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When will silvers show at Fishing Hole?

Posted: July 10, 2013 - 5:57pm  |  Updated: July 10, 2013 - 6:02pm

The vast staff here at the headquarters of “Reeling ’Em In” has received a plethora of inquires as to when the first silvers are going to make their summer debut at The Fishing Hole.

How in the *&*%^ should I know? We thought that this year’s batch of kings would start trickling inside around the last of May and then kick things up throughout June. We were way wrong. If they had been any later they would have been next year’s run.

When some chinooks finally arrived they managed to keep a few of the more astute fishermen occupied enough to keep them from taking headers off their buckets into the lagoon after losing consciousness from terminal  boredom. It was a classic “you should have been here at 4 a.m., I think I actually had a strike” type fishery.

There are still kings circling around in the lagoon but getting them to bite lately has been about as successful as fly fishing in the parking lot. 

As for the coho, I’m not going to be too fired up until I see them doing cartwheels in the surf outside the pond as the tide builds up.

Why? Because for the last few years a big bulk of the fish planted there  ended up with an ailment known as being “seriously deceased.” They assumed belly-up status for various reasons ranging from killer algae blooms to the fact that The Hole was getting so shallow that if the buildup continued the surviving smolt would have to wade out to sea.

Finally things may be getting better. As most of you know the lagoon received a do-over dredging recently and is back to its original depth. Plus, the smolt sowing went well with around 130,000 healthy little silvers headed out to sea carrying return tickets for July 2014. The chinook plants also got off to a righteous start with two separate dumps of 115,000 and 110,000 tiny kings hitting the pool. They’ll be returning within a one- to four-year time period.    

Remember back 1990 when the City of Homer, South Peninsula Sportsman's Association, and Alaska Department of Fish and Game were co-recipients of a national award recognizing the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon as the best fishery enhancement project in the nation? Well, maybe we are starting to head back in that direction.

Yes, it’s sad that the glory days of a second run of huge kings cruising The Hole like miniature nuclear subs are long gone, but let’s hope the new chinooks coming back will be strong and have nasty attitudes. And ,yes, it’s even sadder that starting next year, there will no longer be a second run of silvers either. But hey, when the only silver return hits in 2014 it might be large enough to bring some our more notorious anglers out of retirement.

You know the ones. They couldn’t catch a fish unless they hauled it in backward using a weighted treble hook and 50-pound test line. With the new camera phones maybe this go-around they’ll end up with more court appearances than Lindsay Lohan.

Now let’s take a look at some of the state’s weekly fishing report.

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 through July 15.

The Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River and Stariski Creek are closed to sport fishing through July 15.

In waters closed to king salmon fishing, kings may not be hunted and any chinook caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

Snagging is allowed in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi through Dec. 31, except in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon where’s not enough fish to catch the customary way much less snag.

Tanner Crab Emergency Orders

The Cook Inlet and North Gulf Coast sport, personal use and subsistence Tanner crab fisheries will not open for the 2013-2014 season. Where’s a Red Lobster when you need one?

Saltwater Fishing: Halibut

Halibut fishing is pole banging along with fair to great results. As usual herring seems to be the “go to” bait but wrapping some squid on a circle hook works well too and is tougher for the flat thieves to steal.

Sampled fish landed in the Homer harbor over the past week averaged 12.4 pounds (range of 3.1 – 42.5 pounds).

The department has received a few reports of “mushy” halibut this season but nothing to get lathered up about. They have been as rare as a non staged brawl in professional wrestling match.

Saltwater Fishing: Salmon

Trolling success for feeder king salmon is reported as fair near Seldovia and pumps up to somewhat decent off Bluff Point.

Things are starting to cook near Seldovia where they have been whacking sockeye, pink, chum, and a few Coho salmon.

Sockeye salmon have arrived into Tutka Bay Lagoon. This is a stocked fishery paid for by enhancement taxes on commercial fisheries. Sportspersonages are reminded to avoid commercial boats operating in lagoon because they might get cranky if you mess up their turf.

Other Saltwater Fishing

Lingcod season is open through Dec. 31. Anglers are reminded that the bag and possession limit is 2 fish and the minimum legal size is 35 inches. Remember, if you have small pets on board, they may mysteriously disappear if you have one of these ravenous creatures on board. They are not only unsightly but wicked sneaky and only die after they’ve been filleted. 

Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a hoot. Species available include Walleye pollock, Pacific cod, a variety of flatfish species and organisms with fins they haven’t classified yet.

Dollies and pink salmon are being taken along the east side of the Homer Spit.

Personal Use

The China Poot personal use dip fishery is open to Alaska residents through Aug. 7. No permit is required. The bag and possession limits are six sockeye per person per day and they have been reported in the bay. Only sockeye salmon may be retained.

Fresh Water Fishing

Pink salmon and chum are starting to enter streams on the south side of Kachemak Bay.  Humpy Creek and the Seldovia River are popular streams to fish for pink and chum salmon.

Shellfish

Clamming tides run through July11 then July 20-26. Digging for razor clams on Ninilchik beaches is semi rotten. Try Clam Gulch beaches or beaches on the west side of Cook Inlet. 

The razor clam bag and possession limit has been decreased to the first 25 clams dug through Dec. 31, 2013. 

That possession limit refers to the number of unpreserved clams a person may have in their possession. Preserved is defined on page 5 of the Southcentral sport fishing regulation summary booklet.

The bag and possession limit for littleneck and butter clams is a combined limit of 80 clams. The legal size for littleneck clams (steamers) is 1 ½ inches or wider and the legal size for butter clams is 2 ½ inches or wider. To distinguish littleneck clams from butter clams, refer to page 9 of the Southcentral sport fishing regulation summary booklet that you have in app form in your iPhone.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you have any tips on what’s hot and what’s not. He’ll check them out as he waits to hear from a certain charter captain.

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