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Don’t miss current stampede of silvers

Posted: August 6, 2014 - 12:47pm
Photo by Michael Armstrong, Homer News
A silver salmon leaps out of the water recently at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon on the Homer Spit. “Anyone visiting the Spit during the last few weeks who has the observation skills of a plastic garden gnome knows the silvers have been somersaulting out of the water everywhere, from the base of Mud Bay to inside the boat harbor,” writes Nick Varney.

If you haven’t joined the silver stampede yet, just wait. Toward the end of the week there are going to be a series of tides so huge the cohoes could be surging into the area in schools larger than the old Sierra Nevada Comstock Lode.

Anyone visiting the Spit during the last few weeks who has the observation skills of a plastic garden gnome knows the silvers have been somersaulting out of the water everywhere from the base of Mud Bay to inside the boat harbor.    

Every day new fish are being slammed by bay and inlet trollers who are savvy enough to scour areas teeming with bait fish. Clued-up skippers look for these buffet balls on their fish-finders and/or simply search for birds diving and feeding. 

Why? 

Because salmon attack bait fish packs from below and drive them to the surface while tearing through the middle of the mass smacking the baitfish with their heads and tails. They then spin a one-eighty and look for the cripples that they can turn into a frenzied feast while uncouth and gluttonous sea birds dive on the leftover pieces like they were free samples of chocolate covered candlefish at a COSTCO sample stand. 

Tip: Whether you are fishing from a yacht, a line tied to a paddle board, or a La-Z-Boy on the beach, one of the most important factors in attracting salmon is the smell or action on your bait or spinning gear. 

If you are throwing iron and not getting strikes while others using the same lure are hitting them, try adjusting your retrieval speed. If still nothing, go home. You are embarrassing yourself. 

If you are floating bait fish or eggs and are unable to get a strike early in the morning and/or when the tide is incoming or ebbing through the lagoon’s entrance, try freshening your bait (maybe even changing the size of it), depth of presentation and retrieval speed if you are line stripping. If that doesn’t work, join the guy in the previous paragraph.

Before we take a look at this week’s fishing report, I have picked two email questions that were submitted with similar themes from several readers last week.  

Question: We heard that people were snagging inside the barge basin. Are they allowed to do that?

Answer: Well … according to the metal sign stating “Private Property, No Fishing” partially obscured in the weeds near the end of the southwest edge of the basin, I’d guess no. 

I didn’t look for more notices because I discovered that one so quickly. I figured anyone with the visual perception of a block of Colby cheese and the intellect of a loaf of bread to go with it wouldn’t have a problem either.

Question: There are silvers cruising around on the inside of the boat harbor. Can we fish for them there?

Answer: Yup, as long as you don’t interfere with the normal operations within the harbor which pretty much crushes the idea of no-wake trolling.  

OK, let’s roll with this week’s fishing report.

Salt Waters: Halibut 

Halibut fishing continues handout limits like 99 percent discount days at a Dollar Store. Some of those fish need to bulk up a bit though. 

Sampled fish landed in the Homer Harbor over the past week averaged 10.7 pounds (range 4.5 to 41.3 pounds) round weight. 

Salt Waters: Salmon 

Trolling success for feeder king salmon lumbers along with a “fair” rating near Point Pogibshi. 

On the other hand, the boat brigades are reporting excellent battles with silvers near Flat Island and Point Pogibshi.

At the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon fishing for silvers remains good to excellent, but should start backing off over the next few weeks so get ’em while they’re hot. 

Cured salmon eggs continue to work well along with herring and various flashy lures that bring on reflexive strikes.

As usual, the best bet for nailing them is fishing around the incoming and ebbing tides if you can get an elbow in at the entrance.

Do not forget or ignore that snagging is not allowed in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon and from the Homer City Dock near the entrance of the Homer Boat Harbor (including the Homer Boat Harbor) to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game markers about 200 yards northwest of the lagoon entrance to a distance of 300 feet from shore. The bag and possession for salmon within these waters (except kings) is six per day of which six may be cohoes. 

Weights or bobbers following a hook or hooks may not be used in waters closed to snagging.

If you feel the need to rip and slash take a trudge northwest up to triangle marker with big sign that’s installed on the beach area below the fancy r.v. park just about aligned with its main office building. From that point on along the shore of Mud Bay to Kachemak Drive, have at it. That way those at The Hole who are following the rules won’t be discommoded with your thrashings.    

Other Saltwater Fishing 

Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be an entertaining circus. 

Critters lurking in the depths include the famous “fish stick” pollock, yummy cod, a variety of flatfish that go from mouth-watering to number one on the yuck-o meter, delicious dollies, sumptuous silvers and things that wouldn’t mind taking a bite out of your butt as payback for hauling them in. 

Fishermen are reporting nice catches of walleye Pollock and Pacific cod but fewer catches of rock fish and of legal size lingcod. 

The bag and possession limit for lingcod is two fish and the minimum legal size is 35 inches.

Streams

There’s some remarkable fishing for dollies in roadside streams.

Silvers are beginning to poke their heads up area rivers. Try hitting them early in the morning or at the mouth of the stream during the incoming tides. 

The Anchor has plentiful pinks and dollies along with tales of some silvers flashing about.

Pink salmon fishing is reported as good on the south side of Kachemak Bay. Humpy Creek and the Seldovia River are popular streams for that particular obsession.

Regulation Reminders 

Areas upstream of the two-mile regulatory markers on the Anchor and Ninilchik Rivers and Deep and Stariski Creeks are open to fishing for dollies and steelhead/rainbow trout. Salmon may not be targeted or harvested upstream of the two-mile regulatory markers.

Sport-caught pink salmon may be used as bait in the saltwater fisheries.

Shellfish 

The next series of clamming tides run Aug. 8-15.

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 effective through Dec. 31.  

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 effective through Dec. 31.  

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

The Cook Inlet and North Gulf Coast sport, personal use and subsistence Tanner crab fisheries will not open for the 2014-2015 season.

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

Nick can be reached at ncvarneygmail.com if you have any tips, tales or just want to celebrate the return of football.

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