Life-saving tips: Learn to swim, wear a PFD

Last Monday I opened a voicemail from my compadre Turk. He was so riled up that residual smoke leaked out of the receiver.

He started off suggesting that since the Kachemak Bay Coho Salmon Gillnet Fishery is now open, why shouldn’t anglers at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon be able to take a shot a snagging them? He figured there wasn’t that much difference from thumping the silvers with a treble hook and hanging them up in a gillnet. He grumped that more anglers would get a shot at what was left of the run that way. 

His second peeve was the one that really had him fired up.

He had been down on the docks working on what he referred to as his “15-year-old, seriously schizoid, piece of $&^% kicker that he keeps threatening to convert into an anchor, when he heard a splash.

A young boy had inadvertently taken a header into the harbor while playing with his sister. The incident was over in seconds when the youngster’s dad scooped him out so fast Turk swore the kid’s hair was still dry.

Nevertheless, what shot hot coals through T’s nose hair was that the kid wasn’t wearing a life vest. Not cool.

 Turk remembered one of our old columns dealt with the importance of wearing a floatation device and thought some highlights might be useful.   

I did some research and found this:

My father, uncles and colorful bunch of his friends were avid fishermen. It didn’t matter whether it was an ocean, lake, stream or an irrigation ditch with suspicious swirls, they’d throw a lure into it.

Mom began to suspect that I had inherited dad’s angling addiction just after I learned to walk and was discovered teetering halfway on top of a coffee table intently dangling a sewing thread into a gold fish bowl.  

Before I could babble out a request for a safety pin and a live fly, I was under her arm and hauled into the garage where dad was puttering with a diminutive homemade pole.

“Don, that better be a bamboo stake for the garden and the line attached to it a tie-up for vines ’cause this boy’s not going to learn to fish until he can swim like one.”

Needless to say the next weekend the family ended up at the local pool where I became Aqua-tot and started down a long soggy path to becoming part dolphin. Why? My mother had excellent intuition. 

 From my first fishing trip as a toddler until this day, I have slipped off rocks and log jams into rivers and ponds. Had three boats sink beneath me, taken numerous dives, trips and inelegant pirouettes into various bodies of water all while sporting float gear.  

Because of what my parents took the time to teach me, I never panicked because I had the confidence in my ability to stay afloat and survive the situation, especially when I was alone and far from help.

So, please remember to use lifejackets especially when boating. Trust me. Knowing how to swim like a fish with a seal on its butt doesn’t always cut it.

 Enough said, so now let’s take a look at this week’s fishing report.


Regulation Reminders

Areas upstream of the two-mile regulatory markers on the Anchor and Ninilchik rivers and Deep and Stariski creeks remain open to fishing for dollies and steelhead/rainbow trout. Leave the salmon alone upstream of the two-mile regulatory markers unless you enjoy interfacing with a Fish and Game trooper and his citation book.

The Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon Area remains closed to snagging from the Homer City Dock near the entrance of the Homer Boat Harbor (including the Homer Boat Harbor) to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game markers about 200 yards northwest of the lagoon entrance to a distance of 300 feet from shore.

You’ll be excited to learn that the bag and possession limit for spiny dogfish sharks is five per day and in possession with no recording requirement. 

All dogfish that are not kept must be carefully released (petting is not recommended). The bag and possession limit for all other sharks is one per day and in possession and these must be recorded immediately on the back of your fishing license.


Saltwater Fisheries: Halibut

Halibut hunting has been pretty fair with most hook danglers hitting their limits. 

Sampled fish harvested out of the Homer port averaged 11.75 pounds (range 2.4-95 pounds). 


Saltwater Fisheries:  Salmon

Trolling has picked up nicely for feeder kings and coho near Point Pogibshi, Silver Ridge and near Bluff Point.

Silver fishing at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon has been reported as fair to spotty depending who you talk to and when the subsistence nets are in the water. Keep trying during the tide changes in case new fish arrive on the designated days the nets must be pulled.


Other Saltwater Fishing

Anglers continue to be highly perturbed by a large bycatch of spiny dogfish. 

Doggies cruise in large packs and concentrate in Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay in August, so be prepared to play catch and release while sharing some choice expletives or simply pick up your stuff and blow out of there.

Lingcod fishing has dampened as the fall storms begin to move in. 

Success can still be found in waters surrounding the Chugach and Elizabeth Islands if fishermen have access to honkin’ vessels able to safely navigate in the sometimes unpredictable fall weather where waves can be a psycho surfer’s dream.

At the end of the spit, fisherpersonages are still dragging in Pacific cod, pollock, various flatfish and things soon to be featured on a Sci Fi Channel special claiming to have proof that alien species live beneath the sea.


Freshwater Fisheries: Streams

Coho have started free styling into area streams and success is improving as the run builds. Fishing can be hot early in the morning or at the mouth of the streams during the incoming tides. 

Salmon roe clusters and plug-cut herring are slamming them, but you can do just fine with certain spinners and streamer flies matched to the water conditions.

Dollie fishing is reported as being enjoyable to exceptional. 

Vards love those small bright spinners, fresh salmon eggs or fly patterns that resemble fish, such as Muddler Minnows or salmon-egg patterns.

Pink angling is reported as delightful on the south side of Kachemak Bay where Humpy Creek and the Seldovia River reign as fashionable watercourses for targeting the lunkheads.



All Eastside Cook Inlet beaches from the Kenai River to the tip of the Homer Spit are closed to all clams and mussels through Dec. 31. The Cook Inlet and North Gulf Coast sport, personal use and subsistence Tanner crab fisheries will not open for the 2015-2016 season.

 The next good clamming tides run Aug. 28 through Sept. 3.

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

Nick can be reached at if he isn’t scoping out the Kodiak shoreline from the top of a wave at the Barrens.