Web posted Wednesday, May 8, 2002

photo: fishing

Homer has developed a reputation for good king salmon trolling nearly all year long, which in turn has spawned several winter king salmon derbies. The winner of the Homer Elks King Salmon Derby last October won $5,000.

World-class angling starts in Homer

The Kenai Peninsula supports about 40 percent of the recreational fishing in Alaska, and much of that activity is centered in the Homer area.

Kachemak Bay and lower Cook Inlet are world famous for their halibut, which can exceed 300 pounds. Rod-bending king salmon<> the thrill of a lifetime for many anglers <> are caught every summer in streams and year-round in saltwater, and feisty silver salmon can be landed in local streams and saltwater. The steelhead run (catch-and-release only) in the Anchor River is among the best in Alaska, and Homer is the jumpoff point to superb fly-in fishing around the Gulf of Alaska. But don't forget there are sockeye (red) and humpy (pink) salmon, Dolly Varden to be hooked and clams to be dug not far from your car.

And as you land your trophy, you can view whales, otters, seals, ducks, seabirds, moose, mountains, volcanoes and glaciers at the same time.

Fishing on the Lower Peninsula goes on nearly year-round. Many avid anglers brave the cold and rough weather to fish throughout the winter for "feeder" kings - migrating king salmon from as far away as British Columbia that are bulking up before returning to their natal streams to spawn.

But for most fishermen the season starts in May, when halibut move into the Bay and Kenai River kings start biting trollers' hooks off Anchor Point, Deep Creek and Ninilchik. The freshwater season for king salmon on lower Peninsula streams begins at 12:01 a.m. Saturday on Memorial Day weekend, the first of several three-day openings. River fishing continues until ice crowds out the last diehard steelhead angler.

Charter boats are available for halibut and salmon fishing, and the beaches and rivers offer many options for fly-fishing, surf-casting, jigging or drifting lures or bait.

The Homer News, sporting goods dealers and the Department of Fish and Game office off Ocean Drive (235-6930 for recorded information or 235-8191 to talk to a human being) will keep you up to date on openings, closings and the latest streamside gossip.

And don't forget your fishing license, regulation book, rain gear and mosquito repellent.