Summer is slipping into fall, but there’s still lots of good fishing

While I was embattled with an obnoxious woodpecker that was practicing wicked marimba beats on our logs this morning, a huge flock of cranes soared over the cabin and seemed to cheer the little *&&^%$ on. 

 I didn’t think much about it until after the pile-driving beak with feathers suddenly decided to jet toward Malibu when he spotted what looked to be an enraged Sasquatch wielding a Wiffle bat heading his way snarling epithets that would embarrass a Navy Seal instructor.   

 Then it hit me. Here we go again. Our local migratory fowl have sensed fall creeping up the back slopes of the mountains across the bay and have begun to engage their teenage offspring in serious flight formation training. 

 After this weekend, fishing activity will start to unwind big time because school has started and tourists have begun easing south in their mongo motorhomes sporting roofs that could serve as alternative launch platforms for Predator drones. 

 Seasonal Spit vendors will begin to shut down and camp sites will become emptier than a mid-winter nudist beach in Nome.

 The expression “nice flats” normally associated with the type of fillets in the freezer will morph into a term associated with bragging rights about the size of big screen TVs installed in man caves that have more leather seating than a custom Harley display at a national biker rally.   

Many of the metropolis-dwelling types will start hauling their winterized boats into storage facilities to be cocooned in a polymer plastic shroud that leaves them resembling a shrink wrapped Wal-Mart mega toy and then drive off to commence acclimatizing their domiciles into a pre-winter prep mode. 

That’s all cool because it leaves a lot more room for those of us who get to stick around for all of the excellent fishing still left. 

 So, let’s get the ball rolling by taking a look at some of this week’s state fishing report. 

Special notice: Effective Sept. 1, the flowing waters of the Anchor River, Ninilchik River, Deep Creek and Stariski Creek are restricted to one un-baited, single-hook through Oct. 31.

The waters upstream of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game markers on the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Ninilchik River and Stariski Creek are closed to all salmon fishing, including catch and release, but open to Dolly Varden and rainbow/steelhead trout.

Claiming that you suffered from a brief moment of brain flatulence will not be a viable excuse if you space out and forget that a coho 16 inches or longer that is removed from fresh water must be retained and becomes part of your bag limit. Nor will the same excuse work if you break the rules and remove a silver 16 inches or longer from the water before releasing it. Either way, you’re toast.

Steelhead trout are starting to enter the Anchor River, Ninilchik River, Deep Creek and Stariski Creek. These streams are catch-and-release only for rainbow/steelhead trout. Please familiarize yourself with the differences between coho (silver) salmon and steelhead trout. Rainbow/steelhead have black spots over the entire tail fin and have white mouths and gums, while coho salmon have black spots only on the upper lobe of the tail fin and their mouth is black with white gums on the lower jaw.

 Saltwater Fishing 

Halibut fishing has slowed a bit.  Anglers are still reporting righteous success using herring and/or squid ensconced on unpretentious circle hooks. Smelly gorp on a J hook works fine too. Halibut are not renowned for being pernickety gourmets.  

Sampled fish landed in the Homer harbor over the past week averaged 18.4 pounds (range of 5-79 pounds). 

Silver fishing has backed off in Kachemak Bay, Flat Island and Point Pogibshi but there has still been some pretty good action from eager feeder kings cruising near Flat Island.  

Silver fishing is so slow at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon that weaving a hook and line through a bait herring is considered heavy action.

To be fair, there are still small schools of coho coming and going with the tides but they are finicky and would just as soon give you the fin than a strike. They don’t like skipping breakfast so hit ’em at the break of dawn. 

Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a pleasurable way to pass the time if your palate desires the taste of Walleye pollock, Pacific cod, flatfish and creatures that won’t die until they are pressure cooked. 

Lingcod fishing remains fair to good around Elizabeth and the Barren islands. The season is open through Dec. 31. The bag and possession limit is two fish with a minimum legal size of 35 inches.

Rockfish fishing has been good for those targeting them when fishing for lingcod because the lings sometimes have a belly full of them, the gluttonous mutants.  

The Kachemak Bay coho salmon gillnet fishery is over for the 2013 season. Return your completed permit by Sept. 3 to the Homer ADF&G office.

Fresh Water Fishing

Anglers fishing the lower sections of the Anchor River and Deep Creek are reporting hot sticks on the silvers. As usual, fishing has been better in the early morning or when fresh and cocky coho enter on incoming tides; currently fishing conditions are rockin’.  

Fishing for Dolly Varden also has been first-rate. Try fishing for dollies with small bright flashy things, fresh salmon eggs, or fly patterns that resemble clueless minnows. The “vards” are voracious this time of year and would probably hit a breakfast burrito.


The next series of clamming tides run Sept. 5-9 and then Sept. 17-21. Try Clam Gulch beaches or beaches on the west side of Cook Inlet. Littleneck (steamer) and butter clams can be found in gravel beaches on the south side of Kachemak Bay from Seldovia to Chugachik Island. Nice stationary herds of butter clams can be found on the islands in China Poot Bay. Butter clams hide up to two feet deep. 

Nick can reached at if you have any fishing tales or a really good tips on handling the woodpecker if he returns with a backup flock sporting an attitude and a poor sense of rhythm.