Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Reeling ‘Em In: Alas, poor Thrasher — it’s time for Nick’s revered fishing rod to retire

As the summer teeters on the border’s edge of August and September, I have come to the solemn conclusion that I must retire my favorite piscatorian partner, Thrasher.

I have mentioned the brute before so you probably know that Thrasher is my ageless fishing rod and a close buddy to another vital tool in my arsenal, a prime-time tackle box that some mockingly refer to as Grunge.

To be upfront, if you were to observe my unique casting techniques, it wouldn’t be that hard to figure out how the pole ended up being pinned with its nickname.

I had initially intended to label the potential fish killer “The Club” until I found out some of my fishing partners threatened to spread a rumor that I was using a car anti-theft device as a fishing rod.

Over the years, Thrasher has taken on lake trout, mean tempered kings, no-holds- barred silvers, hefty halibut in Mud Bay, p.o.’d steelhead and unseen things that would probably have attempted to sink the skiff if the line hadn’t snapped before the bottom feeding mutants surfaced.

Thrasher toughed it out throughout those aforementioned challenges, but time catches up with us all. It has been suffering from increasingly failing eyes, loose joints and a deeply worn cork handle that’s now a Duct Tape covered memory.

It has hung in there through the years as a peerless landing guide for countless reels as it fought whatever I’ve hooked into without fail, but, sadly, its time has finally come, because of me.

The antiquated rig was prime-time ugly and had as many nicks and scars as an aging journeyman boxer, but the elderly pole still had some longevity left until I backed over it in the dark last weekend. Not cool. My absent-mindedness managed to snap it into three gnarly looking pieces that a wand repair specialist at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry would have deemed an unfeasible task.

Thrasher now lies in the bed of my truck looking like a forlorn triptych display of what used to be, but I understand that I have to quickly move on because the silvers are getting feisty in the low waters of the Anchor and there are indications of steelies in the shadows.

So, it’s definitely time now to take a look at the fishing report for week of Aug. 27 – Sept. 2.

Personal Use

The Kachemak Bay Personal Use Coho Salmon Gillnet Fishery closed on Saturday, Aug. 24. All permit holders are reminded to return their personal use permits by Sept. 3.

Freshwater Fishing

Silver fishing in the Anchor and Ninilchik rivers, and Deep Creek slowed a bit last weekend, but the early morning bite was still good enough to hook into a few in the lower sections.

Coho hunting may pick back up with the larger tides this week. Anglers were successful drifting eggs under a bobber. Try flashy spinners such as a silver bladed Vibrax, if eggs aren’t cutting it for you.

The water in the lower Kenai Peninsula streams is extremely low. Dolly Varden fishing has been really slow during the day. There are plenty of dollies schooled up in the upper sections of the Anchor River near the bridge on the south end of the North Fork Road. Try fishing the dawning hours. Pegged beads, little spinners and spoons all work well.

Update: As of Tuesday, Aug. 27, silver fishing has ramped up to being good in the Anchor River along with early morning, nifty Dolly action continuing up river.

Steelhead trout will start entering all of these streams in low numbers over the next couple weeks. Expect steelie fishing to peak in mid-September and continue through October. Beads pegged above a hook is the most popular way to target steelhead, but jigs fished under a bobber or swinging flies can be very effective as well.

Aug. 31 is the last day for bait and multiple hooks.

Saltwater Fishing

Salmon

Trolling for king and silvers picked up by Silver Ridge and Point Pogibshi last week. Try a variety of presentations to decide what’s working best at the moment, including trolling without a flasher, using spoons and herring, and varying the length of the leader. A shorter leader will produce a tighter, faster action behind a flasher than a long leader will.

Fishing for silvers in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon has slowed to almost a death roll.

Halibut

Halibut are still being nailed closer to the spit and in the inner bay, but the most reliable action continues to be in outer Kachemak Bay, the Cook Inlet, and around the corner from Point Pogibshi.

Fishermen have been successful launching small boats from the beach at Whiskey Gulch and targeting halibut within a mile of shore. Using a chum bag can help to put ‘buts on the feed.

Other Saltwater Fishing

Lingcod and nonpelagic rockfish stalkers continue to roll well outside of Kachemak Bay for the best action. The most consistently prolific lingcod chasers normally drift over rocky pinnacles working jigs.

If you are after black rockfish, try jigging and trolling near prominent points of land. You will find the larger fish and more dependable fishing near Point Pogibshi and beyond. Pelagic rockfish can also often be found near Bluff Point and Dimond Creek.

Emergency Orders

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

Emergency Order 2-RCL-7-01-19 and 2-RCL-7-02-19 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 for 2019.

For additional information, please contact the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Homer office at 907-235-8191.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if he isn’t still scrounging around in the cellar for Thrasher’s back-up rod that’s so old that it might not survive an energetic strike by frenzied smolt much less a coho.

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