Good day of fishing strengthens family ties

A few days ago, a buddy, JT, gave me a call from his boat while being pounded by so much rain he claimed he’d probably feel drier if he fell overboard.

He was fishing in about 90 feet of water trying to get four of his seasoned citizen in-laws into some flats when he spotted jumpers headed his way.

They were popping out of water like exploding kernels on a hot skillet.

He nearly gave his “overtly bored geezer guests” coronaries when he started yelling for everyone to reel up to around 20 and 30 feet and start pumping their rods to flash their baits in order to entice a strike.

Momentary chaos ensued as two them came out of their stupor and started flailing away without reeling while the other two suddenly realized they were tangled.

“It wasn’t pretty,” my friend said. “It would’ve been an instant You Tube classic if I’d had a Go Pro.”

JT knew that coho rolling though the area would attack herring on circle hooks as long as the bait was at least smaller than a juvenile beluga.

His passengers were able to chill enough to get their gear positioned before the small wave hit but they forgot his last instruction to let the silvers run with the bait after they struck so the circle hook set-up could do its job.

Six electrifying take-downs. One fish landed, but his guests had regressed to being 12 years old and spent the rest of the afternoon carrying on like kids during recess.

The crew came up four flats shy of a boat limit with the biggest tagging the scale at 28 pounds along with a couple not much bigger than the herring they hit.

JT said they were so pumped, that after 32 years of marriage to their sister, he might finally get a Christmas card from them even though he is a Democrat.

Now let’s look at this week’s fishing report.

Regulation Reminders

The Anchor and Ninilchik Rivers and Deep and Stariski Creeks remain open for Dolly Varden and steelhead/rainbow trout upstream of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game regulatory markers, but remain closed for salmon upstream of these markers.

The lower portions of the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Stariski Creek are open to sport fishing except for chinooks. The kings are not to be targeted and if you hook one, it must be released immediately.

On the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Stariski Creek and Ninilchik River, bait and treble hooks are legal gear only through Aug. 31.

Make sure you can tell the differences between a silver and a steelhead.

Steelhead/rainbow trout have black spots all over both lobes of the tail, while silvers have black spots only on the upper lobe of the tail.

Steelhead/rainbow trout may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. If not, you could be staring at a rather large hole in your bank account.

Notice: The Kachemak Bay Personal Use salmon gillnet fishery closed for the remainder of the 2016 season at 6 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 24. Gillnets had to be completely removed from the water by the time of closure. Permit holders are reminded to return their personal use permits to the Homer office by Sept. 3. Any permit holders who fails to return their personal use fishing permit to the Homer office will not be eligible to receive a permit in 2017.

Saltwater Fishing: Halibut

Halibut fishing in Cook Inlet has been hanging in there with fair to good ratings and an abundance of limits taken.

Sampled fish harvested out of the Homer port averaged 12.22 pounds (range 1.94-196.95 pounds).

The primo attraction for the ’buts is herring imbedded on circle hooks, although octopus, squid, jigs and salmon will entice the gluttonous beasts too. Unguided anglers can retain two halibut a day, four in possession.

Salmon hunters have been reporting fair to fine feeder king fishing but the cohos still aren’t measuring much of an uptick on the Whacking ’Em Meter Scale.

Chinooks have recently been snapped up from Bear Cove to the Eldred Passage area along the southern shore of Kachemak Bay and from Bluff Point to Anchor Point.

Smaller bait herring and lesser sized spoons trolled behind large flashers are still working well.

Rumors insist that some silvers are still sneaking into the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon.

Now that the nets are out, hopefully some late-shows will spice things up a bit but things are really gearing down toward a dead stop. Keep checking the incoming tides to see if any coho surf in through the gap. If the tide’s out, do a drive by to see if you can spot any small schools cruising the inside or in the waters to the east.

Some astute anglers found success last week thumping silvers from shore in the Mud Bay area of the Homer Spit at high tide. Those babies usually love to chase flashy spinners but have been known to take a bobber dangling a succulent herring.

Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit is getting to be more fun, not only for the availability of Walleye pollock, Pacific cod and a variety of flatfish but for the chance of nailing a salmon.

If you haven’t noticed yet, there is a small contingent of boats trolling off the south end. They aren’t out there to practice steering. They have been picking up salmon. Shore fishermen have had a little luck too.

Both Bluff Point and Point Pogibshi areas are still producing black, dark and dusky rockfish.

The delicious critters will jump on spoons, jigs, herring and sparkly hoochie flies. It’s not uncommon to pick them up while trolling for salmon.

Freshwaters Fishing

The recent rains have resulted in some high and turbid stream conditions on the roadside streams but things have settled down lately.

Dolly Varden fishing in the upper stream sections is good. Coho salmon are still shuffling up area streams depending on the condition of the rivers. It’s been somewhat slow lately but could turn on a dime if the waters level out and clarify more.

As usual, fishing early in the morning or at the mouth of the streams during the incoming tide is a good bet.

Roe clusters and herring are very effective in getting a silver to attack.


Razor Clam Emergency Order: All Eastside Cook Inlet beaches from the Kenai River to the tip of the Homer Spit are closed to all clam harvest through Dec. 31.

Tanner Crab Emergency Order: The Cook Inlet and North Gulf Coast sport, personal use and subsistence Tanner crab fisheries will not open for the 2016-2017 season.

Nick can be reached at if you have any tip, tales or good reports from the southern end of the Homer Spit.