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Catches not spectacular, but anglers enjoy success

Posted: July 9, 2014 - 1:37pm

The Fourth of July celebration was enveloped by such a superb three-day weather forecast that northern worker bees were attracted to our area in impressive swarms buzzing around in everything from overpriced vanity convertibles to motorhomes with optional slide-out lawns.

The Homer Spit was so stacked with people and gear I took pictures of the disturbing throng and sent it to Rep. Hank Johnson, a politician from Lithonia, Ga., and asked him if he thought the city politicos should limit access to the strip before it sank.

You remember Johnson, don’t you?

He was the member of the House Armed Services Committee who questioned Adm. Robert Willard, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, about a proposal to move 8,000 Marines from the Japanese island of Okinawa to the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam. In the course of that questioning, Johnson expressed concern that adding thousands of Marines and their families to Guam might cause that small island to “tip over and capsize.”

I didn’t receive a response so my bride and I proceeded out onto the precariously overloaded piece of sand without congressional guidance. 

There were humongous pickups featuring so many options that they were just a sophisticated control room short of being able to launch surveillance drones in search of optimal camping sites, while others piloted wheels that could have fit in the big boys’ glove compartments.

The harbor’s boat ramp sometimes resembled an assembly point for a massive invasion with small landing craft constantly launching to ferry supplies and passengers to remote hideaways while nearby day fishermen were loading coolers, kids and various pets ranging from toy poodles to mutts big enough to tow their boat if it broke down. 

There were some vessels that looked like they could either troll or lay a pattern of depth chargers sitting by small Zodiacs that appeared like bumper buoys in comparison.    

Most of the fishermen I spoke with had filled their halibut quotas along with a few rockfish and/or a salmon or two, nothing spectacular, but excellent freezer stuffers.

Helpful note: If you have a batch of frozen fish that you’d like to send south, take the time to check around the ville for shipping prices. You might be surprised at the difference in the fees. 

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

Alert: All noncommercial (subsistence, personal-use and sport) Tanner crab fisheries in Registration Area H will remain closed for the 2014-2015 season. This comprises waters of Cook Inlet (including Kachemak Bay and Kamishak Bay) and the North Gulf Coast and Resurrection Bay. The Kachemak Bay 2013 survey results of legal male Tanner crab were well below that which is needed to open the fishery according to the 5AAC 35.408 Registration Area H Tanner Crab Harvest Strategy. The fishery has been closed in Kachemak Bay since 2011 and in all areas of Cook Inlet and the North Gulf Coast since the 2012-13 season.

Salt Waters: Halibut 

Halibut fishing success remains heavy on the good side. Limits have been the norm lately although the ’butts were somewhat smaller this week for most of the private boats. Some of the fish slayer charter captains did really well. 

Sampled fish landed in the Homer Harbor over the past week averaged 11.3 pounds (range 2.9 to 43.7 pounds) round weight. 

Salt Waters: Salmon

Trolling success for feeder kings is reported as fair to somewhat impressive in the areas of Flat Island, Point Pogibshi, Yukon Island, Bear Cove and Bluff Point. Chinook hunters are beginning to add cohos to their incidental catches of pink, chum and sockeye, so the fun is about to start. 

If you think you and the clan have the touch why not enter the five species of Pacific salmon challenge?  Details are available at www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fishingSport.fiveSalmonFamily.

If you thought you spotted some flashy exhibitionists dancing across the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon last week, you were right. Early-run coho salmon are beginning to arrive at the pond. There are still some bright kings sneaking around hoping the seal will go after the idiot silvers that are showing off. Chinooks just love it when the rude brute turns the cocky new arrivals into sushi before their next jump. 

Sockeye salmon mixed with pink salmon are arriving into Tutka Bay Lagoon. This is a stocked fishery paid for by enhancement taxes on commercial fisheries. Anglers
are reminded to avoid commercial boats operating in the area. 

Other Saltwater Fishing 

Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a bucket of fun especially if it’s your bucket and everyone’s trying to guess what kind of creatures you have in it. Normal available species include walleye pollock, Pacific cod, a variety of flatfish, Dolly Varden, salmon and some things that may chase you back to the car. 

Anglers fishing near the Barren, Chugach and Elizabeth islands are catching nice lingcod, rockfish and flats. 

Personal-use fishing

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.

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

Streams

It’s been pretty slow fishing for Dolly Varden in roadside streams as most runs are just starting to arrive. As usual, fish near the stream mouths for better success.

For the Ninilchik River, the larger hatchery king salmon are darkening while there are still some bright hatchery jack king salmon available. 

Regulation Reminders 

Anchor River, Deep Creek and Stariski Creek are closed to fishing for king salmon and gear is limited to an 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 kings, but open to hatchery kings. The bag and possession limit on hatchery-only king salmon is one 20 inches or greater in length.

Shellfish 

The next series of clamming tides begin today and run through July 17. 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 through Dec. 31.  

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you have any tips, tales or grumps about how much gas costs to get here.

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