Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Reeling ‘Em In: Blackmouths getting bigger at Fishin’ Hole

Things are much better this season compared to the last go around

Last week I wrote that the blackmouths being caught at the Spit’s fishing lagoon were fairly small tipping the scales at around 5 to 9 pounds with a few 13-plus wannabe porkers hitting the shore.

Well, there has been a notable upgrade in the brawny finned beast category.

The Hole’s mayor, Tom, reported from his summer home on a Dollar Store throne that he nailed a 27-pound hog a couple of days after the summary hit the stands. He has witnesses, by the way, who swear he didn’t pull on the critter’s tail while assessing its heft on a hand-held scale.

Several other fishermen that I came across at the cleaning tables were processing some lagoon honkers that weighed in at 18 to 22 pounds before major surgery.

They had been fishing the tide change-outs and flipping scented eggs 3 feet below bobbers into the calmer waters on the edge of the flow, both inside and outside the lagoon.

It certainly looks as though some significant meat has started to arrive but there’s still a copious number of jacks to steal your bait and drive you nuts. Don’t forget, if you keep the little dudes (they’re delicious), they count toward your daily limit of two kings.

Seriously folks, things are much better this season compared to the last go around when the action was so slow you would have had more luck mooching humpy heads in an overheated Jacuzzi.

Note: Several chinook were caught slumming with the pollock off the end of the spit and were terminated, much to their mortification, by a couple of gents firing red bell Vibrax and silver bladed, orange Yakima Flash Glos. Ya never know…

It’s time now to take a look at the fishing report for the week of June 11 – June 17.

Freshwater Fishing

The Ninilchik River will re-open June 16 to fishing for all species. This includes king salmon but only hatchery kings may be retained. Ninilchik River has bag and possession limits and fishing gear restrictions in effect now. Check out the corresponding emergency orders in the last part of this report.

There are a nice number of kings in the Ninilchik River, both hatchery and wild. Check for the absence of the adipose fin before removing any fish from the water or you may be writing one.

You’ll also find that there are also a respectable number of hatchery kings under 20 inches (jacks) in the Ninilchik. Smaller spinners will get them riled up.

Fly fishing with large streamers, spin-fishing and jigs have been working well on the grownups.

Saltwater Fishing


Halibut fishing has been consistent in offshore locations in Cook Inlet and outer Kachemak Bay.

Areas closer to shore and in more protected water can produce good fishing but may require more patience to ferret out where the flats are lurking.

Herring on a circle hook remains a killer bait, but sometimes it helps to have a variety of lures and scents in the water if the ’buts are being persnickety.

King Salmon

There are additional and bigger blackmouths poking around in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon and Seldovia. Fishing can be good at any time, but near the top of the tide and early mornings are the most popular. Incoming and outgoing tide waters are the most productive.

Along with sporadic reports of good fishing in the area, chinook hunting in Kachemak Bay was generally slow over the last week. Most fish caught were feeder kings.

Trolling a wide variety of presentations can be effective, but a herring or lure behind a cool flasher is the most popular. Use a downrigger, diver, or banana weight to get your lure to where you hope the fish are. Don’t forget to look for feeding sea birds. They are pounding the same bait fish from above that the salmon are slamming from below.


The next clamming tides are June 16 – June 18.

Razor clams can be found on beaches along the west side of Cook Inlet and can be accessed by boat or plane. Popular razor clam beaches include the Polly Creek beach, Crescent River Bar, and Chinitna Bay. Boaters are advised to use caution before traveling across the Cook Inlet because of strong tidal currents and variable weather conditions.

Littleneck and butter clams can be found in a variety of habitats from Jakolof Bay to Bear Cove. Try exploring new beaches for success. Typically, littleneck clams are found shallower in the substrate, up to 8 inches deep.

Nick can be reached at when he isn’t busy trying to track down the guys with the scented eggs to find out if their lure is infused with something like krill oil and just a swipe of Old Spice.

More in Life

Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion
Chloe Jacko, Ada Bon and Emerson Kapp rehearse “Clue” at Soldotna High School in Soldotna, Alaska, on Thursday, April 18, 2024.
Whodunit? ‘Clue’ to keep audiences guessing

Soldotna High School drama department puts on show with multiple endings and divergent casts

Leora McCaughey, Maggie Grenier and Oshie Broussard rehearse “Mamma Mia” at Nikiski Middle/High School in Nikiski, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Singing, dancing and a lot of ABBA

Nikiski Theater puts on jukebox musical ‘Mamma Mia!’

This berry cream cheese babka can be made with any berries you have in your freezer. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
A tasty project to fill the quiet hours

This berry cream cheese babka can be made with any berries you have in your freezer

Minister’s Message: How to grow old and not waste your life

At its core, the Bible speaks a great deal about the time allotted for one’s life

Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura and Stephen McKinley Henderson appear in “Civil War.” (Promotional photo courtesy A24)
Review: An unexpected battle for empathy in ‘Civil War’

Garland’s new film comments on political and personal divisions through a unique lens of conflict on American soil

What are almost certainly members of the Grönroos family pose in front of their Anchor Point home in this undated photograph courtesy of William Wade Carroll. The cabin was built in about 1903-04 just north of the mouth of the Anchor River.
Fresh Start: The Grönroos Family Story— Part 2

The five-member Grönroos family immigrated from Finland to Alaska in 1903 and 1904

Aurora Bukac is Alice in a rehearsal of Seward High School Theatre Collective’s production of “Alice in Wonderland” at Seward High School in Seward, Alaska, on Thursday, April 11, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Seward in ‘Wonderland’

Seward High School Theatre Collective celebrates resurgence of theater on Eastern Kenai Peninsula

These poppy seed muffins are enhanced with the flavor of almonds. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
The smell of almonds and early mornings

These almond poppy seed muffins are quick and easy to make and great for early mornings

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Sometimes they come back

This following historical incident resurfaced during dinner last week when we were matching, “Hey, do you remember when…?” gotchas

Most Read