Homer Alaska - Outdoors

Story last updated at 3:39 PM on Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Winds could have blown anglers onto good fishing

Reeling 'em in

By NICK C. VARNEY

Wow! I thought I was going to spend Labor Day flipping a few casts while taking a crack at nailing tardy silvers or anything else bored enough to try one of my mystery lures.

Ma Nature had other ideas and threw a fit that kept me homebound, manly monitoring for power outages that might conceivably threaten our winter fish stash and precisely chilled home brews.

The appalling inclemency also provided an exceptional alibi for delaying pre-winter chores in exchange for serious couch time viewing ESPN's drag races and NASCAR coverage as long as I remained on emergency alert.

My seriously significant other didn't buy it, of course, because we could still shop storm-resistant stores and lay in supplies for our basement larder. Big whoop.

Back to Monday. Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that the storm was too strong for a highly semi-competent beach fisherman such as moi to handle. Though I will admit that if I'd insisted on trying to cast toward the east, I'd still be taking cracks at disengaging treble hooks from some of my more sensitive body parts. Those headwinds were nasty.

On the other hand, if I would have cast with the gale to my back, I would have been able to splash a No. 6 Blue Vibrax near Seldovia and trolled it back to the tip of the Spit.

I'll never learn.

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

Nothing much has changed.

You already know that the "flowing waters of the Anchor River, Ninilchik River, Deep Creek and Stariski Creek are restricted to single hook and no bait through Oct. 31." What goes on after that is called ice fishing.

The areas upstream of the two-mile regulatory markers on the Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep and Stariski creeks are open to fishing for Dolly Varden and steelhead/rainbow trout. Salmon may not be targeted or harvested upstream of the two-mile regulatory markers.

If you still can find some, cohos may not be removed from the water prior to release. You snatch it, you buy it. It's as simple as that.

If you are going to still be sniffing around for clams to chow down on remember the following: The sport, personal use and subsistence bag and possession limits for littleneck and butter clams in Cook Inlet and Resurrection Bay have been reduced from 1,000 littleneck clams and 700 butter clams to a combined limit of 80 clams. Some jerks ignored this warning and could have dined on mollusks in the form of pretentious smoked snacks at a five-star restaurant with what their fines cost them.

The next tides suitable for clamming are in the evenings Sept. 26-29.

Freshwater Streams

Anglers fishing the lower sections of the Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep Creek report meager catches of silvers. The run seems to be dying faster than an iceberg in Death Valley. Fishing for Dolly Varden also has been slow in the lower stream sections, but picks up from fair to good on the upper sections.

Some steelheads are being picked up in the lower sections of the streams. Don't forget if they are hooked in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Stariski Creek and the Ninilchik River, they must not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

Salt Water: Halibut

According to various sources, Kachemak Bay halibut fishing has been fair to as boring as watching dust bunnies form under a coffee table. It gets much better if you ease on out to central or southern Cook Inlet. Fishing in the waters off of Anchor Point or Deep Creek pays off too.

There still are some reports of mush butts showing up. The flats have flesh that is very soft or flabby and have an "ick factor" of 10 especially if they're sporting pockets of jelly-like tissue. If you catch one of these creatures, release it immediately and beat feet out of the area unless you love slush sushi for dinner.

Salt Water: Salmon

Silver fishing in Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay has been spartan to somewhat OK at Flat Island, Point Pogibshi and offshore. Trolling remains the most effective way of getting their attention.

The state reports that the silver run in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon on the Homer Spit is over. This has come as a surprise to a lot of anglers that were still waiting for it to begin.

This is cool: There have been reports of good catches of feeder kings near Bluff Point.

Popular trolling set-ups for king and silver salmon include herring, hootchies, tube flies and spoons. Try using dodgers or flashers because they amuse the fish.

Other Saltwater Fishing

Fishing for those delicious lingcod has been fair to good. The critters love hanging out around the rock piles and pinnacles by Elizabeth Island and Kennedy Entrance. There is a minimum size limit of 35 inches and a bag limit of two per day and two in possession. A gaff may not be used on any fish intended for release.

You still can fill your buckets or coolers with cod, pollock and a variety of flounders off the end of the Homer Spit. Try using herring or various disgusting leftovers as bait for the best success.

Personal Use

The Kachemak Bay coho salmon gillnet fishery is open. A permit is required and available at the Homer Alaska Department of Fish and Game office.

Shellfish

Tanner crab fisheries will remain open through the 2011-2012 season in Cook Inlet Area waters west of the Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi line, including Kamishak and North Gulf Coast waters. A free permit is required and available at Fish and Game offices in Homer, Soldotna and Anchorage and at the Fish House in Seward.

Individuals possessing a tanner crab harvest permit should retain the permit if they plan to fish in open waters. However, individuals that do not plan to fish in areas outside Kachemak Bay are encouraged to return their permits to the Fish and Game Homer office as soon as possible.

Shrimp, king crab and Dungeness crab fisheries in Cook Inlet are currently closed. Personal-use (Alaska residents only) shrimping is open in the North Gulf coast through Sept. 15. A free permit is required.

If you have tips, questions or dubious fishing tales, Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com

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