Homer Alaska - Outdoors

Story last updated at 3:15 PM on Wednesday, June 27, 2012

No. 1 rule of fishing: Know the rules or pay up



By NICK C. VARNEY

I'm dedicating part of this week's column to the hopelessly clueless. Why? Because after all of the emergency closure warnings flashed via radio, TV and print media, there are still people out there who continue to prove that it's possible to fish in a comatose state.

What other explanation is there other than they were so dense that they didn't pick up on the fact that they were all alone while flipping a line into the Ninilchik?

If it hadn't been for an affable trooper who showed up to explain the meaning of a "seriously closed fishery" and issue a $110 bail ticket, they would probably still be bragging about the secluded spot they discovered.

Here's an example of being as brain dead as bait roe.

A fine of $110 can be chump change when a person takes more than their limit of kings, especially when the waters are closed. Now, add the fact that the chinooks were butchered so it was impossible to ascertain if they were wild or hatchery fish along with the detail that they weren't properly recorded and you end with a scofflaw automatically entitled to a bonus of a court appearance. Nice move.

Then, there are the cases of those who assume nothing changes on the salt water thus it's always OK to fish within a mile of shore between the Ninilchik River and Bluff Point. Wrong.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game Emergency Orders may be launched at any time, and it can be expensive to assume they won't. Just ask those who ended up with lighter wallets last week.

Fishermen also are getting caught with their lines down.

It's a really bad move for one person to sport fish the salt waters of Cook Inlet with more than one line. Multiple anglers were reminded of that recently when their bail was set at $110.

I remain mystified by the dude who was busted at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon with a dual set-up. With the pathetic run out there, he had a better chance landing a chinook in his kitchen sink and wouldn't have been slapped with a "primo dunce of the day" fine.

Finally, we have a mutilation violation of the International Pacific Halibut Commission rule that prohibits filleting halibut into more than two ventral pieces, two dorsal pieces, two cheek pieces, and removing the skin. It seems an officer inspected a boatload of six fishermen who had caught and processed what looked like seven flats into fillets-n-things. What made the situation a bit sticky was that only three of them actually had sport fishing licenses. You do the fillet math. The boat captain paid the tab because he couldn't.

Come on, gang. Before heading out fishing, anglers have avenues they can use to find the most current emergency orders and news releases. Check the state's Division of Sport Fish web site (http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fishingSport.main) or call the local Sport Fish recording (235-6930). It's that simple.

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

Heads Up and Read Carefully: The following restrictions apply for salt waters of Cook Inlet south of the latitude of the mouth of the Ninilchik River to Bluff Point within one mile of shore:

Through Saturday, June 30, fishing for any species is prohibited. From Sunday, July 1, to Sunday, July 15, catch-and-release fishing is allowed for king salmon, but king salmon may not be retained or possessed. King salmon that are caught may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

The following emergency orders have been issued for the Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep and Stariski creeks: From July 1-15, the Anchor and Ninilchik rivers are closed to fishing, and then restricted to single hook, no bait from July 16-31.

Deep and Stariski creeks are restricted to single hook, no bait from July 1 through July 31.

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.

Salt Waters: Halibut

Halibut fishing remains not bad to really decent. The butts are still running small but sampled halibut harvested out of the Homer port during the past week porked the average up to around 16.5 pounds.

"Mushy" halibut continue to hang around in certain areas. If you get into a batch of the lethargic losers, pull the hook and smoke out of there.

Salt Waters: Salmon

Snagging is allowed in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi through Dec. 31, except in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon where it wouldn't do you a bit of good anyway.

Trolling success for feeder king salmon has slacked off and bounces from poor to fair off the south side of Kachemak Bay from the Bear Cove to Point Pogibshi.

Outer bay trollers are picking up some pink and chum salmon. Both species will make themselves more grill-available when their back-ups arrive in coming weeks.

King salmon fishing at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon on the Homer Spit, Halibut Cove Lagoon and the Seldovia Harbor has been dismal to slow.

Rumor control: There is no fact to the buzz that things are so bad at the Fishing Lagoon that Fish and Game is thinking of setting a milestone by being the first government agency to close a terminal fishery just on general principles. Trust me on this because I started the cock-and-bull story.

Other Saltwater Fishing

If you are hard up for action, the bag and possession limit for yummy spiny dogfish sharks is five per day and in possession with no recording requirement.

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

Fine dining upgrade alert: Lingcod season opens July 1.

Don't forget that all kinds of munchable fish are cruising off the end of the Homer Spit. These include Walleye Pollock, Pacific Cod, assorted flats and a variety of other things that you may not wish to pull up on the beach unless you're a good runner.

Personal Use

The China Poot personal use dip fishery opens to Alaska residents July 1-Aug. 7. No permit is required. The bag and possession limits are six sockeye per person per day. Only sockeye salmon may be retained.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com especially if you have some groovy tips on how to finance fishing fines for the regulation-comprehension challenged.

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