Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News                                Anglers fish on July 15, 2019, at the mouth of the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon in Homer, Alaska. Rain fell over the weekend after a weeks-long stretch of sunny weather.

Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News Anglers fish on July 15, 2019, at the mouth of the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon in Homer, Alaska. Rain fell over the weekend after a weeks-long stretch of sunny weather.

Reeling ‘Em In: Learn the difference between kings and silvers

It’s time to take a look at this Week of July 16 - July 22.

Although I haven’t seen much to get riled up about the return of the silvers to the Nick Dudiak Lagoon yet, I have noticed more sky riders jetting out of the bay along the eastside beaches of the Spit.

I have also inadvertently stumbled across a few naïve individuals who are clueless when it comes to telling the difference between a king and a silver.

Example: I walked up to a pair of gents who looked as though they were about to throw down over a finny dispute. One insisted that his fish was a silver while the other fella was developing froth around his lips while insisting it was a king and needed to be recorded.

I warily asked if I might be of some help.

They temporarily chilled with their martial arts of insults and stared at me like they just confirmed the existence of Sasquatch, then asked for an opinion.

I said that I’d give it a shot, but first they had to call a truce and knock off scrounging around in the beach debris for something sizeable enough to use in a staff duel.

The fish was a king around 10 pounds and sported a blush like a kid whose Aunt Millie had just busted him going through the lingerie section of her Sears catalog.

It wasn’t so bad that it had to gum its prey and was firm enough to provide some excellent smoked snacks.

I explained that silvers (coho) have small black spots on the back, upper sides, base of the dorsal fin and upper lobe of the tail. They can be distinguished from the king (chinook) by the fact that they only have spots on the upper half of the tail while the latter has spots over their entire tails. Plus, coho have pale or white gums and a black mouth while the king has black gums and a black mouth.

That seemed to end the dust up except that the guy who had correctly declared it a king started rubbing the ego wound of the loser who, in turn, stomped toward the debris pile again until his wife descended from an RV the size of a modest motel and mitigated his intentions with a scowl that would have scared the bejesus out of a rabid grizzly.

Suggestion: Now that the different species of salmon are starting to bump into each other out there and you are not sure how to identify them, pick up a 2019 Southcentral Alaska Sports Fishing Regulations Summary where fishing licenses are sold or at the local Ak. Fish and Game office located at 3298 Douglas Pl, Homer, AK 99603, Phone: 907-235-8191.

It contains color photos and descriptions of salmon species to rockfish plus the rules and regulations that will keep you out of trouble.

Now it’s time to take a look at this Week of July 16 – July 22.

Freshwater Fishing

A significant number of pink salmon and Dolly Varden are competing for space in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and the Ninilchik River. Should be some fine action with dollies vying for your lures with the humpy twits.

Try small spoons and spinners, small orange and pink beads, or smolt-patterned streamers during the early morning or the last few hours before high tide.

Saltwater Fishing


Silvers along with tons of psychotic pinks are showing up around Kachemak Bay, particularly near Point Pogibshi.

Trolling a hoochie, small spoon, or herring behind a flasher is a nice set up for coho. Mooching or jigging them up can also produce some strikes. Watch for jumpers near you.

King fishing has been a slog lately in Kachemak Bay as well as the nearshore waters of Whiskey Gulch. You could try fishing deeper under the schools of dingy pinks to see if there are any chinooks lurking in the depths. Good luck with getting your bait presentation down that far when trying to run the gauntlet of numbskull humpies.

More silvers are starting to roll into the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. There have been some reports of limits being taken on the incoming tides. Try drifting cured salmon egg clusters or small plug cut herring beneath a bobber.


Halibut fishing continues to be feet stompin’ fun in offshore locations in the Cook Inlet and outer Kachemak Bay areas.

The flats can be caught at any depth in Kachemak Bay, but 100-200 ft. deep seems to be the most popular depth to hunt the beasts.

The briny around Flat Island featured an abundance of small halibut last weekend. Most hunters drift in this area due to strong currents that resemble fast moving rivers without the waterfalls.

Fisherpersonages have been reporting that our old friends the spiny dogfish are back in significant gangs requiring anglers to pull the hook and motor off to backup locations just to get them out of their hair and gear. Annoyance factor: 300 points on a 200-point scale.

Other Saltwater Fishing

China Poot dipnetting and snagging has geared down and was hit-or-miss over the past weekend. Fresh fish should continue to arrive over the next week.

Anglers are travelling well outside of Kachemak Bay for steady action with lingcod and nonpelagic rockfish. Most anglers drift over rocky pinnacles with amusing looking jigs when targeting lingcod.

Warning: Remember bag limits for lingcod are only two per day and two in possession. The minimum size to retain a lingcod is 35 inches with the head attached (or 28 inches with the head removed). Don’t let your guard down if you decide to decapitate one. They take it personally and will play dead until you bend over and then take a quick shot at morphing you into a high soprano. That’s only a rumor, of course. To truly believe it, one would have to exhibit the intellectual capabilities of a deranged sculpin.

Emergency Orders

Emergency Order 2-RCL-7-01-19 and 2-RCL-7-02-19 closed all eastside Cook Inlet beaches to clamming for all species from the mouth of the Kenai River to the southernmost tip of the Homer Spit for 2019.

For additional information, please contact the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Homer office at 907-235-8191.

Nick can reached at if he isn’t out around Point Pogibshi trying to find a spot where he can fine tune and coin copious colorful comments about the lineage and vacuous IQs of spiny dogfish and pinks without them stealing his top secret goop-ball, swoon inducing, halibut lures.

• By NICK VARNEY, For the Homer News

Anglers fish on July 15, 2019, at the mouth of the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon in Homer, Alaska. Rain fell over the weekend after a weeks-long stretch of sunny weather. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Anglers fish on July 15, 2019, at the mouth of the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon in Homer, Alaska. Rain fell over the weekend after a weeks-long stretch of sunny weather. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

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