Reeling ‘Em In: Fishing Hole action is an epic skunk fest

It’s been a few years since I’ve had to sit down, fire up some mellow instrumental jazz and admit that the king run at The Nick Dudiak Fishing Hole remains pretty much a textbook place to practice despondency casting or take a significant nap.

Oh, there have been a few pulses of fin-bearing hope slip into the lagoon, but the action has been sporadic at best.

The weather hasn’t been a big help either. After a previous week of sunshine and a significant upsurge in sunblock sales, the skies darkened with a heavy mantle of clouds laden with a stubborn typhoon’s remnant rains and winds that dumped a major load, much to the annoyance of even seasoned ducks.

If you are experiencing a skunk fest out there, pay attention to anyone who nails one. If they are fishing legally, watch the technique and the lures they are using, then give those a shot.

Also, try fishing outside the lagoon as the tide rises. Use a plug-cut small herring hanging upside down on a single no. 5 hook about 8 inches down from your bobber. Yep, that’s what I said, 8 inches. Inside The Hole, I normally utilize a 2- to 3-foot lead that has constantly given me lying rights until this year’s zombie run.

If they still put you on significant “ignore” with the herring presentation, try cured salmon eggs. Don’t get carried away with the amount. You are trying to catch the fish, not choke it to death.

The blue Vibrax is also a viable weapon along with a silver blade Flash ‘n’ Glo.

One last thing before we hit the regular fishing report. If you have access to mackerel, try some hunks. The kings love those oily creature parts.

Now let’s take a look at the fishing report for the week of June 18-24.

Reminders:

Sport fishing is closed on the Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep Creek drainages through July 15.

Note: Anchor River weir count as of June 18, only 568 fish have passed through. Last year, same date, 3,411. That’s a thundercloud full of disappointment.

King salmon fishing (including catch-and-release) in marine waters within 1 mile of shore from Bluff Point to the Ninilchik River is prohibited through July 15, 2018.

Within the 1-mile corridor, anglers should pay close attention to the closed waters surrounding the stream mouths.

Snagging is not allowed in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi until June 24.

A king 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. No switchees.

Saltwater Fishing

Halibut

Halibut fishing was sort of a drag during the past week, although some hefty honkers were hauled in by both private and charter boats. One slab showed up sporting around 285 pounds of beer batter possibilities. Rough seas didn’t help the flat hunters, but Dramamine stocks experienced a temporary rise.

Herring on a circle hook is still the key to luring the swimming fillets into slamming the hook. Others rave about salmon heads, octopus parts and flashy jigs. Who really cares? Try a Snickers bar if you think it will work.

King Salmon

Trolling for chinooks has continued to be downright dawdling throughout Kachemak Bay and offshore in the Inlet.

Don’t give up. Some still lurk out there. Try probing for them at varying depths of up to 100 feet near rocky points and kelp beds and keep a keen watch for aerial assaults being launched by seabirds feeding on bait fish.

If you don’t know the following by now, why are you out there? Good downrigger setups for trolling blackmouths include herring, bright spoons, and hootchies trailed behind flashers or dodgers.

If what you are serving up seems to be boring your prey so much they would rather be nailed by a salmon shark, try switching up flasher styles and colors, gear depths, and trolling speed. If the tides are steaming, troll with the current for a more realistic appearance.

As previously lamented, king fishing continues to be a bit brutal at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon on the Homer Spit (The Fishing Hole).

Even the self-proclaimed mayor of the fishing lagoon who spends around 27 hours a day out there has been frustrated.

His reports sound like he’d probably get more mosquito bites during an Antarctic storm than the hits he has experienced lately.

It’s not all bummer time. He spotted a few fish being landed, some in the 18- to 22-pound range accompanied by a rumor of a couple at 30. Remember, I said rumor. Duplicity is a favorite pastime of a true piscatorian.

There is some good news. A Fish and Game Trooper has been paying more visits and it’s fun to watch the miscreants suddenly remember they have to check the air in their tires or start dinner when a badge shows up. Thank you.

A variety of methods can work at The Hole and I mentioned a few of them earlier in the column. It’s always cool to hit the tide changeouts. Moving water jacks up their strike trigger.

The kings should continue to return to the lagoon through June.

Don’t let it slip the memory banks that snagging in Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon is closed and opened only by emergency order. Real fishermen and the law will be more than happy to remind you.

Chinook fishing at Seldovia Lagoon is improving as more fish enter the lagoon. The best time to fish is during the incoming tide as new fish arrive. Line flingers are using spinners, herring, and shrimp as bait.

Rockfish

Rockfish are found near rocky points and in kelp beds. The most popular places to target pelagic rockfish in Kachemak Bay are near Bluff Point and Point Pogibshi.

Try fishing for them while trolling by using spoons, tube flies, or herring. Jigs also work well.

Shellfish

Razor Clam Emergency Order

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 Dec. 31.

The next clamming tides are June 26 to June 30, so we will talk about them at a later date.

Other Saltwater Fishing

Hey, if you would like to try something different, fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be an interesting experience. Casting various odiferous globs of gork can get you smacks from all kinds of critters, including semi palatable walleye pollock to really fine Pacific cod anxious for a dip in your deep fryer. Those waters also serve up Dolly Varden and a variety of flatfish from the ick-factor-ten Arrowtooth flounder to some of its cousins that are excellent munchables.

Freshwater Fishing

One more time: The Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep Creek drainages are closed to all sport fishing from June 2 through July 15.

Additional Updates:

For the remainder of June, the Kenai River will be closed to sportfishing for kings from its mouth to the outlet of Skilak Lake. In July the river will open for kings downstream of a marker about 300 yards downstream of the Slikok Creek mouth at approximately river mile 19, according to an emergency order the Alaska Department of Fish and Game issued Monday.

Russian River Sanctuary Opens Early for Sporting Fishing.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) is implementing the following sport fishing regulation liberalization by opening the Russian River Sanctuary area early for anglers to sport fish for sockeye salmon. This regulatory change is effective 8 a.m. Tuesday, June 19 through 11:59 p.m. Saturday, July 14. Please review the Upper Kenai River and Russian River Confluence area map (Area B) on page 60 of the 2018 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you have any tips, tales or rambles that won’t embarrass your immediate family.

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