Combat fishing amid the pandemic comes with a catch


On the muddy shores of the Twentymile River, near Turnagain Arm, scores of Alaskans with their nets, buckets and the occasional face mask are hooligan fishing — the first combat fishery of the season, where anglers are sometimes nearly shoulder to shoulder along the bank. The pandemic hasn’t stopped many Alaskans from gathering on the arm to catch hooligan. But how Alaskans maintain their distance and their health during the hooligan fishery could result in changes for other combat fisheries later this summer.

 The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is encouraging anyone hoping to fish this summer to follow all current health mandates, which ask Alaskans to socially distance, wash hands frequently and to wear face coverings when in closer contact with people.
Colton Lipka, an area management biologist for sport fishing in the northern Kenai Peninsula Management Area, said planning fishing trips ahead of time will be important this year to ensure mandate compliance, especially when traveling to smaller communities.