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Forecast: Weather hotter than the fishing

Posted: June 19, 2013 - 2:38pm  |  Updated: June 20, 2013 - 11:58am

It’s been a long time since the weather has been hotter than the fishing around here. With all of the fans blasting inside the cabin, it’s like stepping onto a wind tunnel 

when the mutts and I crawl back inside from a scouting expedition.

The Fishing Hole has been an interesting enigma so far. The lagoon can be deader than daylight at a vampire hostel and then all of sudden a few kings will slide in to give napping anglers near seizures when they slam their bait.

Last week, just as things started to roll, three seals showed to make quick work of a small school cruising inside. After the slaughter the critters left with smirks and personal nicknames, none of which would be printable in a Marine’s memoir much less a family newspaper.  

Since the kings are running small, there has been some confusion by some nonseasoned folks as to what they are hauling on shore out there.

At the moment, kings, reds and dollies are popping up.

There’s a quick way to tell the difference between chinooks, Dolly Varden and sockeyes so you won’t embarrass yourself in front of visitors after realizing that you were a major tool for telling your grandkid that he/she just landed a king when it was actually a highly disoriented red that didn’t have a clue of where it was supposed to be.

Kings (chinook) have a blue-gray back with silvery sides. They also have small, irregular-shaped black spots on their back, dorsal fin and usually on both lobes of the tail along with a black mouth and black gums at the teeth base of their lower jaw.

Sockeye (red) salmon have a dark blue back with silvery sides. There are no distinct spots on their back, dorsal fin or tail.

While in the ocean, adult sea-run Dolly Varden are silvery with a faint green sheen overlain with light orange spots. These are not jacks (immature male salmon), nor rainbow trout as one obnoxious “expert” and certifiable dip claimed he had caught and was turning into sushi-gorp on the cleaning table. He would have probably lost a finger if his pocketknife didn’t have the edge of a butter spatula.  

Now let’s take a look at the state fishing report:

Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders

King Salmon Emergency Orders 

King salmon sport fishing remains prohibited (including catch-and-release) within one mile of shore in marine waters south of the latitude of the mouth of the Ninilchik River to the latitude of Bluff Point.

The Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River and Stariski Creek are closed to sport fishing through July 15. As of June 17, a count of only 1,746 chinooks have headed up river. 

Anglers are reminded that in waters closed to king salmon fishing, king salmon may not be targeted and that any king salmon caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

Additional Regulation Reminders

Those serial killer-looking Lingcod may not be harvested until July 1.

Snagging will be allowed in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi from June 24-December 31, except in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon.

Saltwater Fishing: Halibut

Early-season halibut fishing is clipping along with fair to good reports although most fish continue to be small preteens with an attitude.  

The fishery will rev up when the bigger boys and girls arrive from their winter deep water retreats to stuff their faces in the shallower summer feeding areas. 

Sampled fish landed in the Homer harbor over the past week averaged 11.7  pounds (range of 6.2– 31.6 pounds). 

There are a few reports of “mushy” halibut this season. Luckily the gummy flats are rare out there, at the moment, according to some charters. 

If you run into a batch of these flabbatoids with pockets of jelly-like tissue, release them unharmed and jet on out of the area unless you crave deep fried Play-Doh or Halibut Qlympiyuk.

Saltwater Fishing: Salmon

Trolling success beyond one mile from shore Bluff Point north and Point Pogibshi and Bear Cove for feeder king salmon is reported as fair to good. 

Kings are easing on into the Halibut Cove Lagoon. 

Other Saltwater Fishing

Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a unique experience if you can find a place to park outside the lot’s new tape line. If you secure a slot then you can take a shot at Walleye pollock, Pacific cod, and a variety of flatfish species.

Anglers are popping some Dollies along the east side of the Homer Spit.

Lake Fishing

The Kenai Peninsula has a bunch of stocked lakes that provide great fishing opportunities and the chance to kill an Attila-the-Hun horde of mosquitoes before needing an emergency transfusion. 

A brochure listing the locations of the stocked lakes is available on the Sport Fish web site and at ADF&G offices.

Shellfish

The next series of clamming tides run June 21-28, which includes some righteous minus 5-foot tides.

As we’ve stated before, digging for razor clams on Ninilchik beaches is pitiful. Try Clam Gulch beaches or the beaches on the west side of Cook Inlet if you have a boat, plane or are a really strong swimmer without an active brain cell.

Don’t forget that the razor clam bag and possession limit has been decreased to the first 25 clams dug through Dec. 31.

Diggers are reminded that possession limit refers to the number of unpreserved clams a person may have in their possession. Preserved is defined on page 5 of your regulation summary booklet. 

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

Good numbers of 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. 

All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay are currently closed.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you have tips, observations or nearly true fishing tales that you’d like to share with other pole wielding fanatics. 

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