Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Reeling ‘Em In: Memorial Day weekend brought sunny weather, but not a lot of bites

Look to Ninilchik River for best hatchery chinooks

Well, our little part of paradise certainly experienced one gorgeous three-day weekend.

The sun’s hot exhaust produced blast furnace temps of nearly 70 degrees, which tended to deep-fry careless sunbathers into ruby red characters of themselves as they slumbered through brew-induced nappy times.

Hey, come on now, 70 degrees pretty much qualifies as parboil status after last winter’s icy snits or … maybe I just worked in the high north too long.

All shapes and sizes of private vessels were gliding through the harbor’s entrance along with a plethora of charters, water taxis and sightseeing craft.

Many of the parking lots had reached shoehorn access status by late morning, and the aromas drifting from the grills of the strip’s multifarious eateries made it nearly impossible to cruise by without a drool bib.

As for shore fishing, the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon wasn’t exactly a hotspot for king-popping unless you were a seal. Nevertheless, it was still possible to stir up enough action to bag at least one of the fresh chinooks debuting on the incoming tides. One just had to know what they were doing rather than thinking that they did. A tough concept for some.

The lagoon’s mayor and leading b.s. pontificator shared his latest observations from his armchair of sophisticated surveillance by revealing that the pond was providing some short-lived action during the cockcrow hours.

Unfortunately, the majority of the fish still seemed more interested in motoring around the ‘hood dodging asshat seals than dining on the elite presentations of his gourmet breakfast wraps of custom cut mackerel.

It’s time now to take a look at this week’s fishing report issued May 31:

Freshwater Fishing

The Anchor River, Deep Creek and Ninilchik River will open again to sport fishing this weekend, but don’t get too jazzed because it will probably still be slow for kings. Your best chance for hatchery chinook will still be the Ninilchik. Check the emergency orders below for more information.

Water conditions have improved in all three streams and they should be in fine condition for chasing fish this weekend.

The Ninilchik River produces some nice strikes when casting cured salmon roe clusters suspended under a bobber.

As for the Anchor River and Deep Creek, launching spinners, flies, jigs, spoons and plugs will get their jaws snapping. Just make sure your lures cruise near the streams’ bottoms because that’s where the blackmouths lurk.

As of May 30, 200 kings have been counted moving up the Anchor and 95 counted at mile 2 of the Ninilchik.

Saltwater Fishing


Over the weekend, placid seas opened additional passages to areas producing an ample catch of hefty halibut and the good times should keep on keeping on during the coming week.

The Anchor Point and Deep Creek tractor launches are now operational.

Not sure where to fish? Try drifting to find them before setting anchor.

As mentioned last week, boat hunters are still hitting the flats when anchoring in shallower waters between Bluff Point and the Anchor Point. True, action may be slow at times, but when they hit the odds are that you will be into a braggable fish.

No surprise here. Herring on a circle hook is the most popular bait; however, octopus, salmon heads, and jigs also work well. All white jigs with red eyes are cool.

King Salmon

Trolling results for chinooks saw a bit of improvement over last week, which really didn’t take much to move the needle.

Some notable king action took place north of Bluff Point, Bear Cove and at Point Pogibshi. Again, be sure to check out the emergency orders for more information on king restrictions in Cook Inlet saltwaters.

Most of the successful fin hunters were using downriggers and fishing with troll-sized herring or spoons behind flashers.

There were a few blackmouths wacked at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon over the weekend, but, alas, sometimes the fishing was downright body-rash-painful to watch as dunderheads paddled small boats around inside the angling areas and even climbed around on the smolt pens. What’s next? Kayak sprint races?

When things are quieter, like around dawn, try floating eggs or plug cut herring about 16 inches below a bobber or launch a blue or red bell Vibrax spinner and retrieve it at varying slow speeds.

Other Saltwater Fishing

Surf angling has provided piscatorians with some fairly reliable fishing in the Cook Inlet for a variety of fish and suspected alien species of unknown origin. The most popular locations have been Clam Gulch, Whiskey Gulch and the tip of the Homer Spit where most of the rumors of extraterrestrial spawn arise.

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-7-12-22 modifies the king salmon bag and possession limits in the Ninilchik River to two hatchery king salmon 20 inches or greater in length. Bait is allowed but gear is restricted to one single-hook only. The gear restrictions are effective from 12:01 a.m. Saturday, May 28 through 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 15, 2022. The bag and possession limits are effective from 12:01 a.m. Saturday, May 28 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, October 31, 2022.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-11-22 prohibited the retention of king salmon and restricted fishing gear to only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure in the Anchor River and Deep Creek drainages effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, May 21 through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

Emergency Order 2-KS-7-10-22 reduced the king salmon annual limit north of Bluff Point from five to two fish and closed king salmon fishing within one mile of shore in Cook Inlet saltwaters. This emergency order is effective from 12:01 a.m. Sunday, May 1 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.

Oh yeah. For the sake of your bank account, don’t forget to purchase your 2022 sport fishing license and king stamp. Plus, you can avoid being one of the miscreant stars featured the latest trooper police report published weekly.

Nick can be reached at if he isn’t trying to scramble around the basement and find where he stashed his new box of silver slayer Z-Rays. To be continued …

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