Reeling ‘em in: Silvers being snobby at the hole

I dropped in on my favorite fishing spot inside the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon to pick up a couple of silvers for the bar-b last Monday.

The peaceful, predawn hours were not what I expected and became weirder as the morning progressed.

It didn’t take long to get a strike and the fight was on until a dastardly seal unexpectedly charged through the darkened waters and ripped a new one in my fish. Not cool.

That $*&^#~*^# patrolled my little part of pond until the tide dropped low enough that it had to beat flippers to get to the outside. I did not wish it a fond adieu but rather a future that would have put the petiorians of PETA off their kale entrees for a month.

My mood improved when the mayor of The Hole, Tom, showed up with his secret bait and usual bucket full of b.s. concerning my fishing techniques and overall ineptness.

I was stunned to learned that he had been put on “ignore” by the invasion fleet of coho touring the lagoon for the last five days or so.

Even his covert super bait had been snubbed by the snobs cruising around like New York gourmets with an attitude.

It was rather mystifying as to why they were reacting so differently.

Usually, those acrobats strike as if they’re starving after pounding a bale of doobies and just don’t abruptly reverse their ‘tude by behaving like elite guests at a Smithsonian Institute lecture.

While I was there, the various packs wandered around like gawking visitors. They would mill about in front of us and then decide that they must have missed something at the other end and smoke off without nary a courtesy nibble.

Now don’t get me wrong, these weirdos still get riled and hit when the tide is moving through the ocean access slot but, once the water stops flowing, they’ll occasionally slide into a stupor usually associated with spectators at a curling match, especially when the sun hits the water.

Have patience, by the time this column goes to press, they may have switched back on and Tom will be stacking his six per day.

As for me, I took two home that morning, lost two more, not including the one that @&&*%%! seal pilfered.

Not bad for a guy who hangs his plug cut herring upside down, huh, Tom?

Now let’s take a look at the fishing report for the week of July 30 to Aug. 5.

Regulation Reminders

The Anchor River, Ninilchik River, Deep Creek, and Stariski Creek opened on August 1 to fishing for Dolly Varden and steelhead/rainbow trout upstream of the two-mile markers. Steelhead/rainbow trout may never be removed from the water and must be immediately released. You may not fish for salmon upstream of the two-mile markers.

The lower portions of the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Stariski Creek are open to sport fishing except for king salmon. Anglers are reminded that king salmon may not be targeted and if hooked, they must be released immediately. The bag and possession limit for other salmon is three per day, three in possession – only two per day, two in possession may be coho (silver) salmon.

On the Anchor River, Ninilchik River, Deep Creek, and Stariski Creek, bait and treble hooks are legal gear through Aug. 31.

Anglers are allowed to snag fish in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi except for the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon (Fishing Hole), which only opens by emergency order.

China Poot personal use dip net fishery opened July 1 to Alaska residents only, upstream of the ADF&G markers. Personal use caught sockeye must have both tips of the tail fin removed.

Lingcod season remains open. The bag and possession limit is two fish and the minimum legal size is 35 inches with the head attached or 28 inches from tip of tail to font of the dorsal fin with the head removed. Lingcod which are gaffed must be retained. A gaff may not be used to puncture any fish intended or required to be released.

The marine waters of Tutka Bay Lagoon within 100 yards of the hatchery net pens are closed to sport fishing for any species.

Cool stuff! Youth-Only Fishery

The Youth fishery at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon is Saturday, Aug. 4. A portion of the lagoon will be open to youth only 15 years of age or younger from 12:01 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. Department staff will be present from 9 a.m. to noon. to help young angler’ fish, tie egg loops and fishing knots, and learn the best way for releasing fish.

Saltwater Fishing

Halibut

Halibut fishing action remained steady during the past week, though anglers reported a lower catch rate over the weekend. One flat over 200 pounds was brought into the Homer Harbor, as well as a few others over 100 pounds.

Those obnoxious jerks known as spiny dogfish (small sharks) are increasingly annoying halibut hunters. Watch out for the sharp spine behind the dorsal fin and ADF&G requests that you use best catch and release practices when returning them to the water especially if you get stuck. Play nice out there.

King Salmon

Hot spots for feeder king trolling continue to change throughout the bay. Sometimes they are near Bluff Point or even the Homer Spit. Pinks and coho are also getting in on the party.

Fishing for late run Cook Inlet kings in shallow waters slowed during the past week, but a few tenacious piscatorians have continued to nail them. Expect pinks, sockeye, and coho to be hanging in the area too.

Having problems getting strikes? Try switching up flasher styles and colors, gear depths, trolling speed and bait presentations. Check out the direction the tide is moving when trolling. On days with larger tidal exchanges, troll with the current for a more efficient use of your setups.

Coho Salmon

Fishing for silvers at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon (the Fishing Hole) has been fair to righteous. Schools of coho have been cruising the beach on the outside of the lagoon as well. These fish have somewhat been avoiding anglers because of some of the methods employed by certain fishermen. Try drifting herring or eggs under a bobber to avoid spooking them. Whipping the water with fly line while trying to snag the fish is a sad commentary on a person’s skills. It’s not a cool look especially when you haul them by their tail and whack them with rock. A can of Spam has more ethics.

A variety of methods can work at the lagoon, including skirted Vibrax spinners and other silver bladed lures. Take notice of the depth the salmon are swimming (silvers tend to run shallow) and adjust the depth of your lures accordingly. Lately, the incoming and outgoing tides have been rockin’ for fishing.

Trolling for coho in Cook Inlet and the inner Kachemak Bay including near the Homer Spit has also been putting meat in the coolers.

Note: Sharp eyed anglers are hauling in silvers from shore at high tide along the Homer spit north of the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon.

Sockeye and pinks

The sockeye salmon return to China Poot Creek has slowed down in the past week.

There are sockeye and pinks in Tutka Bay Lagoon. This is a stocked fishery paid for by enhancement taxes on commercial fisheries. Please avoid commercial boats operating in the area.

Lingcod

Lingcod fishing was good last week, with anglers having success “around the corner” near the Chugach Islands. There have been reports of vessels traveling as far south as Shuyak Island in search of lingcod over the weekend.

Remember to carefully release all undersized lingcod and to never use a gaff on a fish intended to be released.

Rockfish

More non-pelagic rockfish species have been caught in outside Cook Inlet waters near Chugach and Perl islands.

Rockfish are found near rocky points and in kelp beds. The most popular places to target pelagic rockfish in Kachemak Bay are near Bluff Point and Point Pogibshi.

Try fishing for them while trolling by using spoons, tube flies, or herring. Jigs also work well.

Shellfish

Razor Clam Emergency Order

The next clamming tides will run between Aug. 9-14.

Per Emergency Order No.2-RCL-7-01-18 and 2-RCL-07-02-18 all Eastside Cook Inlet beaches from the Kenai River to the tip of the Homer Spit are closed to all clamming through Dec. 31.

Other Saltwater Fishing

If you’re limited by access to a boat or by the weather, fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be kick. Fish species available out there include walleye pollock, Pacific cod, Dolly Varden, a variety of palatable flatfish plus even coho and lunatic pinks.

Fresh Water Streams

Coho counts have been slow, but steadily increasing, through the Deep Creek and Anchor River weirs. Try fishing for them on early morning incoming tides in the lower part of the river. Salmon eggs under a bobber are often the most effective weapon, but silvers also have tendency to go ballistic on fly patterns, spinners and spoons.

Fishing for Dolly Varden above the two-mile markers should be fair to good this week. Most dollies appear to have passed the weirs on Deep Creek and Anchor River. Fly fisherman have been hitting them with beads and streamers. Small spinners and spoons are effective with spinning gear.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com.

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