Time to put those lines in the water

The long Memorial Day weekend is but hours away and the initial runs are starting to ease in, so it’s launch time for our annual series of fin-related reports.

My hope is they will make it easier for you to locate, catch, and lie about your piscatorian prowess which should come naturally to anyone who has ever cast a lure with the intention of nailing something more than a submerged snag the size of a mature Sitka spruce.

With any luck, the returning blackmouths will be as prolific as their winter king cousins that smacked the rods off the end of the spit during the darker days of snow and ice.

Last year’s chinook run at The Hole was epic.

The only way a lure-flinger came away without at least a strike was if they forgot to bait their hook or were throwing bass plugs reminiscent of Kermit the Frog.

The bobber purists, who abhor making any physical movements such as repeatedly casting and retrieving enticements that ripple the serenity of a lagoon and imply work, hammered the return.

Things couldn’t have been any better for them unless they had been able to purchase inflatable, puncture proof, Lazy Boys for butt support. Let’s hope for a repeat this season and sizzling lines in the bay.

This Week’s Fishing Report

Let’s get the regulation reminders and emergency orders addressed first.

Razor Clam Emergency Order: All eastside Cook Inlet beaches from the Kenai River to the tip of the Homer Spit are closed for all clamming through Dec. 31, 2017.

Regulation Reminders: Take some sage advice and check out the sport fishing regulation booklet before starting your fishing trip. Make sure to consult pages 71-73 before heading out to fish for king salmon in Cook Inlet saltwater areas. If you are interested in hitting the freshwater streams, consult pages 64- 65 for the Anchor River; page 67 for Deep Creek and page 69 for the Ninilchik River.

Be informed not clueless.

Don’t Forget: Hooked steelhead trout must not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

A king salmon 20 inches or longer that is removed from salt or fresh water must be retained and becomes part of the bag limit of the person who hooked the fish.

After taking a king salmon 20 inches or longer from the Anchor River, Deep Creek or Ninilchik river, anglers may not fish for any species for the rest of the day.

Saltwater Fishing Report: Regulation changes are in effect for guided anglers fishing for halibut. A more extensive description of these Federal regulations can be found at: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/frules/79fr13906.pdf.

If you have any problems accessing the link, ask any 6-year-old to hook you up.

Halibut: Early season halibut fishing is fair and most fish are small, but I’ve seen some nice pigs hauled in by some of the charters, so hang in there.

The fishery will improve as more fish ramble in from the deep abysses to where gourmet bottom feeding is easier in shallower waters. The flats love herring, but they’ll put the snap on octopus, salmon heads, and jigs.

King Salmon: The early run of kings is beginning its slide up through the saltwater near the shore of Anchor Point, Whiskey Gulch and Deep Creek.

Trolling success for feeder king salmon is reported as good from Bluff Point south and in Kachemak Bay.

K-hunters are also reporting fair to good success for feeders from Bluff Point north. Feeders can be found cruising with maturing Cook Inlet king salmon motoring their way to Cook Inlet streams.

Herring is an excellent come-on to the chinooks, but reports are coming in that small thin blade spoons and their larger counterparts have been whacking them as well. Try using flashers to get their attention. They aren’t too bright and are mesmerized by bright things, especially if they include a snack.

Try fishing for these beauties at a variety of depths up to 100 feet near rocky points and kelp beds.

Special Note: As part of the Chinook Salmon Research Initiative, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is looking at the genetic stock composition of the marine king salmon fishery. There are port samplers stationed at the Homer Harbor, and Deep Creek and Anchor Point tractor launches conducting quick interviews and collecting biological information, scales and genetic clips from sport-caught king salmon.

Tom, aka, The Mayor of the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon, reports that a small number of kings have been spotted wandering around in the hole but are exceptionally rude and have, so far, snubbed his vaunted mackerel presentations.

This is not cool especially since a friend of his landed a nice 18-pounder back on May 13 around 6:30 p.m. They could hear T’s teeth grinding from the parking lot.

Expect the fishing to be slow until the big tides roll in during the week, hopefully bringing the fish with them.

As usual, angle the tides for a better shot at them.

Eggs or plug cut, small to medium, herring rigged about 2 feet under a bobber has worked well for years.

A small school of king salmon has been reported in the Seldovia boat harbor.

Other Saltwater Fishing: Lingcod may not be harvested until July 1. All lingcod caught accidentally must be carefully released and may not be punctured with a gaff.

Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be an entertaining way to spend time. A plethora of species hang off the beach such as Walleye Pollock, Pacific cod, and an array of flatfish from edible flounders to things that give seagulls a community gag reflex.

Fresh Waters Fishing Report:

The Anchor and Ninilchik Rivers and Deep Creek will open from the mouth upstream approximately 2 miles to the ADF&G regulatory marker to fishing Memorial Day weekend (Saturday-Monday, May 27-29). In addition, the Anchor River opened to fishing on Wednesday, May 24.

Bait such as eggs and herring should work well.

Currently the river conditions on the Anchor River, Ninilchik River and Deep Creek are poor. The Anchor and Ninilchik rivers should improve some with less rain but expect less favorable water conditions on Deep Creek throughout the weekend unless the predicted midweek storm hits hard.

Shellfish: The next clamming tides run until May 29; included in this tide series are some minus 5-foot tides.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you have any tips, tales or general trash talk about your fishing buddies.

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