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Fishing for silvers heats up; here’s how you won’t get skunked

Posted: August 7, 2013 - 3:01pm

Flat Island and Point Pogibshi have been heating up for silvers lately, so maybe those reports from boats fishing elsewhere and claiming things have been as exciting as a 20-mile speed-lumbering race for sumo wrestlers when it comes to finding the aggressive aerialists are about to change.

Some anglers in Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay have been hooking into the elusive fish using a plug-cut herring (the head removed with an angled, beveled cut to make it spin) trolled behind a 2-to-4-ounce crescent sinker.

One of the better producing methods seems to be a modified herring trolled behind a dodger or flasher fished off a downrigger using a 10-to-12-pound lead ball on a cable. The angler’s line is attached by a clip that allows the gear to be lowered to a preferred fishing depth where it is released when a fish strikes. Sixty feet is a good depth in open water and 20 feet down along the shoreline works as long as you know where you are and what lies beneath.

Those lead balls aren’t cheap and losing all of your gear a couple times to underwater snags makes those fish awfully expensive even without considering the price of the boat, gas, trailer, perpetual maintenance and a spouse with a calculator. 

Other approaches that have been working pretty well are trolling red and green color combos of artificial hootchie squid behind a flasher with a filleted strip of herring trailing on the hooks to serve as a scent trail.

If you are well-heeled enough to have a electronic fish-finder instead of a snorkeling mask to spot balls of bait fish in the depths below, try trolling through them at something close to five feet beneath the mass because salmon are devious devils and attack from behind and below the panicked buffets.

For those of us who primarily chase silvers from the shore, the best strategy at the moment is to hit the streams and rivers in the early morning and evening hours. The mouths of the tributaries can be especially rockin’ two hours before and after high tide.

As far as the Fishing Hole goes, things haven’t improved much since last week’s report, but these new higher tides are starting to push some fish into the pond. I spotted several jumpers in the lagoon during low tide on Tuesday morning and they were big enough to at least bend a pole.

If that doesn’t bear fruit I guess you could try trolling off shore using a paddle board,  but keeping up a 3 to 4 miles per hours scull speed will flat wear you out unless you’re juicing like Alex Rodriguez.

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

Halibut fishing remains pretty darn good although the fish on the cleaning tables were somewhat smaller this week.  

Sampled fish landed in the Homer harbor over the past week averaged 11.1 pounds (range of 4.8-30.6 pounds). 

Feeder king salmon fishing is reported as good at Flat Island and Point Pogibshi. Add those beasts to the upswing in silvers in the area and you’re talking party time.

A high number of unruly pinks are mixed with a low number of more sedate sockeye salmon in Tutka Bay Lagoon. Freelance fisherman need to avoid commercial boats operating in the lagoon because the stocked fishery is paid for by enhancement taxes on commercial fisheries and they might get a bit miffed if you interfere with their livelihood. 

Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be really entertaining when you are fishing for Walleye pollock, Pacific cod and flats, especially if something pops up and gobbles them down before you can get them to shore, then gives you a glare like, “You’re next.” 

Lingcod and rockfish fishing remains good around Elizabeth and Chugach Islands for those anglers who love to eat sweet-tasting buckets of ugly. 

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

The China Poot personal use dip net fishery closed Aug. 7. 

The Kachemak Bay Coho salmon gillnet fishery will open Aug. 16 at 6 a.m. A permit is required and available at the Homer Alaska Department of Fish and Game office.

Areas upstream of the two-mile regulatory markers on the Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep and Stariski creeks opened on Aug. 1 to fishing for Dolly Varden and steelhead/rainbow trout. Salmon may not be targeted or harvested upstream of the two-mile regulatory markers.

Dolly Varden fishing on the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Ninilchik River has been decent, plus cohoes are starting to stick their snoots into these waters.

Large numbers of chum salmon along with lower numbers of 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 if you’re into critters with huge hook jaws and buck teeth or humps that you could skateboard on.

Clamming tides run through Aug. 10 then Aug. 18-24. Digging for razor clams on Ninilchik beaches is 50 shades of bad. 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.  

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 1.5 inches or wider and the legal size for butter clams is 2.5 inches or wider. To distinguish littleneck clams from butter clams, refer to page 9 of the Southcentral sport fishing regulation summary booklet. 

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

The Cook Inlet and North Gulf Coast sport, personal use and subsistence Tanner crab fisheries remain closed for the 2013-2014 season.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you have tips, tales or insights on how to take home limits without a short stop at the seafood section of a local market.

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