As I wander around during the week shooting the breeze with shore anglers, I’m amazed to find that many aren’t carrying a tide book either on them or in their rig.
There is a plethora of information squeezed into those little booklets covering everything from how to tie fishing knots to how to outsmart a razor clam — although I would suggest that you never admit that you had to look up the latter.
Depending on where you pick up the tiny free handbook the content may vary slightly, but the basics are there along with instructions on how to read the tide tables plus numbers for all kind of agencies and other critically cool stuff.
For example, the Cook Inletkeeper tide book is a slick looking offering and contains some salmon trivia that you may not be aware of such as:
• Pacific salmon die after spawning; Atlantic salmon do not.
Luckily salmon can’t read or there would be a frenzied eastbound exodus through the Suez Canal smokin’ toward the Atlantic’s spawners’ Valhalla while sticking us with massive garage sales on downriggers.
• Five million years ago, salmon had sharp fangs, were 10 feet long and weighed more than 500 pounds.
If today’s scientists could get a hold of a slice of DNA from those critters and go all Jurassic Park on the stuff, the run on the Kenai would take care of the crowded boating conditions by just showing up and dipnetters would literally disappear.
• Finally, the largest Pacific salmon ever caught was a 126-pound chinook in a fish trap near Petersburg in 1949.
Many fishermen since then have claimed they’ve fought for hours and lost bigger kings but once sober refuse to speak of the raging battle after realizing they were tangled with the anchor rope.
Back to the tide book: I usually carry a few extra to give away in case I run across some newly arrived visitors standing on the beach with a bag of thawing herring in one hand, a pole in the other with bewildered looks on their faces because they were told to fish the tide changes and can’t figure how a laundry detergent fits into the equation.
You’d be surprised how much a small gift with instructions on how to use it means to travelers trying to enjoy what we take for granted especially if you also take a bit of time to offer to teach them some local fishing techniques.
Now let’s take a look at this week’s fishing report.
Additional regulation reminders
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 some people seem to think that they can still get away with it. Ever heard of camera phones? If the scofflaws keep it up, they’ll soon be featured on Facebook and YouTube.
The China Poot personal use dipnet and fun times fishery opens July 1.
Personal-use caught sockeye salmon must have both tips of the tail fin removed. Complete regulations are found on page 14 of the Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing regulation summary booklet.
Lingcod season opens July 1 so spruce up your Ugly Stiks.
Salt waters: Halibut
Halibut fishing continue to sizzle with some mongo flats being caught and limits common. Things are just beginning to fire up as more fish move from their deep water haunts back into shallower feeding areas.
Sampled fish landed in the Homer Harbor over the past week averaged just less than 13 pounds (range 4.8 to 63.4 pounds) round weight.
Trolling luck for feeder kings is reported as fair to good near Flat Island, Point Pogibshi and Bluff Point.
Lure draggers also are picking up sockeye, chum and pink salmon. This is going to be a downer for the pinks because now they can be used as bait in the salt water fisheries. It was bad enough having a nickname like “Humpy.”
King fishing continues to be on the good side at the Nick Dudiak Lagoon especially if you fish the incoming and exiting tides. Eggs, herring and blue Vibrax spinners are taking most of the fish.
There are a lot of jacks cruising around out there so, if you nail one, remember that it counts toward your two fish limit for the day. You don’t have to record it but if it’s 20 inches or over get your pen out or a Fish and Game trooper will quick draw his.
Small schools of king salmon are returning to Seldovia and Halibut Cove Lagoon and fishing is reported as so, so.
Other saltwater fishing
Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be an entertaining way to play with different gear, especially if you aren’t particular as to what you drag in.
Creatures available include walleye pollock, Pacific cod, a variety of flatfish, Dolly Varden and things that resemble old Lady Ga Ga outfits.
Spiny dogfish sharks have been reported near the Chugach Islands. Nice to hear the little, bait-stealing @&$%$#^s are back, isn’t it?
Anglers fishing near the Barren, Chugach and Elizabeth islands are catching rockfish as well as their target species. The department would like to remind anglers that the survival of released rockfish caught in greater than 60 feet of water is substantially improved by releasing these fish at the depth of capture. More information can be found at: http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fishingsportfishinginfo.rockfishconservation
The next series of clamming tides run June 25-30.
Sport shellfish harvesters should be aware of the potential risks of PSP (Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning). Check out the facts sheet at: http://dec.alaska.gov/eh/RecSHell/index.html
For razor clams, try beaches on the west side of Cook Inlet where razor clams tend to be larger and more abundant than beaches on the east side of Cook Inlet.
For beaches on the east side of Cook Inlet, expect small size clams that are few and far between in the beaches that remain open. North of the Clam Gulch access road has been the most productive this season.
The State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services issued a news release about a potential case of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP). DEC is processing razor clam and surf clams collected from the area and the results should be available later this week. http://dhss.alaska.gov/Pages/default.aspx
Regulation reminders and emergency orders to review
Halibut: Regulation changes are in effect for guided anglers fishing for halibut. The bag limit for guided anglers is two fish per day, one of any size and one less than or equal to 29 inches in length. A more extensive description of these Federal regulations can be found at: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/frules/79fr13906.pdf. You also can contact NOAA fisheries at 1-800-304-4846 or 907-586-7228 with questions about regulations pertaining to sport fishing for halibut.
King salmon: King salmon sport fishing is prohibited (including catch-and-release) within one statute mile of shore in marine waters south of the latitude of the mouth of the Ninilchik River to the latitude of Bluff Point effective from 12:01 a.m., Friday, June 13, through 11:59 p.m. Monday June 30.
The Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River and Stariski Creek are closed to sport fishing through June 30.
The combined annual limit is two king salmon 20 inches or greater in length for fish harvested from May 1 to June 30 from 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.
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.
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 techniques that you would like to con him into trying.