Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion  Aaron Dupuis carries a king salmon caught in Deep Creek on the opening day of king salmon fishing on Memorial Day weekend Saturday May 22, 2015 near Ninilchik, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Aaron Dupuis carries a king salmon caught in Deep Creek on the opening day of king salmon fishing on Memorial Day weekend Saturday May 22, 2015 near Ninilchik, Alaska.

Tight Lines: King opener draws mixed success on south peninsula streams

Like so many anglers before them, fishermen braved intermittent rain and chill for the opening weekend of king salmon fishing on three southern peninsula streams. And, like so many before — they had varying degrees of success.

Just after 5 a.m. on Saturday, Aaron Dupuis dropped a line with a green-tinged lure in the low, clear water at Deep Creek and fished for about 10 minutes before landing a 20-pound chinook salmon.

“It took me longer to walk up from the parking lot,” he said.

Paul Twait, of Soldotna, spent about an hour fishing before landing his bright king on a silver-colored lure.

“I wish it was bigger,” he joked as he walked up the muddy banks of the creek.

Several others in the area quickly limited out — currently anglers are limited to one-per-day and one-in-possession — just after high tide. The combined annual limit for all three rivers and the marine waters south of the latitude at the mouth of the Ninilchik River to Bluff Point, is two king salmon 20 inches in size or greater in length.

Success on Deep Creek is a rare sight this time of year.

Typically, anglers target the Ninilchik or Anchor Rivers during the opening weekend of king salmon fishing as Deep Creek waters can be much higher and muddier due to leftover snow melt, said fisheries biologist Mike Booz.

Anglers on Deep Creek and the Ninilchik river said the water conditions are low and clear — making fishing success better when king salmon are running.

An Alaska Department of Fish and Game emergency order limits anglers to one single hook, no-bait and an artificial lure.

Dupuis recommended a lighter lure in the low waters of Deep Creek. He said he was having trouble with his dragging.

“The larger ones are just sinking straight to the bottom and aren’t useful,” he said.

Despite their proximity, anglers on the Ninilchik River didn’t see the same kind of success Saturday morning. Booz said the Ninilchik campground had many more campers than he’d seen in recent years but most of them got up at midnight to fish the opening minutes of the season. But several hours of slow fishing cleared the river out and by 5 a.m. and just a handful of anglers fished the mouth.

Chris Wilson and Brad Ugalino stood near the mouth of the Ninilchik on a small, grassy island in the middle of the river.

Wilson said the two hadn’t had much luck.

“We saw three people hook the same fish,” he said with a grin.

Wilson said his family had been traveling to the southern Kenai Peninsula for years on the opening weekend of king salmon fishing.

“It’s a family tradition for Memorial Day,” he said. “Back in the early 2000s there was really good fishing here. Now it’s kind of slow.”

The Ninilchik, Anchor and Deep Creek will be open for weekend fishing on May 30 through June 1 and again from June 6-8.

Booz suggested fishing the Ninilchik River as a high number of hatchery king salmon are expected to return this year.

 

Reach Rashah McChesney at rashah.mcchesney@peninsulaclarion.com or follow her on Twitter @litmuslens.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion  Chris Wilson and Brian Ugalino fish near the mouth of the Ninilchik River on May 23, 2015 in Ninilchik, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Chris Wilson and Brian Ugalino fish near the mouth of the Ninilchik River on May 23, 2015 in Ninilchik, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion  Paul Twait, of Soldotna, carries a king down the bank on May 23, 2015 on Deep Creek near Ninilchik, Alaska. Twait estimated that he fished for about an hour on a silver-colored lure before catching the fish.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Paul Twait, of Soldotna, carries a king down the bank on May 23, 2015 on Deep Creek near Ninilchik, Alaska. Twait estimated that he fished for about an hour on a silver-colored lure before catching the fish.

More in Life

Several pages from David Brame's "After the Rain," adapted from Nnedi Okorafor’s short story “On the Road.” (Photo courtesy David Brame)
New Homer creator brings Afrofuturism to town

David Brame’s new graphic novel will be published in January

Friends of Elmer Gaede effect repairs to the doctor’s Maule Rocket airplane, which crashed a short distance from Forest Lane between Soldotna and Sterling on Aug. 2, 1967. The airplane was eventually made “fly-able” again and was sold in the early 1970s. (Photo courtesy of the Gaede Collection)
Dr. Gaede drops in, Part 2

By Clark Fair For the Peninsula Clarion Author’s note: This is Part… Continue reading

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: A guide to the seasons

Figuring out the signs of seasonal change is easy, right?

Essential ingredients for my family’s lemon cake recipe, photographed on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: Great-grandma’s lemon cake

It’s not much, but it’s also everything.

A match latte is on display on Jan. 3, 2019 at Brother’s Cafe, in Kenai, Alaska.
Kalifornsky Kitchen: Something warm please

I’m normally not a warm drink person.

A row of dyed silk wall hangings shows how common Alaska plants found on the lower Kenai Peninsula can be used to make organic dyes, as seen here Tuesday. The hangings are included in Elissa Pettibone’s exhibit, “Swatches,” showing at Bunnell Street Arts Center in Homer.
Michael Armstrong / Homer News
‘Swatches’ explores art of organic dyeing using native plants

Pettibone finds magic in fireweed, other common plants

Dr. Elmer Gaede relaxes at home a few weeks after his airplane crash. His facial hair and glasses hide much of his scarring. (Photo courtesy of the Gaede Collection)
Dr. Gaede drops in, Part 1

Part 1 of a three-part story of a single-engine airplane crash more than a half-century ago.

Pepperoni pizza is ready to go into the oven, on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: Election night pizza

It’s a time-honored tradition to have pizza in the newsroom on election night.

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: The race is on

Here we are 33 weeks later wondering how we are going to celebrate the grandest time of the year.

Will Morrow (courtesy)
Keeping myself in stitches

The pandemic hit, and we all brushed off some skills we hadn’t thought about in a while.

A homemade nut mix takes on a sticky, spicy finish with a recipe from Anthony Bourdain, on Friday, Oct. 23 in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion.)
Kalifornsky Kitchen: I’m going nuts

I’m enjoying the nuts while I work from home and occasionally daydream about the international travel

Nick VarneyNick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: 2020 — The Halloween Year

2020 has nixed Oct. 31 as the official observance of Halloween and hijacked the mantle as its own.