Fish while you can; time zooming by
Anglers hunt mother lode of silvers coming in on big tides
Wow, did we somehow pick up a serious tail wind of time since this column’s seasonal debut? Come on, Aug. 6 already?
It seems like it was just a short time ago that I first reported chinooks were starting to conduct drive-by strikes in the Nick Dudiak Lagoon back in mid-May.
Since then the column has touched on subjects from how to recognize what species you are landing to a plethora of hints on techniques to entice those gleaming beauties to hit and where to find them.
This week we need to expand a bit on how to tell the difference between the salmon species.
Several whiney emails rolled in last week that proved there are still a few wannabee fishermen out there that have less memorization capabilities than their fishing gear.
First of all, you could have clipped out the section of the article describing the special identifying factors for each of the five salmon species found in Alaska or picked up a free regulation book from the local Alaska Department of Fish and Game office or outlets that sell fishing licenses.
The Southcentral Alaska Sport Regulation Summary booklet actually has colored photographs of the different salmon species on page 86 along with other sections containing all sorts of pretty pictures that will help you tell the difference between a tanner crab and a butter clam.
What can I say? Some individuals are so averse to learning something new that their version of text messaging is a crayoned note left on an outhouse wall.
Speaking of the lagoon, remember when we mentioned that the latest big tides would probably bring another wave of silvers into The Fishing Hole?
As of a few of days ago, the incoming and outgoing floods contained a near mother lode of silvers and angling opportunities became a bit elbow to elbow at times.
When things get so crowded I can’t tell what deodorant my neighbor isn’t wearing, I go hunting.
As the tide edges up the beach on the outside of the lagoon, the schools have tendency to run along the shoreline. They’ll circle and cruise both north and south of the entrance. That’s when I take my gear and a stroll (if my banged up knee isn’t being a total @*&^%8+.
I watch for the packs’ wakes then flip a plug cut herring dangling about 18 inches below a bobber a few feet in front of them. If the knee says, “No way,” I just plop down on a stool and let the battlers come to me. Trust me, the technique works.
Now let’s take a look at this week’s fishing report.
Saltwater Regulation Reminders
The Kachemak Bay Coho Salmon Gillnet Fishery opens Aug. 17 and closes when 1,000-2,000 coho are harvested, so you had better get after those silvers coming into The Hole. Permits are available at the Homer Fish and Game office.
Note: The Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon Area is closed to snagging from the Homer City Dock near the entrance of the Homer Boat Harbor (including the Homer Boat Harbor) to the Fish and Game markers about 200 yards northwest of the lagoon entrance to a distance of 300 feet from shore. The bag and possession for salmon within these waters (except king salmon) is six per day of which six may be silvers.
Check out page 20 of the sports fishery regs for the rules pertaining to the Nick Dudiak Lagoon. It specifies what set ups are illegal there.
A special thanks to those who have spoken up when you’ve spotted violations.
One guy claimed he checked with the warden who told him it was fine to have a bobber at the end of his line with a sunken hook between it and his pole. He then told the observer to mind his own business.
When the miscreant was advised that we didn’t have wardens but that a call would be made to have a wildlife officer come out clarify the issue with him and his buddy, it was exit stage left. And so it goes …
Freshwater Regulation Reminders
The Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep and Stariski creeks are open to fishing for Dolly Varden and steelhead/rainbow trout upstream from the Fish and Game regulatory markers, but remain closed for salmon upstream of these markers.
China Poot personal use dipnet fishery closes Aug. 7. Only sockeye salmon may be retained in this personal use and both tips of the tail fin must be removed. Complete regulations are found on page 16 of the Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulation Summary booklet.
Saltwater Fisheries: Halibut
Halibut fishing is going gung ho and some nice slabs have been hitting the decks.
Sampled fish harvested out of the Homer port averaged 11.5 pounds (range 2.2-68.3 pounds).
Saltwater Fisheries: Salmon
Boat hunters are reporting decent catches of silvers near Point Pogibshi and Silver Ridge.
Trolling action has revved down somewhat for kings Kachemak Bay.
North of Bluff Point anglers are reporting king fishing as nappy time but things are picking up with more action from high flying coho and unhinged pinks.
Trolling set-ups that are continuing to nail salmon include killer herring, blue and silvery green tube flies plus assorted flashy spoons. It doesn’t hurt to tack on some dodgers or multi colored flashers to get their attention.
Silvers are continuing to do back flips into the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon and along the east side of the spit.
When they go on the bite, salmon eggs, herring and a variety of Vibrax spinners will set you up for an aerial battle especially during the early morning hours or if the tides are moving in or out of the lagoon.
As a part of the Chinook Salmon Research Initiative, Fish and Game is looking at the genetic stock composition of the marine king salmon fishery. There are port samplers stationed at the Homer Harbor, and Deep Creek and Anchor Point tractor launches conducting quick interviews and collecting biological information, scales and genetic clips from sport caught king salmon. If you fished for king salmon in Cook Inlet, regardless of success, they would really like to talk to you. More information on the Chinook Salmon Research Initiative can be found at: http://dfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=chinookinitiative.main.
Other Saltwater Fishing
If you are looking for something other than salmon the Homer Spit has some unique chances off the beaches at the end of road.
You can throw almost any kind of gunk on a hook and have a chance at hooking up with something feeding along the bottom out there. More discerning anglers will target things edible like walleye pollock, Pacific cod and a variety of flatfish species. Those who aren’t picky maybe chased back to their car by what they haul ashore. That’s the rumor anyway.
Sportsmen near the Barren, Chugach and Elizabeth islands are doing well hooking up with lingcod and rockfish as well as other species.
Rockfish caught in deep water suffer injuries from decompression. Recent research by Fish and Game staff indicates that survival of released rockfish can be substantially improved by releasing fish at the depth of capture. For more information on the use of deep water release mechanisms, see the department’s Web page at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fishingSportFishingInfo.rockfi....
Freshwater Fisheries: Streams
Dolly Varden fishing in roadside streams has been righteous. They have a cage fighter attitude and love to take on small bright spinners, fresh salmon eggs and various fly patterns depending on the clarity of the water and time of day.
Coho are starting to slip into area streams; as usual, take a shot at fishing with the arrival of dawn or a crack at them around the mouth of the stream during an incoming tide.
Pinks continue showing off their over inflated ego along the south side of Kachemak Bay.
They are really into themselves at Humpy Creek and the Seldovia River.
Don’t forget the lake fishing.
The Kenai Peninsula stocked lakes fishing has remained fine for most of the summer if you can keep away from the mutant vampire insects from hell.
Most of these lakes are stocked with rainbow trout which, this time of year, can be whacked with dry or wet flies, small spoons, spinners, or various baits.
A brochure listing the locations of the stocked lakes is available on the Sport Fish website and at Fish and Game offices. You’ll have to look elsewhere for facilities providing blood transfusions.
Personal Use Fishing
Dipnetting success for sockeye in China Poot is so slow sometimes the only thing moving over there is the sea grass.
Shellfish: Emergency Orders
All Eastside Cook Inlet beaches from the Kenai River to the tip of the Homer Spit are closed to all clams and mussels through Dec. 31.
The Cook Inlet and North Gulf Coast sport, personal use and subsistence Tanner crab fisheries will not open for the 2015-2016 season.
The next good clamming tides run from Aug. 28 through Sept. 3.
All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay remain closed for 2015.
Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby
Linda Scott of Bloomington, Minn., remains the derby leader, with a 224.4-pound halibut caught July 10.
In a cosmic coincidence, on July 31, Bryce Johnson of Homer bought a derby ticket from the Sport Shed and caught a tagged halibut worth $500 sponsored by the Sport Shed. Johnson fished on a private boat, the Carolina Pride.
Bart Weaver of Gordon, Neb., on Aug. 2 caught a tagged $100 fish from 2014 on Born Free with Capt. Drew White.
Nick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org especially if you have some fishing tips or more hysterical tales about fishermen who can’t catch a fish without cheating unless it’s in a showcase.
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