Nick Varney

Reeling ‘Em In: Silvers starting to appear

Silver salmon herald the autumnal equinox — but not just yet.

After most of the kings abruptly departed our infamous Nick Dudiak Lagoon via weighted-hook seats on a snagging express provided by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, things became moon crater-quiet out there for a while.

When small bands of silvers finally started to arrive, they seemed to have little appetite and acted as though they barely had a discernible heartbeat.

At first, coho aficionados weren’t too worried because chinook trolling remained respectable, pressure cookers were full of sockeye, rockfish were plentiful and there were flotillas of halibut to pursue.

We were experiencing a midsummer cornucopia of excellent fishing, but still — where were those flashy fighters?

Then just after mid-week, the onset of substantial flood tides produced some rookie coho looking for the kind of trouble that ended up with them chilling their fins in a cooler.

Fish master and lagoon guru Tom also reported that fishing had been good on the tide flux, and Turk even called to brag that he had nailed more fish than the seals over the weekend.

As for Willie? The last time Tom spotted him, he was in another very personal, expletive enhanced and extreme decibel squabble with an acute backlash encompassing his fishing reel and would undoubtedly end up missing the run altogether.

Yes, Willie argues with his gear.

Now, even with these good times, it’s already getting tough for some to accept the fact that we have gently slipped over the apogee of available daylight hours and commenced a slow glide toward the autumnal equinox. Personally, I have no qualms with this turn of the seasons.

As the sun shortens its hours of operation, coho will continue to pirouette above the waves, enroute to their final destiny of restocking the future, while subaquatic, battle-ready halibut leisurely forage, preparing for their migration toward the deeper seas to do the same.

While those acts close for the season, the show’s not over by any means. Next on deck will be the fierce brawlers of the autumn streams, the formidable steelhead. Then there’s the anticipation of the arrival of winter kings. Forget it. Who is going to believe that such a piscatorian paradise really exists anyway?

Now it’s time to take a look at the fishing report for the week of July 27.

Freshwater Fishing

The lower sections of the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Stariski Creek remain open to sport fishing, except the kings. Small numbers of dollies and humpies are passing through these areas daily.

The daily Anchor River’s Dolly Varden counts are now posted on the fish count webpage.

The lower Ninilchik River is also open for all species except the wild kings. You may try your luck with the hatchery chinook, but the run is mostly over.

When chasing dollies with fly fishing gear, flip the beads or smolt patterns to warm up. Small flashy spinners and spoons will work well with a spinning set up.

Fin stalkers may start to encounter a few coho in these streams but none have been counted through the weirs just yet. Hit the mouths of the streams at the swell of the incoming tide.

Saltwater Fishing

Halibut

Halibut fishing continued to be first-rate throughout Kachemak Bay and Lower Cook Inlet last week. The tides will be a little more laid back later in the week, which will alleviate the problem of needing something close to a concrete crash barrier to anchor on the bottom.

The marine weather forecast is looking pretty good for the week in Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet, which will be cool for scooting farther out to fin fertile locales.

King Salmon

Trolling for chinook was down a gear or two last week, with anglers running across the fish scattered throughout K Bay.

Upper Cook Inlet salt waters north of the latitude of Bluff Point will be closed for king salmon fishing through July 31, 2021. See emergency order 2-KS-7-47-21 below for more info.

Pink salmon are becoming more prevalent and thoroughly obnoxious throughout Kachemak Bay, which makes it harder to get a clean shot at the kings.

The numbskulls are cruising around in clueless gangs from Seldovia to Flat Island. If you still want to try for the kings anywhere near those dipsticks, set your gear deeper. Their brain stems don’t have sense enough to look down.

Coho Salmon

Various anglers have come across a few silvers within Kachemak Bay. Try trolling around the tip of the Homer Spit or Point Pogibshi. Small, thin bladed, silvery spoons or troll size herring are a good bet.

The silver return at the Nick Dudiak Lagoon is still on the slow side when it comes to numbers, but things are improving during the flood tides or early morning hours. They haven’t lost the proclivity to be insufferable snots when the sun is beating down on the pond or the seals are napping with bellies full of sushi.

Floating eggs beneath a bobber continues to be the lure de jour, although small plug cut herring will work if you cut it down so that they get their chops around it.

Sockeye Salmon

Anglers have been having some limited luck snagging sockeye in Tutka Bay Lagoon and China Poot Bay near the creek mouth.

Personal Use

Dipnetting sockeye salmon in China Poot Creek continues to be fair to good. Serious about nailing some fish? Try arriving early in the start of the incoming tide. Not a deep concept.

Emergency Orders

Please review the Emergency Orders and Advisory Announcements below in their entirety before heading out on your next fishing trip.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-47-21 closed sport fishing for king salmon in the salt waters of Cook Inlet north of the latitude of Bluff Point (59° 40.00’ N. lat.). This regulatory change is effective through 11:59 p.m. Saturday, July 31, 2021.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-18-21 increases the hatchery king salmon bag and possession limits in the Ninilchik River from one fish to two fish 20” or greater in length and removes the annual limit through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31, 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.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if it doesn’t have anything to do with overhearing Willie battling it out his Gordian Knot of a backlash. If it was that bad, seek therapy. It helped Turk.

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