King fishing has flatlined but silvers are coming in

Chinook fishing in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon is lacking a discernible heartbeat.

Big “T,” who customarily claims summer estate privileges along the waterline of the southwest corner of The Hole, said he figured that fishermen took about 60 fish, of which 20 percent were Coho, during the first two hours of the special snagging opening on Friday.

The opening terminated at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday so you’ll have to work for what’s coming next.

Yes, the rumors are true, the silvers are slowly starting to get their finny freak on at The Fishing Hole.

Jumpers have been spotted along the western rocky edge of the spit adjacent to the boat trailer parking yard and offshore of the lagoon’s entrance.

As of late afternoon Monday, several small schools of the acrobatic fish were patrolling the outer saltwater and then as the diminutive daytime tide started to roll in on Tuesday, the few fishermen greeting it put a few on their stringers.

Hey, by the time you read this, things could be cookin’ at the pond. Or not.

Every year, we receive emails inquiring as to what kind of set up usually works better on the lagoon silvers.

There are a few things to consider before you hit The Hole.

It is a very unique setting and opportunity for season line floggers, as well as novices, to add some primo fillets to their freezer if they, at least partially, follow a few simple suggestions.

Silvers can be persnickety little jackasses so you may have to experiment with your presentations.

A medium dab of cured roe will usually cop a strike, especially if you angle your attack into the currents of the incoming and outgoing tides and let the line sink.

Try some split shot about a foot to 18 inches up from your bait and try not to get snarled up with any neighboring maniacs who are Blitzkrieging the water like they’re vying for the last red in the Russian River.

If the fish put you on “ignore” and behave like they’d rather be pureed by a deranged wolf eel than snatch up what you’re tossin’, give a small, plug-cut herring a stab using the same technique.

I customize the little guys that way because it’s easy to set them up to spin while releasing more scent into the water.

If you still can’t capture their attention, then it’s time to fire some metal their way.

Coho are suckers for flashy silver bladed lures such #3 Vibrax. Experiment with sundry bell colors (orange, blue, red and all silver).

If you still can’t get a hit, seek counsel from the nearest sober piscatorian with stringer of silvers or offer your space to someone who reflects even a modicum of potential competence and then slink out of the area. It’ll be tough to admit that you are the official lagoon wiener-of-the-day but you’ll get over it. Trust me, I know the feeling. More on hunting lagoon silvers next week, but now it’s time to look at the fishing report for the week of July 19 to July 26.

Regulation Reminders

Snagging is allowed in Lower Cook Inlet south of Anchor Point through December 31, except in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon.

China Poot personal use dip net fishery is open upstream of the ADF&G makers and continues through Aug. 7. Personal use caught sockeye must have both tips of the tail fin removed prior to transport. Check out pages 12-13 of the Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulation Summary booklet for the regs on this fishery.

The lower portions of the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Stariski Creek are open to sport fishing except for kings. You cannot target the chinooks and if you hook one, it must be released immediately.

On the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Stariski Creek and Ninilchik River, bait and treble hooks are legal gear through August 31, but the upstream locations remain closed until Aug. 1.

Lingcod season remains open. The bag and possession limit of these scrumptious beasts is 2 fish and the minimum legal size is 35 inches with head attached or 28 inches from tip of tail to front of dorsal fin with head removed.

Someone wrote me last week and said that she thought lingcod were cute. Give me a break, only White Walkers from the Game of Thrones would consider something that nuclear ugly to be adorable. I hope she seeks help.

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

Saltwater Fishing Report

Halibut fishing in Cook Inlet continues to be fine with things looking like there are even better days ahead.

The flats just love large herring on circle hooks with a side of octopus parts. Squid, salmon heads, and bright jigs with red eyes also ups their drool dynamic to flood stage.

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

Salmon

Trolling conquests for blackmouths remains erratic throughout Kachemak Bay. Some king hunters have been doing a bit better on the south side of the bay around Halibut Cove area and off Bluff Point.

Silvers are showing up in increasing numbers from the Chugach Islands to Point Pogibshi.

Noteworthy catches of pinks have been made along the south shore of Kachemak Bay. Wow! Breathe deeply. Now that you have calmed down, don’t forget that those bait stealing humpbacks may be used as bait in the salt water fisheries for something a bit more palatable so they do have a saving grace. They also count as part of your daily bag limit.

Expect fair to good fishing for late-run kings from Anchor Point to Deep Creek over this next week. Try trolling in shallow water at high tide for a better chance at strikes.

Fishing in Tutka Bay Lagoon for pink and sockeye has been good. I’m happy with half of that report.

Dipnetting results for sockeye in China Poot has been reported as smokin’ and keeping the harbor’s cleaning tables busy. Things are peaking over there so get your swoop on.

Other Saltwater Fishing

Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be an intriguing experience while you are flogging the salt for Walleye Pollock, Pacific cod, a multiplicity of flatfish. Sometimes, you’ll run across genera that are hard to recognize. That goes for some of the fish too.

Boaters are continuing to report catches of black, dark and dusky rockfish along Bluff Point and near Point Pogibshi.

Fresh waters Fishing Report

On the Ninilchik River, some bright to blush hatchery king salmon are still lurking in the stream. Salmon egg roe clusters, plug cut herring, spinners, spoons and jugs remain the hot snacks for luring the hatchery kings.

Dolly Varden angling continues to be fair to good in the roadside streams. Try fishing the mouths of these streams for better success. The dollies have a thing for small, bright single-hook spinners; fly patterns that resemble fish, such as muddler minnows; and egg patterns.

The Anchor River had a lot of Dolly Varden spoiling for a fight last Monday along with a plethora of pinks trying to hog the action.

Shellfish

Razor Clam Emergency Order

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 December 31, 2017. The next clamming tides run from July 20-26.

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 serious caution before traveling across the inlet because of strong currents. Checking the weather forecast before heading out is a no brainer.

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 are found on the islands in China Poot Bay. Littleneck clams can be found in a variety of habitats from Jakolof Bay to Bear Cove. There will be a Tanner crab fishery opening Oct. 1 and closing Feb. 28, 2018.

All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay remain closed for 2017.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you have any tips, tales or a picture of a White Walker with its pet lingcod, “Cuddlebuns.”

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