Nick Varney

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.

Last week we suggested a few basic guidelines on how to roll up the lagoon coho for the barb-b or smoker. Yeah, yeah, I know. A smoker? Yep.

Admittedly, the oil contents of those warriors are lower than that of the chinook or reds, but one can turn them into drool invoking smoked fillets with a special prep of a honkin’ dry brine along with lightly blanketing the meat with a drizzled rub of honey prior to their debut in the smoker.

We use the same approach for the kings and sockeye, but save some of the processed silvers for avowed and avid herbivore relatives who suddenly morph into clandestine smokehouse fish fiends when the holidays roll around.

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

If you prefer to use eggs, be judicious. Don’t wrap the hook in a mass so large that you set off the Spit’s tsunami warning system. Just cover the hook with a modest cut of cure and fire away. The moderate offering will make it easy for them to get their chops around. Also, don’t use a bobber that could serve as part of an anchor buoy retrieval system either. It’s unseemly.

A fine choice is a small, torpedo-shaped, foam float that offers little resistance when the fish takes a taste of what you are selling. Thus, they are less likely to spit it out. Black and red steelhead floats work well for this purpose.

One odious mistake I noticed last week were anglers taking mongo rips when their bobbers took a dive. Unless you are into freezing up bags of fish lips for the winter, lay off the drama jerks.

Once the float submerges, let the fish run and commit to the lure. A measured count to four before hitting back like you’re sane will give you a much better shot at a solid hook-up.

If you hurl herring or hunks of mackerel, use the smaller baitfish and cuts so they can get them into their maws. Remember, they are not chinook. I’ve spotted bait hitting the lagoon for silvers that could have put a glutinous sea lion in danger of requiring the Heimlich maneuver.

One last suggestion: When you see a school circling the lagoon, toss your float just ahead of the pack cruising your way then slightly twitch your line as they pass. This will cause your herring to flash and/or draw attention to your eggs. Iron flingers could use the same casting technique by leading the submarined pack like they are sighting in on a casual fly-by of bored duck.

I lied. One more suggestion: Until you can tell the difference between a pink and a silver, chill with the braggadocio at the cleaning tables. Sheeesh.

Time now to check out this week’s fishing report for Aug. 9. Well, nothing much changed over the week but, what the heck …

Freshwater Fishing

The upper sections of the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Stariski Creek, and the Ninilchik River remain open to fishing for dollies and steelhead.

The Anchor River has a nice batch of dollies upstream of the south fork weir.

As usual, beads pegged under a small bobber should kick them into snack time, but they’ll give spoons, nymphs, small spinners, and even dry flies a go once in a while.

The lower sections of the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Stariski Creek and the Ninilchik River remain open to sport fishing.

There are some small gangs of dollies, pinks, and reds wandering around while checking each other out in the different pool ‘hoods.

The daily counts of silvers are on the uptick and should continue throughout the week. Try the tributaries’ mouths during the incoming tides.

Saltwater Fishing


Halibut fishing has been poor to fair over the last week due to unfavorable marine weather. As Yogi Berra, would say, “It’s like déjà vu all over again.”

If you can ever get out there, try checking out different sites by drifting until you find some action. Then, anchor aweigh.

Herring on a circle hook rocks their world, but octopus, salmon heads, and jigs will get their drool on.

King Salmon

Trolling for kings has continued to be a “catch as catch can” situation with fish dispersed throughout Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet, including Bluff Point.

Coho Salmon

There is still a nice batch of silvers flipping around in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. Getting them to bite has been another matter. Expect slow to fair fishing over the next week.

Yeah, you’ve heard it all before but, if silvers continue their rude ways by ignoring your perfectly cured roe or gourmet herring beneath a bobber, try some flashy iron. They really get into #3, red bell, spinners when the mood strikes them.

Don’t forget to sneak up on them during the early morning hours. Your luck just might change if the frenzied bite goes on before ole sol slams the water.

Bad news: Marine weather limited anglers from chasing coho in the offshore locations over the week.

Good news: Some of the shiny rockets have been taken trolling off the tip of the Homer Spit.

Other Saltwater Fishing

When Aeolus, the grumpy God of Storms chills his roll, most boat hunters chasing lingcod take a charter or have their own tough rigs to reach the outer coast and fish near the Chugach Islands.

Nick Varney can be reached at when he isn’t doing sophisticated computer repair on vintage laptops with a ball-peen hammer.

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