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.
It wasn’t a complete “A” ticket ride for everyone at Fishing Fantasy Land in the Cook Inlet because the tides were smoking and it took a weight the size of a refrigerator to hold the baits on the bottom. Some anglers compensated for the ripping sea by drifting with pretty fair results. Others targeted the tide swings and ambushed the flats just before and after the slack tide. That’s when the action took off and lasted until the lines required a fridge again.
The Homer Halibut Derby changed leads twice in 24 hours and there have been some really stout looking 30 to 50 pound flats posing at the cleaning tables hoping someone would honor their demise by a finesse filleting instead of turning them into something that bears an embarrassing resemblance to the contents of a tuna fish can.
Not every one was lucky enough to whack a mongo but with patience and a little work; limits were not that hard to come by (many in the 10- to 20-pound range). All of the fish I saw looked healthy with nary a “jellybut” lurking in the piles.
Those who chose to not float because they turn green just looking at a wave ended up scoring big time if they went clamming. Of course they had to pound down a couple of Dramamine first because, in spite of everything, they could still see the water.
Note: The next nine to 10 days will have primo tide times to fill the freezer with all kinds of booty from the open sea.
Not surprisingly the Fishing Hole showed some signs of coming out of a coma with the arrival of the big waters. A couple of small schools of kings have been loitering around surfing in and out with the tide changes. One mini gang was lead by a 15-pounder that got his anal fin handed to him when he tried to go all white shark on a herring that unfortunately had a no. 5 hook hidden in its side. The crew has regrouped under the leadership of a jack salmon with a Napoleon complex and, as of Tuesday morning, was still cruising in the north side of the lagoon.
Now let’s take a look at some of the state’s fishing report for the week of June 24 to July 2.
Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders: King Salmon Emergency Orders
King salmon sport fishing is prohibited (including catch-and-release) within one mile of shore in marine waters south of the latitude of the mouth of the Ninilchik River to the latitude of Bluff Point.
The Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River and Stariski Creek remain closed to sport fishing through July 15.
Anglers are reminded that in waters closed to king salmon fishing, king salmon may not be targeted and that any king salmon caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
It’s almost “Big Ugly” time. Lingcod season opens July 1. Anglers are reminded that the bag and possession limit is 2 fish and the minimum legal size is 35 inches.
Snagging is allowed in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi through December 31, except in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon.
Saltwater fishing: halibut
Early-season halibut fishing is improving as the bigger flats roll into the shallower summer feeding areas to compete with the chickens that have been pigging out on mobs of baitfish while trying not to look like a Happy Meal themselves.
Sampled fish landed in the Homer harbor over the past week averaged 12.6 lbs. (range of 3.3 – 77.1 lbs.).
The Department of Fish and Game has received a few reports of “mushy” halibut this season, but so far they have been rare according to charters and private boats.
Saltwater fishing: salmon
Trolling success at Point Pogibshi and Bear Cove for feeder king salmon has picked up again and has been fair to pretty cool.
King salmon fishing is reported as fair to good at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon if you know what you are doing and can get there before the seals.
Anglers are reporting good numbers of small king salmon returning to the Seldovia Lagoon along with some larger sized kings.
Other saltwater fishing
Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a lot fun especially since you don’t have to worry about wandering grizzlies stealing your catch. Why? Because things have surfaced out there that even they won’t go near. Other than that, the Walleye pollock, Pacific cod, and the variety of flatfish species available are pretty tasty (I take it back on the pollock).
Anglers are still nailing Dolly Varden along the east side of the Homer Spit.
The China Poot personal use dip fishery opens to Alaska residents July 1-Aug. 7. No permit is required. The bag and possession limits are six sockeye per person per day. Only sockeye salmon may be retained.
Clamming tides run through June 28 and then July 7-11.
Razor clam emergency order
The razor clam bag and possession limit remains as the first 25 clams dug through Dec. 31, 2013.
Clam whackers are reminded that possession limit refers to the number of unpreserved clams a person may have in their possession. Preserved is defined on page 5 of the Southcentral sport fishing regulation summary booklet.
Additional regulation reminders
The bag and possession limit for littleneck and butter clams is a combined limit of 80 clams. Diggers are reminded that the legal size for littleneck clams (steamers) is 1.5 inches or wider and the legal size for butter clams is 2.5 inches or wider. To distinguish littleneck clams from butter clams, refer to page 9 of the Southcentral sport fishing regulation summary booklet.
All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay are currently closed.
Nick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if he isn’t out chasing down rumors and fishermen lurking anywhere a fish may be found, including the seafood section of a market if things go really badly.