Think about Mud Bay for halibut fishing

There had been something niggling my rusting memory banks for weeks. It had to do with halibut hunting but I couldn’t kick it loose until I ran into an old fishing buddy.

He and I had launched lines at the Homer Spit’s lagoon in years long past and, although we held dichotomous political beliefs, we got along just fine and still do.

We realized that neither of us were going to change the other’s convictions when it came to ideologies so we dealt with screaming lines rather than tiresome pontifications that would squander perfectly good oxygen and bore the bait fish.

My friend said that he has been slamming the halibut and already had a fine stash of delicate fillets in his freezer. He also added that he had been hitting them not far from the end of the Spit. That’s when it struck me.

Year after year, I have mentiond the fine flat hunting that can be found within the environs of Mud Bay.

D is a safe and smart fisherman. He calls his expeditions, Chicken$^!+ Charters and stays pretty close to home base (No, he’s not a professional guide but does have one hell of a sense of humor).

Anyway, if you pilot a small craft and are apprehensive about ranging out toward or into the inlet, try checking out Mud Bay. Myself and others have caught some first-rate ‘buts within 15-minute runs from the harbor’s entrance.

If you have a depth finder, look for drop-off voids along the bottom. Halibut will lurk beneath the dips’ lips and ambush passing quarry. If you lack the technology, look for other small vessels still or drift fishing an area. They might be on to something.

Now it’s time to take a look at the fishing report for the week of June 25 to July 1.

Reminders to keep you out of trouble

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

Per Emergency Order No. 2-KS-7-12-18, effective June 2 through July 15, 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.

New stuff

Snagging is now allowed in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi.

China Poot personal use dip net fishery opens July 1 to Alaska residents only, upstream of the ADF&G markers. Personal use caught sockeye salmon must have both tips of the tail fin removed. Complete regulations are found on page 15 of the 2018 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulation Summary booklet.

Lingcod season also opens July 1. Anglers are reminded that the bag and possession limit is two fish and the minimum legal size is 35 inches with the head attached or 28 inches from tip of tail to font of the dorsal fin with the head removed. Yep, it’s almost time to deal with a critter that would enjoy taking a bite out of you as much as you would it.

Saltwater Fishing

Halibut

Halibut fishing jumped up to “fair” status through the last week with a mixed bag of good and snarky weather days.

Halibut sizes generally range from 10 to 250 pounds, with an average size of 14 pounds.

With the tides gearing up for a good run this coming week, try fishing near slack tide so you don’t need as much weight to keep your line on the bottom while your boat is anchored. An old engine block might work when the water’s starts rippin’.

King Salmon

Chinook seekers achieved patchy success within Kachemak Bay and near Bluff Point last week.

Keep trying a variety of depths up to 100 feet near rocky points and kelp beds and stay on the lookout for those skyborne snitches feeding on schools of bait fish.

When you can find them, kings go for set-ups that offer a varying menu of herring, hootchies, tube flies, and glitzy spoons trailing behind a flasher or dodger.

If you are still not getting hits, change up your flasher styles, colors, trolling depth and speed. This coming week of higher tides, troll with the current for a more efficient presentation.

King fishing is hitting low gear at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. Some of the fish are starting to look like they are embarrassed to be there with the blush they’re showing.

Hits have been rare but some positive activity has been kicking up between 2:30 and 4 in the morning if you can drag your keister out there that early. Herring and eggs suspended beneath a float remain the main strike getters. Activity also picks up during the tide changes. Don’t forget to give the outside beaches a shot if you can’t stay awake inside the hole.

Snagging in Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon is closed and opened only by emergency order.

Rockfish

Excellent news:

Rockfish catch has been quite high in the past week as calm weather has allowed vessels to travel further from Homer. These delicious critters are found near rocky points and in kelp beds. To target pelagic rockfish in Kachemak Bay try near Bluff Point and Point Pogibshi.

They can be taken trolling spoons, tube flies, or herring. Jigs will also get their attention.

Shellfish

Per Emergency Order No. 2-RCL-7-01-18 and 2-RCL-07-02-18 all east side Cook Inlet beaches from the Kenai River to the tip of the Homer Spit are closed to all clamming through Dec. 31.

Some righteous clamming tides are heading our way July 10 to 18.

If being on the water doesn’t float your boat, or the weather is keeping the fleet at the docks, casting off the end of the Homer Spit can be a dime store substitute for a crack at some fresh fish. Walleye pollock, Pacific cod, Dolly Varden, a variety of flatfish cruise off shore just looking for some odiferous gorp to be flung their way.

Be able to recognize what you pull in out there. Some of those fin-bearers will turn into mush a cat wouldn’t touch after they hit a hot skillet.

One last reminder:

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

If you would like a salt free fishing experience, most of the Kenai Peninsula lakes have been stocked with rainbow trout and fishing conditions should be good. Try fishing with dry or wet flies, small spoons, spinners, or bait.

Review the 2018 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for a current list of stocked lakes and the species they’re stocked.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you have any tips, tales or basic rants that have a modicum of quasi spelling skills unencumbered by a brewery assist.

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