Homer Alaska - Outdoors

Story last updated at 12:20 PM on Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tip of the week: Serious glops of salmon roe get results




I am not a combat fisherman. I'm a conscientious objector when it comes to doing battle for room with more than two anglers especially if they are within sight so I move around a lot.

It's not that I'm antisocial, but with everyone packing camera phones nowadays I don't want to go viral on You Tube after accidentally snagging the butt of some hapless moose calf during the back cast of one of my more infamous wild hurls. It's embarrassing enough that my partners prefer a minimum separation of a football field every time we're on a salmon safari.

This aversion to public humiliation keeps me from fishing during holiday weekends when things get so crowded you have to take a number to get a shot at the nearest Porta-Potty. Instead, I watch others fish to find out what works for them and pass it on to you.

Here are some tips gleaned from watching anglers attacking local turbid and high water streams over the weekend.

One group used assorted artificial lures that had a mixture of bright chrome colors and purportedly emitted rattling sounds. Still they had to almost smack a fish on the skull to get its attention. One guy who seemed to be getting the most strikes coated his enticements with herring oil and refreshed them after each half dozen casts.

Serious glops of salmon roe worked best. The blobs were changed frequently to present the finest scent trail for fish-without-a-clue because of the water conditions. Plug cut herring also stirred up some action (again, flash and scent).

A few fly fishermen were using weighted streamers dubbed "wooly buggers and bunny leeches" along with plenty of glint and super flashy minnow patterns. They flipped the flies along the banks because their targets prefer chilling there, especially when the water is running high.

The weirdest thing I came across was a guy who was cussing at the water and stomping around like a wounded rhino. He claimed that he had just lost his second fish and was about to pop a primary neck vein. Once he calmed down and quit gnawing on his rod handle, I asked him what he was using. It was something he called a Crystal Meth salmon fishing fly (I kid you not) initially developed for steelheads. The unusual looking fly had orange highlights and he swore by it and at himself for not being able "to land a damn thing." I left him mumbling and spouting unprintable aspersions about the lineage of the fish that got away.

It's time now to look at some of the state's fishing report for this week.

Head's up: An emergency order has been issued that prohibits the use of bait, treble hooks and multiple hooks in the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Ninilchik River during the king salmon fishery effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 2. Only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure is allowed. "Single-hook" means a fish hook with only one point.

Notice: The first Youth Fishing Day at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon is Saturday. A portion of the Fishing Lagoon will be open only to youth 15 years of age or younger from 12:01 a.m. until midnight. The Mobile Aquatic Classroom and Department of Fish and Game staff will be present from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to help young anglers fish, and tie egg loops and fishing knots.

Salt Waters: Halibut

Early-season halibut fishing is fair to good, but most fish are small with some having more potential as miniature home aquarium dwellers rather than table fare.

"Mushy" halibut are still skulking out there, so if you get into a batch, pull anchor and split The Twilight Zone for an area that may only provide small flats, but at least they won't glow in the dark and try to latch onto your body.

Salt Waters: Salmon

Trolling success for feeder king salmon continues to be fair to good off the south side of Kachemak Bay, Bluff Point, Point Pogibshi and north to Ninilchik.

Early-run chinooks are rambling along in the shallow waters near shore off of Anchor Point, Whiskey Gulch and Deep Creek. Watch the tides especially next week or you'll be trolling through exposed beach and groups of highly irritated clam diggers.

Standard trolling set-ups for the beasts include dodgers or flashers trailed by herring, hootchies, tube flies and assorted pimped-out spoons.

Kings are beginning to arrive at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon in schools of one and sometimes two. Fishing success is expected to be so slow that anglers who nail one are encouraged to hand their pole off so others can see what it feels like and yell, "Fish On!"

On a more serious note: Be careful on the wood ramps leading down to the lagoon's waterline. Some of the low foot-rail wood is missing, leaving nasty looking spikes sticking up along the edge, especially on the north ramp. Hopefully this hazard will be dealt with quickly.

Fresh Waters: Salmon

The Anchor River fishing is pitiful with low fish passage and water only a masochist could love.

On May 28, 30 kings went through the sonar for a total of a mere 285 chinooks since the count began on May 14.

The Ninilchik and Anchor rivers and Deep Creek, as defined by the ADF&G markers, will open to fishing at 12:01 a.m. Saturday through midnight Monday.

A variety of gear including spinners, jigs, yarn and large flies will catch kings. Of course they have to show up first.

Water conditions are low and clear on the Ninilchik River. The water conditions are improving on the Anchor River and Deep Creek and may be more fishable by this weekend.

Remember: The rainbow/steelhead fishery is catch-and–release only. Familiarize yourself with the differences between king salmon and steelhead trout before you end up trying to explain why you're filleting such a beautiful fish to a trooper before handing him the keys to your SUV as a down payment on your fine. Steelhead must not be removed from the water and be released immediately.

Shellfish

Righteous clamming tides will occur June 1-9. Don't forget that the sport, personal use and subsistence bag and possession limit for littleneck and butter clams have been reduced from 1,000 littleneck clams and 700 butter clams to a combined bag and possession limit of 80 clams.

Littleneck (steamer) and butter clams can be found in gravel beaches on the south side of Kachemak Bay from Seldovia to Chugachik Island. Decent numbers of butter clams are lurking on the islands in China Poot Bay and can be located up to two feet deep. Littleneck clams can be harvested in a variety of habitats from Jakolof Bay to Bear Cove.

Razor clams can be found on the sandy beaches from Kasilof to Homer and are exposed on any minus tides. Tides of minus 2.0 feet or lower gives you a better shot at primo clamming. For larger razors, try beaches south of Deep Creek. All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay remain closed.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com. Tips, tales and tribulations are always welcome.

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