle rescued us and we made it to Kenai without pulling each other's hair out (or our own, for that matter!).

Once we finally made it, Nana stationed herself up on the beach and kept the kiddos well entertained and fed.  It was great for the girls to get to catch up with their pals...they all ran countless laps in the sand!

Stacy, Austin, and Kelsey
The other mamas and I donned our chest waders (yes, I now own my own personal pair!) and headed out.  This is what we looked like for most of the day.

Andrea on the left, Stephanie in the middle, Linda on the right
Of course we had to climb out of the river from time to time to tend to the kids, feed ourselves, etc.  But mostly we stood out there with those nets.  And caught fish!  13 sockeyes (reds) between the three of us!  Dip netting season is most of July along the defined areas at the mouth of the Kenai river.  You are catching them as they head upriver to spawn.  Apparently this was an excellent year for it, even better a week or two before we arrived.  It is referred to as 'subsistence' fishing, or 'personal use' fishing. As an Alaskan resident your limit is determined by the number of people in your household.  The head of household is allotted 25 fish, with an additional 10 for each member of your household.  That left us eligible for 55 fish.  Way more than we could use in a year!  The rules are quite strict on what you can do with the fish as well.  You are not supposed to give any away to other people, since they are designated 'personal use'.

As we caught them we gutted them and cut their heads off.

me, having WAY too much fun gutting that little guy
VERY happy to have finally netted one!
We three pooled ours, then met up at our house the next day to fillet them.  We are anything but efficient, but we had fun and split our fish four ways so that Nana could also benefit from our bounty.  All in all it was a very fun day--and we've made plans to go again next year!

Porter checks out our catch as we load up

13 fish worth of fillets