Reelin ‘Em In: Here come the kings

After a slow start, fish are beginning to show up in larger numbers

It figures. Just as the latest Reeling ‘Em In came out last week, things started to come alive at ye ole fishing hole.

The lagoon’s mayor, Tom, called to let us know that the kings were arriving in larger numbers and some were packing impressive weight. We’re talkin’ 20+ pounds for a few, but most of the cruising meat was logging in at the 7-to-15-pound category.

The fresh arrivals didn’t exhibit the “ignore the lures of the little people” attitude of the earlier schools. They tended to get their bite on when the tides were moving and then less so as the waters calmed and they were dealing with ravenous seal mini pods snapping at their anal fins.

The word about the chinook influx got around the ville almost as fast as the sighting of a trooper watching the line flingers last weekend. Someone could have made a small fortune selling ballpoint pens while the officer was there. It was great to see the LEO. Thank you.

The blackmouth were chiefly hitting blue bell, silver bladed, #5 Vibrax, small plug-cut herring, mackerel chunks and roe floating about eighteen inches beneath a bobber or steelhead float. Tip: The jacks love roe as do the smolt, so don’t torture yourself.

If the larger fish keep coming in, the scofflaw snaggers are going to have to up their game and use heavier line. It’s just not right to see a superb king dragging around some line-flippin’ bonehead’s snapped off, wimpy test line until it gets ensnarled in someone else’s gear.

Side note: Finally, Amaterasu, goddess of the Sun, decided to make her grand entrance last weekend. She Who Shines in Heaven, poured it on turning the Homer area into the picturesque portrait that the Chamber of Commerce has been chanting for throughout a spring that can only be described as soggier than a dog-paddling Angora cat.

Saturday and Sunday, the spit’s population looked close to a Fourth of July crowd with tourists roaming about in cap sleeves and walking shorts displaying skin so white it reflected light. Not a good idea. By late Sunday afternoon, some of them could have barbecued a rack of ribs on their backs and used their legs as camp Tiki torches.

Then, poof! Kuraokami, rain goddess and sister of Amaterasu, the shiny, jumped back in, just as the cat dried off, and drew down another drab curtain of wet.


OK, Time now for a look at the fishing report for June 20, 2023.

Freshwater Fishing

The Ninilchik River is now open to sport fishing 7 days a week, through October 31st, 2023. Fishing for kings has continued to get stronger as the season rolls on. Fin hunters above the Sterling Highway Bridge enjoyed the increasing action during the early morning hours, and within the harbor through the incoming tide. Expect fair fishing throughout the week.

Hatchery kings have a thing for drifting baits under a bobber. Try cured salmon egg clusters, plug cut herring, or shrimp. Nada? Tackle such as spinners, spoons, plugs, and flies have been known to work too.

Saltwater Fishing


Halibut hunting has been fair to fine in Cook Inlet. Weather permitting, the more distant locations have been producing nicer catches but piscators willing to spend more time soaking bait can nail them in nearshore locations especially if they drop a chum bag along with an anchor.

Try a drift to locate the fish before dropping the weight.

King Salmon

Trollers found fair king action throughout the Kachemak Bay area last week. More notable takedowns were reported at Bluff Point, Point Pogibshi, and Glacier Spit.

As mentioned previously, chinook fishing at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon improved over the past week, with reports of limits being caught. Some were even recorded. Expect the action to remain about the same this coming week.

You might also try soaking bait under a bobber on the outside of the lagoon during the withdrawing tide.

King fishing in the Seldovia Slough also improved last week. Line launchers were having success fishing from the bridge during the incoming tide and in the lagoon during high water.

Other Salt water

There have not been many reports of sockeye salmon showing up in China Poot Bay or in Tutka Lagoon but anglers should expect to see a buildup of fish in both locations soon.

Surf fishing in Cook Inlet has been fair so far this spring. Casters are finding halibut cruising the Clam Gulch beaches and off Whiskey Gulch as well.

Anglers continue to play groundfish and flatfish roulette from the tip of the Homer Spit. Soaking a small chunk of herring or odiferous gunk on the bottom will have various results from delicious flounder and cod to things that haven’t evolved enough yet to chase you down the beach.

Emergency Orders

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-13-23 closed the Anchor River and Deep Creek to all sport fishing through July 15, 2023.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-12-23 in the Ninilchik River, restricts gear to single hook but allows bait, changes the king salmon bag limit to 2 hatchery king salmon 20” or longer, and prohibits the retention of wild king salmon. The bag limit for king salmon less than 20” has changed to 10 hatchery king salmon and you may not retain wild king salmon under 20”.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-14-23 reduces the king salmon bag limit to one fish any size in Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay south of the latitude of Bluff Point from May 15 through July 31.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-15-23 closes sport fishing for king salmon in Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay north of the latitude of Bluff Point from May 15 through July 31.

Emergency Order 2-RF-7-20-23 reduces the rockfish bag and possession limits in Cook Inlet to three per day and six in possession of which only one per day, two in possession can be nonpelagic.

Nick can be reached at if you have any tips, tales or whines about the rain being so bad that you are afraid to look up for fear of drowning.