It’s not just the out-of-towners who can’t read or follow sport fishing regs

Back in late June this column reported on a plethora of angling misconducts Alaska Wildlife Troopers had to deal with because of clueless dipsticks.

 

I was hoping that things would chill out with the scofflaw crowd because the piece sent a pretty blatant warning that they were being watched and enforcement officials were packin’ bottomless ink pens along with enough ticket books to fabricate an emergency shelter. 

Well, that optimism was stomped on faster than a cockroach at a White House State Dinner by another memo from Homer News primo reporter and crime beat specialist, Michael Armstrong.   

I was startled at how many of the miscreants were local because typically most of the tickets are bestowed on Urbanorians who behave as if they’re from another universe when they land down here. The open spaces and fresh air seems to disorient them to the point that they can’t decipher a simple sports fishing regulations summary if they bother to pick one up.   

So this time around some of our own delinquents get to share a spot on the cyber wall of “Are You *#+^%& Nuts?” 

Let’s begin:

A couple of locals were cited for fishing Kachemak Bay waters without having a valid 2015 sport fish license. Bail was set at $200 each.

You would think that if they remembered their boat, fishing gear and bait, they would … never mind.  

An Urbanorian from A City got himself into deep caca when troopers contacted him after he landed a king salmon at the Homer fishing hole.

It seems the rascal had obtained a duplicate sport fishing license and failed to record on that license the information for all finfish previously landed during that year that were subject to the harvest record reporting requirements. The unseemly behavior won him a mandatory court appearance which includes an all expense paid trip back to Homer sponsored by his bank account.

In three separate examples of “Heads up and locked” Homerites managed to pick up citations for failing to record a king salmon greater than 20 inches in length from Kachemak Bay waters. Bail was set at $100 each.

Not be outdone an Anchor Town denizen didn’t set ink to paper and joined the growing and seriously dense Benjamin Payout Gang. 

Then out of nowhere a man from Eagle River managed to ride into brain flatulence history to swell the ranks of the Homer/Anchorage alliance of malfeasors by committing yet another hundred buck, same-same, snafu.

The week wasn’t over. Heinous halibut hunters also made their mark.

Get this. Two guys out of Fairbanks retained an over limit of halibut while fishing Cook Inlet waters on June 25 and 26. 

These boneheads caused six halibut over their limit to assume air temperature on June 25 and then whacked 21 flats above the daily maximum on June 26. Yes, 21. 

One gentleman has a mandatory court appearance to appear on the charge of Take Over Limit of Halibut and Limitations on Halibut for filleting the halibut in a manner inconsistent with International Pacific Halibut Commission regulations for the halibut harvested on June 26. Don’t have a clue what happened to the second guy. Maybe he’s still swimming south.

Then four fishers from, yes, Anchorage were cited into the status of the nonachievers by their inability to recognize the difference between the numbers  two and three when troopers nailed each of them for retaining one halibut over the daily bag limit of two. They were given equal honors of having their bail set at $150 each.

Finally, Michael has a story this week that should make your ears shoot fire. Look for it on page 3.

Now let’s take a look at the fishing report for this week. 

 

King Salmon Emergency Orders 

The annual limit of five king salmon 20 inches or longer has been restored to the Cook Inlet annual limit for fish harvested in the Ninilchik River and all marine waters south of the latitude of the mouth of the Ninilchik River to the latitude of Bluff Point.

Any king salmon recorded before Saturday, June 20, on the harvest portion of an Alaska sport fishing license or harvest record card counts toward the Cook Inlet annual limit.

An emergency order rescinded the preseason action that maintained the conservation zone surrounding the Anchor River mouth and regulations associated with the Special Harvest Areas 2 miles north of the Anchor River to Bluff Point from July 1-15.

 

Additional Regulation Reminders

The Ninilchik River is open for hatchery king salmon. The bag and possession limit on hatchery king salmon is one 20 inches or greater in length and 10 hatchery king salmon less than 20 inches. 

Wild king salmon must be not be removed from the water and released immediately unless you want your name in the trooper evil doer section of the police report.

Hatchery king salmon are identified by the absence of an adipose fin (fleshy fin on the back just in front of the tail).

Anchor River, Deep Creek and Stariski Creek are open to sport fishing, but closed for king salmon. Gear is limited to one un-baited single hook artificial lure through July 15. King salmon may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

China Poot personal use dipnet fishery is open until Aug. 7 upstream of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game markers. Personal use caught sockeye salmon must have both tips of the tail fin removed. Complete regulations are found on page 16 of the Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing regulation summary booklet.

Sport caught pink salmon may be used as bait in the salt water fisheries, but are counted as part of your daily bag limit. 

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 you’ll be pointed out for public ridicule by the good guys and cited by somber enforcement officials if you pull an inane stunt like that.

In Tutka Bay Lagoon, sport fishing is closed within 100 yards of the net pens.

 

Salt Water Fisheries: Halibut  

Halibut fishing is getter hotter as the flats gorge on all kinds of delectable munchies cruising the shallower feeding areas. 

Sampled fish harvested out of the Homer port averaged 10.85 pounds (range 2.6-86.6 pounds). 

Circle hooks impaled with nonvolunteer herring are a killer combination.

Unguided anglers can retain two halibut a day,  four in possession.

Regulation changes are in effect for guided anglers fishing for halibut. The bag limit for guided anglers is two fish per day, one of any size and one less than or equal to 29 inches in length, and guided anglers have an annual limit of five halibut. A more extensive description of these federal regulations can be found at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/frules/79fr13906.pdf. 

Lingcod season opened July 1. The bag and possession limit is two fish and the minimum legal size is 35 inches.

 

Salt Water Fisheries: Salmon

Trolling success for king salmon is reported as passable in Kachemak Bay with moderately decent to good fishing in the outer bay and Cook Inlet near Point Pogibshi to Point Adam.

Anglers are reporting king fishing is beginning to kick up a notch north of Bluff Point to the Ninilchik River area. 

Fin hunters are reporting increased catches of insane pinks in Kachemak Bay mixed with a potpourri of chum, sockeye and a sporadic coho that doesn’t want to be seen with the others.  

Early-run silvers are beginning to wander into the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon along with four or five obnoxious and ravenous seals.

Don’t be surprised to get into some late arriving kings and a Dolly or two at The Hole. 

Baits such as salmon eggs, plug cut herring and various Vibrax spinners work well (deep pink or red bells are hit getters at the moment). Needless to say, fishing around the incoming and ebbing tides will result in more action along with getting your butt out of bed to hit the early morning bite. 

Sockeye salmon mixed with pink salmon are arriving into Tutka Bay Lagoon. 

This is a stocked fishery paid for by enhancement taxes on commercial fisheries. Fisherpersonages should avoid annoying commercial boats operating in the area. They can get grumpy.

 

Other Saltwater Fishing

Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a riot with all sorts of critters lurking beneath the surface. Some are even edible such as walleye pollock, Pacific cod, certain flatfish, lost salmon and disoriented Dolly Varden.

 

Fresh Water Fisheries: Salmon

Anglers can expect fair to good fishing for hatchery kings in the Ninilchik River.

The larger hatchery kings are aging while there are still some bright and spunky hatchery jack kings ready to take you on.

Expect decent fishing for Dolly Varden and pinks in roadside streams as most runs are just starting to arrive. The Anchor has abundant pinks and some nice dollies rolling upstream.

Dipnetting conquests for sockeyes in China Poot is fair to middling. The peak of this run is about the middle of July.

 

Razor Clam Emergency Order

 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 next series of clamming tides run July 14 through July 19.

All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay remain closed for 2015.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you have any tips, tales or really deep insights as to why fishermen lie.

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