Reeling ‘Em In: Hey! We’re back!

We’ve been monitoring various catches being brought in lately and things are starting to look up

It’s time to drag out a crowbar and attempt to separate the fishing gear you haphazardly hoop-shot into your tackle box last fall. Tip: Spray a couple of cans of WD-40 on the tangled mass 24 hours prior to the attack. This simple procedure should loosen things up and, hopefully, avoid an impressive contents eruption resulting in unattractive rusty-hook impalements requiring tetanus avoidance measures. This basic precaution will also go a long way in preventing a look from your spouse normally reserved for a clueless pet that has disgraced itself on the living room rug.

It looks as though the weather might be a bit cool with the possibility of light rain showers over the coming Memorial Day weekend. The tides will be lazy and winds laid back enough for safe boating so the tsunami of tourists and anglers heading our way in search of vistas and/or fish-with-an-attitude should be happy campers.

We’ve been monitoring various catches being brought in lately and things are starting to look up. The rumors are simply not true that some of the halibut out there are so small that they are being mugged by a highly displeased bait fish.

Homer’s charter fleet, along with knowledgeable private boat captains, have been landing some respectable flats that are a fine start for the next winter’s stash after the first succulent beer batter ‘but feast of the season.

Note: Such a highly anticipated gourmet dining experience comes with the caveat that the cook doesn’t mutate the tender cuts into briquettes after sampling a bit too much of the recipe’s liquid ingredient.

Now, before we get into the weekly fishing report for May 22, I’d like to remind you that it is National Poppy Day on May 26 and that the Homer American Legion Auxiliary will have poppies available at our local Safeway this Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Please stop by to support our disabled veterans with a donation.

Freshwater Fishing:

Pay attention now lest you have the urge to start writing some embarrassing checks and be featured in a police report.

The Anchor River and Deep Creek are all closed to all sport fishing by emergency order until July 16.

The Ninilchik River will be open to sport fishing Saturday May 27 through Monday May 29.

Water conditions are currently high but may improve by the weekend. Expect sluggish fishing for hatchery kings since fish are just starting to show up for their premiers due to the late arrival of spring.

As usual, your best shot at the hatchery kings is by drifting cured salmon egg cluster under a bobber.

Launching size 4 or 5 spinners has also been known to draw their attention during these existing water conditions.

Saltwater Fishing:


Overall, halibut fishing is off to a slow start but should continue to improve unless there’s an unexpected asteroid impact in the area.

The best takes are coming from offshore locations but those looking for bigger flats might try shallow water from Bluff Point to Anchor Point.

Soaking bait around slack tide is the quintessential time for targeting halibut because you can hold the bottom without a mini fridge for weight.

Herring on a circle hook is the go-to bait; but octopus, salmon heads, and jigs also work just fine on the gluttons.

Anglers are reporting large numbers of Pacific cod in Cook Inlet right now and they make some mighty fine eating deep fried with a side of Zesties.

King Salmon

Trolling for kings has been a drag in lower Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay with hunters for the royal fish finding them scattered throughout the bay. Try south of Bluff Point, Point Pogibshi, and Bear Cove for a better chance of takedowns this week.

Small troll herring or spoons behind a flasher have produced strikes but spoons, hootchies, and tube flies will get their interest too.

The king salmon run to the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon is off to a sad start. Typically, the first king of the year has been caught by now but not even chronic liars have got their brag on yet.

Expect pitiable fishing throughout the week especially with the weak tides.

If you want to practice your techniques, try casting large spinners or soaking bait under a bobber as the tide floods into the lagoon.

There have been no reports of chinook showing up in Seldovia Slough, but fish should start to arrive in small crews. Direct sight fishing from the bridge during the incoming tide is the best bet for ambushing the kings.

Other Salt water

Surf fishing in Cook Inlet has been fair so far this spring. Anglers are finding success with halibut on the Clam Gulch beaches and posting their results on Facebook. Whiskey Gulch provides good shoreline access as well.

Anglers are getting into a variety of groundfish and flatfish from the tip of the Homer Spit. Soaking a small chunk of herring on the bottom will have the best results. Be sure to carefully check out what you are pulling in out there. If it stares back at you and grins, cut the line and back away until it leaves.

There are no minus tides available for clamming this week.

Emergency Orders

IMPORTANT: Please review the emergency orders and advisory announcements below in their entirety before heading out on your next fishing trip.

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 restricts gear to single hook but allows bait. It 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.


Don’t forget to purchase your 2023 sport fishing license and king stamp! You can purchase your 2023 sport fishing license and king stamp through the ADF&G online store and print it off from the comfort of your home.

Also, make sure to review emergency orders, advisory announcements, and the 2023 Southcentral Alaska Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for the area you are fishing before you head out.

For additional information, please contact the ADF&G Homer office at (907) 235-8191.

Good luck this weekend.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@ is he’s not wrestling with his tackle boxes under the watchful eye of Jane.