Homer Alaska - Outdoors

Story last updated at 12:30 PM on Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Summer's gone, but there's still fishing to do


I was standing alongside the Anchor River thinking about what I should write about in this last column of the year when Bro sauntered up and growled, "Where in the %^%$ did the summer go?"

"That's easy." I grumped. "I don't think we had one. If we did, it came and went faster than my dog Howard's paw-up pledge to never again revisit a spoiled feast of pilfered clam chowder on someone I'm running to the airport, especially a cat-lady relative."

"Dude, there's a lot of tension associated with a fuming woman's emergency shower and flight schedule change. Luckily for 'H' she left her .44 in Ohio."

"That dog's been living on borrowed time so long if someone cashed in his chips he'd turn to dust on the spot," Bro mumbled. "By the way, this is the first year I wasn't able to fill out my king card. If things get any worse I might as well spend next year watching the tide go in and out of the Fishing Hole while trying to hit one of those bait stealin' septic systems with wings in the butt with a #6 Vibrax."

Bro isn't the only one that had a bit of a problem filling the freezer this year but that's largely because he isn't a "hooper" who enjoys dead-sticking reds with a pole longer than his mini truck. He prefers a tight line to saggy net — no matter how many fish he comes up short.

Anyway, with any luck the silvers will still mount last-minute charges up stream in hordes of two or three so anglers can lay in a few more fillets. Caution: Don't hold your breath on this likelihood without a medic standing by with a fully charged oxygen tank.

One last thought.

Hopefully, the city will get the Nick Dudiak Lagoon dredged out this year or by early spring so the state-planted smolt have a better shot of getting out of there alive. (See related story, page 2.)

I'd love to see the kings come slamming back followed by two healthy runs of silvers. Even though I'd probably get the itch again for a grenade launcher to even the score with seals pilfering primo chinooks from my gear.

I won't worry too much about the scofflaw snaggers showing up as usual out there because this time around they'll end up on YouTube and/or a trooper's cell phone before they can stash the fish in their rig.

Ah, the good old days....

Now let's take a final look at some of the state's weekly fishing report.

Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders

The flowing waters of the Anchor River, Ninilchik River, Deep Creek and Stariski Creek remain restricted to one unbaited, single-hook through Oct. 31.

Rainbow/steelhead trout may not be removed from the water or kept, and must be released immediately.

A coho of any size nowadays will be a big surprise, but if it's16 inches or more and you remove it from the fresh water you must keep it and it becomes part of the bag limit.

The waters upstream of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game markers on the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River and Stariski Creek are closed to all salmon fishing, including catch and release, but open to Dolly Varden and rainbow/steelhead trout.

Salt Waters: Halibut

Halibut fishing over the past week was tolerable although most fish were small except for one righteous hawg. Sampled halibut harvested out of the Homer port during the past week averaged just over an anemic 13 pounds.

Salt Waters: Salmon

Trolling for feeder king salmon has been reported fair to good off Point Pogibshi and Bear Cove. The Bear Cove area had a few especially hot fishing days with a nice 40-pounder boated in a super secret GPS run along some rocky bluffs.

Anglers trolling for silvers reported fishing has been slower than mooching for catfish in Sadie Cove.

The coho run in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon on the Homer Spit is over. This announcement comes as no surprise since most of us had it figured out back in the later part of July when the seals became so bored they fell asleep while hunting in the lagoon.

Other Saltwater Fishing

Rockfish harvest in Lower Cook Inlet has remained acceptable for anglers with discerning good taste and a refined palate.

Fishing success for lingcod has been steady near Chugach and the Barren Islands but so have some high winds.

Anglers who choose to fillet lingcod at sea are reminded that to comply with minimum size regulations, the fillet must be at least 28 inches long or anglers must retain the carcass. These remains make excellent displays for your deck on Halloween. You are guaranteed to save on the candy bill because no one will come anywhere near your place.

Fresh Water Streams

Steelhead trout are beginning to enter the rivers and this catch-and-release-only fishery should improve when river levels subside.

Coho fishing is poor to fair in the Anchor River, Deep Creek and the Ninilchik River. As usual try fishing early in the morning or at the mouth of these streams during the incoming tide.

Remember when the rains come and the rivers rise they light a rocket under the anal fins of holding silvers and they'll blast upstream, so timing is everything.

Expect great fishing for greedy Dollies in these streams. Beads, small spinners and streamer flies are no-brainer gear for catching these less than dim fish with an attitude.

Well, although there's still some fine fishing left, it's time to put this column to bed for the year. I'd like to thank the Alaska Fish and Game folks for their continuing support and sense of humor, especially Carolyn and Carol. Nor can I sign off without expressing my special gratitude for the tips and insights from Lou, John, Jack, Gary, Turk and those who took the time to contact me with questions or comments. It's been a great run.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com.