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Fishing Hole action slow; halibut heats up

Posted: July 17, 2013 - 2:12pm

Anyone cruising by the Fishing Hole recently must be thinking they would come across more people if they dropped in on a private Pebble mine, executives only, appreciation party for the Alaska Wilderness League. What can I say? It has been so slow that you can find more action sitting at home watching dandelions convert your lawn into the mother of all puffballs.

I scouted the pond Tuesday morning to see if any silvers were doing back flips in the salt water but ended up watching a couple of seals munch on seasoned kings that were getting so old around the gills that they had to use their pectoral fins as canes.

I also was hoping the guy who was spotted spear fishing in the lagoon awhile back would pop up somewhere. 

Now that I’ve been informed that such an activity is legal, I wanted to see what type of gear he is using. I figure that his dive suit must be made out of some sort of state-of-the-art chainmail/Kevlar especially in the vicinity of the butt.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that some of the grizzled old angling vets who regularly fish out there would deliberately target the happy harpooner. It’s just they don’t have quite the eyesight nor casting acuteness that they once possessed and might inadvertently whack the dude in some highly personal orifice. Especially if he tools through a school of fish just as they passed beneath the men’s bobber sets or lines of fire sporting lures with treble hooks. 

Note: I received a call from one rather agitated gentleman that suggested the frogman head for different waters lest he ends stuffed and hanging over a fireplace. I reminded him that snagging wasn’t allowed in the lagoon and that he’d have to let him go or face a fine. He asked if the fish cops took credit cards and hung up.

Now let’s take a look at some of this week’s state fishing report.

The Ninilchik River remains closed to king salmon fishing along with its buddies the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Stariski Creek. Don’t even think about targeting chinooks in these streams and any king caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be be released immediately.

Saltwater fishing: halibut

Halibut fishing is fair to smokin’ if you’re sneaky and follow someone who knows what they’re doing. 

Herring still rules as bait but try putting a chunk of squid on the circle hook, too. Halibut are greedy and have the intelligence of coleslaw so once they purloin the herring they’ll keep banging away at the squid until you become competent enough to set the hook.

Sampled fish landed in the Homer harbor over the past week averaged 17.8 pounds (range of 3.8– 127 pounds). 

Saltwater fishing: salmon

Snagging is allowed in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi through December 31, except in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon where it would be useless anyway.

Trolling success for feeder king salmon has been a downer lately in Kachemak Bay. 

Coho catches have been reported off of Point Pogibshi. Some have not.

King salmon fishing at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon on the Homer Spit, Halibut Cove Lagoon and Seldovia Lagoon is over which is not so much different than when it started.  

Silvers are expected to start arriving at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon in the next few weeks. That’s cool. Maybe it’s the run that got lost last year.

Sockeye and large schools of pink salmon have arrived into Tutka Bay Lagoon. This is a stocked fishery paid for by enhancement taxes on commercial fisheries. Anglers are reminded to avoid commercial boats operating in the lagoon. 

I wonder if that’s what happened to the spear fishermen after he left The Fishing Hole? No wonder we haven’t glimpsed him lately.

Other saltwater fishing

Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a great way to get a sunburn while hauling in Walleye pollock, Pacific cod, flatfish and things that may chase you back to your car.

Lingcod fishing is fair around Elizabeth and Chugach Islands for those anglers willing and able to travel a bit further for a fish that looks like it would have no qualms eating either you or the boat. 

Lingcod season is open through Dec. 31. The bag and possession limit is two fish and the minimum legal size is 35 inches.

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. Only sockeye may be retained.

Sockeye salmon catches have been chugging along at slow speed but should fire up soon. 

Fresh water fishing 

Expect fair fishing for pink salmon and Dolly Varden in roadside streams. Some nice dollies have already been taken in the Anchor River.

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

Shellfish: 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.

The next series of clamming tides run July 20-26. Digging for razor clams on Ninilchik beaches is wretched. Try Clam Gulch beaches or beaches on the west side of Cook Inlet if you really have a craving to masticate these mollusks.

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

Additional regulation reminders

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 look it up on page 9 of the Southcentral sport fish regulation summary booklet.

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

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you have any tips, tales or just want to grump about a fishing partner who is so inept that he couldn’t land a small trout from a kiddies’ pool without shooting it.

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