Reeling ‘Em In: Snagging circus at the Spit lagoon

Last Saturday was a beautiful anomaly with a rare sighting of a sun-like object hovering over the area as the spit’s fishing lagoon accommodated its latest snagging circus.

It didn’t disappoint.

When high noon hit, weighted treble hooks carpet-bombed the pond like depth charges as the line-ripping rodeo commenced.

The results weren’t as spectacular as some hoped for, but decent kings were landed and won all-expenses paid trips to the cleaning tables.

As for the unfortunate smaller jacks, some of them were launched so high after being snatched from the water by revved up pole thrashers, they got a glimpse of Anchorage before they hit the beach.

The fish ran a gamut of colorization from stellar bright to skins of muted pink and deep reds resembling serious Mohave sunburns.

It was also fascinating to watch the snagging techniques employed during the exhibitions of piscatorial competence.

There were those who had smooth flings accompanied by practiced sweeping retrievals. Others were lucky not to have impaled a sensitive body part on themselves or an unfortunate innocent standing next to them.

There is an easy way to spot someone like that before you decide to cast anywhere near them. If, before casting, the person is acting more unsure of themselves than an IRS administrator waiting to testify in front of an investigatory subcommittee, quickly move at least five line-flippers down before they take a swing.

All in all, while we were there, it was a laid-back opening and the participants were friendly and even cheered when a determined youngster did battle with and landed a respectable chinook. Class act folks.

The only drawback to the whole experience was getting out of the lagoon’ parking area. By the time we left, the safest way to negotiate an escape route would have been with three observers. One for each side of the rig and one to cover the rear while I scooted through openings leading to the exit. Vehicles were darting hither and yon trying to dodge each other or dive into what they perceived as an open slot near the lagoon. Luckily, when we hit the exit, the cars in front of us were not turning left or we’d still be there.

Time now to take a gander at the fishing report for July 4.

Freshwater Fishing

Ninilchik River king fishing slowed last week. Expect chinook fishing to continue its slide downward over the coming week.

Saltwater Fishing


Halibut fishing continued to gather steam in Cook Inlet during the week. If the weather gives us a break, the more distant spots will produce more flats including ones with ampler heft. If you are willing to spend more time soaking bait, nearshore locales are harboring some bottom cruisers.

When anchoring, don’t forget to try an odiferous chum bag to lure them in.

King Salmon

Trolling for kings throughout the Kachemak Bay area has backed off. Some positive results were reported at Bluff Point and Point Pogibshi but the fish are scattered like birdshot throughout the bay.

Snagging for kings in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon is closed after July 4. Expect slow crawlin’ chinook takedowns from now on. There may be a few new arrivals but don’t hold your breath. You’ll look like a dipstick.

Other Saltwater

China Poot personal use dip net fishery for sockeye opened on July 1. Dippers had moderate luck over the weekend but things will remain slow until the fish get serious about starting a run.

There have not been many reports of sockeye in Tutka Lagoon but anglers should expect to see a buildup of fish soon.

Lingcod fishery opened on July 1 and anglers had good success nailing the butt ugly beasts along the outer coast during the first few days of the season.

Surf fishing in Cook Inlet has been fair. Anglers are finding success with halibut on the Clam Gulch beaches. Whiskey Gulch provides good shoreline access as well. Homer Spit is the best bet for variety and bigger numbers of fish. Some are delicious, some not so much. Some small and others big and nasty enough to attempt to eat your pet if you don’t take them out when they hit the shore.


Clamming on east Cook Inlet beaches is closed after July 4.

Minus tides through Friday of this week will provide digging opportunities at the popular locations in west Cook Inlet. Both Crescent River bar and Polly Creek have good numbers of large clams.

Emergency Orders

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-13-23 closed the Anchor River and Deep Creek to all sport fishing through July 15.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-12-23 in the Ninilchik River restricts gear to single hook but allows bait and changes the king bag limit to 2 hatchery kings 20 inches or longer, and prohibits the retention of wild king salmon. The bag limit for kings less than 20 inches has changed to 10 hatchery kings and you may not retain wild king salmon under 20 inches.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-14-23 reduces the king salmon bag limit to one fish of any size in Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay south of the latitude of Bluff Point from May 15 through July 31.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-15-23 closes sport fishing for king salmon in Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay north of the latitude of Bluff Point from May 15 through July 31.

Emergency Order 2-RF-7-20-23 reduces the rockfish bag and possession limits in Cook Inlet to three per day and six in possession of which only one per day, two in possession can be nonpelagic.

Nick can be reached at if he isn’t preparing his surplus tactical suit and ballistic helmet in case the fishing lagoon opens to legal snagging and he wants to watch the lead fly.