I received a minor flood of email after last week’s initial report and most of them centered on the king return at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon.
There were complaints about anglers who couldn’t tell the difference between a real fishing rod and a 2-fer-1, Wal-Mart, $9.99 Cosmos Combo Caster special that couldn’t control a mortally wounded mini stickleback much less a highly aggravated king.
There were also laments about using decent gear but losing their prey when the line snapped because they hadn’t changed it out for a few years or utilized a pound test that might have handled a small jack or a disoriented smolt but was totally useless for putting a smackdown on some of the beasts prowling the water.
I’m not allowed to print these yarns because if somebody walked by a church reading such vernacular its siding would liquefy. Where do you come up with that stuff?
The bigger critters can be landed with light gear, but come on, you’ll have to chase those things around the lagoon. This to the high annoyance of fellow sportsmen who have to keep getting out of your way because you’re hauling butt back and forth through their area like a deranged jackass with a irate hornet stuck in its kiester. Cut it out!
Face it. A number of those chinooks entering the pond are packing some serious fighting pounds and have an attitude that could clean out a biker bar if they could grow a set of legs to walk into one. Respect them.
Last Thursday I got into a couple of fish that were wicked fighters.
The first one put up one hell of a scrap and I was way beyond relieved that I had geared up with fresh line before popping a bobber rig into the water.
It thrashed in at a respectable 16 pounds and I was pumped up like a 10-year-old kid who had just pounded down a half pound of Snickers and guzzled a 20-ounce energy drink that could power a small house generator.
It was an exciting start, especially since other fishermen were enjoying their own battles as the kings went on the bite.
I can’t say the second one was as much a fight as it was a full fledged, knock-down, dragged-out brawl.
The huge honker took off like it had a nitro upgrade in its tail, and when it was finally beached it was packing fillets that turned into 16+ pints of succulent canned meat. (Easy now, I have witnesses.)
King Salmon Emergency Orders
In an effort to meet king salmon escapement goals in the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Ninilchik River drainages, the following sport fishing restrictions are in effect through July 15:
Ninilchik and Anchor rivers and Deep Creek, as defined by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game markers, will open to sport fishing at 12:01 a.m. May 30 and close at midnight, Monday, June 1.
The Anchor River drainage above Old Sterling Bridge is closed during the May and June weekend openings.
Anglers may only use one un-baited, single-hook, artificial lure on the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Ninilchik River during the three weekend openings in May and June.
From April 1-July 15, the combined annual limit is two king salmon 20 inches or greater in length in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River and all marine waters south of the latitude of the mouth of the Ninilchik River to the latitude of Bluff Point.
From July 1-15, the conservation zone surrounding the Anchor River mouth will remain closed to sport fishing and the regulations associated with the Special Harvest Areas 2 miles north of the Anchor River to Bluff Point will remain in effect.
Salt Waters: Halibut
Early-season halibut fishing is fair.
Although most of them remain a touch small, they could still put a whoop’n on an Irish Lord. Things will start picking up as the flats move to their shallower areas of summer homes where there’s more free chow.
Several of the charters have already been whacking nice slabs. The same goes for a few private boats with their own “secret numbers.”
Sampled fish landed in the Homer Harbor averaged nearly 13 pounds (range 3.6 to 77.4 pounds) round weight. Many anglers have success using acutely deceased herring on circle hooks. White tubular jigs with red eyes work well unless you’re too lazy too lift them up once in awhile.
Unguided anglers can retain two halibut a day, four in possession.
Regulation changes are in effect for guided anglers fishing for halibut. The bag limit for guided anglers is two fish per day, one of any size and one less than or equal to 29 inches in length, and guided anglers have an annual limit of five halibut.
Salt Waters: Salmon
Trolling success for feeder kings is reported as beyond acceptable in Kachemak Bay and near Bluff Point.
This time of year, early-run king salmon are normally rumbling through the near-shore salt waters of Anchor Point, Whiskey Gulch and Deep Creek.
Astute anglers usually concentrate their fishing efforts in near shore, shallow waters between Anchor Point and Deep Creek.
Hook ups have been unpredictable near Bluff Point.
Expect fair to middling fishing for king salmon. Your odds will be somewhat better if you drag your rear out of bed and chase them during the early morning hours.
As usual, popular trolling set-ups for king salmon include herring, tube flies, and spoons with dodgers or flashers as attention getters.
King salmon have arrived at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. Success can be spotty with these small tides but three or four days from now a new pulse of chinooks should arrive with the higher incomings.
Other Saltwater Fishing
Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be entertaining for the young and geezered. Walleye pollock, Pacific cod, a variety of flatfish, bewildered salmon and visiting alien species are swarming around looking for a way to kill the boredom. If it means a trip in a cooler, they’ll take it.
Fresh Waters: Salmon
The Anchor River, Deep Creek and Ninilchik Rivers, as defined by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game markers will open to fishing at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, May 30, through midnight, Monday, June 1.
Water conditions in these streams are expected to be good.
As of May 25, 410 kings had been counted via the Anchor River weir.
It was reported that things warm up during early morning hours and at the mouth of these streams on the incoming tide.
At this time of year, steelhead trout will be leaving the rivers and entering saltwater to recover their strength after spending their winter in the river and spawning in the spring. Please familiarize yourself with the differences between kings and steelhead trout before you fish and practice good fish handling if you catch one. Remember hooked steelhead trout must not be removed from the water and they must be released immediately.
Additional Regulation Reminders
Lingcod may not be harvested until July 1.
Don’t forget: All Eastside Cook Inlet beaches from the Kenai River to the tip of the Homer Spit are closed to all clams through Dec. 31.
Razor clams can be found on beaches along the west side of Cook Inlet and are accessed by boat or plane. Popular razor clam beaches include Crescent River, Chinitna Bay and Polly Creek.
Boaters should use caution before traveling across the inlet because of strong currents and should check weather forecast before traveling.
All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay remain closed for 2015.
Nick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any tips, tales or confessions about experiencing mental flatulence while flailing the waters.