Reeling ‘Em In: The lowdown on salmon

As I wandered around last week jawing with visiting shore anglers, I was amazed to discover that many of them were not familiar with the area tides and how they were related to the best times to fish. I suggested a few places where they could pick one up.

There is a plethora of information squeezed into those little booklets covering everything from how to interpret their contents to knot-tying techniques and contact numbers for all kind of agencies. Plus, critically cool stuff on how to outsmart an Irish Lord. Caution: I suggest that you never, ever, mention that you tried looking that up.

For a real example of nifty stuff, check some samplings of their offerings featuring fascinating salmon trivia.

Pacific salmon die after spawning; Atlantic salmon do not. Bummer for our side.

Luckily our salmon don’t have a clue about this significant difference or there would be a frenzied eastbound migration through the Suez Canal to the Atlantic Valhalla of multiple years of hook ups before they turn into mush.

It really wouldn’t do them any good of course, because Atlantic salmon are iteroparous, which means the fish may recondition themselves and return to the sea to repeat the migration and procreation pattern several times. Why do think that steelhead are so condescending toward our Pacific spawners? ‘Cause, they have that cool itero thing going on.

Another fact: Five million years ago, salmon had sharp fangs, were 10 feet long and weighed more than 500 pounds.

If scientists could lay their paws on a slice of DNA from those beasts and go Jurassic Park on the samples, the first run on the Kenai would take care of the congested boating conditions in a couple of hours.

Many a fisherman since, have claimed to have fought for hours and lost bigger blackmouth but, once sober, refused to repeat the battle tales after realizing they had been tangled in the anchor rope.

Time now to take a look at this week’s fishing report for June 6:

Freshwater Fishing

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

The Ninilchik River will be open to sport fishing Saturday, June 10 through Monday, June 12. King salmon fishing was poor to fair over the last weekend, however, expect fishing to improve this weekend. See Emergency Order 7-12-23 at the end of the column.

For the best success with hatchery king salmon, try drifting cured salmon egg cluster under a bobber. Fishing during early morning hours, or at the mouth during the incoming tide, usually is the best time to nail them.

Saltwater Fishing


Halibut fishing is grudgingly improving. Best hunt results are coming in from offshore locations with lagging fishing in the shallow water from Bluff Point to Anchor Point, in Kachemak Bay east of the Homer Spit, and around Seldovia.

Keep hitting them around slack tide so you can hold the bottom without getting a hernia from pulling weights normally used to anchor barges.

Don’t forget to tease them with a chum bag. They are really into the smell of discarded offal and other such delicate delights.

King Salmon

Take downs for kings improved last week in lower Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay with anglers finding a few more fish scattered throughout the bay. Give south of Bluff Point, Point Pogibshi, and Bear Cove a shot this week.

The king run into the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon is still tacking high on the sucko-meter but a few more chinook are starting to nose in.

The Mayor reports that things have been dismal with most of the sparse chinooks landed running from around five to seven pounds with a rare 12 pounder thrown in. Think Sasquatch rare.

Expect poor fishing throughout the week and a plethora of jacks. Try #4 and #5 spinners (pick a color) or soaking various succulent baits such as herring, mackerel cuts, eggs or shrimp under a bobber. Early morning rules.

A few chinook have been taken in the Seldovia Slough, but expect tedious fishing through the week. Sight fishing from the bridge during the incoming tide is the best bet for taking kings or just staring at stuff in the water.

Other Salt water

Surf fishing in Cook Inlet has been fair so far this spring. Anglers are finding success with halibut on the Clam Gulch beaches. Whiskey Gulch provides good shoreline access as well.

Anglers are catching a variety of groundfish and flatfish from the tip of the Homer Spit. Soaking a small chunk of herring on the bottom will have the best results for hooking into everything from a nice flounder to something from a Stephen King novel where you are the one about to become the main course for the evening.

Pay attention now!

Emergency Orders

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-13-23 closed the Anchor River and Deep Creek to all sport fishing through July 15, 2023.

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

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-14-23 reduces the king salmon bag limit to one fish 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 you have any tips, tales or sightings of nasty little creatures with long snouts, fangs, and an attitude, rat-padding in the lagoon.