Dip net fishing is something of a rite of passage in Alaska. Explaining it to out-of-staters is entertaining. Conversations often go like this:
"Dip netting? What's that?" / "Oh, it's a type of fishing where you've got a net on the end of a long pole and you pull fish out of a river with it." / "Wait, so you don't have a fishing pole with a hook or lure?" / "Nope, just a net." / "And the fish just swim into it?" / "Um, yeah. Sometimes two or three at a time if they're running thick enough." / "And you just scoop them out of the river??" / "Yeah, pretty much." / "I don't understand."
Incredulity aside, it is pretty incredible to stock your freezer with some of the tastiest fish in the world with little more than a big net on the end of a long pole. Of course, there's a little more to it than that. Finding the right back eddy and knowing when and where the fish will actually be is an art and science in and of itself. And the Copper river is big, powerful, and swift moving. We fished from shore, and still roped in and wore life jackets. In the end, my dad and I walked away with 27 fish between us, and our friend Steve caught an additional 8 or 9. Pretty good for a day and a half.