It’s always righteous to be able to start out a column on the upbeat although things may slide a bit backward as the initial subject matter develops.
The good news is the Anchor River seems to be on the comeback. As of Sunday, 3,119 kings were tallied by the weir. On the same date in 2014 there were 1,859 easing up stream. 2013 reeked like a dead seal with serious decomposition issues when barely 306 pushed through by June 7.
Could things be solidly turning around? Ten years ago 5,481 chinooks motored upstream by the same June date with a total of 11,155 pounding the ripples for that year. Not bad. Hopefully things are headed that way.
On the darker side of the resurrection of the fishery there seems to be a growing number of maladroit practitioners of the sleazy “tight lining” approach to latching onto a king. It brings a new meaning to the term “jerk” when it comes to fishing.
I guess if one has the skill set of a bowling ball and couldn’t catch a can of sardines with a valid VISA, it’s the only way to try and seize one of the beauties via a method that usually accomplishes nothing more than harassing the fish and decorating them with embedded hooks and broken line.
My bro Turk watched a guy lose three nice ’nooks using the method, two of which snapped off with hooks in their sides.
He commented to the gentleman that it was a lame way to fish for the brutes and received a retort that is usually a catalyst for a biker bar brawl.
Turk pulled out his cell phone and the whiskey-enabled miscreant taunted him about calling the cops. Turk assured him that he was just checking on the availability a fishing partner, who’s an EMT, should the inebriate require patching after he ended his triad.
Luckily, the man’s sober and highly embarrassed wife warned her spouse on the drawbacks of being a public reprobate and that Turk was the size of their SUV. The line snapper decided he needed a nap.
In any case, the Anchor is healing and the fishing was better than it has been in years. How cool is that?
Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders
The Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River and Stariski Creek are now closed to sport fishing through June 30.
In an effort to meet king salmon escapement goals in the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Ninilchik River drainages, the following sport fishing restrictions are in effect through July 15:
• Until July 15, the combined annual limit remains two king salmon 20 inches or greater in length in all marine waters south of the latitude of the mouth of the Ninilchik River to the latitude of Bluff Point.
• From July 1-15, the conservation zone surrounding the Anchor River mouth will remain closed to sport fishing and the regulations associated with the Special Harvest Areas two miles north of the Anchor River to Bluff Point will remain in effect.
Additional Regulation Reminders
Snagging is not allowed in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi until June 24.
All anglers sport fishing for king salmon (except stocked landlocked lakes) must either have a king salmon stamp or harvest card. Refer to page 5 of the regulation summary for requirements.
Don’t forget that waving those things in front of an enforcement officer doesn’t mean diddly squat if you’ve piddled around and haven’t properly recorded your catch. Pens are cheap. The fine isn’t.
Early-season halibut fishing is on the up tick with some large flats being nailed by the charters along with private rigs capable of reaching the more productive waters.
Sampled fish harvested out of the Homer port averaged 13.43 pounds (range 4.25-90.6 pounds).
The fishery will continue to pick up steam as more fish move into their shallower summer feeding areas.
Herring dangling on circle hooks continue to be the preferred snack-of-the day for the delicious bottom cruisers. They also enjoy the addition of a side order of octopus parts even though they’re tougher to snitch off the hook.
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
You also can contact NOAA fisheries at 1-800-304-4846 or 907-586-7228 with questions about regulations pertaining to sport fishing for halibut.
Trolling success for kings picked up when the bigger tides rolled into the area. Some nice lumps of meat were spotted on the cleaning tables along with properly filleted ones.
Prevalent trolling set-ups for kings include herring, tube flies, and flashy spoons. Dodgers or flashers will help with getting your bait spotted quicker.
Chinooks are continuing to motor into the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon along with a &^%$$# gluttonous seal.
Plug cut herring hanging about three feet below a bobber should provide fine action if you can contain yourself and not try to rip the creature’s jaw off as soon as the float goes under. Let the line run out for a few seconds and then set the hook.
Orange Vibrax with eggs on the treble hooks has done well along with a super secret fish bait with a name beginning with the letter “m” which, as far as I know, you can only purchase in a northern metropolis approximately 222.3 miles north. Ain’t that a +!^*#?
Oh yeah, I’m going to type this real slow for those of you who may be confused on the rules out there. Page 20 of the Southcentral Alaska sports fishery regulations summary states for the Nick Dudiak Fishing lagoon that:
“Snagging is not permitted here
except by emergency order.
Weights or bobbers following
a hook or hooks may not be used when these waters are closed to snagging.”
So knock it off! You’d show more class if you netted goldfish in a kiddy pool.
King salmon fishing at Seldovia Lagoon continues to pick up. The best time to hunt them is during the incoming tide.
Other Saltwater Fishing
Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can sometimes be a nice way to kill time. Critters available include the dimwitted walleye pollock, Pacific cod with an attitude, a variety of beyond weird flatfish and a bewildered king or two.
Wild Willie has taken a few nice dollies along the beach on the southwest side of Land’s End as the tide retreated. He was spinning with smallish silver Vibrax.
Lingcod may not be harvested until July 1.
Shellfish: 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 through Dec. 31.
The next series of clamming tides start Saturday and run through June 20.
Razor clams can be found on beaches along the west side of Cook Inlet and are accessed by boat or plane. Popular razor clam beaches include Crescent River, Chinitna Bay and Polly Creek.
Boaters should always use caution, common sense and check the weather forecast before traveling across the inlet especially in view of the strong currents.
Littleneck (steamer) and butter clams can be found in gravel beaches on the south side of Kachemak Bay from Seldovia to Chugachik Island.
A plethora of butter clams can be found on the islands in China Poot Bay.
Butter clams hang out about two feet deep. Littleneck clams lurk in a variety of habitats from Jakolof Bay to Bear Cove and camp in the substrate up to eight inches deep.
All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay remain closed for 2015.
Nick can be reached at email@example.com if you have any fishing tales, tips or outright lies to share.