Reeling ‘Em In: asdf

Wow, because of a weak run of kings and just after our last fishing report hit the stands, the angling doors slammed shut on the Anchor, Deep and Ninilchik streams tighter than a nudist’s keister glissading down a snow chute. Plus, a sport fishing regulation restriction was issued pertaining to chinook fishing (including catch-and-release) in marine waters within 1-mile of shore from Bluff Point to the Ninilchik River. Mega ouch, but it had to be done.

As of June 4, things haven’t improved with only 15 blackmouths tail flipping through the weir for a total of 158 fish while last year 83 had passed through for a total of 1,205. Even those who can barely do twenty-digit math without taking off their socks can figure out the “suckometer” rating for this run so far.

A bit of good news is that action at the Spit’s The Fishing Hole has picked up a bit. Tom, the lagoon’s mayor, who is rumored to have applied to homesteader’s rights to his spot at southwest side of the lagoon reports that fair numbers have been coming in the last few tides but are still moving in and out and not holding in lagoon. Some are good sized running 16-23 lbs. but most are still small 5.5 to10 lbs.

Last Sunday’s afternoon flood tide provided some good action which significantly improved on earlier days where things had been so slow that you could have done better bobber fishing in a vat of Budweiser.

Now it’s time to take a look at this week’s fishing report.

King Salmon Emergency Order

Per Emergency Order No. 2-KS-7-11-18, effective June 2, 2018, through July 15, 2018, sport fishing is closed on the Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep Creek drainages.

Therefore, the June 6, 2018, Youth-Only Fishery on the Ninilchik River is also closed.

Per Emergency Order No. 2-KS-7-12-18, effective June 2, 2018, through July 15, 2018, king salmon fishing (including catch-and-release) in marine waters within 1-mile of shore from Bluff Point to the Ninilchik River is prohibited. Within the 1-mile corridor, anglers should pay close attention to the closed waters surrounding the stream mouths.

Regulation Reminders

Do not space it out that a king salmon 20 inches or longer that is removed from the water must be retained and becomes part of the bag limit of the person who hooked the fish. Violation tickets are a drag and no one’s fault but your own.

Halibut are federally managed by NOAA. Make sure you know the regulations! Unguided and guided anglers have different rules to follow. A more extensive description of the Federal Regulations can be found on NOAA’s Fisheries Sport Halibut Fishing in Alaska Web page. Read these. Some anglers have been paying the price for ignoring or ignorance of the law.

Saltwater Fishing

Halibut

Both private and charter fishing efforts for halibut are in full swing through the month of June and some beautiful slabs have been hitting the tables.

Flat hunters are having success within a few miles of shore in Cook Inlet on most days and well into the inlet when conditions are good. Halibut sizes range from 10 to 250 pounds, with an average size being 14 pounds.

Herring on a circle hook is a standard killer of the gluttons; however, salmon heads, some lovely octopus and jigs (white with red eyes are slayers) also work well.

Fish near slack tide so you don’t need as much weight to keep your line on the bottom. It also helps keep the chiropractor bills down.

King Salmon

Calm seas resembling a huge set of flat satin sheets finally allowed trollers to get out in Kachemak Bay, south of Bluff Point, and near Point Pogibshi. Blackmouth hunters were able to score some success at Point Pogibshi over the weekend.

As usual, look for the kings at a variety of depths up to 100 feet near rocky points and kelp beds. Look for birds feeding on bait fish. They are great snitches.

Standard trolling set-ups for chinooks include herring, hootchies, various colored tube flies, and spoons behind a flasher or dodger. Try various leader lengths for different gear action behind flashers.

A downrigger setup is necessary to troll deeper water. Banana weights work well to troll gear near the surface.

Looking for some action? Try switching up flasher styles and colors (I’m hearing good things about the Kone Zone flashers), gear depths, and trolling speed. Consider the direction the tide is moving when trolling. On days with larger tidal exchanges, troll with the current.

ADF&G is continuing to sample the genetic stock composition of the marine king salmon fishery. There are port samplers at the Homer Harbor, Deep Creek, and Anchor Point tractor launches. If you fished for king salmon in the Cook Inlet area, regardless of success, they would like to talk to you and collect biological samples from your fish.

As noted previously, a small number of kings have returned to the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon, a.k.a. the Fishing Hole.

Fishing was fair over the weekend on the incoming tides. Watch for who is getting the hits and nailing the fish. Several techniques will give you a shot at joining any action that starts. Spinners, especially the Blue Vibrax will get their attention along with plug-cut herring or eggs about two feet beneath a bobber.

Be prepared for seals that are feeding on released smolt and spooking adults. Also, as long as the newly released smolt are present use eggs mainly on flood tide as smolt will strip eggs floating under the bobbers during stationary waters.

The kings will continue to return to the lagoon as the month of June progresses.

Note: The following good news was provided by Carol Kerkvliet of the ADF&G.

“In 2018, we suspended stocking kings in Halibut Cove Lagoon to increase the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon stocking to more fully utilized the returning fish. As a result, our stocking goal for kings was increased from 210,000 Chinook salmon smolt to 315,000 Chinook salmon smolt.

As for coho salmon, due to a brood collection shortfall for Bear Lake coho salmon in 2016, the William Jack Hernandez Hatchery had extra rearing capacity so they took extra Ship Creek coho salmon. These extra coho were allocated to the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. As a result, in 2018 the coho stocking was increased from 120,000 to 240,000 smolt. This is only a one time deal however.”

Sounds like there may be some exciting times coming our way, folks.

Rockfish

Rockfish are found near rocky points and in kelp beds. Great places to hunt pelagic rockfish in Kachemak Bay are near Bluff Point and Point Pogibshi.

You can pick up the critters while trolling spoons, tube flies, or herring. Jigs also work well also get their blood up.

Shellfish

Per Emergency Order No. 2-RCL-7-01-18 and 2-RCL-07-02-18, all Eastside Cook Inlet beaches from the Kenai River to the tip of the Homer Spit are CLOSED to all clamming through December 31, 2018.

The next clamming tides are June 12 - June 16, 2018.

Razor clams can be found hanging out it beaches along the west side of Cook Inlet and can be accessed by boat or plane. Productive razor clam beaches include the Polly Creek beach, Crescent River Bar, and Chinitna Bay.

Please use caution before traveling across the Cook Inlet because of strong tidal currents and variable weather conditions.

Littleneck (steamer) clams can be found in gravel beaches on the south side of Kachemak Bay from Seldovia to Chugachik Island.

Butter clams are chilling on the islands in China Poot Bay and can be found up to two feet deep.

Littleneck clams lurk in a variety of habitats from Jakolof Bay to Bear Cove. Check out new beaches for clam hideouts. Typically, littleneck clams are found shallower in the substrate, up to eight inches deep.

Occasionally there are PSP advisories issued by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Contact the DEC at (907) 269-7501 or visit the DEC PSP webpage for more information.

Other Saltwater Fishing

Want some primo laid-back time? Give a shot at fishing off the end of the Homer Spit. Species available out there include walleye pollock, Pacific cod, Dolly Varden, a variety of flatfish and the sporadic king.

Finally, fisherperonages are again reminded that the Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep Creek drainages are closed to all sport fishing from June 2, 2018, through July 15, 2018.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if he isn’t busy checking Wildlife Trooper reports on malfeasant miscreants, a.k.a., idiots with poles who didn’t read the final paragraph.

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