Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Reeling ‘Em In: Hey fishers, keep up with regulations

What is up with brain stems who seem to be incapable of comprehending simple fishing regulations?

It’s time for a public service announcement centered on tips to keep some of you clueless miscreants from being awarded costly public humiliation tickets at the fishing lagoon.

What is up with brain stems who seem to be incapable of comprehending simple fishing regulations?

Is the economy so bad that they can’t afford a pen to record their king on the license stamp or harvest card a few minutes after landing it?

Please… Trying to claim they were going to do it after they had finished filleting the critter just doesn’t cut it. Might as well use the same excuse while grilling it.

It must be the thrill of the “cheat” or the feel they get from jacking another Snickers from a grocery store.

It’s a riot watching the five-watt bulbs stealth-scampering to the back of their rigs to conceal a chinook because they haven’t spotted a badge lurking in the area.

The dipsticks come across as having lower IQs than their vehicle’s tire pressure.

Next week we’ll include some other pillars of the community who stalk the banks, especially after midnight, with treble hooks and 100 proof mind sets.

On to other observations:

The cleaning tables were an interesting tour during the week.

Nice halibut were being filleted at most of the processing tables by private parties while charters’ Facebook sites featured some honkin’ slabs.

I also ran across a couple of old acquaintances who had finally decided to come out of their backwoods hideaways to fish for halibut from their skiffs in Mud Bay.

A buddy of mine and I use to take his little rig and chase the flats with them years ago. It was just a 15-minute run and an easy limit everyday until we had our winter stash. Plus, it was a hoot slamming the ‘buts in shallow water using salmon rigs and watching them launch out of the water like highly pissed silvers.

It was nice to see them again and their 15-to-20-pound scores for the day.

Enough flashbacks. Time now for the fishing report for the week of June 18.

Freshwater Fishing

Deep Creek is closed to all sport fishing through July 1.

The Anchor River opened to catch-and-release fishing for kings Wednesday, June 19.

Gear is restricted to single-hook, no bait, artificial lure only. It remains closed to all sport fishing on all other days in June. Expect fair fishing. Early mornings or hitting the tides near the mouth will get you the most action.

Size 4 or 5 spinners in chartreuse or pink, jigs under a bobber in the same colors, streamer flies, or plugs will light a fire in their chase response.

Do Not remove kings or steelhead from the water before releasing them.

The Ninilchik River is open to fishing for hatchery kings through July 15. The fishing should be fair and should kick up a notch over the next week as the larger tides push in more fish.

Bait may be prohibited later this week so keep an eye out for an emergency order.

For chasing rookie arrivals, try the harbor area on the incoming tide.

With these low water conditions smaller (size 3 or 4) pink or chartreuse spinners should be a good bet. Flies, plugs, and spoons will work well too.

If you incidentally hook a steelhead or wild chinook, get it to the bank quickly and release it without removing it from the water.

China Poot personal use dipnet fishery opened on June 15.

Water conditions are nasty-high and there are very few sockeye wandering around lost in the creek. Look for things to pick up later in the week.

Saltwater Fishing

Kachemak Bay/Cook Inlet

Halibut

Halibut fishing continued kick loose some impressive fish last week.

Hefty slabs were coming from many locations including the kelp beds near Anchor Point, in Cook Inlet, and the outer coast near the Chugach Islands. Flat Island was steady producing nice numbers of smaller fish.

Fishing around slack tide is the best time for popping halibut because you can hold the bottom with less weight. This little piece of info will really be excellent info this week because tides-with-an-attitude are smokin’ our way. Sixteen-pound cement blocks might help.

King Salmon

King fishing south of Bluff Point was fair to almost good through last week with some days flush with hard hitters.

Bluff Point and Point Pogibshi produced the best action with just a roll of the dice takedowns throughout the rest of Kachemak Bay.

Sockeye Salmon

Sockeye fishing in China Poot and Tutka Bay Lagoon are off to a slug-slow start since very few fish have bothered to show up. The runs should develop over the week to provide a few fish to those looking to get their snag on.

Surf Fishing

Persistent surf fishing anglers were getting their kicks along several of the Cook Inlet beaches last weekend, including the Deep Creek area.

Anglers launching their lines off the banks were tangling with a variety of groundfish including halibut, sculpins, skates, sharks, flounders and cod.

Regulations changed at the December 2023 Board of Fisheries meeting to allow surf fishing for groundfish in the conservation zones surrounding the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Ninilchik River. You still may not fish within 200 yards of the stream mouths — look out for posted orange regulatory signs.

Don’t forget about fishing off the tip of the Homer Spit — a couple of kings were taken with bobbers and herring out there last week. Weird stuff too, of course. Some groundfish they have yet to identify or even want to, come to think of it.

Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon

King fishing backed off later in the week at the fishing hole. Line lobbers had the best luck closer to high tide in Tom’s Corner at the southern lobe of the lagoon.

Shelly, the fish whisperer, has been doing well with her proxy fishing using mackerel, a lighted bobber and tenacious patience. Others are bringing them in with herring and varied colored Vibrax.

Unfortunately, treble hook scofflaws are beginning to crawl out of their holes during the darkened hours along with line snaggers who couldn’t nail a fish in a kiddy pond during a Sportsmen’s Exhibition without cheating.

Seldovia Slough

Anglers were finding fishing foot dragging slow in the lagoon and at the bridge last week. Cured eggs or herring under a slip bobber, or spinners were successful at times. Best shot? Incoming tide at the bridge. Lagoon? High tide.

Until next week…

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you have any tips, tales or stories such as the gentlemen taking a swan dive into the fishing lagoon chasing his gear that a king took off with after he laid it down. Still out there.

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