Minnesota woman takes lead in derby

It was an interesting past week for the sports fishing crowd. A distaff member of the flatfish hunting group shot into first place in the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby when Linda Scott of Bloomington, Minn., hammered a 224.4-pound halibut while sinking bait with DeepStrike Sportsfishing off the Grand Aleutian captained by David Bayes. 

Staring at the picture of her and the ’but, I’d say Linda must be packin’ some class act biceps under her jacket’s sleeves. I got a kink in my back just eyeballing the photograph. 

 Maybe Channel Two News and others will start to notice that we also have a derby down here now that Linda has upped the ante. Jeez, we’re the Halibut Fishing Capital of the World. What’s up with all the weenie woo woo worship stuff featuring Valdez, Whitter and Seward?

On a bit more acerbic note, a 6-year-old from British Columbia has christened the grass area between public restroom and the fish cleaning tables at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon as Poop Park.

It seems he and his sister slipped on some of the multiple sky rat deposits lurking in the greens surrounding the picnic table and took a couple of resounding butt bounces before reaching it. 

 All they wanted was to sit down and quaff a juice box but ended up having to be assiduously hazmatted by a honked-off mom who was less than captivated by the conditions surrounding the bench’s vicinity. 

 It didn’t help matters that she and her small group had been dumped on twice while cleaning their silvers. 

She grumped that the only bright spot was that she had been warned by a couple of very nice locals to wear a broad bill hat before hitting the tables or to motor further down the Spit where the city had installed a covered and more protected processing station.  

She said she wished that she had followed the latter suggestion but didn’t think it would be all that bad. 

 It wasn’t until a few more adventurous anglers joined them to deal with their catches of salmon and halibut that squadrons of fecal flingers launched into  dog fighting over offal being flung into the gut cart.

The sky was white with the squabbling critters as they bombarded the battle zone with memories that visiting fishers will not soon forget and Laundromats love.

 I trust that when those parties return home, they relate tales about the cool fish they brawled with at The Hole rather than reminisce about the ongoing Gullmageddon adjacent to Homer’s increasingly infamous Poop Park.

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


Saltwater Regulation Reminders

 Sport-caught pink salmon may be used as bait in the saltwater fisheries (that’s why they fight like hell) and are counted as part of your daily bag limit which grants them a bit of dignity. 

 Snagging is allowed in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi starting June 24 through December 31, except in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon.

 Heads up: The marine waters of Tutka Bay Lagoon within 100 yards of the hatchery net pens are closed year-round to sport fishing for any species. You better have a primo GPS anywhere near those things.

Lingcod season opened July 1. Ling hunters, remember that the bag and possession limit of these creatures with a nuclear temper and a mug that would make an Orca blanch is two fish with a minimum legal size of 35 inches.

 Unguided anglers can retain two halibut a day of any size, with four in possession.

 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. Don’t test your luck on this. Others have tried and run afoul on a reef of law enforcement tearing a significant breach in their net worth while sinking to the self-esteem level of a terminal loser.


Freshwater Regulation Reminders

The China Poot personal use dipnet fishery is open through Aug. 7 upstream of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game markers. Personal use caught sockeye salmon must have both tips of the tail fin removed. Complete regulations are found on page 16 of the Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulation Summary booklet.

The Ninilchik River is open for hatchery chinooks. The bag and possession limit on the hatchery kings is one 20 inches or greater in length and 10 hatchery king salmon less than 20 inches. 

 Wild kings must not be removed from the water and released immediately. Idiot selfies while holding up a wild one may bring you more bail pronouncements than notoriety. Hatchery kings are identified by the absence of an adipose fin (fleshy fin on the back just in front of the tail).

 The Anchor River, Deep Creek and Stariski Creek sport fishing is closed for blackmouths for the rest of the season. The kings may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. 


Saltwater Fisheries: Halibut

 Halibut fishing is getting even better as additional back up flotillas of flats roll into their shallower summer cruising grounds where food’s aplenty and stupider.

Sampled fish harvested out of the Homer port averaged 11.18 pounds (range 2.4-35 pounds). Many anglers had success using herring on circle hooks.


Saltwater Fisheries: Salmon

Depending on the tides, trolling success is reported as adequate to enjoyable for kings near Point Pogibshi to Point Adam.

 Fishing for kings is reported as sometimes slower than a sea slug race north of Bluff Point. 

 Boat hunters are reporting some righteous catches of coho and psychotic pinks in Kachemak Bay along with some chum and sockeyes.  

Cohos continue to wander back home from their open sea forays and surge in and out of the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon.

Fishing has been reported as fair to good depending on the skill level of the bait floggers.  

Try slowly stripping in a lightly weighted small whole herring as the water moves through the lagoon’s entrance. This will work on both the incoming and outgoing tides.

Another successful method is to float a plug-cut small herring about 18 inches to two feet below a bobber that isn’t the size of a channel marker buoy.  A small batch of salmon eggs will work with a float setup too. Don’t use a glop so huge that a salmon suffers a concussion trying to hit it. A little dab will do ya. 

Pinks are arriving into Tutka Bay Lagoon along with some sockeyes. 

This is a stocked fishery paid for by enhancement taxes on commercial fisheries. If you are poking around for fish in there avoid the commercial boats operating in the area to prevent unseemly finger waves and less than positive interfaces with the professionals. 

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, as well as 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, they would appreciate talking to you. More information on the Chinook Salmon Research Initiative can be found at: http://dfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=chinookinitiative.


Other Saltwater Fishing

 The Homer Spit offers a multiplicity of fishing opportunities. Beach stalkers are apprehending a variety of ocean dwellers such as walleye pollock, Pacific cod and goofy looking flatfish along with silvers motoring the east and west shores of the famous point of land. 

Fishing enthusiasts near the Barren, Chugach and Elizabeth Islands are hauling up lingcod and rockfish as well as other things that lurk beneath the dark undercurrents.

The Department of Fish and Game would like to remind anglers that the survival of released rockfish caught in greater than 60 feet of water is substantially improved by releasing these fish at the depth of capture.


Fresh Waters: Personal Use Fishing

 Dipnetting success for sockeyes in China Poot has been somewhat fair with the peak scheduled to arrive around the time this column is published.



Expect more encounters with Dolly Varden in roadside streams as most runs build. Reports from the Anchor have reflected some hot dolly bites during the early morning hours using cool flies and spinners.

For the Ninilchik River, some bright to blush hatchery king salmon are still available. 

Salmon roe clusters, plug-cut herring, spinners, spoons and jigs should still fire up the hatchery kings unless they’re beginning to do the back stroke in zombie mode. 

Expect better than fair fishing for Dolly Varden and pinks in roadside streams as the runs build.



Tanner Crab Emergency Order

 The Cook Inlet and North Gulf Coast sport, personal use and subsistence Tanner crab fisheries will not open for the 2015-2016 season.


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 and mussels through Dec. 31 

Clamming tides run from July 14-19.

Razor clams can be found on beaches along the west side of Cook Inlet and are accessed by boat or plane. 

Trendy razor clam beaches include Crescent River, Chinitna Bay and Polly Creek. 

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

Littleneck (steamer) and butter clams can be found in gravel beaches on the south side of Kachemak Bay from Seldovia to Chugachik Island. 

Happy hordes of butter clams can be grabbed up on the islands in China Poot Bay. 

Butter clams skulk up to two feet deep. 

Littleneck clams loiter in a variety of habitats from Jakolof Bay to Bear Cove. 

Typically, littleneck clams are lazier and hang in the shallow substrate up to eight inches deep. 

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

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if he isn’t guarding his smoker from scallywag beasties trying to night ninja the sockeye succulents.