Alaskan Family Adventures

Dipnetting at Kasilof (South Beach)

Dipnetting for salmon is a lot of fun and a great way to fill up the freezer. Each Alaskan resident is eligible for 25 fish + 10 fish for each member of the household, which is a lot of fish! The kids LOVE to bonk the fish as we pull them out of the nets.You can read more about dipnetting rules and regulations here.Kasilof is a primary dipnetting hotspot. The South beach is unregulated and there is no fee, so it has become very busy over the past few years. The South beach is very sandy and not accessible without a 4WD vehicle. The dipnetting area is 1/2 a mile from the beach access road. There is a guard rail protecting the grassy dunes and restricting ‘safe’ parking to a relatively small hilltop.  The people are generally friendly and courteous.  We typically both fish during outgoing and low tides. But during a rising tide one of us pulls our net out and monitors the kids VERY closely, no matter if the fish are running or not.

The tidal range during fishing season can be very high. Kasilof is a long flat beach, so when the tide comes in it practically races up the bank.  People not experienced with the area can get caught unawares as a rapidly rising tide threatens their vehicle.  As the beach continues to be over populated, this can cause a panic situation for many drivers looking to get their vehicle onto an ever shrinking safe hilltop populated with other vehicles and campers.  The terrain is very sandy, so drivers have to maintain speed in order to maneuver and do not have pinpoint control of their vehicles.  We have witnessed and experienced more than a few near-misses between drivers and kids.

Bathrooms: The nearest port-a-potties are on the beach access about a 1/2 mile away from the fishing area. This puts them effectively out of reach and many people use the sand dunes (as evidenced by many, many clumps of toilet paper – it’s really disgusting). We bring a port-a-bucket with a small privacy shelter and tie it to our truck.Camping: Many people camp on the beach, but due to the wind and sand we prefer one of the close by camp spots like Crooked Creek.

Amenities: This is an unmanaged area, nothing is supplied beyond dumpsters and port-a-potties at the beach access road. Bring everything you and your kids may want – food, water, firewood, kid distractions, etc.

In all, Kasilof beach is a great place to fish. On a good day it’s a great fishing experience. But as a family experience with small kids it gets low marks. As the numbers of fishermen grow, we’re looking for other, more peaceful areas. Families with small children should have one parent dedicated to supervising children very, very closely, especially during an incoming tide.


  • Cost: Free
  • Firewood: None  bring your own if you wan to make a fire.
  • Water: None.  Don’t forget to bring some!
  • Warnings: There are a lot of moving vehicles to be aware of.  When the tide rises, the shoreline disappears quickly and it becomes kind of a rodeo with everyone jockeying for parking spots on an ever shrinking hilltop.  Watch your kids VERY closely.


Useful Links:


It’s no fun getting bogged down in the sand, but everyone pitches in when it happens


The waiting game


The kids feet are at the high tide mark. Note where everyone is fishing in the photo.


The beach is pretty busy at high tide


Heere fishy fishy fishy 🙂


Good Ol’ fashioned playing in the sand

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