Homer Alaska - Outdoors

Story last updated at 3:42 PM on Wednesday, June 13, 2012

When fishing gets tough, pull out the lucky charms



By NICK C. VARNEY

Fishing for me so far has been about as productive as casting flies into a car wash runoff. Enough is enough, so this week I'm bringing my two best fishing partners out of retirement, Thrasher and Grunge.

Thrasher is my ancient rod that acquired its tag from my dramatic casting skills. I originally called it The Club until a rumor started that I was using an anti car-theft device as a fishing pole. The antiquated rig is prime-time nasty and sports as many nicks and scars as a journeyman boxer, but it has more character and positive juju in its Duct Taped butt-end than all of the wiener rods self-professed pros pose with.

Grunge picked up the moniker because its moldy green appearance leaves no hint that it was originally bright orange. Its bouquet of a long misplaced egg salad sandwich slathered with desiccated home-cured eggs and a touch decomposed squid parts doesn't help either.

I don't care how they look or smell because I'm a seriously superstitious piscatorialist when it comes to angling. I have a lucky cap that's so old and slimed that it has generated its own fish scales which perfectly complement my primordial multi-pocketed canvas coat concealing a bizarre assortment of dubious secret lures. (It's in such sad shape that the Salvation Army turned it down when my wife deviously tried to donate it.).

That combo rarely fails me but if they falter, I hit the shed and bring back "The Boys" as I did today.

I feel luckier already ...

Now let's take a look at some of the state's weekly fishing report for this week:

Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders

The Anchor River remains closed by emergency order to sport fishing effective through Saturday, June 30, at 11:59 p.m., to protect king salmon returning to the river. As of June 11 only 1,980 of the species have made their move into the river and it certainly isn't a stampede with an average of around 133 kings a day.

Through July 31, the Anchor River Alaska Department of Fish and Game upstream regulatory marker will remain downstream approximately 1,000 feet of the junction of the North and South forks.

Some minor minus tides will be sneaking out of the beaches starting on the 17th. These won't be the "walk to Kodiak" type recedes but if you do go on a sand safari for clams don't forget the bag limits. 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.

Lingcod remain safe from being eligible for table fare until July 1.

Salt Waters: Halibut

Halibut fishing has been bouncing around from tolerable to good, but most of the flats remain somewhat Lilliputian (nothing to brag about). Sample halibut harvested out of the Homer port during the past week averaged a pound less than last week weighing in at about 12 pounds if they pulled down on the scales when no one was watching.

Reports of "mushy" halibut keep rolling in.

If you start bringing up "chicken" butts that look somewhat like deflated enema bags, fight like they're already dead, and have wrinkled skin near the base of the dorsal and ventral fins, that's a huge clue to hydroplane out of the area.

Don't whack these poor things. Let them go unharmed. How would you like it if everyone took a baseball bat upside your head every time you weren't a hundred percent? Leave that conduct to the political parties and their super pacs.

Salt Waters: Salmon

Trolling for feeder king salmon has been fair to middling off the south side of Kachemak Bay, Point Pogibshi and offshore from Bluff Point.

King salmon fishing at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon on the Homer Spit, Halibut Cove Lagoon and the Seldovia Harbor have been tied neck and neck in the race to see which has been the most dawdling. Things should pick up as more fish begin to arrive somewhere out there.

Other Saltwater Fishing

The bag and possession limit for spiny dogfish sharks is five per day and in possession with no recording requirement (I guess they put a limit on these things to give them some sort of sense of pride).

The bag and possession limit for all other sharks is one per day and in possession; these must be recorded on the back of your fishing license.

Rockfish harvest in Lower Cook Inlet remains generally sluggish this early in the season though some are inadvertently mugged while trolling for kings.

Rockfish caught in deep water suffer injuries from decompression. Recent research by Department of Fish and Game staff indicates that survival of released rockfish can be substantially improved by releasing fish at the depth of capture. For more information on the use of deep water release mechanisms check out http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fishingSportFishingInfo.rockfishconservation This procedure is cool. I was stumped on how to properly do this type of release, and I'll bet I was not the only one.

Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be good for some major grins while hauling in Walleye pollock, Pacific cod, various flatfish and some creepy stuff that may tempt you to cut the line and join the people next to you in a group scream then a dash for the nearest bar.

Fresh waters: Salmon

The Anchor River, Stariski Creek, Deep Creek and Ninilchik Rivers remain closed to all fishing until July 1.

Shellfish

The next clamming tide series will be June 18-24.

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

Good numbers of butter clams are found on the islands in China Poot Bay. Butter clams can be found up to 2 feet deep.

Littleneck clams can be found in a variety of habitats from Jakolof Bay to Bear Cove. Typically, littleneck clams are found up to 8 inches deep.

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 are recommended. That would be June 20-21.

For larger razor clams, try beaches south of Deep Creek.

All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay are currently closed.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if he isn't prowling a beach somewhere with his buds Thrasher and Grunge.

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