Nick shares recipe for salmon brine

Things have continued to roll along in the silver fishery along the east side of The Spit. 

Remember last week when I hinted that if things were slow on the inside of the lagoon that you might want to take your gear and amble down the beach as the tide started easing up the banks?

Did you listen? Comprehend? No? Then maybe I should have positioned a sign at the top of The Hole’s southeast bank and pointed it toward the shoreline leading in the direction of the harbor’s boat launch area. 

By dawn’s early blush silvers were just itching for a brawl while popping up near the beach and off the breakwater rocks. 

Au fait land hunters were able to claim some fine specimens while avoiding the growing pack of lure flingers massing around the lagoon’s entrance during tide changes.

All it took was: (1) A basic understanding of Lurking 101 until a school cruised by; (2) The ability to cast over three feet in front of you with something akin to an orange beaded, nickel, Yakima Flash-n-Glo spinner, red bell Vibrax or a bobber/herring set up. 

Then, bam ... Rumble City.

There were times when you probably could have whipped out a Kermit the Frog rubber bass plug and scored a hit.  

Sidebar: Last weekend while prowling the fish cleaning tables (the nice ones, not the flying fecal mizzle layout at The Hole), I was asked if I knew of a laudable dry brine for smoking.

Fortunately, a friend of ours, Susan Hubbard, shared a killer recipe with us several years ago and we’ve used it since, much to the delight of smoked salmon starved relatives in states where salt water is something they soak their feet in. Here ya go:

Dry Salmon Brine

4 cups brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

¾ -1 cup of rock salt

Garlic powder or crushed to sprinkle over salmon

Onion powder

Lemon Pepper

And/or any other seasonings that you would like to give And/or any other seasonings that you would like to give a shot.

1.Mix the brown sugar, white sugar and rock salt together. Add a teaspoon (more or less) of 1 or all of the other seasonings.

2.Put a layer of salmon filets skin side down in a pan. Put a layer of the mixture on top. If you have a lot of salmon to brine you can use a deep dish and put a layer of salmon then a layer of mixture as many times as needed. 

3.Brine for at least 24 hours (the longer you brine the more flavor the salmon absorbs). 

4.Remove the salmon from the mix and rinse off any excess brine. Dry off the salmon with paper towels and let air dry for an hour or so. 

5.Smoke until the fish is done to your preference.


 Yep. I know. I know. Many Alaskans are adamant about putting their individual dactylogram on a recipe, so think of this offering as a suggestion and take from there. Just don’t burn the deck down when you bring on the heat. 

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

Saltwater Regulation Reminders 

The Kachemak Bay Coho Salmon Gillnet Fishery opens Aug. 17 and closes when 1,000-2,000 coho are harvested. Permits are available at the Homer Alaska Department of Fish and Game office. 

You had better get your heinies out to The Fishing Hole before those nets hit the water on Monday. They sometimes tend to knock a pretty big hole in the lagoon’s return.

Speaking of the The Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon Area, it is closed to snagging, from the Homer City Dock near the entrance of the Homer Boat Harbor (including the Homer Boat Harbor) to the Fish and Game markers about 200 yards northwest of the lagoon entrance to a distance of 300 feet from shore. 

A reminder for the clueless and just plain jerks: Weights or bobbers following a hook or hooks may not be used in waters closed to snagging. 

Freshwater Regulation Reminders 

The waters upstream of Fish and Game markers on the Anchor and Ninilchik River and on Stariski and Deep Creek are open to fishing only for Dolly Varden and rainbow/steelhead trout. Rainbow/steelhead trout may not be removed from the water, and must be released immediately. These upstream waters are closed to all salmon fishing, including catch-and-release. 

The China Poot personal use dipnet fishery is now closed. Not a bad idea since the only things swimming around over there lately have been mentally disturbed sculpin and a disoriented otter.   

Saltwater Fisheries: Halibut 

Halibut fishing remains more than decent with limits being the norm. 

I’ve seen some nice slabs on the tables along with a couple that couldn’t have been much bigger than the lures used to sucker them. Maybe those guys were going fry up the teeny fillets as garnish for a couple of tempura shrimp.

Sampled fish harvested out of the Homer port averaged 13.8 pounds (range 5.9-115 pounds).  

Saltwater Fisheries: Salmon 

Fishing for feeder kings and silvers has picked up around Point Pogibshi, Point Adams, Silver Ridge and near Bluff Point. 

Fishing at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon on the Homer Spit has been reported as fair during the smaller tides but will hopefully fire up as the larger floods arrive.

Note: I received a report that some developmentally challenged individuals were escorted to the shoreline outside the The Hole by volunteers so they could take a shot at the silvers cruising south of the lagoon’s entrance. 

As the outgoing tide receded, it seems that some manly troglodytes draped in Cabela’s finest crowded in front of the special anglers cutting them off from being able to cast. I also understand that they were rude about it.

These are the types of wieners that would try and take over a kid’s fishing pond at a sportsman’s show if they thought they could get away with it.

On to brighter subjects: They’re back. Anglers are reporting an annoying large bycatch of the infamous spiny dogfish. 

Dogs travel in large schools and August is the month that they hold significant get-togethers in Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay. Isn’t that swell?

So, either be prepared to keep wasting perfectly good bait or pick up and move the hell away from them.

The bag and possession limit for spiny dogfish sharks is five per day and in possession with no recording requirement. 

Would someone please drop me a note as to why limiting out on those things is worth the trouble? 

Regs dictate that all dogfish that are not kept must be carefully released. 

The bag and possession limit for all other sharks is one per day and in possession and these must be recorded immediately on the back of your fishing license. 

Lingcod fishing has been pretty fair. Some ling hunters have been showing a predilection for soaking bait at the rock piles and pinnacles by Elizabeth Island and Kennedy Entrance. 

Other anglers fishing near the Barren, Chugach and Elizabeth islands are doing well hauling up lingcod and rockfish as well as other delectable species. 

The Homer Spit continues to proffer a plethora of fishing prospects. 

Surf casters are pulling in walleye pollock, Pacific cod and an assortment of unique looking flatfish off the end of the spit, plus a few silvers along the eastern shore. If you get into something that smokes your reel, cut the line, you really don’t want to see what’s on the other end.

Freshwater Fisheries: Streams 

Water levels remain low for most of the area streams. 

Fishing for Dolly Varden has been cooking on the upper sections of the roadside streams. 

Coho are heading into area streams and fishing has been sizzling during the early morning hours until the sun brightens things up.

Also try hitting the mouth of the streams during the incoming tide. Salmon roe clusters and plug-cut herring are working the best, but spinners and streamer flies work just fine when the bite is on. 

Pink fishing is reported as good on the south side of Kachemak Bay because those idiots will hit a shiny rock just for grins.

Humpy Creek and the Seldovia River are all the rage for whacking pinks if that’s what turns your crank. 

Shellfish 

All Eastside Cook Inlet beaches from the Kenai River to the tip of the Homer Spit are closed to all clams and mussels through Dec. 31. The Cook Inlet and North Gulf Coast sport, personal use and subsistence Tanner crab fisheries will not open for the 2015-2016 season. 

The next good clamming tides run from August 28 through September 3. 

All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay remain closed for 2015.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com unless you’re Tom and want to get on my case again for picking on the dim bulb humpies. 

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