Well, that was an interesting Memorial Day weekend.
“Wet” was the operative word to describe the concoctions of hours that blended together to sum up the weather Friday through Sunday.
Yes, there were breaks that teased us with glimpses of blue accompanied by various winds attempting to dry things out a bit but, for the most part, you could do your laundry standing out on the lawn.
A couple of squalls came through that packed so much rain that the clams couldn’t tell if the tide was out and fishermen were literally blown out of the Fishing Hole early in the afternoon on Friday.
Not that it made in difference in their success. More seals showed up than fish and it was so slow that bare hooks were doing as well as plug cut herring and super-secret cured egg chunks. Iron chuckers didn’t fare any better but at least they experienced some moderate exercise.
Monday was a different scenario and perfect for commemorative tributes.
The mountains across the bay sported superlative formal attire featuring gleaming crags draped in snowy eiderdowns that seemed to flow toward the sea.
The waters of the bay shimmered as mellow puffs of wind gave birth to ripples that resembled tumbling diminutive sparklers as they caught the rays of sun sliding through the clouds.
It was a quintessential day for a walk along a beach to set afloat flowers, trod softly through a cemetery laying wreathes and flags or to just quietly take a few moments for memories honoring those who have died while in the service of their country while displaying reverence for passed family members, loves, and friends.
It was truly a day of peace in our wondrous hamlet by the sea.
It’s time to take a look at this week’s fishing report for the week of May 31 to June 5.
First let’s take a look at some regulation reminders.
Hooked steelhead trout must not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
Kings 20 inches or longer removed from salt or fresh water must be retained and becomes part of the bag limit of the person who hooked the fish.
After taking a king salmon 20 inches or longer from the Anchor River, Deep Creek, or Ninilchik River, anglers may not fish for any species for the rest of the day.
Regulation changes are in effect for guided anglers fishing for halibut. A more extensive description of the Federal Regulations can be found on NOAA’s Fisheries Rules and Notices webpage.
Youth Fishery on June 3
The first Youth Fishery at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon is Saturday, June 3. 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 9:00 a.m. to noon to help young anglers fish, tie egg loops, fishing knots, and learn the best way for releasing fish.
Hopefully the chinooks have arrived in respectable numbers by then and the kids can pass on cool tips to their parents, or not.
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 December 31, 2017.
Saltwater Fishing: Halibut
Early-season halibut fishing is good and will kick into higher gear as more flats show up for decadent buffets awaiting them in their shallower summer feeding areas.
Herring, as always, remains their preferred gourmet main course but the gluttonous brutes have no problems snarfing down octopus, squid, salmon heads, and jigs that look somewhat edible.
Unguided anglers can retain 2 halibut a day, 4 in possession. Regulations for guided anglers can be found by following the link in the ‘Regulations Reminders’ section.
Saltwater Fishing: Salmon
Early-run kings continue to cruise along the nearshore of Anchor Point, Whiskey Gulch and Deep Creek.
Trolling scores for feeder blackmouths are being reported as fair to good from Bluff Point north and near the head of Kachemak Bay.
It’s not unusual to find these visiting fish hanging with the maturing Cook Inlet gangs of kings making their way to Cook Inlet streams.
Trolling herring in a variety of sizes has produced some great hits and fine fillets. Spoons, blue/green hoochies teamed with flashers have also been doing well.
Keep trying a variety of depths up to 100 feet near rocky points and kelp beds. Mark your strike points and landings so you can pretend to look like you know what you’re doing.
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 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, they would 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.
Common gear for angling for chinooks at terminal fishing areas (Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon and Seldovia Lagoon) include cured eggs beneath a bobber, herring, and a plethora of metal lures that you’ve wasted so much money on that you are obligated to use them.
A few kings are continuing to enter the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon only to be mugged by thug seals. Fishing there, so far, has been as successful as the debut of the 1985 Yugo.
One hundred and ten thousand silver salmon smolt were released in the lagoon this week.
Fishing is reported as slow in Seldovia.
There have been no reported king salmon sightings at Halibut Cove Lagoon. Go figure.
Other Saltwater Fishing
Remember that while you may retain five rockfishes per day, only one may be a non-pelagic species. Google it.
Lingcod may not be harvested until July 1. All lingcod caught accidentally must be carefully released and may not be punctured with a gaff.
Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be an intriguing way to pass the time. Walleye pollock, Pacific cod, a variety of flatfish roam under the waves out there.
Late last Tuesday morning a bait ball surfaced off shore east of the Taj Mahal privies and the parking lot.
Kings were in airborne pursuit of the mass but no one was geared up for them. All wasn’t lost though, someone nailed a waste-of-scales Arrowtooth flounder. Wasn’t that special?
Moving on: Anglers are reporting catches of black, dark and dusky rockfish on the south side of Kachemak Bay and near Point Pogibshi.
The Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep Creek will open from the mouth upstream approximately 2 miles to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game regulatory marks to fishing Saturday, June 3, through Monday, June 5. In addition, the Anchor River will open to fishing on Wednesday June 7.
The Anchor River weir is operational and fish counts are available online at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/FishCounts/
As of May 29, 103 kings have headed up river giving the run a total count of 819 fish.
River conditions on the Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep Creek are expected to be good.
Spinners, flies and yarn are effective for kings in these streams as well as bait such as eggs and herring. Flies were rocking the kings Sunday evening.
Don’t forget to give the Ninilchik River a shot this season for the expected increase number of hatchery king salmon.
Fishing near the mouths of these streams during high tide is a given if you want a crack at some good fishing. Dragging your lazy keister out of the rack as the horizon starts to reflect a slight silver of the morning’s glimmer helps too.
The ice is gone from Kenai Peninsula stocked lakes and fishing conditions are good. Most of these lakes are stocked with rainbow trout which, this time of year, are taken on dry or wet flies, small spoons, spinners, or bait. A brochure listing the locations of the stocked lakes is available on the Sport Fish web site and at ADF&G offices.
The next clamming tides run from June 7-13.
Occasionally there are PSP advisories issued by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. Contact them at (907) 269-7501, or check out their PSP pages on the Internet (http://dec.alaska.gov/eh/fss/seafood/Shellfish_Home.html) for more information.
There will be a tanner crab fishery opening Oct. 1 and closing Feb. 28, 2018.
All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay remain closed for 2017.
Nick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if he isn’t wandering the east beach looking for another bait ball and chance to whack one of those kings featuring the intellect of sea lice that cannot seem to find the lagoon.