Kenai Stories and Tips

Set Net History on the Kenai

Set net fishing in Cook Inlet has been happening since the 1800s. When set netting started, fishermen used fish traps. These were made out of poles staked into the ground and hung with wire between them. When the tide changed, the fish would get caught in the traps and be picked up by large boats called tenders. In 1959, fish traps became illegal because too many fish were being caught, and there weren't enough to go up the river to spawn.

To replace the traps, commercial fishermen now use set nets and drift nets. Set nets are held by pulleys and anchors in the inlet. Drift nets are dragged behind boats and then pulled into the boats and picked.

Today, with the use of tractors, trucks, running water, and electricity, the fishing process has become much easier. The smoothness of the operation is actually quite fantastic to watch.

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