Drifters prepare for season, setnets to remain dry

The Snug Harbor Seafoods receiving dock was bustling Thursday, though not with commercial drift gillnetters bringing in volumes of sockeye salmon from the season’s first opener; rather with captains and crews who spent the afternoon putting the finishing touches on their boats, readying for the upcoming fishing season.
 
Typically, the first opener of the commercial season is slow, said Fish and Game managers and fishermen on the dock, though the banner run of Kasilof River sockeye lured some into the water Thursday for the 12-hour Cook Inlet-wide opening. In 2013, 60 boats went out on the first commercial drift opener and caught about 3,500 fish, according to Fish and Game catch data.
 
Several dozen people spent the sunny afternoon working on their boats, running new crew through equipment and boat operations or, like Paul Usoltseff, doing minor repairs before putting into the water.
 
“I will be going into the water on Wednesday,” Uloltseff said. “I’ll fish Thursday’s opener.”
 
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