Reeling 'em in

And the kings just keep on coming ...

When fishing starts heating up in the pristine waters of the lower Kenai it’s akin to being in Vegas and rolling consecutive sevens from dusk to dawn with the payoffs in pure silver and greenbacks.

Last week combo charters were nailing both shiny kings and moss colored halibut while the rivers surrendered coffers of dazzling chinooks. 

And, they kept on coming: On June 6, 2016, 150 of the beauties passed the Anchor River weir bringing the total of the upstream stampeders to 2,236.   

Kings continued to roll into the spit’s fishing lagoon surfing along on the mounting tides. 

The only challenge a few of the fishermen had getting a hook-up was puzzling out what lure to fling at the occasionally persnickety fish.

One morning on the outgoing sea they seemed to be disturbingly enamored with blue and chartreuse Vibrax spinners along with cured salmon eggs and a side of plug-cut herring. 

The next day it was gourmet sardine fillets and finger massaged roe dipped in fermented mackerel oil floating two feet under a redtop/black bottom steelhead float moving along the edge of the incoming tide stream at less than one knot in calm winds conditions.

Other than that, the fresh arrivals weren’t choosey and were equal opportunity strikers unless they had a ravenous seal on their butts.  

When such an unfortunate circumstance arose, the only thing they could do was smack the anal fin of the fish ahead hoping to spin it into the snapping jaws roaring up their kiesters.

Kings can be such self-centered &%%#^&S when it comes to dismemberment and involuntary digestive tract ingestion if they aren’t the ones doing the munching. 

Before we delve into this week’s area report I want to make sure you read Michael Armstrong’s column about a coming upgrade at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon.

We are finally going to get major improvements at the cleaning tables thanks to an agreement between Fish and Game and the City of Homer.

What can I say other than a stunned “Thank you!” to everyone involved.

By the way I got a peek at the City’s project support proclamation. I think they used up their quota of “Whereas” nomenclatures for the next five years.

It’s time now to take a look at the fishing report for the week of June 6 to June 12.  

Regulation Reminders
and Emergency Orders 

A king salmon 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.   

Lingcod may not be hunted until July 1. All lingcod caught accidentally must be prudently released with a smile and apology and, of course, puncturing it with a gaff is an absolute no-no.  

Salt water: Halibut

Early-season halibut fishing is remains pretty fair with bigger flats ending up in the holds of the sport fishery boats.

The fishery will kick into a higher gear as more of the halibut cruise in from their   impressively deep, double super-secret wintering haunts back into shallower waters to feast on clueless bait fish. 

Herring remains the most fashionable bait, but octopus, squid, salmon heads, red eyed jigs and gorp from gut receptacle carts should satisfy their gluttonous and disgusting appetites. If not, some restaurants in town have fish and chips on their menus.  

Salt water: Salmon

Early-run kings are jetting along the nearshore salt waters of Anchor Point, Whiskey Gulch and Deep Creek.  

Trolling smack downs for feeder kings is reported as acceptable from Bluff Point north and fair to downright respectable near the head of Kachemak Bay and Point Pogibshi.  

Feeders get a kick cruising with maturing Cook Inlet king salmon making their way to Cook Inlet streams so either are up for grabs.

A few chums are showing up but not enough to get your knickers in a knot over.

Special Note

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, they ‘d like to talk to you. More information on the Chinook Salmon Research Initiative can be found at: http://dfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=chinookinitiative.main. 

Continue to expect some good to smokin’ hot fishing at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. If things get any better they’ll be shooting out the water trying reach the cleaning tables. They know it’s a terminal fishery so why prolong things?

Don’t forget to record your king when you land it out there. Some miscreants have already learned the hard way including a dolt without a license.

Fishing is reported as good in Seldovia but there still have been no reported king sightings at the Halibut Cove Lagoon. It’s only a matter of days now.  

Other Saltwater Fishing

Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a bucket of full of entertainment for both the angler and observer especially when surreptitiousness eagles purloin catches or bags of bait.

So far I have learned to swear in five different languages thanks to the angst of visiting anglers.

Species available include Walleye pollock, Pacific cod, a variety of flatfish species, plus an occasional king.

Be certain to check regulations regarding bag and possession limits and know which species it is that you’re keeping before stuffing them in a cooler. 

Anglers are reporting catches of dark and dusky rockfish on the south side of Kachemak Bay and near Point Pogibshi. 

Fresh waters Fishing Report  

The Anchor and Ninilchik Rivers and Deep Creek will open from the mouth upstream approximately 2 miles to the ADF&G regulatory marks to fishing Saturday June 11 through June 13, Monday. In addition, the Anchor River will open to fishing on Wednesday June 15. 

On the Ninilchik River, a large return of hatchery-reared king salmon less than 20 inches is expected.

Try fishing in the early mornings and near the mouths of these streams during high tide to get a shot at fresh arrivals. Spinners, flies and yarn are cool lures for these kings as well as bait such as eggs and herring.   

Note: Kings less than 20 inches are not included in the Cook Inlet annual limit of 5 and the daily bag limit for Chinooks of this size is 10 in freshwater.

Another Note: The busts continue on the rivers for not recording landed kings and even worse, taking over the allowed limit. If there was a sliding gauge for measuring stupidity, these folks would rocket off the scale.

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 December 31, 2016.

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

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