Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Reeling ‘Em In: Fishing Hole snagarama ends today

The Spit’s Fishing Hole has been sort of drag lately. In fact, things became so grim that the lagoon’s mayor, Tom, gave up the ghost and is chilling until the coho torpedoes arrive spoiling for a fight.

His final straw snapped when things went “Twilight Zone” and the armada of seals prowling the pond started ripping into his baits and snapping the line like starving barracuda on Red Bull. It wasn’t pretty nor was his language.

There was still an abundance of fish when he hung it up but, by now, after snagging closes tonight, July 2, at 11:59 p.m., most of the maroon tainted chinooks should have become fillets before they morphed into the dreaded zombie kings that are infamous for losing body parts as they are dragged onshore.

For those of you who missed the snagarama, don’t despair. The high tides are rolling in for the Fourth of July festivities and social distancing dances. Fortunately, there will always be a few malingering chrome blackmouths that show up late to party in the pond. So, you still might have shot at outdueling the seals and fine tune your ability to swear like one. Expert profanity practitioners of the purloined fish kind have been known to crack the windshields of nearby RVs and explode beach gravel.

It’s time now to look at the expanded Homer fishing report for the week of June 30 – July 6 along with info from the Northern Area.

Freshwater Fishing

King Salmon

The Ninilchik River is open for hatchery kings only. Fishing success has slowed to a crawl, but there are some hatchery blackmouths hanging around. The lingerers are typically suckers for single-hook spinners, plugs or jigs.

The Northern Kenai Fishing Report issued June 23 includes the following freshwater info:

Rainbow trout fishing on the Middle and Upper Kenai River has been good to sizzling.

Lower Kenai River sockeye fishing has been fair for anglers with dogged patience. Try fishing at Centennial Park, Rotary Park, Donald E. Gilman River Center, Soldotna Visitors Center or Soldotna Creek Park.

Sockeye fishing on Upper Kenai River, Russian River and Russian River Sanctuary has been fine with determined line-flailers landing limits. Don’t let it slip your mind that anglers may possess only the limit allowed for the waters they are actively fishing.

Kasilof king fishing is ranked fair to good. Take a crack at the kings from shore at the Crooked Creek State Recreation Site. Don’t disremember that Crooked Creek is closed to fishing. Refer to Emergency Order 2-KS-1-18-20.

Personal Use Fishing

The Kasilof River dipnet fishery opened June 25. A 2020 sport fishing license (or PID/DAV license) and an Upper Cook Inlet Personal Use permit is required. No retention of kings is allowed. Check page 14 of the 2020 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet.

Homer Area:

Sockeye Salmon

The China Poot Personal Use dipnet fishery opened on Wednesday, July 1. The number of sockeye in the creek has been low so far but could kick up a gear at any time.

Saltwater Fishing

Halibut

Halibut fishing has been fair at inshore locales and good in offshore spots around the mouth of Kachemak Bay. Hefty fish are being boated in both areas.

With primo weather in the forecast this week, try fishing early morning to avoid rougher seas due to the day breeze which builds by early afternoon and be prepared to adjust your techniques to account for the building tides.

King Salmon

As noted previously, the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon continued to experience a large buildup of kings including a plethora of jacks, last week. The legal snagging free-for-all that opened Tuesday, June 30, closes Thursday at 11:59 p.m. The crowd wasn’t bad at the opening and the action was pretty good for those who had a clue what to do.

The opening was a cool call before the thundering horde arrives for the holiday weekend. It was nice to see fishing conditions that didn’t require catcher, goalie or riot gear to ward off injuries from weighted treble hooks and vehement backswings from clueless Neanderthals.

King trolling has continued to be respectable around Kachemak Bay, particularly south of Bluff Point and at Point Pogibshi. Chinooks have also been picked up on the south side of Kachemak Bay from Glacier Spit to Bear Cove.

Other Saltwater Fishing

Sockeye have been making their debut near Tutka Bay Lagoon and China Poot Bay. Line whippers have been whacking the newcomers.

If you are limited by access to a boat or by the weather, fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a great way to wet a line. Species available include walleye pollock, Pacific cod, Dolly Varden, a variety of flatfish species, and the occasional king. Special note: Know your fish. There are things hauled in out there that a starving cat wouldn’t touch.

Shellfish

Good clamming tides will occur over the holiday weekend and into next week. Remember all Eastside Cook Inlet beaches are closed to all clamming per Emergency Orders 2-RCL-7-03-20 and 2-RCL-7-04-20.

Razor clams can be found on beaches along the Westside of Cook Inlet and can be accessed by boat or plane. Popular razor clam beaches include the Polly Creek beach, Crescent River Bar and Chinitna Bay. Boaters are advised to use caution before traveling across the Cook Inlet because of strong tidal currents and variable weather conditions.

Littleneck clams can be found in a variety of habitats in Kachemak Bay from Jakolof Bay to Bear Cove. Try exploring new beaches if you keep getting skunked. Typically, littleneck clams are found shallower in the substrate, up to eight inches deep.

Finally:

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

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-26-20 allows snagging in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon on the Homer Spit from noon Tuesday, June 30 through 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-21-20 restricted gear in the Ninilchik River to one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure from through Wednesday, July 15, 2020 and removed the annual limit for hatchery king salmon 20 inches or greater through Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-16-20 closed king fishing within 1 mile of shore north of Bluff Point through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, July 15, 2020.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-15-20 closed the Anchor River and Deep Creek drainages to all sport fishing through 11:59 p.m. July 15, 2020.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-05-20 reduced the king annual limit north of Bluff Point from five to two fish through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, July 15, 2020.

Emergency Order 2-RCL-7-03-20 and 2-RCL-7-04-20 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 2020.

The following Emergency Orders and News Releases were current in the Northern Kenai Fishing Report as of June 23, 2020. No further updates have been forthcoming.

Emergency Order 2-KS-1-23-20, effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 1, 2020, prohibits the use of bait and multiple hooks while sport fishing in the Kasilof River downstream of the Sterling Highway Bridge.

Emergency Order 2-KS-1-22-20, effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 1, 2020, prohibits the use of bait and the retention of king salmon that are 34 inches and longer in length while sport fishing in the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek. Sport fishing for kings of all sizes remains closed in the Kenai River from Slikok Creek to Skilak Lake through July 31.

Emergency Order 2-KS-1-17-20 closes sport fishing for king salmon of all sizes in the Kenai River from the mouth upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake from June 10 through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Fishing for king salmon will remain closed 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 1 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 31, in waters of the Kenai River drainage from an ADF&G regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek, upstream to the outlet of Skilak Lake. This closure prohibits all sport fishing for king salmon, including catch-and-release fishing. King salmon may not be retained or possessed; king salmon accidentally caught while fishing for other species may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

Emergency Order 2-NP-1-02-20 prohibits the retention of any species of fish in East Mackey, West Mackey, Sevena, Union, and Derks lakes for the 2020 season.

Emergency Order 2-DV-1-01-20 prohibits the retention of Arctic char/Dolly Varden in Stormy Lake for the 2020 season.

Until next week.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you have any tips, tales or unmitigated lies about how delicious Arrowtooth flounder mush is on toast.

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