Salmon and summer sunshine: Photos from an evening of dipnetting on the Kenai

Hundreds of Alaskans gathered at the mouth of the Kenai River over the weekend for their share of the sockeye run.

KENAI — Hundreds of fishermen dotted the banks at the mouth of the Kenai River on Saturday as silhouettes of gulls swarmed the horizon, with Mount Redoubt in the distance. Above, the warm — and this year, elusive — summer sun moved across a bright blue sky.

Although fishing was slow, people from across the state dipnetted for sockeyes late into the night.

“It used to be catch a fish, change a diaper,” Jeff Simono said as he handed off his fresh catch to his now-grown son, James Simono, to clean.

Their family has been dipnetting the Kenai for 28 years, and Simono said it makes his heart happy to have his son out there with him.

Along the river, such stories were common as people hauled in nets with flopping salmon, which were grabbed by family members.

On a nearby bluff, Leona Tatgavin Demont smiled as she looked out over the beach at the tents below –– the reds of an American flag matched the color of salmon scraps along the water’s edge.

Demont, from Unalakleet and White Mountain, used to take her sons dipnetting here. On Saturday, she just watched as she roamed the beach for bird feathers.

Here are our favorite photos from this weekend’s dipnetting on the Kenai.

Emily Mesner

Emily Mesner is a multimedia journalist for the Anchorage Daily News. She previously worked for the National Park Service at Denali National Park and Preserve and the Western Arctic National Parklands in Kotzebue, at the Cordova Times and at the Jackson Citizen Patriot in Jackson, Michigan.