A couple walks along the beach, left, as a family fishes on Friday, May 21, 2021, at the end of the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

A couple walks along the beach, left, as a family fishes on Friday, May 21, 2021, at the end of the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Reeling ‘Em In: Kings starting to bite at the fishin’ hole

Nick is back with hot fishing tips and his usual award winning writing.

It’s time to fire up the 13th year of our fishing column, and, hopefully, the coming holiday weekend will be topped off by chrome chinooks submarining beneath the smokin’ tides into Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon while charters and private vessels jam their holds with pole-slamming butts and ravenous salmon sporting serious ‘tudes.

The weather forecast is looking a bit damp with overcast skies scheduled to roll in on Friday, dragging along some weekend rain, but nothing that will require scuba gear to take a hike.

As you recall, the winter king tournament crowd proved that sport peeps were more than ready to rock the rods and grab some fresh air. So, don’t be surprised if the Spit sinks an inch or two when the horde charges south.

The Kenai Peninsula will be a special destination for those northern folks who are finally free to flee their sequestered COVID-19 cages and enjoy the sweet air of the K-Bay while sharing open smiles instead of somberly nodding at the sterile visages of passing masks.

Of course, their new found liberties should not include ignoring local mask and distancing requirements. There is no excuse for acting like a demented fruit bat juiced up on a half case of Boone’s Farm just because a business limits access without a mask.

It’s time to play, not to pout.

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

Tom, the self-proclaimed Mayor of The Hole, is back and has reported that the kings are already nosing around within the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon.

Not big time yet, but a few have been taken with mackerel chunks and small, plug cut, herring floating beneath bobbers. Blue bell Vibrax spinners have also nailed a couple.

Those with flexible middle digits will be less than delighted to know that the seals are back in the lagoon, plus they may want to save some sign flinging practice for the bait stealing dollies cruising the pond.

Fishing Fines avoidance reminder: Don’t forget to review the following Emergency Orders and Advisory Announcements before launching your fishing trip.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-10-21 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 14, 2021.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-09-21 restricted fishing gear to only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in the Anchor River and Deep Creek drainages through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, June 23, 2021.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-08-21 reduced the king salmon annual limit north of Bluff Point from five to two fish through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, July 15, 2021.

Emergency Order 2-RCL-7-04-21 and 2-RCL-7-05-21 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 2021.

So, now, with all of that said, it’s time now for the 2021 fishing report for May 25.

Freshwater Fishing

The Anchor River, Deep Creek and the Ninilchik River will open to sport fishing on Saturday, May 29 through Monday, May 31. The kings have started to return to these streams in low numbers but should continue to improve over the next week.

In the Anchor River and Deep Creek, the water conditions are high and muddy, which will limit the effectiveness of gear, so expect slow fishing. Try size 5 spinners or small plugs to get a king’s attention unless it can’t even see its nose.

As of May 24, 17 chinooks have wandered through the weir in the Anchor River.

In the Ninilchik River, water conditions are high but fishable. Try lobbing salmon roe clusters suspended close to the bottom for the hatchery kings.

Saltwater Fishing

Halibut

Halibut fishing continues to gain steam as more flats move into Cook Inlet from overwintering waters.

The tidal exchanges are going to rock this week, which will limit the amount of time for trying to stay on anchor without losing your cool. Trying drifting when the tide is moving too much to keep your bait on the bottom. If still no luck, skiing behind the boat might be a fun option.

Check out anchoring in shallow water around Anchor Point, too. The action may be a bit slower using this technique, but it has been known to churn out some lunkers.

You already probably know this, but for the clueless, herring on a circle hook is the most popular bait. Octopus, salmon heads and jigs will also get them licking their chops.

King Salmon

Trolling for chinooks improved in Kachemak Bay last week with the arrival of those rowdy and randy spawner herring. Expect fair fishing over the next week.

In the nearshore waters of Upper Cook Inlet, expect poor to fair fishing.

Most successful anglers use downriggers and fish with troll sized herring or spoons behind flashers. Most unsuccessful anglers don’t.

Other Saltwater Fishing

If you don’t have access to a boat or the weather is in a snit, fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be an enjoyable way to wet a line. Species lurking off the beach include walleye pollock, Pacific cod, Dolly Varden, a variety of flatfish and even a wandering salmon or two. There are also things that resemble leftover facemasks from Halloween. Just cut the line.

Until next week …

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if he isn’t still busy trying to unravel his tackle box.

More in Sports

tease
Rain sets up Sunday doubleheader for Oilers

The Alaska Baseball League game between the Peninsula Oilers and Mat-Su Miners… Continue reading

Homer News reporter Sarah Knapp (kneeling) is pictured with the Friends of Kachemak Bay State Park volunteer group who cleared South Eldred Trail during National Trails Day on June 5. The group was able to clear half a mile of the trail. Pictured left to right are Kristine Moerlein, Amy Holman, Kathy Sarns, Lyn Maslow, Ruth Dickerson and Kris Holderied. (Photo by Michael Singer)
Out of the Office: Finding Home in Alaska

“The story is it’s dark, it’s cold, it’s unfriendly and there are… Continue reading

Nick Varney
Reeling ‘Em In: Local fishing ‘like a hot streak in Vegas’

Sport fishing marred by those who don’t grasp the concept of ‘sport’

Alaska State Parks logo
Kachemak Bay State Park trails report

Advisory: Trails in Kachemak Bay State Park are rough, with steep grades… Continue reading

A Dytiscidae larva (water tiger) spotted in a pond adjacent to the pipeline corridor within the Kenai Wildlife Refuge in June 2020 (USFWS/Matt Bowser)
Refuge Notebook: The little-known predator of the seasonal pond

Not to be confused with the more noticeable surface whirligig beetles that swim in a circle, predaceous diving beetles will most often be under the water tension.

Soldotna’s Megan Youngren competes in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Atlanta. (Photo courtesy of Alexandra Sizemore)
Soldotna’s Youngren wins Mayor’s Marathon

Soldotna’s Megan Youngren won the Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon on Saturday on her… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Myth or mystery — flying squirrels on the Kenai

The northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) is somewhat of an enigma to… Continue reading

tease
South sweeps Twins

The American Legion Twins fell to 1-2 in the league and 2-4… Continue reading

Anglers try their luck at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon on Saturday, May 29, 2021, on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. The floating pen is for hatchery fish to imprint on the lagoon before being released into Kachemak Bay. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News0
Reeling ‘Em In:

We get all kinds of email questions about the Nick Dudiak Fishing… Continue reading

Most Read