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Fishing Hole could use a little help

Posted: July 2, 2014 - 1:40pm

Over the weekend, I took notice of a superfluity of rather unseemly comments concerning the conditions at the cleaning tables adjacent to the Homer Spit’s fishing lagoon.  

While trying to fillet their catches, anglers were under siege by a squadron of sky rats with the manners of turkey buzzards jazzed after power wolfing a commercial tanker of Red Bull. 

The gulls were everywhere, trying to steal fillets and gut-trailer diving while carpet bombing bystanders and the fillet-knife wielders. The latter morphed into being seriously frosted every time their work area took a nasty hit and doubtlessly would have loved to have traded their blades for a few minutes of skeet practice on the frequent fecal flyers.

 I can’t go into detail on what was said because a majority of the rancorous scorn would have mortified a Navy Seal team. 

They couldn’t understand why the east and west sides of the boat harbor have covered cleaning tables with hanging plastic curtains that protect the handling counters while The Hole’s fishing processing area is an open dive-bombing range that has about as much protection from the elements as a bratwurst stand on the summit of Denali. 

Come to think of it neither can I. 

Yo, eminent city government personages, how about a little help out there?

If you can install primo privies around town for more than a hundred grand a hole (not including t.p.), you should be able to pop some shekels to fund a shelter for the Fishing Hole tables before the EPA declares them a biohazard area.  

Moving along.

For those of you with small skiffs and pond jumpers who don’t like to hit Kachemak Bay when our wind’s above 5 knots with waves cresting from three to six inches, there’s good news … halibut fishing is picking up in the protective waters of Mud Bay.

I’ve noticed more and more small boats showing up out there lately and then yesterday a friend called and said he and his wife limited two days in a row fishing a 50-foot drop-off only a 20-minute run from the boat harbor.

The largest fish was 25 pounds and the smallest just over 10.

It took a bit of hunting around to find the drop the first day, but after they threw the hook and the tide rolled through it was happy hooker time.

As a side note, the pair has fished Mud Bay in their little putter for years so you may not be as successful, but give it a shot if things get a bit rough on the big water.

 Now let’s take a look at this week’s fishing report. Take a close look at the following before you start thrashing the water and/or quaffing adult beverages. 

Freshwater fisheries

Anchor River, Deep Creek and Stariski Creek are closed for king salmon and gear is limited to one unbaited single hook artificial lure. King salmon may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

Ninilchik River is closed to wild king salmon, but open to hatchery king salmon. The bag and possession limit on hatchery-only king salmon is one 20 inches or greater in length.

Hatchery king salmon are identified as missing their adipose fin, the fleshy fin on the back just in front of the tail. 

After harvesting a king salmon 20 inches or greater in length, a person may not fish for any species of fish in the Ninilchik River on that same day.

The China Poot personal-use dipnet fishery is open through Aug. 7. Both tips of the tail fin must be removed. Complete regulations are found on page 14 of the Southcentral Alaska regulation booklet.

Marine fisheries

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. 

It might be a good idea to make copies of the above paragraph so you can show it to some of the walking dead with lower IQs than their ring size who show up at the Fishing Hole on holiday weekends ripping lures sporting treble hooks that could serve as boat anchors.  

Lingcod season opened July 1. Anglers are reminded that the bag and possession limit is two fish and the minimum legal size is 35 inches.

If you have never fished for lings you may be a bit taken back when they are brought to the surface. Trust me they taste great although their face suggests they had an unfortunate encounter with a wood chipper. Bon appetite. 

Sport-caught pink salmon are still sulking that they may now be used as bait in the saltwater fisheries. 

Saltwater: Halibut 

Halibut fishing has been fair to good with several nice hawgs being nailed over the past week. Limits were common.

Bigger slabs are arriving every day with more heading in from their winter turf to shallow summer feeding hang outs around the inlet and bay. 

Sampled fish landed in the Homer Harbor over the past week averaged just 13.75 pounds (range 3.6 to 187 pounds) round weight. 

Anglers, as usual, have been whacking the flats with herring on circle hooks, but octopus on the same setup helps keeping them coming back after the main bait is stripped. 

Saltwater: Salmon 

Trolling for feeder king salmon is reported as fair to good near Flat Island, Point Pogibshi and Bluff Point. 

While trolling, anglers also are reporting catches of sockeye, chum, pinks and an occasional halibut with an attitude. 

Some bright kings are still available in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon, but they are getting a bit scarce thanks to an obnoxious seal with the appetite of King Henry VIII after a three-day fast. Plus more and more the early arrivers are getting their ninja skins on but they’ll be fine for the smoker.

There are still some kings roaming the Seldovia and Halibut Cove lagoons. 

Other saltwater fishing 

Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be an interesting way to pass the time. 

Critters available include walleye pollock, Pacific cod, a variety of flatfish, Dolly Varden, an occasional salmon, plus creatures that will require their own bucket lest they devour every creature you have stored in your cooler even after you think the thing is dead. 

Anglers fishing near the Barren, Chugach and Elizabeth islands are catching rockfish as well as the game fish they were targeting. 

Fresh water: Personal use fishing

Dipnetting success in China Poot should improve as the sockeye salmon return starts to build. The peak of this run is about the middle of July.

Streams

Expect slow fishing for Dolly Varden in roadside streams as most runs are just starting to arrive. Fish near the stream mouths for better success. Try using a size zero Vibrax with single hook. For flyfishing, try using black leaches or minnow patterns.

Shellfish 

The next series of clamming tides run July 10-17.

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

Additional Stuff 

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. 

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game reminds 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 

As a part of the Chinook Salmon Research Initiative, the department is 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, these samplers want to talk to you. For more information on the project, go to http://dfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=chinookinitiative.main. 

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you have any tips, tales or just want to vent about relatives who you thought were leaving in mid June.

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