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Reeling 'em in: Fishing Hole kings hit or miss; halibut fishing picks up

Posted: June 15, 2016 - 2:26pm  |  Updated: June 17, 2016 - 2:37pm

Correction: This column has been updated to show that fishing is not allowed at Deep Creek.

The chinook run at The Fishing Hole has been fluctuating lately and may slow down a bit with the smaller tides rolling in but, as of 03:30 a couple of days ago, the fish bowl was full. Unfortunately, the critters were downright ill-mannered.

It looked like small wolf packs of submarines slinking around beneath the surface but do you think I could interest them in my superlative gourmet offerings of precisely prepared plug-cut herring? &%$# (insert a shockingly offensive expletive here) no!

The closest I came to seeing any action was a dive bombing sky rat trying to purloin my expensive lure presentation.

Yeah, I said expensive. A 6-ounce bag of small bait herring easily destroys a ten spot leaving only sparse coins in a small debris of change.

Those diminutive silver devils are worth more loot per pound than red king crab and a far cry from the deadliest catch although they can be a deadly lure.

I ended up skunked for the morning and saw only one king caught while I flogged away for over two and a half hours.

The fish met its doom when an acquaintance drove up, exited his vehicle, grabbed a pole, walked down the embankment, let fly with a bobber and roe, had an immediate strike, landed the fish, held it up for me to see, returned to his truck, and drove off barely acknowledging my use of the universal high sign that he could take one more. Some guys just can’t stand it when they get their brag stepped on.

One small annual tip before we go to this week’s fishing report:

Try fishing the shoreline outside the lagoon as the tide rises because that’s where the fish start to school up for their run into the lagoon. Use a small plug-cut herring threaded on a single No.5 hook. Hang it upside down 18 to 24 inches below a cool looking bobber (show a little style).

Cast into the still waters next to the lagoon’s entrance or on the quiet side of the incoming current. If your herring takes a hit and the float disappears, let the fish run with it. Don’t set the hook until the bobber is under water for at least five seconds. This usually ensures that it’s a committed strike and will lead to a more solid hook-up thus allowing you the freedom to screw up and lose the fish through some other method of embarrassing incompetence.

Now let’s take a look at the area’s fishing reports and updates for the week of June 13 to June 19.

Want to be able to afford a few extra bucks for the beverage of your choice after a long day of fishing? Well then avoid acting like a brain stem with feet and eschew fines by paying attention to the following regs:

— Snagging is not allowed in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi until June 24

— Kings 20 inches or longer removed from salt or fresh water must be retained and become part of the bag limit of the person who hooked the 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 if you need to review them before your arraignment.

— Lingcod may not be harvested until July 1. All lingcod caught accidentally must be prudently released with some sense of shame and may not be hole-enabled with punctures from a gaff.

Saltwater Fishing Report:

Halibut

The fishery is starting to fire on more cylinders as bigger herds of flats move from their deep water winter haunts back to shallower areas where summer buffets await.

Herring is the most predominant bait, but octopus, squid, odiferous salmon heads, and bewitching jigs also work well.

Salmon

Trolling success for feeder kings remains reasonably successful from Bluff Point north and fair to fun near the head of Kachemak Bay and Point Pogibshi.

Rod holders are continuing to occasionally tangle with chum salmon.

Downriggers are essential for trolling in deeper water. Trust me, holding your pole under water doesn’t cut it.

Small herring trolled behind a flasher or dodger continues to be the most effective way to sucker chinooks into turning themselves into fillets.

Spoons, hootchies and tube flies will get their attention too, especially if they are cruising around bored out of their minuscule minds.

Fresh kings keep arriving at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon.

Success has been sporadic at times but can be good to relatively exciting when the tides and times are right. The smolt pens have been removed. That’s high chill cool because it opens more water for unobstructed fishing at the south end.

Try salmon roe, herring and various Vibrax spinners when hunting the tide change outs.

Note: The appearance of bogus fishermen is on the rise at the lagoon. These miscreants are tight liners and bobber snaggers that have the angling skills of driftwood.

Some even use marshmallows as floats claiming the soft white sugary globs are not bobbers and thus not against the rules. If they had an active brain cell, they’d check the Webster’s Dictionary where it states the obvious, “Bobber, a float for a fishing line.” I’m absolutely mystified that these types of scofflaws don’t need a handler just to remind them when to breathe.

King fishing at Seldovia Lagoon remains good with newcomers still free-styling into the area.

Anglers are using their good buddy the Vibrax spinner along herring and yummy shrimp as lures. The latter is kind of cool because if you don’t nail anything you can have your bait as hors d’oeuvres.

Other Saltwater Fishing:

Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a kick in the keister especially if something you haul in chases you into the public loo.

Species lurking beneath those waters include Walleye pollock, Pacific cod, a variety of flatfish and occasionally something that you don’t want reaching shore.

Fresh waters:

The Anchor and Ninilchik Rivers will open from the mouth upstream approximately 2 miles to the ADF&G regulatory marks to fishing Saturday, June 18 through Monday, June 20. In addition, the Anchor River will open to fishing on Wednesday, June 22.

The Anchor River weir counted 218 kings on June 13 bringing the total of upstream travelers to 3,485 so far this year.

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

Don’t forget that chinooks 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.

As usual the standard advice is to fish in the early mornings and near the mouths of these streams during high tide to focus on the newcomers.

Spinners, flies, spin-n-glos are effective for kings in these streams as well as roe and herring.

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.

The next clamming tides run from June 18-24.

Razor clams can be found on beaches along the west side of Cook Inlet and are accessed by boat or plane.

Popular razor clam beaches include Crescent River, Chinitna Bay and Polly Creek.

Boaters should be very careful before hightailing across the inlet because of the strong currents and should check the weather forecast before traveling and during their sojourn.

Littleneck (steamer) and butter clams can be found in gravel beaches on the south side of Kachemak Bay from Seldovia to Chugachik Island.

A righteous number of butter clams homestead on the islands in China Poot Bay.

Butter clams can be found up to two feet deep. Littleneck clams can be found in a variety of laid back communes from Jakolof Bay to Bear Cove.

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

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you have any tips, tales or just want to trash talk about your buddies.

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Lupin bloom at the head of the bay

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