Humans not the only fishers at the hole

Our famous fishing hole has been in a bit of a slump lately and more than a few of the kings are starting to look as though they could have used some SPF 100 sun block.

Do not despair. There are still a limited number of chrome beauties gliding around itching for a brawl stalked by a couple of obnoxious seals eager to ruin your day.

Tom, the lagoon’s emblematic mayor and purveyor of parables recently experienced a near debacle when one of those thieving b@$T@&^s attempted to purloin a 21-pound, maroon-blushed chinook that was putting down some serious runs on him. Tom won the dust-up without his catch resembling something mauled by piranhas and filled his proxies for the season.

Others have not been so lucky.

The other day, I was watching a distinguished, silver haired gentleman do battle with a king that was bright silver and highly annoyed that its dentistry had been modified by a treble-hook implant.

The Cabela-gear-enhanced piscatorian was, on the other hand, deeply pleased with the fish’s new grill work until, out of the blue, it seemed to explode.

Suddenly his prize fish was seal sushi and all he could do was gape as his trophy was brazenly scarfed down.

The refined chap was not amused. His ribald language came close to cracking the windshields of nearby vehicles and melting the gravel beneath his camo Muck boots.

He calmed down after his wife reached him bearing a flask of stress reliever along with a solemn lecture regarding his public outburst that sent their massive Rottweiler scurrying under their RV.

I have had several nice fish purloined by those creatures in past years and each flashback features vengeful visions of orcas cruising the outer beach waiting for snack-time during the outgoing tide.

While you wait for the first pulse of silvers, try salmon eggs or herring suspended a couple of feet below a bobber and hit the stragglers as the tide builds or recedes in the hole. Don’t forget the shore cruisers along the outside beach.

Regulation Reminders: The lower portions of the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Stariski Creek remain open to sport fishing except for king salmon.

The chinooks may not be targeted and if hooked, they must be released immediately.

Gear is limited to one unbaited, single hook, artificial lure.

The Ninilchik River is open for hatchery king salmon from the mouth to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game markers located approximately two miles upstream and anglers are allowed to fish with bait.

In the saltwater, closed areas surrounding the Anchor River, Stariski Creek, Deep Creek and the Ninilchik River remain in effect through July 15.

Closed area boundaries are detailed on page 71 of the Sport Fishing Regulation Summary booklet.

Snagging is open in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi except for the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon (Fishing Hole), which only opens by emergency order.

China Poot personal use dipnet fishery (Alaska residents only) remains open upstream of the ADF&G markers.

Personal-use caught sockeye must have both tips of the tail fin removed.

Complete regulations are found on page 13 of the Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulation Summary booklet.

The marine waters of Tutka Bay Lagoon within 100 yards of the hatchery net pens are closed to sport fishing for any species.

Sport caught pinks may be used as bait in the salt water fisheries, but ARE counted as part of your daily bag limit.

The rockfish harvest has continued its upswing.

Both Bluff Point and Point Pogibshi have been producing black, dark and dusky rockfish.

Anglers venturing to the outer coast are reporting catches of lingcod and a variety of rockfish including yelloweye, black, dark and duskies.

Don’t forget that while you may retain five rockfishes per day, only one may be a nonpelagic species (see chart on page 90).

Lingcod season runs through Dec. 31. The bag limit is two per day and two in possession; the fish must be at least 35 inches long with head attached or 28 inches from tip of tail to front of dorsal fin with head removed.

Someone posted a picture of a friend holding a huge specimen of one of those monsters on Facebook. Great image except I couldn’t tell if she was holding the beast at an angle of if it was attempting to swallow her arm up to the elbow. It would have helped if she didn’t have such a startled look on her face.

Saltwater Fishing — Halibut: Private boats have been bringing some beautiful flats to the cleaning tables and the charters are limiting out with amazing catches also.

Small skiff anglers have started to pick up some fair-sized halibut in Mud Bay.

Herring remains the heavy hitter as the go-to bait, but octopus, squid, salmon heads, and bright white jigs with red eyes will also kick start their drool response.

Unguided anglers can retain two halibut a day, four in possession.

Saltwater Fishing — Salmon: Trolling success for kings is reported as fair to good around Bluff Point and Point Pogibshi.

Anglers are reporting increased catches of pinks mixed with chum, sockeye and an occasional silver.

Sockeye are beginning to arrive into Tutka Bay Lagoon. This is a stocked fishery paid for by enhancement taxes on commercial fisheries. Anglers are reminded to avoid commercial boats operating in the area.

Other Saltwater Fishing

Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a great way to test your sense of humor while flailing away for pollock, Pacific cod, and an assortment of flatfish.

Last weekend, I watched happy hunters returning to their rigs with coolers and buckets full of cod-like things, flounders and creatures that must have been spawned before Homer became a nuclear free zone.

There continue to be reports of spiny dogfish being annoying. If you do retain them, remember that the limit is five per day, five in possession. Not happening with this dude.

Freshwater Fishing: Dolly Varden and pinks are beginning to enter the roadside streams including the Anchor River.

For those of you who can’t tell the difference between a dolly and a pink, dollies belong to a group of fish called char. The light spots on their sides distinguish them from most trout and salmon which are usually black spotted or speckled. The sea-run fish are silvery with an olive-green to brown color on the dorsal surface and numerous red to orange spots on their sides. The mature males become brilliant red on the lower body surface and the lower fins become reddish-black with white along the leading edges. Mature females are similar but are less brightly colored. Males develop an extended lower jaw which hooks upward, fitting into a groove which is formed in the upper jaw. A hook also forms in the females but is considerably less developed.

I felt it necessary to go into more detail after having a conversation with an out-of-state angler who was convinced that he had landed a pink.

It might have been easier to convince him that his deduction made about as much sense as the latest results from our state Legislature if he hadn’t been a six-pack short of a case.

Try fishing near the mouth of the streams with a small, bright single-hook spinner such as a Z-Ray or with fly patterns resembling fish or egg patterns.

Shellfish: All Eastside Cook Inlet beaches from the Kenai River to the tip of the Homer Spit are closed to the taking of all clams through Dec. 31.

The next clamming tides run from July 7-13.

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 be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you have any nearly true tales or tips on where to find bait mackerel on the Kenai.

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