Homer Alaska - Outdoors

Story last updated at 12:46 PM on Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Knowing regs a good way to start a day of fishing



By NICK C. VARNEY

The kings have avoided my gear so far this year. I really have no excuses other than every place that I normally practice my unique flailing style has been shutdown or the returns have been so weak that the tides are ashamed to show up with the measly runs.

During one of my beach stalks, as I searched for the perfect place to get skunked again, I ran into a chilled out fly-in foursome from Oklahoma. They had been in the area for a week and had spent most of their time beachcombing along with rolling out with a couple of halibut charters. They were a bit disappointed with the size of the flats but were excited that a relative from Soldotna was heading down with a load of frozen reds for them to ship home along with the wimpy butts. I was a bit worried until I found out that the Good Samaritan was a trusted nephew to the leader of the group. Some Alaskans have been known to unload prehistoric fillets they've been using as freezer shelves on unsuspecting visitors. Especially if they're from a state that's so far from the ocean that the word "tide" signifies a cleaning product.

Anyway, they asked if I knew of any good dry brine recipes for smoking sockeyes, so I promised them one.

Two cups of dark brown sugar, two cups of light brown sugar, 3/4 cups of pickling salt.

Mix the ingredients until well combined.

Adjust the amount of sugar to your partiality for sweetness.

Experiment with flavors and ingredients to find the recipe that is perfect for your tastes. We add garlic and onion powder along with lemon pepper.

Use a container that will fit the entire filet of salmon without folding it then sprinkle a thin layer of dry brine so that it covers the bottom.

Place a layer of salmon, skin side down, on the brine.Cover the salmon with a one inch layer of brine.

Place another filet skin side up (with the flesh touching the brine below) on top of the layer of brine.

Add another inch of brine over the top of the second salmon filet and repeat if you have more fish.

Cover tightly and store somewhere cool and dry for 24 to 36 hours.

Remove salmon from dry brine and rinse it well.

Air-dry the salmon on wire racks (uncovered) for 24 hours then smoke until done to your likeness (I brush a film of honey onto the filets just before popping them into the smoker).

Notes: Never reuse brine.

Try to keep the brine at a temperature under 40 degrees.

Use only pickling or kosher salt. Don't decrease the amount of salt out of worry that the end product will be too salty. Nuff said.

Now let's take a look at some of the state's weekly fishing report for June 20-26.

Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders

Before heading out fishing, anglers have several avenues they can use to find the most current emergency orders and news releases. They can check the Sport Fish website http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fishingSport.main or call the local Sport Fish recording (235-6930).

Sport fishing for any species remains prohibited within one mile of shore in the salt waters of Cook Inlet south of the latitude of the mouth of the Ninilchik River to the latitude of Bluff Point through June 30.

Check out page 19 of the 2012 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulation Summary booklet for a map depicting the special harvest area.

The Anchor River is still closed by emergency order to sport fishing effective through June 30 at 11:59 p.m. to protect kings from ending up grilled rather than reaching their escapement goals.

Through July 31, the Anchor River ADF&G upstream regulatory marker will remain downstream approximately 1,000 feet of the junction of the North and South forks.

Lingcod may not be harvested for culinary delights until July 1.

Salt waters: Halibut

Halibut fishing has been passable to decent but most fish remain small with a sampled average this past week at roughly 14.5 pounds.

Keep an eye out for those pesky "mushy" halibut. If you get into a batch of unusually flat and flabby butts that fight like road-kill, pack it in and move on.

Salt waters: Salmon

Snagging is allowed in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Pt. to Pt. Pogibshi from June 24-Dec. 31, except in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon.

Trolling success for feeder king salmon has been fair to enjoyable off the south side of Kachemak Bay, Point Pogibshi and offshore from Bluff Point. King salmon fishing at the lagoon on the Homer Spit, Halibut Cove Lagoon and the Seldovia Harbor has been slow but improving as more fish begin to arrive. Rumor has it that the few chinooks wandering around the Spit lagoon are just lost.

Other Saltwater Fishing

The bag and possession limit for dogfish sharks is five per day and in possession with no recording requirement. Google "eating dogfish shark;" you might be surprised.

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

Rockfish harvest in Lower Cook Inlet is still slow though some are being snapped up while trolling for kings.

Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a great family outing. It's amazing what you can toss into a bucket out there. Remember, if something stares back at you from the bottom of the pail and then proceeds to devour everything around it, gently release it back to the sea.

Fresh waters

The Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep and Stariski creeks are closed to all fishing until July 1.

Looking for something different? Bridge Creek Reservoir in Homer has Dolly Varden. Try small spinners or fly patterns that resemble fish such as muddler minnows

Shellfish

Clamming tides continue through June 24.

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.

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

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail if you have tales, tips or other stuff that wouldn't bore other anglers into throwing themselves overboard.

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