Reeling ‘Em In: Dolly Varden fishing opening up; silvers sneaking in

The staff at the Reeling ‘Em In headquarters has been diligently sifting through a myriad of cyber correspondence from fisherpersonage bemoaning the fact that they won’t be able to make to Alaska this year. We bemoan, in turn, that we noticed.

Emails customarily run the gamut from requests for charter references to tips on what sites and adventures to experience while visiting the area.

I usually recommend that they check out the cornucopia of information available at the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center because the subsequent feedback has always been overwhelmingly positive on how much our little burg has to offer plus remarks on how genial and helpful the locals were.

Once in a while, we receive a note that’s a bit atypical, such as the following tête-à-tête with a joker claiming the cyber handle of “Pearl Beer Bob.”

His missive was a rant grumping about the restrictions associated with getting to Alaska this summer and was inclusive of chiding us for bragging way too much about how fantastic the fishing is up here. He concluded that it was probably better that he stayed home because what could possibly be cooler than “Hook en2 big bass, sum mud kats, perch n carp.”

Since I was stationed in his neck of the woods once, I have the highest regard for the frenzied fight of the bass, the taste of deep-fried catfish and pan-browned perch, but carp? Pleeze — they make spawned-out humpies come across as gourmet additions to an exotic seafood buffet.

I think ole Pearl Beer was putting us on and I hope he and his kin make the trip next year. Give them a week or two of glacial vistas, slamming salmon and hammering halibut and they might, just for a while, forget about cottonmouth snakes the size of boat oars, rattlers big enough to swallow a javelina pig, ticks, chiggers, leeches, fire ants, spiders that could handle a saddle, and sundry other critters with the social graces of highly pissed hornets.

Our Valhalla has that effect on people.

Now it’s time to take a look at the fishing report for the week of July 14 – July 20 along with some additional updates from the northern area.

Freshwater Fishing

Dolly Varden

The lower sections of the Anchor River and Deep Creek open on July 16. As of July 12, approximately 1,275 Dollies have been counted on the Anchor, 757 on Deep Creek, and 297 on Ninilchik. Using a bead pegged above a hook and fished under a small bobber on fly gear is the most widespread approach, but small spinners and spoons on a spinning rod can work fantastic as well. Look for Dollies holding in riffles and at the tail out of pools. More Dollies will enter the streams as July progresses and there may be good pushes of them after high tides.

King salmon

The Ninilchik River is still open for hatchery kings, but the run is continuing to chill down. Hit the fish early on in the morning. Take shot at the small hatchery kings with small, single-hook spinners.

Sockeye salmon

China Poot Personal Use dipnetting pulled back during the second week, but some scoopers are still lucking out and doing nicely. Snagging in saltwater near the creek can be pretty good before the tide floods.

Saltwater Fishing

Halibut

Halibut fishing has been fair in the vicinity of inshore locations and remains beyond decent at offshore locations near the mouth of K-Bay.

Salmon

Coho are starting to stick their silvery proboscises into the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. The run should fire up as July sprints through its allotted days.

Gearing up for them isn’t much different than rigging for kings. Silvers get their drool on when presented salmon roe or herring. To start, soak the bait about 18 inches beneath a bobber and then adjust until you get their attention. Bright spinners, blue and red Vibrax along with green spoons can provoke nasty strikes.

Trolling for coho with small spoons on either side of the Homer Spit can spawn some feisty action as the flashy migrators return to The Hole and other K-Bay locales.

Chinook trolling has been fair to good around Kachemak Bay, including out by Point Pogibshi. The ditzy pinks are starting to bedevil baits in the outer bay locations. Like we said last week, if you want a king, try fishing deeper depths to avoid the annoying @$&*^%$.

Most anglers use downriggers and fish with troll sized herring or spoons behind flashers.

Sockeye continue to show up near Tutka Bay Lagoon and China Poot Bay.

Emergency Orders

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-21-20 removed the annual limit for hatchery king salmon 20 inches or greater through Saturday, October 31, 2020 in the Ninilchik River.

Emergency Order 2-RCL-7-03-20 and 2-RCL-7-04-20 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 in 2020.

The following are important updates from the northern area.

Kasilof River Sockeye Salmon Limits Increased

In an effort to allow anglers additional harvest opportunity of Kasilof River sockeye salmon, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game is increasing the bag and possession limit for sockeye salmon to six fish per day and 12 fish in possession; however, no more than two salmon per day and two in possession may be coho salmon, in all portions of the Kasilof River open to salmon fishing. These provisions are effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 15, through 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31.

In addition to increasing the sport fish bag and possession limit for sockeye salmon, Fish and Game issued Emergency Order 2-RS-1-27-20 on July 1, 2020, expanding the area open to personal use dipnetting on the Kasilof River effective 12:01 a.m. Friday, July 3, through 11:59 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7.

Kasilof River King Salmon Limited to Catch-and-Release

In favor of protecting returning king salmon and increased fishing opportunities in the future, Fish and Game is restricting the king salmon fishery on the Kasilof River to catch-and release only effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 15 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 31. The retention of king salmon is prohibited while sport fishing on the Kasilof River downstream of the Sterling Highway Bridge. In addition, only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure may be used when fishing for king salmon in these waters. King salmon may not be retained or possessed, may not be removed from the water, and must be released immediately.

In conjunction with this restriction, a sport fishing regulation restriction was issued prohibiting the retention of king salmon while sport fishing on the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to a Fish and Game regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek. In addition, only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure may be used when sport fishing in these waters.

Lower Kenai River King Salmon Fishing Catch-and-Release Only

In favor of protecting returning king salmon and increased fishing opportunities in the future, Fish and Game is restricting the king salmon fishery on the Kenai River drainage to catch-and-release only effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, July 15, through 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 31. The retention of king salmon is prohibited while sport fishing on the Kenai River from its mouth upstream to a Fish and Game regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek. In addition, only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure may be used when sport fishing in these waters. King salmon may not be retained or possessed, may not be removed from the water, and must be released immediately.

Sport fishing for king salmon remains closed in waters of the Kenai River drainage from a Fish and Game regulatory marker located approximately 300 yards downstream from the mouth of Slikok Creek, upstream to a Fish and Game marker located at the outlet of Skilak Lake.

Until next week …

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if he isn’t busy battling it out with flying silvers while maintaining football field social distancing from anyone but his wife.

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