Feeding frenzies of seabirds signal some good fishing

Before we get rolling, I’d like to take a step back to last Thursday when I took a shot at those
anglers that wale away at kings using dork enabled, 2-fer-1, $9.99 Cosmos Combo Caster Specials while fishing the Spit’s lagoon.

I still think they come across as having the intellect of dried squid because of the commotion they cause in a limited space.

It’s amazing to see how stunned they are when no one comes to their aid after some dude named “Nunchucks” and the size of his Screaming Eagle Harley decides he’s had enough and shot-puts a miscreant toward the Mud Bay flats after their lines tangle.

Not surprisingly, there’s another side to this weeny gear fishing approach and an astute angler named Rudy proved it. He did cheat a bit by upgrading to a complete combo costing $14.99 that sported the classic pink icon of “Barbie.”

We’ll let it slide this time because he nailed them off shore from the capacious fighting deck of his kayak.

I don’t have the space to cover his entire tale but you might want to join him on his Barbie halibut-chinook fish safari (head cam videos included with the narrative) by jumping on the following link. It’s an Unhinged Alaska kind of experience. Thanks, Rudy: http://guidesak.blogspot.com/2015/05/a-tragic-alaskan-love-story-kardinal.html

Other stuff:

Have you noticed the feeding frenzies of scores of seabirds around Mud Bay and the west side of the Homer Spit?

They are chasing balls of bait fish and are getting so porked-out that some of the gulls have gone sumo and have to float to shore to waddle it off.

This is good news because it means that predators are forcing the hapless hordes of snacks to the surface and you can take advantage of the melee by trolling through the area for salmon or taking a whack at some bottom cruising halibut.

Some decent flats are taken out of the Mud Bay area after the schools of silvery entrees push in. Smaller boats then have a chance to cash in without being exposed to waves with crests offering awesome views of the Kodiak Harbor.

Now let’s take a look at the fishing report through June 8.

Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders

King Salmon Emergency Orders

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 Wednesday, July 15:

• Anchor River is closed to sport fishing except this weekend — June 6-8.

• Anchor River drainage above the Old Sterling Bridge is closed during the remaining June weekend opening.

• Anglers may only use one un-baited, single-hook, artificial lure on the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Ninilchik River during the last opening in June.

From April 1-July 15, the combined annual limit is two king salmon 20 inches or greater in length in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River and 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 2 miles north of the Anchor River to Bluff Point will remain in effect.

Saltwater Fishing: Halibut

Early-season halibut fishing is decent though most fish still need to pound some serious carbs to get their weight up. The fishery will gain better street cred as more flats move from the depths back to the shallower bait infested feeding areas where living is easy and the prey dumber.

Knowledgeable charters and private rigs continue to bring in some bicep building hawgs that are more than picture worthy.

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

Heads up: A halibut that is kept counts towards the bag and possession limit OF THE PERSON WHO HOOKS IT, not the person who reels in the fish. (Those are Fish and Game’s caps, not mine, so some of you out there are annoying the officials. Not cool!)

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.

Saltwater Fishing: Salmon

As a part of the Chinook Salmon Research Initiative, the Department is looking at the genetic stock composition of the marine king salmon fishery. There are port samplers stationed at the Homer Harbor and the Deep Creek and Anchor Point tractor launches conducting quick interviews and collecting biological information, scales, and genetic clips from sport caught king salmon. If you fished for king salmon in Cook Inlet, regardless of success, we’d like to talk to you! More information on the Chinook Salmon Research Initiative can be found at: http://dfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=chinookinitiative.main.

Trolling success for those mouth-watering feeder kings is reported as first-rate in Kachemak Bay and from Bluff Point north.

Early-run king salmon are typically available this time of year in the nearshore salt waters of Anchor Point, Whiskey Gulch and Deep Creek. Anglers usually concentrate their fishing efforts in near shore, shallow waters between Anchor Point and Deep Creek. The fishing has been improving north of Bluff Point

Popular trolling set-ups for king salmon include herring, tube flies and spoons. Try using dodgers or flashers for extra attraction.

Chinooks continue to roll into Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon and things are heating up a bit with the arrival of the higher tides.

Your best shots at nailing one of the critters is when the tide is flowing into and out of the lagoon along with the ever reliable early morning bite.

Kings have sauntered into the Seldovia Lagoon and are probably arriving at Halibut Cove Lagoon, but somebody’s probably keeping it a secret.

Other Saltwater Fishing

Youth Fishery on June 6: The first Youth Fishery at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon is Saturday, June 6. A portion of the lagoon will be open to youth 15 years of age or younger from 12:01 a.m. until midnight. Department staff will be present from 3-5 p.m. to help young anglers fish and tie egg loops and fishing knots, and learn the best way for releasing fish.

Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a fun way to pass the time. Species available include walleye pollock, Pacific cod, a variety of flatfish species and an occasional king salmon.

Sport caught pink salmon may be used as bait in the saltwater fisheries.

Don’t forget: Lingcod may not be harvested until July 1.

Fresh Water Fishing Report: Salmon

The Anchor River, Deep Creek and Ninilchik Rivers, as defined by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game markers, will open to fishing at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 6, through midnight, Monday, June 8.

Water conditions in these streams are expected to be good but as of June 2, the Anchor was running a little low because of the lack of rain. Never fear, the wet stuff should be here when you read this. How much? Don’t have a clue.

The Anchor River weir is operational and fish counts are available online at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/FishCounts/. As of June 1, 1,601 kings have been counted heading upstream. On the same date in 2014, 500 had passed and in 2013 only 36 swam through. Now there’s a change we can believe in.

As usual, the best fishing is usually during the early morning hours or at the mouth of these streams on the incoming tide.

At this time of year, steelhead trout will be leaving the rivers and entering saltwater to recover their strength after spending their winter in the river and spawning in the spring. Please familiarize yourself with the differences between kings and steelhead trout before you fish and practice good fish handling if you catch one. Remember hooked steelhead trout must not be removed from the water and they must be released immediately.

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.

Clamming tides run June 1-7. Included in this series are some minus 4-foot tides.

Boaters should use caution before traveling across the inlet because of strong currents and should check weather forecast before traveling.

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

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you have any tales, tips or want to rail about why dogfish make such rotten pets.