Web posted Wednesday, May 8, 2002

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Salmon stocking programs started years ago by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game have made the Fising Hole on the Homer Spit one of the most popular sport fisheries in the state, drawing anglers from all over to try for kings and silver salmon. The area has wheelchair accessibility and fish-cleaning tables and plenty of parking

Homer Spit, Anchor River: Great places to start a fishing adventure

Homer Spit

The Spit is a beehive of activity for fishermen all summer, offering salmon, Dolly Varden and halibut.

The most spectacular fishing comes from the Department of Fish and Game's stocking programs in the "Fishing Hole." Two species of salmon will again be available this year. The department has planted king salmon smolt there since 1984 and summer returns are good from mid-May through late June. Some kings will exceed 40 pounds, and the catch could reach several thousand fish.

A silver salmon enhancement program has started that should bring cohos to the Fishing Hole starting in July 2002. That run continues through mid-September

Besides the shore fishery, halibut and king salmon charters run daily.

TIPS -- Dolly Varden show up in April and run all spring, followed by king, pink and silver salmon as the summer progresses. For kings and silvers, try egg clusters, herring, shrimp with bobbers, as well as casting or trolling small lures along the east side near the harbor and in the Fishing Hole. Also try there for pinks. Dollies and pinks can be taken with shore-cast lures at the tip of the Spit and toward the inlet, with small spinners and spoons the best performers. Silvers are best taken on the east side from the harbor entrance to Mud Bay, from July to September. Use a skiff for best results, though some fish run within casting distance of shore. Try off the rocks on the outer edge of the boat basin, just after high tide. Salmon eggs fished near the inlet channel of the Fishing Hole on a flooding tide is very effective for silvers.

Snagging is allowed in Kachemak Bay from June 24 through Dec. 31. However, snagging at the Fishing Hole is allowed only during specific periods by the Department of Fish and Game <> likely in late June-early July for kings and in mid-September through December for silvers.

The daily bag and possession limit is two king salmon of any size. Any king salmon over 16 inches must be recorded on the back of the sportfish license; any king under 16 inches does not count toward the season limit.

Kachemak Bay

Halibut Cove Lagoon, China Poot Bay, Seldovia Bay and Tutka Bay provide good angling at different times during the summer, thanks mostly to the enhancement efforts of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association, which is funded by commercial salmon fishermen. Kings appear in Halibut Cove and Seldovia Bay in mid-May and run for a month. Reds can be taken from China Poot Bay in July and early August on brightly colored flies. Pinks return to Tutka Lagoon in late June and the run peaks in mid-July.

TIPS -- Troll herring or cast Pixees or Vibrax lures for kings, which can reach 30 pounds or more. Pinks will hit Pixees and other lures readily, and Tutka Bay is a wonderful place to take young fishermen. Be sure to adhere to bag limits, some of which have changed recently. Check the 2002 Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary Booklet for more details.

Ninilchik River

Northernmost of the Lower Peninsula fishing streams is the Ninilchik River, which runs through the historic village of Ninilchik, an ancient site of the Dena'ina Indians, at Mile 134 of the Sterling Highway.

There are four state-maintained campgrounds in the area, two with water and all with restrooms. The largest is about a half-mile north of the highway bridge. All are marked with signs. Private campsites are nearby at Hylen's Camper Park (full services, dump station) and at the Beachcomber near the beach. Boat-launching facilities can be found at the curve above the small boat harbor.

Because of the high density sport fishing in the Ninilchik area, anglers are urged to observe all posted "No trespassing" signs, and to remain in designated fishing areas (see Alaska Sport Fishing Regulation Summary). Please do not litter. King salmon, cohos, Dolly Varden and steelhead are the mainstays.

TIPS -- The river is closed Jan. 1 through June 30, except during king salmon season, which opens Memorial Day weekend. Kings can be fished the following two weekends from midnight Friday to midnight Monday. Spinners and salmon egg clusters with Spin-N-Glos are recommended on 20- to 30-pound spinning and heavy fly gear. Dolly Varden fishing is good July until freeze-up. Use Dolly flies No. 4 to No. 12 or any streamers resembling small fish. Okie Drifters, Spin-N-Glos and most river gear are usually good. Silver salmon run from early August until mid-September. Steelhead fishing is good from Sept. 1 until freeze-up. Use salmon egg clusters, Okie Drifters or Golftees on at least 8-pound test line. After Aug. 31, only artificial lures may be used. (All rainbow/steelhead trout must be released immediately.)

Deep Creek

A mile south of Ninilchik River is Deep Creek, another productive and popular stream. Deep Creek Wayside is located one-half mile down the Deep Creek turnoff, on the south side of the road. A boat-launching facility is also here. Anglers can expect to find the same species here as in the Ninilchik River, as well as rainbow trout lurking farther upstream.

TIPS -- The river is closed to all fishing from Jan. 1 through June 30, except from the mouth to a point two miles upstream on king salmon weekends. Consult the 2002 sport fish regulations for seasons and limits. Fishing conditions and recommended gear are the same as for the Ninilchik River. Artificial lures only after Aug. 31. Trolling in saltwater for kings is also recommended. Spinners, spoons and herring are effective. Saltwater fishing for reds (mid-July) and silvers (August) is available. All steelhead/rainbow trout must be released immediately.

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The Anchor River opens to king salmon fishing at midnight every Friday from Memorial Day weekend through mid-June. As the hour approaches, anglers begin to line the banks, and at midnight sharp they cast their lines into the water, hoping to feel the powerful, almost electric shock of a king salmon striking the hook.

Anchor River

The Anchor River is a clear-water river, ideal for fishing from the banks or in waders. Except for king salmon weekends starting Memorial Day, it opens on July 1 for the season. Dolly Varden enter the river in July; silver salmon enter the river the latter part of July and run in strong numbers through the first week of September. Steelhead trout enter the river system in mid-August and remain in the river throughout the winter months. The Anchor River also has a resident population of native rainbow trout. Campgrounds are available along the river, below the bridge on the road behind the Anchor River Inn.

TIPS -- The river is closed to fishing from Jan. 1 through June 30, except for five weekends beginning Memorial Day weekend and continuing through June when the river is open to king salmon fishing on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. All steelhead and rainbow trout are regulated as catch-and-release only, with the fishery being restricted to artificial bait only after Sept. 1.