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Fishing for silvers has turned golden

Posted: August 21, 2013 - 3:44pm

Thar whar bright treasures in them thar high tides near the base of the Spit’s east side over the weekend. Even a half stoned pirate with dual eye patches could have sensed the glistening jewels cruising beneath the bay’s calm surface because the coho were hot popping and splashing along the shoreline as other small schools circled up to a couple of hundred yards off the beach. 

For awhile, there was more silver being displayed out there than a Goth piercing convention in L.A. featuring Dennis Rodman’s lips. 

The few astute fishermen who initially picked up on what was happening and beat feet for their gear ended up slamming some really nice fish as did the setnetters who prefer pickin’ to poles. 

As I was scouting the action, I ran into an angler who was more than happy to lay out four sleek silvers that he had recently nailed off the beach. He was all razzed and pumped about his cool expertise with a no. 3 Vibrax Rainbow spinning lure.

The air blew out of his bragging balloon when I advised him that the bag limit was three where he was fishing and that the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon area is the only place where the silver salmon bag limit is six. 

He wasn’t totally clueless and quickly claimed that his wife, who was in the truck’s back seat wrapped in a Snuggy, listening to her iPod while absorbed in a romance novel and dressed like she had been shopping for souvenirs in Maui, had caught the other one. 

It’s not that I didn’t believe him but, if asked, I’ll bet she would have assumed that the word “Vibrax” had something to do with a Barcalounger.  

Note: For those who aren’t clear on the subject, the northern boundary of the Fishing Lagoon area is marked with a tripod near the top of the gravel in line with the hospitality center at the Heritage RV Park. The tripod is good sized, white and has a big blue and white sign on it designating where snagging is open. You can see the marker from the road if an RV isn’t in the way. The south boundary of the Fishing Lagoon area is the city dock near the harbor entrance and the city asks people not to fish within 50 yards of the docks.

Little ol’ Mud Bay wasn’t the only place producing coho and a few lip-smacking halibut. 

The streams and rivers are starting to fire on all cylinders and there have been reports of some awesome, flash-override, successes with silvers, feeder kings and ‘buts around Flat Island. 

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

Freshwater fishing

Areas upstream of the two-mile regulatory markers on the Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep and Stariski creeks are open to fishing for Dolly Varden and steelhead/rainbow trout. Rainbow/steelhead trout may not be removed from the water or kept, and must be released immediately. 

Memorize the following: A coho salmon 16 inches or longer that is removed from fresh water must be retained and becomes part of the bag limit. A person may not remove a coho 16 inches or longer from the water before releasing it unless he or she is intent on starting a colorful citation collection.

Anglers fishing the lower sections of the Anchor River and Deep Creek are reporting a nice improvement in their catches of silvers. Water levels are currently low and clear, but are expected to rise from recent rains. 

Drag your kiester out of bed and hit the streams early in the morning especially during incoming tides.  

Fishing for dollies remains pretty good on the upper river sections. Try small bright spinners, fresh salmon eggs, or fly patterns such as muddler minnows. Some of those fish are so insatiable they’d probably hit a Cheez-It. 

Saltwater fishing

Halibut fishing has been slowing down a bit but there’s still a lot of good flats left that would just love snarfing up circle hooks full of oily herring with a side of squid.

Sampled fish landed in the Homer harbor over the past week averaged 17.0 pounds (range of 4-122 pounds). 

Trolling success has picked up for coho not only near Flat Island but around Nanwalek, Point Pogibshi, Mud Bay and Bluff Point. 

As far as north of the Anchor River to Deep Creek goes, it’s been a good place to take a nap.

Anglers also have reported good catches of feeder kings near Nanwalek.  

Some tardy and wayward silvers continue to wander into the Fishing Lagoon during the higher tides. 

If the pole brandishing brain-trusts skipping rocks or letting their dogs do laps in the pond would target the small wakes moving along shore, they’d look a little brighter than their lures.    

Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be entertaining for those who enjoy hooking into Walleye pollock, Pacific cod, flats and things that won’t let go of your line unless you pitch them a raw rump roast. 

Lingcod fishing remains quite good around Elizabeth and Chugach islands for those anglers who are keen on great eating and landing fish with a mug that would give Freddy Kruger nightmares.

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 Kachemak Bay coho salmon gillnet fishery opened Aug.16. A permit is required and available at the Homer Alaska Department of Fish and Game office. Permit holders are reminded to call in catches daily. Before fishing, please call the Homer Fish and Game office at 235-8191 to be sure the fishery hasn’t closed by Emergency Order.

Shellfish

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

Clamming tides run through Aug. 24. Digging for razor clams on Ninilchik beaches remains deader than a daytime rally for vampire equal rights. 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 possession limit refers to the number of unpreserved clams a person may have in their possession. Look the definition up 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. Diggers are reminded that 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.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you have any tips, tales or just want to text mumble about him always dissing the lovely lingcod and gentle mutants lurking in the depths off the end of the Homer Spit.  

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