Reeling ‘Em In: Fishing picks up with the tide

So, let’s start this week’s column with some cool news.

A few more kings have been doing small-school loops inside the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon.

It looks as though last week’s higher tides gave the run a little boot in its scaly butt and the newbies were striking if their stalkers timed things right and were serving what the cruisers considered the snack of the day.

Before those higher tides showed up, The Hole was deader than a wallet-flat porcupine that never saw the semi coming. More about the pond later.

The fish cleaning tables were humming as private boats unloaded halibut, cod and a few salmon. The halibut ranged from around fifteen pounds to meatier beasts that must have been bone snappers to bring in when the tides were humming.

The Pacific cod were modest, scaling out at 5-10 pounds with a few porkers thrown in, while the Chinooks looked like they would have tapped the scales at 8-12.

I could have given better estimates if some of the slashers’ piles of filets didn’t resemble fish cadavers rammed through a wood chipper.

Time now for the fishing report for the week of May 27.

Freshwater Fishing

The Anchor River and Deep Creek are closed to all sport fishing through July 15.

The Ninilchik River is open to fishing for hatchery king salmon June 1-3.

It’s still turtle-slow fishing with the counts of both wild and hatchery fish remaining low.

Give a shot at salmon roe under a slip bobber. Size 4 or 5 pink or chartreuse spinners have also done the trick. If you think you have something cooler and it’s legal, go for it.

If you incidentally hook a steelhead or wild king, get them to the bank as quickly as possible without launching them into ionosphere, then release the beauties without taking them onshore.

Saltwater Fishing

Kachemak Bay/Cook Inlet


Halibut fishing was more productive in locales such as Flat Island last week, but for those chasing bigger fish, try the shallow water from Bluff Point to Anchor Point.

Fishing around slack tide is the best time for targeting halibut because you can hold the bottom without the use of engine blocks for weights.

King Salmon

King fishing south of Bluff Point has been a roll of the dice, with dispersed reports coming in from the Bluff area to spots throughout inner Kachemak Bay.

Small troll herring or spoons behind a flasher work just fine but if you get bored, offer them a selection of hootchies and/or tube flies. They might be just as bored as you are.

Surf Fishing

Surf fishing enthusiasts were having success on several of the Cook Inlet beaches last weekend and they have Facebook posts to prove it.

Popular locations for surf pitchin’ for flats include Kasilof, Clam Gulch, Ninilchik boat harbor, Deep Creek campground and Whiskey Gulch. Anglers are nailing a diversity of groundfish including halibut, sculpins, skates, sharks, flounders and cod.

Regulations changed at the December 2023 Board of Fisheries meeting to allow surf fishing for groundfish in the conservation zones surrounding the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Ninilchik River.

You still may not fish within 200 yards of the stream mouths — keep an eye out for posted orange regulatory signs.

Don’t forget about fishing off the tip of the Homer Spit — that shoreline can be productive for a variety of groundfish, including things that will beach themselves just to make sure you get in your 10,000 steps a day.

Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon

Kings continue trickle in and prefer getting their feed on during the darkened hours, if they get it on at all.

Shelley, the fish whisperer, reports that mackerel and herring are getting takedowns but you must be on your game and have your timing right. She also noted that they were striking orange/pink Vibrax.

Suggestion: Let them run with the bobber submerged for a count of at least seven to 10 seconds before trying to set the hook.

She uses a long straight lighted bobber along with a cut of mackerel. ‘Nuf said.

Fishing is still at a slug speed but slowly improving, and if you get tired of standing on the bank and forgot a chair or butt bucket, you can always toss a lit-up bobber out to the middle, let out a bunch of line until you reach a picnic table to sit on. It’ll be a hoot when and if that float takes off. Especially if the five seals are back in the lagoon.

Until next week…

Nick can reached at