Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Reeling ‘Em In:

We get all kinds of email questions about the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon or, as Piscatorial Pursuits calls it, “the poor man’s charter boat.”

Seriously abbreviated history:

“The Fishing Hole” began as a man-made lagoon built next to the Homer Small Boat Harbor for use as a barge refitting location. In 1984, the Division of Sport Fish began stocking king salmon smolt in the unused lagoon in an effort to establish an easily accessible, bank-fishing “terminal” recreational fishery. A coho salmon smolt-stocking program began in the late 1980s to further enhance sport fishing opportunity. Stocking of both king and coho salmon has continued on an annual basis. Because of the success of stocking efforts and the popularity of the site, the city enlarged the lagoon to twice its former size in 1994. Reference Google search, “history of the fishing lagoon homer spit” for additional information.

Tom, seasonal mayor and grumble specialist of The Hole, reported that two batches of king smolt were released last week, totaling around 270,00 fish, and a third batch is due this week.

He went on to say that the Vibrax spinner flingers (#4s and 5s) are still the reigning butt-kickers, but the bait ’n’ bobber aficionados are closing in fast.

Those who prefer using eggs better bring a truck load, because the recently released smolt are tearing ’em up like World Champion Joey Chestnut wolfing weenies in a hot dog eating contest.

Tom cautions that it has been difficult to predict a bite, and the incoming tide has not been as productive as usual. The outgoing landings had been improving until some @&&#%!* seals showed up (my words, not his). He’s much more cultured (his words, not mine).

The most reliable “on-the-bite” time inside the lagoon has been from low tide ’til the sea begins to flow back to revisit the pond. The exception was last Saturday, when a demented dunce of a seal became trapped after the tide retreated. Not cool. Fish aren’t into feeding when they have fangs nippin’ at their nether regions. Come to think of it, neither am I.

Now, let’s take a look at the fishing report for the week of June 9.

Freshwater Fishing

The Ninilchik River will open to sport fishing on Saturday, June 12 through June 14, 2021. Fishing was fair to good for hatchery king salmon last weekend and should continue this weekend. The bag and possession limits were increased for hatchery king salmon from one to two fish and there is no annual limit. Please review emergency order 2-KS-7-18-21 below for more info.

Drifting eggs under a bobber was the prevalent winner, but good ‘ole plug cut herring, spinners, plugs, and flies will nail a few too. Depends on what you remember to bring along.

Early morning hours reign over the bite but it doesn’t hurt to hit the lower river an hour before high tide to ambush the new arrivals.

Saltwater Fishing

Halibut

Halibut fishing was just on the verge of smokin’ last week in offshore locations, but the marine weather got snotty over the weekend and limited effort of anglers with larger vessels such as refurbished gunboats. The marine forecast is looking up with calmer seas during the week.

The tidal exchanges will be kicking up a few notches this week, which will limit the amount of time to anchor without needing heavier weights.

As we’ve suggested before, try drifting in new locations to find fish before anchoring.

King Salmon

Trolling for kings was middling to downright respectable in Kachemak Bay last week, and fish were nailed throughout the bay. Bluff Point was the take-down area for the week.

There was a nice gang of kings cruising the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon over the weekend, but, as mentioned earlier, the fishing was fair at best although the seals did just fine. Best fishing has been in the early morning hours using size 4 or 5 spinners, but herring has been working, too, although those oily cuts of mackerel still rule.

Blue and silver #4 Wiggle Warts received an honorable tip, and a dusty article we came across about The Hole’s earlier years swore that the deadliest bait to use was a standard size hoochie (plastic squid), in either purple or green/white, attached to a 3/8 jig head then cast out to walk back along the bottom. Your call.

A decent number of kings are returning to the Seldovia slough and lagoon. Try drifting salmon roe clusters or running plugs from the bridge. Firing spinners from the shore should get some action too in the lagoon area.

A special thanks to Tom Dunagan who sent us a cool pic from the slough along with a notation. “Very good return so far. These two gals from Indiana caught these in a couple of hours on eggs.” Those were beautiful chinnoks, but still not as bright as the smiles on those ladies.

Other Saltwater Fishing

If you are limited by access to a boat or by the weather, fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be an interesting way to discover what lurks just off shore. Species available include walleye pollock, Pacific cod, Dolly Varden, a variety of flatfish species, the occasional king, along with creatures resembling hallucinations from the mind of Stephen King.

Emergency Orders

Please review the Emergency Orders and Advisory Announcements below in their entirety before heading out on your next fishing trip.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-18-21 increases the hatchery king salmon bag and possession limits from one fish to two fish 20” or greater in length and removes the annual limit effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 12 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, October 31, 2021.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-17-21 closes sport fishing for king salmon within one mile of shore in the saltwaters of Cook Inlet north of the latitude of Bluff Point (59° 40.00’ N. lat.). This regulatory change is effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 5 through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, July 15, 2021.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-16-21 closes the Anchor River and Deep Creek to all sport fishing effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 5 through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, July 15, 2021.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-10-21 reduced the king salmon bag and possession limits in the Ninilchik River to one hatchery king salmon 20 inches or greater in length through 11:59 p.m. Monday, June 14, 2021.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-09-21 restricted fishing gear to only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in the Anchor River and Deep Creek drainages through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, June 23, 2021.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-08-21 reduced the king salmon annual limit north of Bluff Point from five to two fish through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, July 15, 2021.

Emergency Order 2-RCL-7-04-21 and 2-RCL-7-05-21 closed all Eastside Cook Inlet beaches to clamming for all species from the mouth of the Kenai River to the southernmost tip of the Homer Spit in 2021.

Until next week…..

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if he isn’t still trying rig up the hoochie/ jig thingy and teach it how to walk.

Anglers try their luck at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon on Saturday, May 29, 2021, on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. The floating pen is for hatchery fish to imprint on the lagoon before being released into Kachemak Bay. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Anglers try their luck at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon on Saturday, May 29, 2021, on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. The floating pen is for hatchery fish to imprint on the lagoon before being released into Kachemak Bay. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

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