Fishing? Know what you’re catching
You don’t have to be an ichthyologist to figure out what’s what
I have received an unusual amount of email asking how to report angler evil-doers to the Alaska Wildlife Troopers without tying up 911.
The local number to turn in the violators is 907-235- 8239. Use it. Advise them where you are and what’s going down along with a description of the miscreant(s), their vehicle and its license plate if you can do it without being challenged to a cage fight.
Even if enforcement can’t react immediately, you’ll be giving them a heads-up on who to look out for in the future.
Reports came in last week that a chum had been caught outside the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon along with some sockeye and a humpy. Two were true, one sucked swamp gas. Yes, a few reds were taken along with a couple pinks one of which was misidentified as a chum by a confused 48er dude who couldn’t tell a stickleback from a bluegill, so don’t overheat about the possible arrival of a pack of dogs in the area.
There’s a quick method to tell the difference between chinooks, cohos, pinks, sockeyes and chums.
Check it out so you won’t embarrass yourself in front of visiting relatives when a bystander informs you that you’re a major tool for advising your grandkid that he/she just landed a silver when it was actually a dip*&%$ humpy taking a stab at locating the Anchor River.
Kings (chinooks or blackmouths) have a blue-gray back with silvery sides. They also have small, irregular-shaped black spots on their back, dorsal fin and usually on both lobes of the tail, along with a black mouth and black gums at the teeth base of their lower jaw.
Coho (silver) salmon have a greenish-blue back with silver sides. They have small black spots on their backs, dorsal fin and usually only on the upper lobe of their tail. They also have a black mouth with white gums at the lower jaw’s teeth base and are frequent flyers.
Sockeye (red) salmon have a dark blue back with silvery sides. There are no distinct spots on their back, dorsal fin or tail and they love to smoke.
Pink (humpy) salmon have large spots on their backs and very obvious black oval blotches on both tail lobes. They also have very small scales and are legally insane.
Chums (dog) salmon have a dark gray back with yellowish-silver sides. No distinct spots on their back or tail. They have a large eye pupil that nearly covers the entire eye.
Did you know that chums are the second largest of all Pacific salmon with chinooks taking first place? How do you mistake a humpy for something like that unless you’ve just finished hammering a growler six pack of China Poot Porter?
If you still cannot tell the difference between these fish, you are a nuclear underachiever and should go back to setting teeny trotlines for pygmy catfish in your kid’s aquarium.
Now let’s take a look at this week’s fishing report.
Emergency Orders and Regulation Reminders
The Youth Fishery at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon is Saturday.
A portion of the lagoon will be open to youth 15 years of age or younger from 12:01 a.m. until midnight. Alaska Department of Fish and Game staff will be present from 1-4 p.m. to help young anglers fish, tie egg loops, fishing knots and learn the best way for releasing fish.
Fishing rods will be available for kids to check out and use at the lagoon. The big tides should bring in some buff coho to battle.
This will be the last Youth Fishing Day at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon in 2015.
Note: Free loaner spinning rods are also available to all anglers for up to a week through the Homer Fishing Rod Lender Program. Fishing rods can be checked out at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center or the Homer ADF&G Office. Isn’t that cool?
The Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon remains closed to snagging and knock it off with the bare hook tight-lining, ya miserable mooks.
Lingcod season remains open. Don’t forget that the bag and possession limit for these cranky beasts is two fish featuring a minimum legal size of 35 inches long with head attached or 28 inches with head removed.
Unguided anglers can keep two halibut a day of any size, 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.
Fresh Water Regulation Reminders
The Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep and Stariski creeks open on Aug. 1 to fishing for Dolly Varden and steelhead/rainbow trout upstream from the ADF&G regulatory markers, but remains closed for salmon upstream of these markers.
The China Poot personal-use dipnet fishery is open through Aug.7.
Personal use caught sockeye must have both tips of the tail fin removed.
Halibut fishing is staying on a roll with some seriously rotund ’buts being boarded. One tank weighing 291.2 pounds was turned into mega fillets on July 21. Unfortunately the possibly golden flat remained a lot of lead because someone didn’t cough up a few bucks for a derby ticket.
Sampled fish harvested out of the Homer port averaged 11.3 pounds (range 4.2-127.5 pounds).
White jigs with red eyes are doing well along with the standard fare of herring on a hook.
Saltwater Fisheries: Salmon
Boat hunters are reporting improved catches of coho mixed with kings near Silver Ridge.
Trolling success continues to be passable to pretty decent for kings along the south side of Kachemak Bay and near Point Pogibshi.
Fishing for kings is reported as sloth sluggish north of Bluff Point.
Silvers continue to back flip into the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon and the fishing has been hot at times during the incoming and outgoing tides.
Cured salmon eggs that don’t look like something an Irish Lord coughed up along with plug cut herring and orange/red Vibrax spinners are bringing them ashore. Lately there has been an influx of incompetent troglodytes that can only catch a fish by illegally lining them. Again, do us all a favor and turn the losers in.
Other Saltwater Fishing
The Spit has some other shore fishing options. Bait hurlers are hooking into a variety of finny things such as delectable Pacific cod, surimi producing pollock, along with various goofy looking flatfish. You might even tangle with a coho all along the east shore of the Homer Spit.
Anglers fishing near the Barren, Chugach, and Elizabeth islands are catching some nice lingcod and rockfish as well as other target species. One guy sent me a picture of a blue lingcod that almost made me retract my cracks about how ugly they are. Almost.
Freshsater Fisheries: Streams
Expect some nice fishing for dollies in roadside streams.
The fighters dig small bright spinners, fresh salmon eggs, or fly patterns that resemble small fish or egg patterns.
Coho salmon are arriving in area streams; try fishing early in the morning or at the mouth of the rivers during the incoming tide.
Pink salmon fishing is reported as “whoopee!” on the south side of Kachemak Bay.
Humpy Creek and the Seldovia River are all the rage for knocking off pinks.
Dipnetting success for sockeye in China Poot is dawdling to sleep inducing at best.
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.
Clamming tides run from now through Aug. 4.
Razors have camps set up under beaches along the west side of Cook Inlet and are accessed by boat or plane. Fashionable razor clam beaches include Crescent River and Polly Creek.
Littleneck (steamer) and butter clams can be found in gravel beaches on the south side of Kachemak Bay from Seldovia to Chugachik Island.
A significant horde of butter clams can be found hanging around the islands in China Poot Bay. The butters hunker down up to two feet deep.
Littlenecks prefer a variety of haunts from Jakolof Bay to Bear Cove and are, as a rule, found shallower in the substrate, up to eight inches deep.
Boaters should be very cautious before motoring across the inlet because of the strong tidal currents and should always take a studious look at the weather forecast.
All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay remain closed for 2015.
Kenai River dipnet hours expanded
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game issued an emergency order on Tuesday opening the Kenai River personal-use dipnet fishery 24 hours per day, through 11:59 p.m. Friday.
The area of the Kenai River open to personal-use dipnetting remains the same. A complete description of the area open to dipnetting, along with harvest limits and permit requirements, is found on pages 14 through 17 of the 2015 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulation Summary booklet.
Personal-use dipnet permits can be obtained online at www.adfg.alaska.gov. Dipnetters can also report personal-use harvest online.
Fish and Game has also increased the bag and possession limit for sockeye salmon in the Kenai River sport fishery.
The sport fishing bag and possession limit for sockeye salmon 16 inches or longer in the Kenai River downstream of Skilak Lake will be increased to 6 per day, 12 in possession, beginning 12:01 a.m., Wednesday.
This includes the flowing waters of the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to a Fish and Game regulatory marker located at the outlet of Skilak Lake.
Nick can be reached at email@example.com if you have any tips, tales or pictures of neon lingcod sporting bling.