Reeling ‘em in: Experiment to catch wily silvers

Now that the silvers are running into each other and showing off at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon, I’ve received a plethora (big bunch) of emails inquiring as to what kind of set up might stir things up.

Well, silvers can be finicky little b@$^&#+s so you may have to experiment.

Cured eggs work well especially if you angle into the stream of the incoming and outgoing tides. Mount a medium sized split shot about a foot to 18 inches up from your bait and cast into the moving water without inadvertently garroting one of the other fanatics thrashing the watercourse.

If you are wetting a line elsewhere, use a bobber and position your bait around 12 to 18 inches below it. If a fish hits and the float submarines, let it run underwater until you finish a five second count or more, then strike. This will increase your chance for a solid hookup.

If the fish act like they’d rather get their butt chewed off by an unhinged sculpin than touch what you’re tossin’, try small herring utilizing the same technique. Plug-cut the little guys because it’s easy to set them up to spin plus it introduces more scent into the water.

If neither of those techniques work, then give flashy silver bladed lures a shot such as a No. 3 Vibrax or Flash Glo. Try different body colors (red, orange, blue, tiger striped). Vary the speed and depth of your retrieves.

If you still can’t get a hit, check out your surroundings. If the sun is bright on the water, the prospect of a silver strike is gloomy. Early morning and late evening hours bring on a much higher probability of a take down. Cool days blanketed with a dark shading of overcast skies can be winners too.

It’s common knowledge that fish will go on “the bite.” It’s like flipping a light switch out there. Suddenly, all pole bending hell can break loose and then just as abruptly shut down. If you fish the time frame between two hours before and two hours after a high tide, you’ll stand a better chance of getting into an action riot of ravenous Coho.

If you abhor knocking elbows, try the quieter shoreline on the outside. You can see the schools coming either by wake or the jumpers. Lead them like you were shooting at a teal in afterburner, then fire out your line.

Now it’s time to take a look at the fishing report for the week of July 23 through July 29.

Status quo:

King Salmon Emergency Order

Effective July 16 through July 31, the conservation zones surrounding the mouths of Anchor River, Stariski Creek, Deep Creek, and the Ninilchik River remain closed to king salmon fishing.

Effective July 16 through July 31, sport fishing gear in Anchor River, Deep Creek, Stariski Creek, and Ninilchik River is restricted to one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure.

Regulation Reminders

Ninilchik River is closed to wild king salmon, but open to hatchery king salmon. The bag and possession limit on hatchery king salmon is one 20 inches or greater. Hatchery king salmon are identified as missing their adipose fin, the fleshy fin on the back just in front of the tail.

When releasing a king salmon, the fish may not be removed from the water and let go immediately.

Anglers are now 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 remains open to Alaska residents only, upstream of the ADF&G markers. Personal use caught sockeye salmon must have both tips of the tail fin removed. There is an unpleasant fine if you muff it.

Lingcod season remains open.

The bag and possession limit of these beauties 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. Lings 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.

Saltwater Fishing


Halibut fishing kicked into high gear over the sun-drenched weekend. However, reports out of the Ninilchik and Anchor Point tractor launches, indicate that landings were lower than in previous weeks. A few ‘buts larger than 100 pounds were brought into the Homer Harbor.

The nimrod spiny dogfish (small sharks) bycatch has increased during halibut hunts. Highly annoyed? Well, just chill. ADF&G wants you to use the best catch-and-release practices when returning them to the water. Creative profanities are optional.

Those pint-sized sharks love everything fleshy on a circle hook, so just punch out of the area until you find a hole where the obnoxious @(**%^&**#s haven’t shown up yet.

King Salmon

Feeder king trolling has seen signs of life within the last week. The feeders were occasionally active near the Homer and Glacier Spits.

More and more take-downs by sockeye, silvers and Dolly Varden are being reported by trollers.

There was middling activity by anglers trolling the shallow waters near the beaches for late-run Cook Inlet kings. The fishing was nothing to brag about though. Try large spoons near high tide.

Feeder chinook have a tendency to cruise in a variety of depths up to 100 feet near rocky points and kelp beds.

Coho Salmon

Fishing for Silvers at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon (the Fishing Hole) has been fair to kickin’. Several large schools have been observed entering the lagoon during the incoming tide.

A variety of methods can work at the lagoon and were discussed at the beginning of this column. Just don’t employ the “I’m an incompetent dork” tight-lining snagging techniques used by some of the wingnuts holding a pole out there. You can be fined and look like an even bigger dud when your name appears in the paper’s police report.

Trolling for silvers in Cook Inlet, the inner waters of Kachemak Bay and near the Homer Spit has been producing some nice catches.

Sockeye and Pink Salmon

There has been steady dipnetting and snagging safaris for stocked sockeye returning to China Poot Creek.

Fire up the common sense and be conscious of where you clean your fish in order to reduce bear activity in the area.

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


Calm weather over the weekend upped the ante in increased lingcod catches. Lings returning on boats to the Homer Harbor have been running between 30 -44 pounds.

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


Many anglers are successfully nailing rockfish to add to their take of halibut or salmon. You’ll find more action with non-pelagic rockfish in Cook Inlet waters near Chugach and Perl islands.

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

They are susceptible to trolled spoons, tube flies or herring. They will also give jigs a snap.


The next clamming tides are July 27-31.

Don’t forget that, 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 December 31, 2018.

Razor clams can be found on beaches along the westside of Cook Inlet and can be accessed by boat or plane. Check the weather forecast before launching.

Littleneck (steamer) clams can be found in gravel beaches on the south side of Kachemak Bay from Seldovia to Chugachik Island and from Jakolof Bay to Bear Cove.

Butter clams are found on the islands in China Poot Bay.

Other Saltwater Fishing

Sometimes fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a very entertaining way to practice casting and landing or losing a fish. Some are even edible such as the pedestrian walleye pollock, the downright tasty Pacific cod, the acceptable Dolly Varden, a variety of weird flatfish excluding the “ick factor 10” Arrowtooth flounder, and delicious silvers.

Fresh Water Streams

On the Ninilchik River, fishing for hatchery king salmon is slow and most fish are mature. Try the early morning hours for the best fishing. Trust me. It bears repeating.

Fishing for dollies should be fair to good this week. Things picked up on the Anchor River last week. Fly fisherman usually do well with beads and streamers, while small spinners and spoons have been effective utilizing spinning rigs. Hit the lower parts of the rivers during the incoming tides. A few pink salmon have been observed in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River this year. No silvers spotted yet. Maybe with the coming bigger tides.

Nick can be reached at if you have any tips, tales or questions not concerning his lineage.