Reeling ‘Em In: Rambo tides and action at the lagoon

The lagoon’s infamous and intrepid mayor is back and has nailed his first chinook

Double check your gear folks. Rambo tides are storming our way that will, with any luck, kick-start the fishing action and raise the level of bald-faced lies spun at local watering holes by piscatorian pontificators who couldn’t land a snagged smolt in the Nick Dudiak Lagoon.

Lagoon, you say? Action, maybe? Well, no need to stampede but the lagoon’s infamous and intrepid mayor is back and has nailed his first chinook.

Tom reports that, just after last week’s column, a few blackmouth began to provide limited skirmishes along the outer beach during the tide changes. The kings ran small falling between 5 to 7 pounds but their babysitters managed to tip a few scales at 12-plus pounds without the aid of rock implants in the gullet.

The first-shows were accompanied by a surprising number jack kings so, take note. When fishing the lagoon area for chinook, the limit is two per day, two in possession and no size limit. If your king is 20 inches or longer, it must be recorded. The smaller jacks count toward your daily limit of two.

Oh, come on now, we know that you have your king stamps and harvest cards. You just keep forgetting to bring your pens along to log them.

Small herring under a bobber or drifting them with a weight along the bottom of the tidal stream has been working well. Spinners? So, so. Blue Vibrax are good bet.

As last weekend progressed, a few inside fishermen found their patience rewarded as a few more chinook rolled in to be chased by seals, flashy spoons, plug-cut herring, eggs, mackerel chunks and what resembled nuclear modified bass plugs reserved for scaring fish to death if they refused to bite.

Remember, timing is the key.

They get feisty in the early morning hours or when the tide changes begin. Of course, there are always the exceptions.

Last week, while I was slam’n an Awesome D and Jane was working on a bacon cheese burger from the cool crew at the fine food emporium across from the lagoon, a dusty, timeworn, suburban pulled up.

A seasoned gentlemen exited, grabbed his pole rigged with a silver spinner, and slowly made his way to the shoreline just across from where a channel leads to the bay.

It was overcast, the tide was out and the mere quiet. Nary a ripple or a sign of life was discernible beneath the lagoon’s surface. He had the pond to himself.

Three casts. Wham! Thirteen pounds of pissed off and fresh fillets for the barb-b.

Ya never know.

Time now for the fishing report for May 30, 2023.

Freshwater Fishing

The Anchor River and Deep Creek are all closed to all sport fishing by emergency order until July 16.

The Ninilchik River will be open to sport fishing Saturday, June 3 through Monday, June 5. Low numbers of king salmon have started to return but should improve through the week. Water conditions are currently high but may improve by the weekend. Expect slow fishing for hatchery king salmon until numbers improve.

Hatchery kings have a thing for cured salmon egg clusters drifting under a bobber. They’ll also take a run at size 4 or 5 spinners if the mood strikes them.

Saltwater Fishing


Halibut fishing is grudgingly improving. The best action is found at offshore locations with most of the sluggish fishing moping around in the shallow water from Bluff Point to Anchor Point, in Kachemak Bay east of the Homer Spit, and around Seldovia.

Fishing this coming week will be a bit of a challenge with the high balling tides heading our way so slack tide will be the best period for halibut hunting unless you are using a backhoe for weight.

You guessed it. Herring on a circle hook is always a good “go to” bait but octopus, salmon heads, and jigs have better staying power in jammin’ currents.

When anchoring, try using a chum bag to attract more fish. With the hefty tides, they should smell it from Kodiak if the water is headed in that direction.

King Salmon

Trolling for kings improved last week in lower Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay with anglers popping fish scattered throughout the bay. South of Bluff Point, Point Pogibshi, and Bear Cove are likely places to nose in around this week.

Small troll herring or spoons behind a flasher is a fine setup, but spoons, hootchies, and tube flies will work if you have your speed and depths set right. Try setting the gear at different depths including mid-water column and within 10 feet of the bottom.

The chinook run to the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon is still slow but, as noted earlier, fish are starting to show up. Expect mediocre fishing throughout the week.

A few chinook have been landed in the Seldovia Slough, but expect slow crawl fishing through the week. Sight fishing from the bridge during the incoming tide is the cool way for latching onto a king.

Other salt water

Surf fishing in Cook Inlet has been fair so far this spring. Anglers are continuing to hit halibut from the Clam Gulch beaches. Whiskey Gulch provides a good shoreline base of operations for launching lures as well.

Anglers continue to tie into a variety of groundfish and flatfish from the tip of the Homer Spit. Soaking a small chunk of herring or a glob of odiferous gunk on the bottom will have the chance of hooking some Thing. Just don’t turn you back on your catch if no one around can tell you what it is.

You can find the latest and current Emergency Orders at

Read ‘em or weep.

Nick can be reached at if he isn’t prowling around the cleaning tables during the week listening to tales of heroic battles with ten pound halibut pulled from the depths through screaming tides hindered by two pound weights, a heavy lunch and a couple growlers.

Special Note:

Youth-Only King Salmon Fisheries on the Lower Kenai Peninsula

(Homer) — There are two upcoming youth-only king salmon fisheries on the lower Kenai Peninsula for anglers 15 years and younger. The first opportunity will be on Saturday, June 3, 2023, at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon (NDFL) on the Homer Spit. The second will be Wednesday, June 7 on the Ninilchik River. Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) staff will be present at the NDFL from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on June 3 with loaner gear and to assist youth anglers with fishing for king salmon. ADF&G staff will also be present from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Ninilchik River youth-only fishery on June 7. At the Ninilchik River, staff will be located in the parking lot immediately south of the Ninilchik River Sterling Highway bridge. Loaner fishing rods will be available to check out and use on a first-come basis at both events.

At the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon, the youth-only fishery will occur all day on June 3 from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. in the posted youth-only sport fishing area across from the entrance to the lagoon. Anglers 16 years and older may not fish in this area but the remainder of the lagoon will remain open to all anglers. All other sport fishing regulations remain in effect for the fishing lagoon and are found on page 74 of the 2023 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary Booklet. The bag and possession limits are two king salmon of any size. Anglers must record the harvest of king salmon 20 inches or greater on their sport fishing license, mobile app, or on a harvest card. King salmon caught in this youth-only fishery are part of the Cook Inlet annual limit of 5 king salmon.

At the Ninilchik River, the youth-only fishery will occur on June 7 from 6:00 a.m. to 9:59 p.m. in the lower river from the Sterling Highway Bridge down to the mouth including the harbor. Anglers 16 years and older may not fish during this opening but may assist youth anglers. The regulations for this fishery are found on page 72 of the 2023 Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulations Summary Booklet. The bag and possession limits are two hatchery king salmon of any size. Hatchery king salmon are identified by the missing adipose fin. All wild king salmon must be released unharmed and may not be removed from the water. Anglers must record the harvest of king salmon 20 inches or greater on their sport fishing license, mobile app, or on a harvest card. King salmon caught in this youth-only fishery are part of the Cook Inlet king salmon annual limit.

For additional information, please contact Assistant Area Management Biologist Holly Dickson or Area Management Biologist Mike Booz at (907) 235-8191.