Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Reeling ‘Em In: Thunder frightens humans and mutts, but the cohos still are bitin’

Time to take a look at the fishing report for Aug. 30

Last Sunday, while piloting our ancient Dell through a fog of dense concentration of fishing data, our semi-new dog of the adopted kind revealed a secret power heretofore unknown to me or her mistress.

Luna, short for Lunatic, is small, strong, extremely smart and fast, but has a circuit loose when it comes to a staid response to noises such as pugnacious pheasants bellowing challenges from the pucker brush. Thus, when we are out with her, we are always on the alert for her to launch a sudden banzai attack on anything from a scurrying vole to a raindrop. Sunday was different.

I was reviewing some input from cool anglers who were righteous enough to send pics of their coho killer lures while Jane and Luna went outside for some light exercise and a short relief sojourn.

During that brief exposure, both she and the mutt failed to notice a dark mass cat-stalking over the north ridge until its thunder hit like the roar of a glacier calving.

That backhand by Thor not only caused a highly sensitive area of my lower half to become drenched by a missed mid-sip of fresh coffee but the resounding clap was Luna’s first experience with thunder.

It was at that second, the pup revealed it could launch to the second level of the deck from a four-paw stance. If the cur had been sporting a cape, she would have landed on the opposite side of the cabin.

No psychological damage seemed to be done other than the next time the dog went out, it peeked from the door opening first, then demurely exited instead of charging out like Attila the Mutt. Subsequent thunder hasn’t bothered her other that she barks back demanding a shot at neutering the obnoxious dude tossing bolts around.

As for me? Cool wet compresses and a comfort pillow had me back two-finger typing in no time although my normal scouting expeditions were limited.

‘Nuf said…

Time to take a look at the fishing report for Aug. 30:

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 passing rains and have stifled fishing prospects on certain days.

Larger numbers of coho salmon typically move upstream as the water levels start to rise or when they are starting to recede.

As of the Aug. 29, 1,872 coho have been counted entering the Anchor River. Last year, 2,422 silvers had been tabulated by then.

Expect somewhat sluggish silver fishing in these streams over the next week. Early morning or later in the evening is usually when the silvers have a tendency to get their bite on, especially, if the river has tamed down and the water has more clarity than a double cappuccino. Small salmon egg clusters suspended under a bobber is usually a slam dunk method of getting strikes, but some iron casters are doing well with modified skirted and none skirted #3 orange or pink bell Vibrax. Spoons, plugs, herring, and flies will work at times too.

Note: The lower sections of these streams transition to single hook artificial lure gear restrictions starting Sept. 1.

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

The most accessible upper section is the Anchor River along the Sterling Highway and the south end of the North Fork Road. Using beads pegged under a small bobber is a great way to lure dollies, but spoons, nymphs, small spinners, and occasionally dry flies, also work. These fish aren’t exactly picky.

Saltwater Fishing


Halibut fishing should continue to be good over the next week with the favorable meteorological conditions — especially nice if you can’t remember what that sort of weather looks like anymore.

Fishing around slack tide is the best time for dropping bait because you can hold the bottom with less weight than a bowling ball.

Herring on a circle hook is the most popular bait; however, octopus, salmon heads, and jigs, especially ones with red eyes will also pique their interest.

King Salmon

Trolling for kings was flat poor to good over the last week depending on whether or not you found the hotspots such as outer bay locations like Silver Ridge and Bluff Point. Inner bay locations were more dawdling with a side order of boredom.

Small troll herring or spoons behind a flasher is the most popular setup but also try no flasher for a different presentation.

To search out the blackmouth in any area, try setting your gear at different depths including mid-water columns and within 10 feet of the bottom.

Coho Salmon

Shore casting enthusiasts have been hitting a number of silvers along the east side of the Homer spit at high tide. Look for fish cruising under the surface or for the acrobats.

Trolling for coho has been fair to excellent with the fish scattered throughout Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet. Silver Ridge area and Bluff Point both produced the silver rockets last week.

Other Saltwater Fishing

Most anglers targeting lingcod take a charter or own surplused naval cutters 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-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 nearly being put on injured reserve freelancer status by a missed slurp of Double Dead coffee and is able to speak in baritone again.

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