Action picks up at Fishing Hole

For those of you who have been crossing various appendages in hopes the Spit’s fishing hole action will pick up, there is finally some good news.

Tom, the proclaimed mayor of the lagoon, reports that, even with the smaller tides, more fish are being taken and there is some nice heft to them. He has started to score after a rather dismal start and if anybody can nail them, he can.

He’s estimates that at least 10-16 fish per day have been taken during his watch and that there were at least 50 plus blackmouths cruising the ’hood as of last Monday.

The man puts in some righteous hours out there and knows what’s up, but there is absolutely no proof to the rumor that he’s pondering setting up a satellite dish and doing a modicum of landscaping around his chair.

I also spoke with a visitor from overseas while he was cleaning two ’nooks at the impressive new cleaning station (thanks, again, Alaska Department of Fish and Game) who confirmed that the fishing has improved.

He had one porker and a smaller king that looked as though it had seen better days and was either smoker material or cat food. The gentleman conveyed that he fishes on the outside with herring. You might want to give that a try.

I’ve started to spot some jack salmon being taken out of the lagoon. Beware of experiencing a momentary bout of brain flatulence and forget that those little blackmouths count toward your daily limit of two at the hole.

It would not only be an expensive mistake but you’ll get your own special slot in the weekly police report.

Check out the special regulations on page 72 of the Southcentral Alaska Sports Fishing Regulations Summary. You’re welcome, except for the two ingrates who shared their charm with single digit hand signs when shown the reg.

It must be tough to sport IQs so low that your bait would beat you in counting to one.

Now let’s take a look at this week’s fishing report.

Regulation Reminders: Hooked steelhead trout must not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. Steelies have been reported in the mix in the Anchor River, so heads up.

A king, 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, 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.

Regulation changes are in effect for guided anglers fishing for halibut. A more extensive description of the federal regulations can be found on NOAA’s Fisheries Rules and Notices webpage.

If you are chasing rockfish, remember that while you may retain five of them per day, only one may be a non-pelagic species (see chart on page 90 of the sport fishing regs where they have pictures for those still stymied by the term “pelagic”).

Lingcod may not be harvested until July 1.

All lingcod caught accidentally must be carefully released and may not be punctured with a gaff. Failure to follow these rules will highly annoy these ill-tempered beasts and paybacks could be a &^%$# after the opening.

Is this cool or what?

Youth Fishery on June 7: New this season! There will be a youth-only fishery on the Ninilchik River from the mouth upstream to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game markers near the Sterling Highway Bridge. ADF&G staff will be present at the river section under Sterling Highway Bridge from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. to help young anglers fish and tie egg loops and fishing knots, and learn the best way for releasing fish. Sport fishing regulations for the Ninilchik River youth-only fishery are found on page 69 of the 2017 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary Booklet.

Saltwater Fishing Report — Halibut: Early-season halibut fishing is good and the flats are showing a noticeable increase in bulk, although I’ve spotted some ’buts at the cleaning stations that couldn’t have been much out of pre-school when they were nailed.

Halibut are really hooked on herring but will vary their diets by slamming octopus, squid, salmon heads, white red- eye jigs and a potpourri of the putrid languishing along the ocean floor.

Unguided anglers can retain two halibut a day, four in possession. Regulations for guided anglers can be found by following the link in the “Regulations Reminders” section.

Saltwater Fishing Report —Salmon: Trolling hits for feeder kings has backed off and is sporadic from Bluff Point north and near the head of Kachemak Bay.

Bait fish seem to be prolific most everywhere in the bay so the blackmouths are not concentrated in any particular location. Look for the seabirds diving on bait balls or whales in the ’hood.

More than likely salmon are attacking from below and forcing the schools to the surface. Troll through the chaos and the chances are that you’ll pop a line unless your presentation has the appeal of a fermented wolf eel head.

A combo of flashers and herring have been working along with silvery blue bladed spoons, multicolored hoochies and bluish green plugs.

Fishing a variety of depths up to 100 feet near rocky points and kelp beds increases your chances. I talked with a couple of private boat hunters and they were hitting them from between 60 to 90 feet.

Popular come-ons for kings at terminal fishing areas (Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon and Seldovia Lagoon) include launching salmon eggs or plug cut herring about two feet under a moderate sized bobber. Some of you need to layoff tossing floats that could be utilize as supply barge tethering points.

As mentioned earlier, kings are continuing to enter the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon and the success rate is improving. Your best bet to take a crack at those fish will be a couple of hours before and after the tide change-outs, the early glimmer of dawn or the deep dusk of evening.

Fishing is reported as slow in Seldovia.

There still have been no reported chinook sightings at Halibut Cove Lagoon.

Other Saltwater Fishing: Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a kick.

Walleye pollock, Pacific cod, a variety of fascinating flatfish, wandering salmon and creatures resembling Freddy Kruger pets have been hauled on shore. Sportspersonages are reporting hook-ups with black, dark and dusky rockfish along Bluff Point and near Point Pogibshi.

Freshwater Fishing Report: The Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep Creek will open from the mouth upstream approximately 2 miles to the ADF&G regulatory marks to fishing Saturday, June 10, through Monday, June 12.

The Anchor River weir is operational and fish counts are available online at www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/FishCounts/. As of June 5, 1,428 kings have moved into the river.

There have been some nice fish landed and the early mornings hours have had some sizzle to them although things have tapered off a bit. Eggs were working as were spinners, with flies taking third.

River conditions on the Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep Creek are expected to be good.

Keep targeting the incoming tides. The new fish are somewhat clueless and have a propensity to strike faster when they haven’t been spooked by size 14 waders and newbies whipping the water like they’re on a cattle drive.

Shellfish: All Eastside Cook Inlet beaches from the Kenai River to the tip of the Homer Spit are closed to all clams through Dec. 31. The next clamming tides run from June 7-13. 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.

Littleneck (steamer) and butter clams can be found in gravel beaches on the south side of Kachemak Bay from Seldovia to Chugachik Island. Butter clams can also be found on the islands in China Poot Bay.

There will be a tanner crab fishery opening Oct. 1 and closing Feb. 28. All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay remain closed for 2017.

Nick can reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you have any tips, tales or rants about fish stealing seals that can be addressed in a family publication. None of the latter are expected.

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