Reeling ‘Em In: Memories of the lagoon of yesteryear

As I was scoping out a crowd of anglers at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon last week, it brought back dusty memories of when I first fished there.

After we moved to Homer, I heard rumors about The Hole but was away so much working in the high north that fishing wasn’t on the agenda during my brief times at home.

When my schedule changed to equal times on and off, I gave the lagoon a shot and ran across a dedicated bunch of hilarious bucket-n-bobber buddies.

They usually hit the shore just as it was light enough to get down the embankment without taking an embarrassing header over some unseen clump of weeds. They had a rule that screeching while in mid-tumble was deemed unmanly and hitting the water meant a one-day suspension of seating anywhere near the rest of the crew.

The b-n-b gang declared they were so laid back that their bucket butt relaxation techniques were described as near-death experiences.

They quietly admitted though, that they could become animated.

If a fish struck and someone bothered to notify them that their bobber went under, they’d immediately hit back except for one member who insisted that the fish partially digested the bait before he considered it a valid strike.

There was an underlying reason for his attitude.

Soon after he joined group, he discovered that ancient lepers had more respect than “the guy who jerked too soon.” The only thing worse was leaving your gear in the water while your nearby buddy was fighting a fish bigger than his bait. If his king became entangled in your gear and snapped off, you and your bucket were exiled to the other end of the lagoon for a week.

They were some of the best trash talkers and piscatorial weavers of tall tales I’ve ever had the pleasure to share a shoreline with, even if it was from the opposite side of the lagoon once or twice.

If you wanted to learn, they were generous tutors who took the time and patience to share their secrets with others when it came to adding chinook steaks to the freezer and expected the same from you if you joined them.

I miss those guys, their humor, generosity and especially, their code of ethics.

Time now for a look at the fishing report for June 27.

Freshwater Fishing

The Ninilchik River king salmon fishing has slowed over the last few days. The best fishing has been in the early morning hours and during the incoming tide in the harbor. Things should pick up later in the week when new fish start surfing in on the higher tides.

Hatchery kings appreciate drifted baits such as cured salmon egg clusters, plug cut herring, or shrimp under a respectable bobber. They will give some consideration to spinners, spoons, plugs, and flies.

Dolly Varden fishing in Bridge Creek Reservoir was good over the past week. Anglers reported catches of good numbers of small fish. Try casting bait, small lures, or spoons from shore.

Saltwater Fishing


Halibut fishing continued its upswing in Cook Inlet over the week with more and larger fish coming across the docks. Weather permitting, your best bet remains at more distant locations where decent catches are being reported.

Consider drifting in new locations to locate fish before setting the anchor. Be careful though. With the honkin’ tides arriving during the coming week, you may end up in Kodiak.

If you anchor when the changes slow, try using a chum bag to attract more fish before you are on the move again. Like it or not.

King Salmon

Chinook stalkers continued to get respectable takedowns trolling throughout the Kachemak Bay area last week. The most landings were reported at Bluff Point and Point Pogibshi.

King fishing at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon stalled out over the last few days. Don’t expect much improvement this week unless the jacked-up tides slide in some fresh meat.

The lagoon’s mayor, Tom, reports that the action suddenly died out there. Why, who knows? Maybe because six to 10 seals tend to clean out the buffet when the tide is in. Maybe the infamous midnight snaggers are working overtime to fill their freezers and or the harassment from clueless line flippers keeps them spooked. It’s probably a combo of all of those factors.

Tom also noted that some of the larger surviving kings have developed an obvious blush, so take note. Currently, the lagoon is closed to snagging but may open to it by emergency order soon.

There are still small numbers of king salmon in the Seldovia Slough but the fishing is winding down for the season.

Other Salt water

There have not been many reports of sockeye showing up in China Poot Bay or in Tutka Lagoon but anglers should expect to see a buildup of fish in both locations soon.

China Poot personal use dip net fishery for reds opens on July 1. Dippers should expect fair to good catches for the first couple of days of the season.

Lingcod fishery opens on July 1 and anglers should expect fair fishing along the outer coast for the first few days of the season. Leadhead jigs with white grubtail are a classic lingcod lure.

Surf fishing in Cook Inlet has been fair. Anglers are finding success with halibut on the Clam Gulch beaches. Whiskey Gulch provides good shoreline access as well.


Clamming will be open in the Ninilchik area from July 1 through July 4. Expect crowded conditions close to the access locations around the Ninilchik harbor and less crowded conditions at the more distant locations at Deep Creek and Whiskey Gulch. The best numbers of razor clams are within ½ to ¾ mile in both directions of the Ninilchik River. For exploring for low numbers of large clams, try Whiskey Gulch.

Starting Sunday, the tides will be low enough for digging the popular locations in west Cook Inlet. Both Crescent River bar and Polly Creek have good numbers of large clams.

Nick can be reached at if he isn’t preparing his surplus tactical suit and ballistic helmet in case the fishing lagoon opens to legal snagging and he wants to watch the lead fly.