Nick C. Varney

Still time to put fish in freezer (or canner or smoker or soup pot or...)

As August starts to slowly glissade (“butt scoot” for those of you who consider outdoor recreation as playing “Big Fish” on an iPad) itself down the slippery slope toward fall, there’s still time to add to your stash of smoked, canned, frozen, fermented, pickled, honey cured and super secretly preserved fish that only you and your acutely deranged cat can stomach.   

It’s true that the weather can get pretty nasty this time of year, but don’t forget, good fishermen know how, when and where to go after their prey. 

Activity picking up around The Fishing Hole

Lately there have been growing rumors about silvers lurking outside The Fishing Hole. 

Until noon Monday I thought those tales were being generated by fishermen walking too close to some of the campsites in the area that have more smoke pouring out of bongs than their campfires.

I scouted the lagoon area around high tide for jumpers but it was deader than a porcupine Frisbee on the Sterling Highway until an angler arrived to hit the outgoing tide.  

Halibut dining on herring, squid

This summer the “Reeling ‘Em In” gmail inbox has been busier than a confessional booth on the day after Mardi Gras. 

There have been questions about fishing techniques, how to tell the difference between certain species and when and where to fish. We even had a request for directions to a great burger joint because they were down here for the scenery and preferred landing their fillets in a supermarket where they wouldn’t get fish scales on their Birkenstocks. 

Fishing Hole action slow; halibut heats up

Anyone cruising by the Fishing Hole recently must be thinking they would come across more people if they dropped in on a private Pebble mine, executives only, appreciation party for the Alaska Wilderness League. What can I say? It has been so slow that you can find more action sitting at home watching dandelions convert your lawn into the mother of all puffballs.

When will silvers show at Fishing Hole?

The vast staff here at the headquarters of “Reeling ’Em In” has received a plethora of inquires as to when the first silvers are going to make their summer debut at The Fishing Hole.

How in the *&*%^ should I know? We thought that this year’s batch of kings would start trickling inside around the last of May and then kick things up throughout June. We were way wrong. If they had been any later they would have been next year’s run.

Declaring war on summer’s swarms exercise in futility

Heat and I get along like a snow cone in a sauna, so last month was no chocolate éclair on the buffet of life for me. Most of the 30 days seemed like something resembling that particular dessert that I inadvertently stepped in rather than enjoyed.

Yeah, yeah, I know there are a lot of you who relish jumping into a vat of sunscreen and then marching off into your gardens to breed vegetables so massive the Jolly Green Giant would be sporting a truss if he tried to pick one up. I get it.

Fishing looking good for holiday weekend

By the time you read this, the tides should be almost perfect for cutting some respectable critters out the growing herds of halibut cruising around Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet. 

The flats will be looking for trouble by trying to filch sushi from the holiday-week buffets being served up on circle hooks dangling just above ocean floor. It could be a lot of fun out there.

Long days, big tides add to fishing action

Take a cosmic bucket full of solstice time, dump in huge tides along with hordes of panicked bait fish firing out of the water while dodging creatures trying to turn them into pureed protein and wadda ya get? Some honkin’ size halibut and a fleet of boats on the water with bent sticks wielded by semi-sane and seriously pumped fishing fanatics, that’s what.

Forecast: Weather hotter than the fishing

It’s been a long time since the weather has been hotter than the fishing around here. With all of the fans blasting inside the cabin, it’s like stepping onto a wind tunnel 

when the mutts and I crawl back inside from a scouting expedition.

The Fishing Hole has been an interesting enigma so far. The lagoon can be deader than daylight at a vampire hostel and then all of sudden a few kings will slide in to give napping anglers near seizures when they slam their bait.

Fishing has been better; pay attention to emergency orders being released

The king run at The Fishing Hole has been fluctuating from being on the verge of comatose to somewhat entertaining with patient fin hunters nailing a few hungry chinooks entering with the tides. 

The kings are relatively undersized and could have used a few more years at sea to add some heft to their fillets by wolfing down small schools of corpulent herring along with a side order of roe-wrapped candlefish when they felt the need to feed.

Good clam tides, but limit reduced

The first part of this season’s premiere column will be dedicated to those of you who scour wilderness beaches hunting the infamous Alaska clam.

Memorial Day weekend should be primo for those who are addicted to rooting around in the mud and sand for a creature that’s as swift and elusive as a rock with the mental capacity to match.


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