Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Reeling ‘Em In: Snagamania starts at Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon

To kick things off, I’d like to sincerely wish all of you a very safe and pleasurable Fourth of July celebration. It’s cool to be able to manipulate a couple of vacation days into five, isn’t it?

The coming week looks to be set on sizzle, so make sure you’r ewearing enough sunscreen to walk across the surface of the sun buck-naked and barely pop a tan line.

Ignore that sage advice and you’ll probably end up headed home sitting atop a 10-pound bag of ice sporting body blisters the size of a superdome and glowing like a Yelloweye rockfish.

Special note: The tides are going to be rockin’ some righteous change-outs, so if you tie into a flat the size of a preschooler’s skateboard it’s going to feel like a derby contender. If it’s the real thing, you might as well kick back and let it tow you around until it dies of old age or decides to come up and see what the hell is annoying it. If that happens and it has the surface area of a chopper pad, it’s probably time to John Wayne the situation and pump a round into the beast just behind the dorsal-side (left) eye, and morph its brain into yogurt.

A fish like that will have some awesome bragging rights unless you’re the type that needs a personal trainer just to get into your deck boots and lacks the common sense to buy a Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby ticket.

Anyway, let’s get it on and take a look at the fishing report for the week of July 2 – July 8.

Freshwater Fishing

The lower sections of the lower Kenai Peninsula roadside streams including the Anchor River should have good fishing for Dolly Varden over the next week. Try using beads, streamers, small spinners and spoons.

Saltwater Fishing

Salmon

The Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon will open to snagging at noon (12 p.m.) July 4 through July 7, 2019, to allow anglers a greater opportunity to harvest kings in the lagoon. Weighted treble hooks pulled just under the surface are the most effective at snagging salmon. Snagging in the Homer Boat Harbor is not allowed.

Chinook trolling improved over the last week, but was still sluggish with the fish dispersed throughout K Bay, making things a bit of a crap shoot. Trolling in 30-90 feet of water remains the most efficacious (bestest) way to target the heavyweights.

Sockeye are knocking around in both China Poot Bay and Tutka Bay Lagoon. Take a shot at snagging these fish with weighted treble hooks.

Halibut

Halibut hunting has been steady in offshore locations in Cook Inlet and outer Kachemak Bay.

You might want to try drifting to reconnoiter new areas, particularly during the middle of the tidal exchange when the current is the strongest.

A chunk of good ole herring impaled on a circle hook is the standard lure, but try using lead head jigs with grub tails tipped with bait. If nothing else, the lures are cool looking.

Other

China Poot personal use dipnet fishery opened July 1 to Alaska residents only, and there were decent numbers of fish in the creek late last week, so fire up the kicker and mosey over there.

Lingcod season opened July 1. Most successful anglers target them on the outer North Gulf Coast along rock pinnacles. Try lead head jigs with white grub tails tip along with a piece of bait.

Come to think of it, I was asked the other day what I thought about lingcod. I pondered for a moment and said, “Well, they are delicious, off-the-chart ugly, have a set of teeth that a radial saw would envy and will devour their own kind. Other than that, they are kind of mellow unless dissed by you getting anywhere near their personal space. They also have explosive tempers and will attempt to turn you into Sushi if you annoy them with a hook and a gaff. Plus, they don’t do well as pets.” The guy backed up and walked away. Go figure.

There are several basic things to consider when searching for lingcod. First, stony stuff is their ’hood. The rockier and more vertical, the more likely you will find them hangin’ in their pads with a territorial attitude (rough reefs usually between 30 and 330 feet deep).

Second, tide and current makes a big difference. Slow water movement at tide changes is cool because you can fish vertically with less hang-ups and gear loss.

When your lure hits bottom, immediately pull it up a few feet and start a jigging motion to put life into your bait set-up. This action will also help you keep from getting locked into something like a nasty hunk of reef. Jigs can be most anything flashy from the standard diamond types to flashy and wicked-cool looking Yo-Zuri jigs or the aforementioned lead-head jigs with white grub tails tip featuring a piece of odoriferous yuck.

Finally, most lingcod get nasty when first hooked, but if you win the duel and get a big one into the boat without structural damage to your equipment or body, don’t forget to bleed it out immediately to avoid a more pronounced fishy taste.

Shellfish

The next clamming tides are July 2 – July 8.

Razor clams can be found on beaches along the Westside of Cook Inlet and can be accessed by boat or plane. Popular razor clam beaches include the Polly Creek beach, Crescent River Bar, and Chinitna Bay. Boaters are advised to use caution before traveling across the Cook Inlet because of strong tidal currents and variable weather conditions.

Emergency Orders

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

Emergency Order 2-RCL-7-01-19 and 2-RCL-7-02-19 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 for 2019.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-11-19 limited the fishing season on the Anchor River and it is currently closed to king fishing. The Anchor River opened to all species, except chinooks on July 1.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-12-19 restricted fishing gear to only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River through July 15, 2019.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-13-19 reduced the king bag and possession limits in the Ninilchik River to one hatchery king 20 inches or greater in length through July 15, 2019

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-14-19 combined the annual limit for king salmon to two king salmon 20 inches or greater in length from the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik, and all marine waters south of the latitude of the mouth of the Ninilchik River to the latitude of Bluff Point through July 15, 2019.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-28-19 opened the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon to snagging from July 4 to July 7, 2019. Snagging is not allowed in the Homer Boat Harbor.

For additional information, please contact the ADF&G Homer office at (907) 235-8191.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if he isn’t busy lacing up his body armor in prep to watch the July 4th Snagamania at The Hole. Could be some interesting fireworks out there.

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