Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Reeling ‘Em In: Fishing hole on the uprise

Mother Nature’s fiendish and sudden moves are vexing to the fishing enthusiast

Mother Nature’s wardrobe presentations lately have reflected some schizoid indecisiveness along with blustery moods.

Example. One day, every fan in our cabin was set on turbo because she decided on a radiant sun-brooch to complement her primo blue skies laced with veils of crystal cirrus floating across unruffled seas (notably narcissistic).

Not 24 hours later, she was moping around in dreary drapes of Nimbostratus overcasts threatening to lift the river levels and set the sea on churn. Not cool, especially when her mood felt so foreboding that our breakfast Rice Krispies shut up.

Such fiendish and sudden moves are vexing to the fishing enthusiast because planning a piscatorian expedition gets downright hairy when she’s in a sociopathic huff.

Hopefully, the current 10-day weather forecast, although a bit drippy, will hold and keep our lines in the water and fish on the cleaning tables for, at least, the next few days.

For those who enjoy some land-based action, there is a promising note. The activity at the Homer Spit’s infamous fishing hole continues on a slow roll upward with an increasing number of coho sliding into the lagoon with the arriving tides.

This is a welcomed change from when the blackmouth snag fest closed morphing the pond’s activity down to the point where one would’ve had better luck casting into a warm vat of Pabst beer. Which, in itself, has been known to melt monofilament line.

On a sourer note, the building lagoon run will also start to attract more Troglodyte dipstick snaggers who lack the talent to take home a legal fish without a credit card and a quick stop at the frozen seafood section of a supermarket.

Time now for a look at this week’s fishing report for July 26, 2022

Freshwater Fishing

The lower sections of the Anchor River, Deep Creek and the Ninilchik River are open to sport fishing except for kings.

The dolly dance has begun in these streams especially in the Anchor where, as of July 25, 3,581 of the critters have entered the river looking for a dustup. If you are into fly fishing give smolt patterns or beads a try. If you would prefer to take your tackle for a whirl, then small spinners and spoons should put a bend in your pole.

For those of you who have been waiting in excited anticipation, pinks are slowing starting to arrive to lower Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay streams. Humpy Creek is probably your best option, if you are even looking for one. As usual, small spoons and flies will drive them nuts as well as anything shiny like beer tabs or sudden movements. Basic fishing skills are not required because the fish are certifiably insane.

Saltwater Fishing


Halibut fishing was just fair over the last week because the marine weather pretty much put a cork in fishing offshore locations. Chasing ‘buts closer to the Homer Spit has been slow with anglers catching limited numbers of mostly modest sized fish.

Drifting works well when tracking down new spots to anchor down for a crack at the flats.

King Salmon

Trolling for kings remained a crap shoot with fish scattered around throughout Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet.

If you run across what looks like some possible kings lurking in the depths where a plethora of humpies are concentrated, set up a troll beneath the horde or flee the infestation until you find a patch of water that’s showing some signs of marine intelligence.

Sockeye Salmon

The sockeyes are still partying as fresh waves arrive in China Poot Lagoon. Red seekers have been loading up when conditions allow. The fresh waters of China Poot Creek as well as snagging in the salt waters near the creek mouth have resulted in fine takes.

Sport personages have been snagging pink and sockeye within Tutka Lagoon. The snagging of pinks are inadvertent mistakes, yes? No? Seek help.

Remember, the number of fish in China Poot and Tutka Lagoon fluctuate with tides and commercial fishing openers so keep the whining to a minimum, OK?

Use caution when boating in and out of China Poot Bay particularly on the outgoing tide with a southwesterly wind. Some of the zephyrs popping up lately can result in butt clenching exits if you are not judicious.

Coho Salmon

As mentioned earlier, there have been more silvers making a debut in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. Expect sluggish to somewhat bearable fishing over the next week. The best chances for hits are during the tide changes out or the remote possibly of you dragging your keister out of the rack early enough to hit the hole as the first glimmer of dawn opens a lid over the mountains.

Marine weather limited anglers’ ability to target coho in offshore locations last week. Try trolling the tip of the Homer Spit. You just might run into the silvers heading toward the lagoon or elsewhere.

Other Saltwater Fishing

Lingcod fishing has also been slower due to the quirks in the weather. When conditions are fair, hunters take a charter or use sizeable personal boats to get to the outer coast and fish near the Chugach Islands.

Emergency Orders

Please review the emergency orders and advisory announcements below in their entirety before heading out on your next fishing trip.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-55-22 closed king salmon fishing (including catch-and-release) in all Cook Inlet salt waters north of the latitude of Bluff Point (59° 40.00’ N. lat.). This regulatory change is effective 12:01 a.m. Sunday, July 17 through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 31, 2022.

Emergency Order 2-RCL-7-01-22 and 2-RCL-7-02-22 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 2022.

Nick can be reached at if he has recovered from being asked how to tell the difference between a chinook and pink while the guy was butchering some reds and a silver on a cleaning table. FUI (filleting under the influence) probably had something to do with it. Hopefully.

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Nick Varney
Reeling ‘Em In: More tips from Nick on catching silvers

Now, here are a few more suggestions on how to pop those coho tumbling around the lagoon.

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