Well, now, wasn’t that a beautiful Memorial Day weekend for those of you who can dimly recall it? The weather was so nice and semi smoke free that campgrounds with the burn bans were glowing with Phase Five sunburns that served as stand-in grills for the carnivorous crowd.
The Spit resembled an Indie 500 parking lot in some areas and the boat launch was sometimes so busy you couldn’t launch a float coat without slavering it with butter.
There wasn’t a lack of fishing yarns either.
One guy claimed he hooked into something so massive that it was like fighting a ’but the size of Kodiak Island for an hour and 20 minutes. It turned out the only smile at the end of the struggle came from the mouth of a skate sizeable enough to use as a Predator drone.
His complete recount of the battle is unprintable, but let’s just say that his wife’s face suddenly turned as red as the south end of a baboon when he went all anatomical with his fish insults and suggested things that were physically impossible for a skate or any other living creature to do. She was so mortified that I doubt if she sticks her head out of the RV until they’re parked in their Eagle River driveway. When that time arrives, he may just find himself in a brawl that will make the skate tussle seem like catching a perch in a mill pond.
Sunday I watched as several private boat owners hit the cleaning tables with their limits but the fish were on the small side except for some in the 20- to 40-pound class. They didn’t seem to mind the little guys that only dressed around six pounds.
One lady said, “Hey at $14.99 a pound for halibut fillets in Anchorage, this tiny critter is worth $90. What’s not to like? This is a lot better than standing at a store’s seafood section then driving home to watch reality TV where some Kardashian sister croons ‘If I only had a brain’ during one of her monthly marriage receptions.”
Now let’s take a look at the fishing report for this week.
Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders
King Salmon: The combined annual limit is two king salmon 20 inches or greater in length for fish harvested from May 1 to June 30 in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River and all marine waters south of the latitude of the mouth of the Ninilchik River to the latitude of Bluff Point. Simply put. Two and you’re done. Go somewhere else to annoy the kings.
The closed area marker south of the Anchor River was relocated to the Anchor Point Light (59º 46.14 minutes N).
After harvesting a king salmon 20 inches or greater from either the Anchor River, Deep Creek or the Ninilchik River, anglers are required to stop fishing for any species in these streams for the rest of the day and then sneak back to work.
Anglers may only use one non-baited, single-hook, artificial lure on the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Ninilchik River.
Ninilchik River king salmon bag and possession is one wild or hatchery-reared fish during regulatory weekend openings in May and June.
The Anchor River is closed to sportfishing on Wednesdays.
Razor Clams: The Ninilchik Beach from the north bank of Deep Creek to a marker located approximately 3.2 miles north of the Ninilchik River at 60º 05.66’N. latitude, is closed to the taking of all clam species.
The bag and possession limit for razor clams harvested from the remaining eastside Cook Inlet beaches, extending from the mouth of the Kenai River to the southernmost tip of the Homer Spit, is reduced to the first 25 razor clams dug per day and only 25 razor clams may be in possession.
Both of these restrictions are effective through 11:59 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 31.
New Sport Fishing Regulations
Sport-caught pink salmon may be used as bait in the salt water fisheries.
This may sound demeaning to the unsuspecting pinks but they’ll have to get over it.
Salt Waters: Halibut
Early-season halibut takes have improved with some nice sized slabs being nailed and already featured in back yard barbeques.
Sampled fish landed in the Homer Harbor averaged nearly 13 pounds (range 3.6 to 77.4 pounds) round weight.
Salt Waters: Salmon
Trolling success for feeder king salmon has been fair to good from Bluff Point north to Ninilchik and along the southern shore of Kachemak Bay from Seldovia to Bear Cove. Things are getting a bit righteous out there so gas up your 20-foot yacht and go or find a seat on a charter.
If you are looking for the homie early-run kings returning to spawn, they’ll be cruising the near-shore shallows waters of Anchor Point, Whiskey Gulch and Deep Creek.
King salmon are beginning to sneak into the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon on the Homer Spit; numbers are expected to start increasing along with broken lines, examples of angler ineptitude and basic fishing prowess lies.
King salmon are expected to start showing up in Halibut Cove Lagoon and Seldovia Lagoon.
As a part of the Chinook Salmon Research Initiative, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has begun a project looking at the genetic stock composition of the marine king salmon fishery.
There are port samplers stationed at the Homer Harbor, and Deep Creek and Anchor Point tractor launches conducting quick interviews and collecting biological information, scales and genetic clips from sport caught king salmon.
If you fished for king salmon in Cook Inlet, regardless of success, they’d like to talk to you. More information on the Chinook Salmon Research Initiative can be found at: http://dfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=chinookinitiative.main
Other Saltwater Fishing
Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a cool way to pass the time especially with a privy nearby that cost as much as a couple of Maseratis with optional tow packages and brush bars.
Anglers are reporting good catches of Pacific cod out there and that is some fine eating.
Fresh Waters: Salmon
Ninilchik and Anchor Rivers and Deep Creek, as defined by the ADF&G markers will open to fishing at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, May 31, through midnight, Monday, June 2.
The water conditions in these streams are good and levels are low.
Expect fair fishing for king salmon as the number of fish increases through the weir. As of May 26, 225 kings were moving upstream.
Please familiarize yourself with the differences between kings and steelhead trout before you fish and practice good fish handling if you catch one.
A hooked steelhead trout must not be removed from the water and they must be released immediately.
The next series of clamming tides run through May 31 then June 11-17.
All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay are currently closed.
Nick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any tips, tales or picadorian tribulations you’d like vent about.