Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Reeling ‘Em In: Target silvers at first light — wait: What light?

Well now, August has just about jetted through its allotment of solar days and should be deeply embarrassed about it. There wasn’t much “solar” during those faded weeks but a plethora of drench. The only reliable source of vitamin D came from a pill while neighborhoods were bullied by roaming gangs of laboriously creeping slugs. Disgusting, but no chance of getting run down by the packs.

So, here we are on the cooling cusp of September surveying the gathering cranes as they conduct formation skills training and patrol the beaches in search of carbs and protein for their sojourn south.

For those looking forward to quiet piscatorian safaris along the local rivers, the constantly arriving fronts turned some of those tributaries into raucous cascades of water that looked as though the hills were oozing Ovaltine.

Most of my fishing compatriots are early morning lure lobbers and enjoy the sky’s hoary glimmer at the onset of dawn. Not so much lately though.

It’s tough to be awed when you can’t see the mountains through sodden curtains of downpours and are wary to glance up without scuba gear because it would be mortifying to drown that way.

It’s also difficult to utilize the knowledge that silvers and other sports fish tend to get their freak on just before the sunrise’s initial yawning of light, especially when you can’t see the shore much less the light.

One bright note. We have some heftier tides headed our way this coming week and better weather. Let’s hope they are carrying additional pulses of chrome and the coho can actually see where they are going when they hit the mouths of the tributaries.

Time now to take a look at the fishing report for the week of Aug. 23.

Freshwater Fishing

The lower sections of the Anchor River, Deep Creek, Stariski Creek and the Ninilchik River are still open to sport fishing. The water levels and clarity on these streams has been fluctuating with the recent volleys of downpours and flat unfishable some days.

Note: Unless the river resembles a mud flow, the larger schools of silvers typically move upstream as the water levels start to rise or when they are commencing to recede.

Expect poor to fair coho fishing in these streams over the next week.

Again, hit them in the early morning or later evening when the silvers are extra antsy and looking for a brawl. Small salmon egg clusters suspended under a bobber have been working great when the fish can see them. Nothing new here but, spinners, spoons, plugs, herring and flies will also work if the fish are into being nitpicking while putting on a gourmet cool.

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

The most accessible upper section is the Anchor River along the Sterling Highway and the south end of the North Fork Road.

Dollies are suckers for beads pegged under a small bobber but, nymphs, small spinners, and occasionally dry flies, will work just fine when the smaller warriors are spoiling for a fight.

Saltwater Fishing


Halibut fishing should be beyond decent over the next week with the favorable marine forecast. Time to level out that freezer for the winter.

Don’t have any special numbers to hit? Give drifting a shot before setting anchor.

King Salmon

Trolling for kings remained surprisingly good over the last week with trollers bringing fish on board from Bear Cove, Bluff Point, Silver Ridge and along the outer coast.

Small troll herring or spoons behind a flasher seem to have the most success but occasionally a setup without a flasher produces some nice fillets.

If you’re into exploring new locations, try setting the gear at different depths including midwater column and within 10 feet of the bottom. If that doesn’t work, slide back into being bored until you finally give up and motor to where you’ve found them previously. Mumbling about how you could have bought a new freezer with the gas money you just blew doesn’t cut it nor should it be shared with your significant other.

Coho Salmon

Expect slug slow silver fishing at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. There still may be a few fin draggers showing up fashionably late, but the run is nearly kaput.

Shore personages have still been getting into it with a few silvers along the east side of the Homer spit at high tide. Scan for the fish cruising under the surface or for high-flying leapers.

Trolling for coho has been passable with scattered results throughout Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet.

Point Pogibshi, Silver Ridge area and Bluff Point all produced silvers last week.

Other Saltwater Fishing

Most anglers targeting lingcod take a charter or have rugged personal boats that could accommodate a seal team to get to the outer coast and fish near the Chugach Islands.

Emergency Orders

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 isn’t still trying to track down the rumor that an actual shaft of sunlight was spotted last week in a remote part of the Caribou Hills resulting in a cult that swears to squat there until it returns in 2035.

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