Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Reeling ‘Em In: Hare v. Pheasants could be plot of Homer ‘Sea Side Story’

Last week, as dawn morphed from a dull steel radiance to a crimson ember’s glow, I had just stepped out of the cabin to head for an old fishing haunt when a bizarre fracas broke out in the middle of the driveway.

A large gray hare had been nibbling along the edge of our sun-toasted lawn and had started a hip-hop return back into the surrounding brush when a clutch of adolescent pheasants unexpectedly appeared from the adjacent foliage.

The floppy-eared critter froze as the curious youngsters approached, bobbing and weaving like wannabe Jets from “West Side Story.”

Most of the brood were cautious and merely seemed interested in inspecting the furry creature, while others were the “bad boy” types showing off their ruffled cock rooster, youth-muted colors in addition to signaling imminent gangsta assaults.

The hare looked somewhat bemused by the feathered mob but held his ground until one of them would get too close, then went Bruce Lee on the encroacher with an impressive spin kick that never hit a thing but startled the testosterone out of the offender.

The dust up lasted until the avian ruffians finally realized there was a minute possibility that the annoyed bunny just might luck out and permanently rearrange their beaks, so they faded into the underbrush, leaving the hare sitting on its butt wondering, “What the hell was that all about?”

I’ve never seen an interaction like that before and have been asking the same question myself.

As for my trip to the fishing haunt? One nice silver and several head-smacking missed strikes.

Things are obviously slowing down nowadays, but the serious stalkers will find action somewhere, if the weather cooperates.

Now it time to take a look at the fishing report for the week of Sept. 10-16.

Freshwater Fishing

Coho fishing in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River should soon be wrapping up for the season, but some decent silver action is still stirring up the pools in the Anchor. The steelies are upping their population in the area also.

The Varden action should pick up this week with the changing water levels from the recent rains. Pegged beads, little spinners and spoons should get it done. The dollies are mostly schooled up in the upstream sections of the Anchor River near Black Water Bend and further upstream near the bridge on the south end of the North Fork Road.

Although there have been growing reports of steelhead, it’s still early in the run. Expect steelhead 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 are very effective at drawing an attack.

Saltwater Fishing


Trolling for kings has been fair recently. Blackmouth hunters have found some kings along Bluff Point. Everyone has their set-up preference but if things aren’t going well at the moment, try 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.


Halibut fishing has still been pretty darn good but should start to gear down throughout the rest of the month.

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 east side 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 ADF&G Homer office at 907-235-8191.

Nick can be reached at if he isn’t busy trying to negotiate a Sea Side Story truce between The Chicks and The Hares.

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