Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Reeling ‘Em In: Honkin’ tides present fishing challenges

Double check your gear folks. Honkin’ tides are heading our way and hopefully, fishing action will start firing on all cylinders in the open freshwater streams and the Fishing Hole. Remember, I said, “hopefully.”

According to its self-proclaimed mayor who conducts multi subject b.s. sessions while pontificating from his command chair on the southwest side of the mere, the lagoon began showing life last Wednesday when a school of around 40 plus blackmouths rolled in. Unfortunately, those fish seemed more interested in checking out the neighborhood than snapping at a snack.

Fortunately, a few jacks commenced involuntary beach landings on Thursday. The fish kept coming until by Saturday he estimated that over a 100 Chinook were cruising the interior with more loitering off the outer beach debating whether or not they had anything else better to do than dodge a gauntlet of hooks.

The annoying downer was that, once inside, they still seemed indifferent as to what was being thrown at them. Not all, of course. A few were gluttons and ended up with an impromptu tour of the cleaning tables, but the majority were impertinent and as food-finicky as a spoiled angora cat.

It wasn’t all bad — some became hit-feisty and met their demise as the incoming tide poured through the interior’s mouth.

The kings were in the 12-15 pound range, with an occasional lunker thrown in but most of the chinooks ran about 5 to 9 pounds.

Now let’s look at the expanded fishing report for the week of June 2 – June 8

Important new updates:

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-16-20 closed king salmon fishing within 1 mile of shore north of Bluff Point from Wednesday, June 3 through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, July 15.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-15-20 closed the Anchor River and Deep Creek drainages to all sport fishing from Wednesday, June 3 through 11:59 p.m. July 15.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-07-20 reduced the king salmon bag and possession limits in the Ninilchik River to one hatchery king salmon 20 inches or greater in length through 11:59 p.m. Monday, June 15.

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.

Freshwater Fishing

King Salmon

The Ninilchik River had some nice action for the second weekend in a row. Approximately twice as many hatchery fish have passed the lower Ninilchik weir and bank hunters have been nailing them.

The old standby of a presentation of eggs under a bobber with spinning and fly gear has been doing the trick. If that scheme starts to bore them, adapt, overcome and stalk them with herring, spinners, jigs and plugs. They’ll probably be suckers for something.

Adapting can also mean trying some of the smaller water runs and holes on the Ninilchik that might just have a few kings social distancing in their depths.

Saltwater Fishing

Halibut

Some nice eating slabs were hitting the tables last week, but others looked as though they could have altered as hand fans instead of fillets.

Since the tides will be in a smokin’ status mode, it’s going to take some serious weight to keep your lures on the bottom this week. Portable concrete traffic barriers come to mind.

Since the time available for fishing with a rig that doesn’t troll out toward Kodiak rather than below the boat will be seriously limited, give a shot at drifting through new areas to locate fish before setting the anchor.

King Salmon

As mentioned previously, more kings have been entering the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon and fishing has been fair on some tides.

The tide floods the lagoon at approximately plus 12 feet and fishing tends to be best as the it enters and ebbs from the pond. The action along the outside beach increases when the tide ascends for the incoming surge and the kings muster for their interior run.

Plug cut herring or salmon eggs drifting about two feet under a bobber will normally get their attention (adjust as needed) unless they’re copping an attitude like last week.

King fishing has been sluggish to sporadically tolerable south of Bluff Point. The evasive beasts can be found pretty much dotted everywhere throughout Kachemak Bay, but pursuers have found better results just south of Bluff Point and on the south side of K-Bay near Peterson Bay.

Other Saltwater Fishing

The rising tides should kick loose some better action off the end of the spit where assorted submerged denizens skulk such as Walleye Pollock, Pacific cod, various flatfish along with sundry creatures resembling abandoned extraterrestrial pets.

Last weekend I spotted a fisherman near Land’s End who was wrestling with a sack containing some sort of entity that was thrashing around like it would require close air support to stop it if it broke free. Needless to say, maintaining social distancing from that dude wasn’t a problem.

Shellfish

Clamming tides are June 3 through June 9.

If you are having fresh razor clam fantasies, try the beaches along the Westside of Cook Inlet that can be accessed by boat or plane. Paddle boarding is not advised. Try the Polly Creek beach, Crescent River Bar and Chinitna Bay. Boaters are advised to chill and use caution before traveling across the Cook Inlet because of the strong tidal currents and fickle weather conditions.

The latest fish report that we have for the northern region of the Kenai Peninsula as of this writing is as follows.

As of May 28:

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

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.

Freshwater Fishing

The early-run Kenai River king salmon sport fishery is currently under general regulations. Bait is prohibited, and only one single-hook artificial lure may be used. The bag and possession limit for king salmon 20 inches or greater in length is one king salmon. Only king salmon less than 34 inches in length may be retained. King salmon 34 inches or greater in length may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately. Please see pages 50-65 of the Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for additional regulations.

King salmon fishing on the Kenai River is slow. Water conditions are low and clear.

The flowing waters of the Kenai River mainstem upstream of the Lower Killey River marker and all of the tributary streams are closed from May 1 through June 10 to protect spawning rainbow trout.

Bing’s Landing, The Pillars, Izaak Walton, and Centennial Park boat launches are open; however, some amenities may not be in service at this time.

Kasilof king salmon fishing has been fair to good and should continue to improve over the next few weeks. Try fishing for king salmon from shore at the Crooked Creek State Recreation Site. See page 70-71 of the 2020 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet.

Fishing for sea run Dolly Varden at the mouth of Resurrection Creek in Hope should be picking up this time of year. Try using pink fry pattern flies.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com unless he takes a header into the outside beach during the outgoing tide and ends up on the rocks in the Barrens.

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