Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Reeling ’Em In: Blackmouths getting bigger at Fishin’ Hole

Last week I wrote that the blackmouths being caught at the Spit’s fishing lagoon were fairly small tipping the scales at around 5 to 9 pounds with a few 13-plus wannabe porkers hitting the shore.

Well, there has been a notable upgrade in the brawny finned beast category.

The Hole’s mayor, Tom, reported from his summer home on a Dollar Store throne that he nailed a 27-pound hog a couple of days after the summary hit the stands. He has witnesses, by the way, who swear he didn’t pull on the critter’s tail while assessing its heft on a hand-held scale.

Several other fishermen that I came across at the cleaning tables were processing some lagoon honkers that weighed in at 18 to 22 pounds before major surgery.

They had been fishing the tide change-outs and flipping scented eggs 3 feet below bobbers into the calmer waters on the edge of the flow, both inside and outside the lagoon,

It certainly looks as though some significant meat has started to arrive but there’s still a copious number of jacks to steal your bait and drive you nuts. Don’t forget, if you keep the little dudes (they’re delicious), they count toward your daily limit of two kings.

Seriously folks, things are much better this season compared to the last go around when the action was so slow you would have had more luck mooching humpy heads in an overheated Jacuzzi.

Note: Several chinook were caught slumming with the pollock off the end of the spit and were terminated, much to their mortification, by a couple of gents firing red bell Vibrax and silver bladed, orange Yakima Flash Glos. Ya never know…

It’s time now to take a look at the fishing report for the week of June 11 – June 17.

Freshwater Fishing

The Ninilchik River will re-open June 16 to fishing for all species. This includes king salmon but only hatchery kings may be retained. Ninilchik River has bag and possession limits and fishing gear restrictions in effect now. Check out the corresponding emergency orders in the last part of this report.

There are a nice number of kings in the Ninilchik River, both hatchery and wild. Check for the absence of the adipose fin before removing any fish from the water or you may be writing one.

You’ll also find that there are also a respectable number of hatchery kings under 20 inches (jacks) in the Ninilchik. Smaller spinners will get them riled up.

Fly fishing with large streamers, spin-fishing and jigs have been working well on the grownups.

Saltwater Fishing

Halibut

Halibut fishing has been consistent in offshore locations in Cook Inlet and outer Kachemak Bay.

Areas closer to shore and in more protected water can produce good fishing but may require more patience to ferret out where the flats are lurking.

Herring on a circle hook remains a killer bait, but sometimes it helps to have a variety of lures and scents in the water if the ’buts are being persnickety.

King Salmon

There are additional and bigger blackmouths poking around in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon and Seldovia. Fishing can be good at any time, but near the top of the tide and early mornings are the most popular. Incoming and outgoing tide waters are the most productive.

Along with sporadic reports of good fishing in the area, chinook hunting in Kachemak Bay was generally slow over the last week. Most fish caught were feeder kings.

Trolling a wide variety of presentations can be effective, but a herring or lure behind a cool flasher is the most popular. Use a downrigger, diver, or banana weight to get your lure to where you hope the fish are. Don’t forget to look for feeding sea birds. They are pounding the same bait fish from above that the salmon are slamming from below.

Shellfish

The next clamming tides are June 16 – June 18.

Razor clams can be found on beaches along the west side of Cook Inlet and can be accessed by boat or plane. Popular razor clam beaches include the Polly Creek beach, Crescent River Bar, and Chinitna Bay. Boaters are advised to use caution before traveling across the Cook Inlet because of strong tidal currents and variable weather conditions.

Littleneck and butter clams can be found in a variety of habitats from Jakolof Bay to Bear Cove. Try exploring new beaches for success. Typically, littleneck clams are found shallower in the substrate, up to 8 inches deep.

Emergency Orders

Emergency Order 2-RCL-7-01-19 and 2-RCL-7-02-19 closed all east side Cook Inlet beaches to clamming for all species from the mouth of the Kenai River to the southernmost tip of the Homer Spit for 2019.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-11-19 limited the fishing season on the Anchor River and it is currently closed through July 15, 2019.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-12-19 restricted fishing gear to only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River during the times these waters are open to sport fishing through July 15, 2019.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-13-19 reduced the king salmon bag and possession limits in the Ninilchik River to one hatchery king salmon 20 inches or greater in length.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-14-19 combined the annual limit for king salmon to two king salmon 20 inches or greater in length from the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik, and all marine waters south of the latitude of the mouth of the Ninilchik River to the latitude of Bluff Point.

For additional information, please contact the ADF&G Homer office at (907) 235-8191.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com when he isn’t busy trying to track down the guys with the scented eggs to find out if their lure is infused with something like krill oil and just a swipe of Old Spice.

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