Reeling ‘Em In: Enough is enough

I must admit that Mother Nature’s decision to drag her 10-inch heels reluctantly into the summer has been laying it on a little thick. Jane’s flowers are experiencing early morn stem shivers and locals have been spotted mowing their lawns layered down to long johns.

Early last week, while cruising the Spit gathering tips, tales and species landings info, I noticed some anglers at The Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon sporting outer gear typically used for ice fishing in blizzard conditions.

I can’t say that I blame them. There have been several times out there when it’s been borderline brutal with chill-infused winds packing momentary deluges reminiscent of bucket drops from a fire suppression chopper. Well, maybe not that bad but…

Right about now, an arid rush of sunny warm air would be welcome even if it just sticks around like a one-day dry sneeze. Enough is enough.

Before we get to the fishing report, I’d like to answer a question from several readers who want to know what kind of pole I generally use in pursuit of salmon.

First, the rumor is not true that my buddies refer to it as “The Club” because it resembles a steering wheel’s anti-theft device. That would be rude.

Admittedly, my favorite rod has slightly corroded eyes and a worn, duct-taped handle, but it’s managed to haul in whatever I’ve tangled with and landed without splitting apart for the last 35 years.

Yes, the antiquated rig is prime-time ugly and has as many nicks and scars as a journeyman boxer but the elderly pole has more character and longevity in its bent butt end than a dozen graphite, megabuck, wiener rods the self-professed pros pose with.

The ancient Lamiglas beast has taken on lake trout, kings, silvers, mean-tempered Lings, halibut, and unseen things that would probably have gnawed a hole in a boat if the line hadn’t snapped before the bottom feeding mutants made it to the surface.

Full disclosure: I do have a bit more agile Strikeforce if things get to smokin’ and the beast need some down time.

OK. Time now to check out the fishing report for June 13.

Freshwater Fishing

The Ninilchik River will be open to sport fishing seven days a week starting Friday, June 16. Fishing for kings has continued to improve as the season progresses. Anglers got into them last weekend during the early morning hours above the Sterling Highway Bridge. Then again, in the harbor during the incoming tide.

Expect fair fishing over the next week.

The best chance at a hatchery king, is drifting baits such as cured salmon egg clusters, plug cut herring, or shrimp under a bobber. Spinners, spoons, plugs, and flies will all work too. They don’t have rep for being finicky.

Saltwater Fishing


Halibut fishing has been slowly crawling up the improvement scale with the best action being found in offshore locations of the Cook Inlet. Things remain laid back in the shallow water from Bluff Point to Anchor Point and in Kachemak Bay east of the Homer Spit, and around Seldovia.

Fishing around slack tide is the best time for targeting halibut especially since the tides will be rolling and it’ll be tough to hold your bait on the bottom without a couple of serious workout weights.

Herring on a circle hook is a great bait; however, octopus, salmon heads, and jigs will tag them too.

Try using a chum bag to attract more fish while on anchor. These tides should spread the scent around for miles, if it stinks enough.

King Salmon

Trollers for chinook were getting sporadic takedowns throughout Kachemak Bay last week. Hunters had their most success around Bluff Point, Point Pogibshi, and Glacier Spit.

Small troll herring or spoons behind a flasher worked as usual, along with spoons, hootchies, and tube flies.

King fishing at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon was pitiable to fair over the last week. How slow was it? The usual cadre of scofflaw line-snaggers have formed support groups until things improve. Expect the fishing to remain the same over the week so you’ll have a lot of room to practice casting or go all Zen in bobber contemplation.

Even the lagoon’s mayor, Tom, and his chief of staff, Shelly, have found things tedious to the point where boredom has become exciting.

They report that there are a plethora of jacks and a few recordable blackmouth cruising around but other than that, there are time when naps are the only action around. Note: Jacks count toward your limit.

Best shots?

Try soaking weighted bait under a bobber as the sea floods into the lagoon or hit the outside during the retreating tide.

King fishing in the Seldovia Slough improved over last week. Anglers were taking them while fishing from the bridge during the incoming tide and in the lagoon around high water.

Other Saltwater

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

Anglers are catching 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. One note of caution. When the person fishing beside you battles something to shore and screams, run, and hope like hell they don’t pass you.

There are minus tides this week for digging razor clams in west Cook Inlet. Locations such as Clam Cove, Spring Point, and Silver Salmon Creek would be worth a try.

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-7-13-23 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 bald face lies you’d like to try and get by him.