Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Reeling ‘Em In: Nick is back with summer fishin’ report

Howdy folks. Yep, we’re back and wish to offer our apologies for not having the usual fishing report ready last week. Chalk it up to unforeseen circumstances.

It has become a tradition to assist certain over enthusiastic piscatorians, with the intellectual capacity of driftwood, to stay out of trouble during the three day span by providing them timely info on emergency orders, catch limits, and areas to avoid such as waters that have been closed since Augustine Volcano was a dirt pimple across the inlet.

Time to roll …

Well, that wasn’t quite the Memorial Day weekend some of us expected, was it? Especially, for those who can remember it.

The weather was fine with the sun making numerous guest appearances accompanied by intermittent rain showers sailing across the bay on mutable southwest zephyrs.

I was a bit surprised by the near capacity campgrounds, and the boat launch was jammed so tight at times you couldn’t launch a small skiff without greasing its sides.

Face masks were not in fashion and there were a few areas that a guy in my age bracket wouldn’t want to go near in a spacewalk suit, but it was great to see most everyone enjoying themselves.

Fishing tales abounded with yarns about nailing limits of flatfish the size of flyswatters to beasts that took a few frosty growlers to land.

Tom, the semiofficial mayor and snagger deprecator at the Fishing Hole, reported that things have been slow in the pond but improve around the channel’s outer exit as the tide retreats. He noted that most of the fish assuming fillet status have been running in the 4.5 to 8 pound range. There were a few weighing in at around 12 to-14 lbs. with one mini heifer packing what looked to be an 18 to 20 pound payload.

It’s time now for the expanded fishing report for the week of May 26 – June 1.

Emergency Orders:

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, 2020.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-06-20 restricted fishing gear to only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in the Anchor River and Deep Creek drainages through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, June 30, 2020.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-05-20 reduced the king salmon annual limit north of Bluff Point from five to two fish through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, July 15, 2020.

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

Fishing in the Ninilchik River was more productive than the Anchor River or Deep Creek for hunting kings over Memorial Day weekend. It’s likely to be the same this weekend as the hatchery run continues to enter the stream. Anglers were enticing hits using herring or salmon roe under a bobber. Line flingers using plugs and spinners were able to harvest a few fish as well. Humph! No wonder the Ninilchik gave up more meat.

The Anchor River and Deep Creek could improve quite a bit by this weekend. Check the fish counts online, and try fishing just after day break or with the incoming tide at the mouths of both streams.

If things are slow at the Ninilchik, flip them some eggs or herring without the floats. Add split shots to your line, if your spinner or other tackle isn’t near or on the bottom.

Saltwater Fishing

Halibut

Halibut fishing has continued to improve. There are reports of honker-sized halibut being caught out of both Anchor Point and Deep Creek.

King Salmon

King fishing has been improving north of Bluff Point.

This is one of the best times of year to chase chinooks in the nearshore waters around the Anchor Point light and Whiskey Gulch area. Stalkers may catch a combination of feeder and mature Cook Inlet fish working these areas. Again, take shot at fishing early in the morning or near the slack point of either tide.

King fishing has been poor to fair south of Bluff Point. The blackmouths can be found scattered everywhere throughout Kachemak Bay, but anglers have been hitting them more frequently just south of Bluff Point and on the south side of bay.

A majority of chinook chasers use downriggers and entice their prey with troll-sized herring or artificial lures behind flashers.

As mentioned previously, there have been accounts of kings being caught in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. Try plug cut herring or salmon eggs under a bobber and adjust the depth of the bait as needed. A Blue Vibrax will steam their gills if you adjust your retrieval speed enough to entice a strike rather than a flee response.

Final notes, Gleaned from Alaska Department Fish and Game Northern Kenai Fishing Report:

As of May 21, 2020. Latest report was not available as of this writing.

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. Check out 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.

Kasilof River steelhead fishing is considered fair. All rainbow/steelhead trout caught must not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

Kasilof king salmon fishing should be picking up over the next couple of weeks. Try fishing for king salmon from shore at the Crooked Creek State Recreation Site.

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 if you have any tips or printable tales that might interest piscatorian fanatics in the area.

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