Things have been a bit gloomy and wet as of late but that’s just fine because no one wants some brain stem mishandling a slash burn or campfire that would give a new meaning to a front yard barbecue.
There have been a few uneasy weeks where temps were set on roast while the flora was dry enough to flare by just the thought of striking a match.
Fortunately, things have cooled off for a while.
Unfortunately, just the opposite has occurred to some of the salmon fishing depending upon whether you are beach flinging or floating.
The Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon’s coho return has been firing on one gummed up cylinder so far and local hardcores are starting to mumble it may be a bigger bust than an open air pan flute concert during a windstorm.
It’s tough not to give into the feeling because the bigger tides are backing down and the large schools have yet to show — although Tuesday the briny left behind several small packs of the critters stranded inside.
Remember the thundering herd that we experienced with the kings?
What we have at the moment are minor clusters of silvers poking around off the breakwater rocks and outside beaches while dipping into the lagoon for a looksee during the sea fluctuations.
If you know what you are doing and your timing is right, the wanderers are there for the taking and are sporting an attitude. Adjust to the fact that you were spoiled when the chinooks rolled in and that you’ll have to fish harder and with more skill.
The silver bullets I’ve observed landed were caught via the following techniques:
Line stripping. Eggs work well especially if you angle the stream of the incoming and outgoing tide. Put a medium split shot about a foot to 18 inches up from your bait and cast into the moving water along with the other fanatics thrashing the watercourse. As it sinks and travels to the edge of the moving water, slowly retrieve the line. If no hit, repeat. A sturdy fly casting rig works great for this method.
If your targets act like they’d rather get pureed by a deranged squid than touch what you’re tossing, try herring using the same technique. Plug-cut the bait because then it’s simple to set it up to spin and infuse more scent into the water.
If neither of those two techniques work, go to a bobber set-up with the bait hanging around two feet below. Twitch the gear as the schools pass by.
Flashy silver lures such as a No. 3 Vibrax have been working too. Try different body colors (orange, red, blue, tiger striped).
If the sun starts dumping mega rays onto the pond, take a break unless the tide is running.
Salmon are not big fans of direct sunlight and are spooked by shadows. You’ll have better luck around early dawn or the evening hours. Cool overcast skies increase your chances of getting hits throughout the day.
Reminder: If you have been missing strikes, you may need to dial back your hook size. These are silvers not kings and they require a presentation that they can wrap their chops around without knocking themselves into another dimension during the hit.
Now, let’s look at this week’s fishing report.
The Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon Area is closed to snagging.
China Poot personal-use dipnet fishery is open upstream of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game markers and continues through Aug. 7. Personal-use caught sockeye salmon must have both tips of the tail fin removed.
The marine waters of Tutka Bay Lagoon within 100 yards of the hatchery net pens are closed to sport fishing for any species.
Lingcod season opened July 1 and the fish have been grumpy ever since. The bag and possession limit for these multiple pounds of pure ugly is two fish with a minimum legal size of 35 inches.
The lower portions of the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Stariski Creek are open to sport fishing except for kings. Chinook may not be targeted and if hooked, they must be released immediately.
On the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Stariski Creek and Ninilchik River, bait and treble hooks are legal gear through Aug. 31. The upstream locations remain closed until Aug. 1.
Saltwater Fishing: Halibut
Halibut fishing in Cook Inlet has been pretty good lately with most flat hunters scoring their limits over the past week.
Unguided anglers can retain two halibut a day, four in possession.
Herring on a circle hook remain the most popular entrée of the season with menu variations of octopus, squid, salmon heads, and jigs attracting gluttonous customers as well.
Saltwater Fishing: Salmon
Trolling success for kings has backed off somewhat around Bluff Point but remains fair along the South side of Kachemak Bay.
More coho are starting to slam the bait dragging gear.
There are reports of nice catches of bait stealing pinks along the south shore of Kachemak Bay. If that curls your hair, don’t forget that humpies may be used as bait in the salt water fisheries for things with less discerning palates. Don’t forget that the pinks count as part of your daily bag limit.
Anglers are reporting fair success with catching sockeye in China Poot Creek.
Humpies mixed with some sockeye salmon continue to arrive at Tutka Bay Lagoon. This is a stocked fishery paid for by enhancement taxes on commercial fisheries so sports fishermen need to avoid commercial boats operating in the area.
Other Saltwater Fishing
Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a screech to just watch even if you don’t participate.
There are fish-stealing eagles, open battles between flopping walleye pollock, Pacific cod, a variety of flatfish and novice fisherpersonages armed with rocks without a clue as what to do after they land one of them.
If you do join in the festivities, be certain to check regulations regarding bag and possession limits and know which species you’re keeping before you turn it into beach pizza.
Both Bluff Point and Point Pogibshi areas have been producing black, dark and dusky rockfish. Anglers use a variety of gear including spoons, jigs, herring and flies to catch rockfish. They are also commonly caught when trolling with downriggers for salmon.
Personal-use fishing: Dipnetting success for sockeye salmon in China Poot is fair.
Area streams: Expect some fair fishing for Dolly Varden. Dollies will get fired up over small bright spinners, fresh salmon eggs, or fly patterns that resemble fish or egg patterns.
Coho are starting to edge up some area streams; try fishing early in the morning or at the mouth of the stream during the incoming tide.
No reports yet of silvers in The Anchor but that could change with each incoming tide.
Humpback fishing is reported as bearable to good on the south side of Kachemak Bay. Humpy Creek (what a shocker) and the Seldovia River are the “go to waters” for chasing pinks.
Want to try something different?
The Kenai Peninsula stocked lakes fishing conditions are good. Most of these lakes are stocked with rainbow trout which, this time of year, are taken on dry or wet flies, small spoons, spinners, or bait.
Check out the stocked lakes on the Sport Fish web site or stop by and snap up a location brochure at the Homer Fish and Game office.
Razor Clam Emergency Order: All Eastside Cook Inlet beaches from the Kenai River to the tip of the Homer Spit are closed to all clams through Dec. 31.
The next clamming tides run from July 30 through Aug. 6.
Tanner Crab Emergency Order: The Cook Inlet and North Gulf Coast sport, personal-use and subsistence Tanner crab fisheries will not open for the 2016-2017 season.
All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay remain closed for 2016.
Nick can be reached at email@example.com if you have any tips, tales or just want to whine about some fine you paid for being terminally fatuous.