Good fishing draws crowds to South Peninsula

I usually don’t fish on the weekends because it’s a great time to cruise the river accesses and The Spit to determine what’s being nailed, where and how, while listening to “scout’s honor” tales told ’round the cleaning tables.

Besides, being the size of a mutant Wookie, it would take a majorly modified shoehorn to fit me into some of my favorite spots when the hordes descend on the Kenai.

Last Saturday was a prime example of The Spit and its infamous fishing lagoon returning to the days when parking spaces and elbow room were at a premium.

The fleets of various vehicles and camping sites resembled a major pre-invasion buildup with campfire smoke nearly equaling the fumes emanating from overheating Visa card stations.

Remember when Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia back in 2010 turned some heads with a comment he made about the U.S. territory of Guam during a House Armed Services Committee? In a question and answer period about a scheduled military buildup on the Pacific island, Johnson expressed some concerns about the plans to Adm. Robert Willard, head of the U.S. Pacific fleet.

It went like this:

“My fear is that the whole island will become so overly populated that it will tip over and capsize,” Johnson said. Willard paused and replied, “We don’t anticipate that.”

Well, if Johnson had been visiting The Spit last weekend, he would have probably retreated and spent his time glassing it from a safe pullout on Skyline drive in case the point of land started to sink.

Come to think of it, there was rumor The Spit rose three inches after Sunday’s exit-traffic died down but I couldn’t get any confirmation on Snopes. Go figure.

I hope you didn’t miss this:

Over the weekend, The Anchor River provided some excellent opportunities to add king steaks to the grill.

Early Saturday morning, fishing was good and then on Sunday the chinooks went nuts over roe in the lower river and seemed to be holding nose to tail to get a crack at the eggs as they hit the water.

Even my old bud, Willie, managed to land his first king of the year after losing enough gear over the last few weeks to restock The Sportsman Warehouse.

I’m not saying the grizzled grump is cheap but his only fishing rod is last season’s model of a Dumpster Diver special featuring eyelets secured with Gorilla Glue and an ancient reel he calls Frankenstein lashed to the pole with double-wrapped duct tape.

I figure he calls it that because he created the bizarre contraption from what looks like mélange of Shimano, Mitchell and Pflueger body parts with a touch of Zebco gears to add class. The man has no shame.

It’s time now to take a look at this week’s fishing report for week of June 20 to June 26.

Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders Regulation Reminders

Snagging will open (except for the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon) in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi on June 24.

It’s an intellectually superior idea to consult the sport fishing regulation booklet before starting your fishing trip. Make sure to consult pages 18-20 before heading out to fish for chinooks in Cook Inlet saltwater areas.

Check out pages 54-56 for the Anchor River; page 56 for Deep Creek and page 59 for the Ninilchik River when planning a freshwater safari. Save your money for food instead of fines.

A king 20 inches or longer that is removed from salt or fresh water must be retained and becomes part of the bag limit of the person who hooked the fish.

In freshwater, the bag and possession limit for kings less than 20 inches is 10 fish.

Regulation changes are in effect for guided anglers fishing for halibut. A more extensive description of these Federal regulations can be found at: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/frules/79fr13906.pdf.

Lingcod may not be reaped until July 1. All lingcod caught accidentally must be judiciously released and may not be perforated with a gaff. If anything confuses you about that last sentence you shouldn’t have a hook in the water in the first place.

Ninilchik River Hatchery Only King Salmon Emergency Order

The Ninilchik River opened from the mouth of the Ninilchik River to an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately two miles upstream to fishing for hatchery king salmon on June 18.

The bag and possession limit is one hatchery king salmon 20 inches or greater in length and 10 hatchery king salmon under 20 inches. Only one un-baited single-hook, artificial lure may be used while sport fishing in the Ninilchik River through July 15.

Saltwater Halibut

Halibut fishing remains fair to good and is picking up steam as more fish motor in from deep, overwintering waters to take a shot at the buffets available in shallower summer feeding areas with some large flats now pounding the poles.

Herring still rules as bait, but white/red eyed jigs, octopus, squid, and salmon heads will slap a hook into them too.

Saltwater Salmon

Trolling success for kings off the South side of Kachemak Bay, and from Bluff Point north is reported as kicking into a higher gear.

While trolling for kings some chum salmon are joining the party without an invitation.

You know by now that downriggers are essential for trolling in deeper water and that small herring trolled behind a flasher or dodger is a killer bait. If you need more advice, try setting the downrigger at various depths between 15-45 feet. If that doesn’t work either experiment a bit, ask someone who is catching fish, try spoons, hootchies and tube flies or go home and sulk.

Chinooks are continuing to enter the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon and fishing remains good. Try salmon eggs or plug cut herring suspended under a bobber or pitching Vibrax spinners. The best time to hit them is either early morning or during the tide change out.

For those who asked, yes is it legal to spearfish in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. Spearfishing is legal in salt water provided the person is completely submerged.

I’m not quite sure you can keep a diver if you hook him/her in the mouth, but authorities don’t think going all Navy Seal in the pond is such a brilliant idea.

King fishing at Seldovia Lagoon is good with more fish entering the lagoon; the best time to fish seems to be with the incoming tide. Fling spinners, herring or shrimp as a come on.

Some small schools of kings have been spotted in Halibut Cove Lagoon, but things remain slow.

Other Saltwater Fishing

Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a laugh riot.

Species bottom surfing around include Walleye pollock, Pacific cod, a variety of strange flatfish and things with serious dental issues and attitudes to match.

Hunters trolling for king salmon have been reporting success with rockfish as well. Both the Bluff Point and Point Pogibshi areas have been producing black, dark and dusky rockfish.

Fresh waters Fishing Report

On the Ninilchik River, a large return of hatchery-reared king salmon less than 20 inches is expected. Remember that kings less than 20 inches are not included in the Cook Inlet annual limit of 5 and the daily bag limit for king salmon of this size is 10 in freshwater.

Try fishing in the early mornings and near the mouths of these streams during high tide to target newly arriving fish.

The Anchor River’s last day of king fishing was June 22. The river will be closed for all species until July 1.

On June 20, 207 kings passed the river’s weir bringing this year’s total to 4,623 and they’re still rolling in.

Shellfish

Razor Clam Emergency Order

All Eastside Cook Inlet beaches from the Kenai River to the tip of the Homer Spit are closed to all clams through Dec. 31, 2016.

All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay remain closed for 2016.

Contact Fish and Game for the latest Sport Fishing Information (message only) at 907-235-6930 or their office at 907-235-8191.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com.

 

 

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