Nick Varney

Nick Varney

Reeling ‘Em In: Try Nick’s smart tips for catching silvers at The Fishin’ Hole

The key to get into the winner’s bracket is to remember a few simple facts.

I received an unusual amount of mail last week bemoaning the fact that even more silvers are rolling into the Nick Dudiak Lagoon, but they are rude and seem to enjoy giving awaiting fisherhumanoids (p.c. term of the day) the shiny fin as they fire out of the water ignoring the gourmet offerings floating beneath bobbers and flashy overpriced spinners.

The gripes are especially vehement when they describe the times when the tide’s out and the trapped coho motor about the lagoon in small packs seemingly scoffing at lures around them. There’s nothing more embarrassing to a piscatorian than having their presentation summarily ignored leaving them standing on the bank looking like an incompetent twit.

The key to get into the winner’s bracket is to remember a few simple facts.

Silver abhor bright sunlight and are easily spooked, so you if you insist on fishing when the sun is rockin’ the pond, you probably have a much better chance of landing a fission-fired sunburn than potential fillets.

If the tide isn’t rolling in or out, you’ll have much better luck just after the darkled side of dawn or during the bedding down of the western sun.

Stubborn diurnal stalkers need cool and cloud-shrouded skies to increase their chances of getting strikes throughout the day. Factor in some light rain to further dampen the water’s heat and things could get hotter than the latest debate over our state budget.

No promises, of course; I’ve seen bait flingers out there that couldn’t land a plastic smolt tied to a string at a preschool carnival’s fishing booth.

As for tactics, this week we’ll look at approaches for bobber believers who usually hit The Hole geared up with standard butt-plant folding chairs featuring beverage holders, optional bait bags and fish whackers that can double as drunk dissuaders. This description does not include the lagoon’s mayor’s custom keister throne of fine white plastic found only at premium garage sales in the “We’ll pay you to take it away” section.

If you prefer using cured eggs, chill out on burying your hook in a mutant mass of roe so huge it could knock out a seal when it hits the salty. You want them to be able to devour the offering, not bounce off it.

Also, lay off bobber/floats that could double as a butt-bouncing Pilate ball.

A 2-inch, torpedo-shaped, foam bobber offers little resistance when the fish makes a take-down; thus they are less likely to spit the bait out. I prefer the small steelhead, black on bottom, red on top, float.

Note: I found the following clip on the Alaska Fish and Game web site.

It reflects a setup and technique that I have used for years and has proven to be very successful whether I’m chasing salmon in streams or lagoons.

This next suggestion is very important. Don’t flip into ditz mode when the bobber goes under and take a rip like you’re trying to land the head and leave the body for bottom feeders. Let the fish run with it.

When the float dives, do a five second count and, if the bobber is still in submarine mode, slowly bring in the line until it tightens and set the hook.

The delay gives you a much better chance of solidly nailing your prey.

If you chucking herring (plug cut, of course), utilize the smaller ones so that the silvers can get their chops around it.

One last suggestion: When you see schools headed your way, cast just ahead of the horde and, as they pass, slightly twitch your line. This will make your herring flash and/or draw attention to your eggs.

Now it’s time to take a look at the fishing report for the week of July 23 – July 29.

Freshwater Fishing

Coho are just starting to show up in the Anchor River, Ninilchik River and Deep Creek, but it’s still early for consistently good fishing. Try angling for them just after high tide in the early morning hours. Salmon roe under a slip bobber and spinners are standard ways to get them snap happy. Check out the slip bobber technique mentioned earlier in this report.

Dolly Varden and pinks are still bumping fins with each other in all three of these streams. Smaller spinners, spoons, beads, or single salmon eggs can all work very well to target these fish. Pinks are especially stupid when it comes to shiny things.

Saltwater Fishing


Additional Info: Fishing for coho in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon has been the best during early morning hours (3 to 6 a.m.) and on the incoming tide as the current flows into the lagoon. The outside beach has been especially hot at times during the tide change outs.

Silvers have also been caught from Point Pogibshi to Flat Island, Silver Ridge, and around the Chugach Islands. Trolling for coho near the Homer Spit could be fun too.

All five species of salmon are available in Kachemak Bay and lower Cook Inlet right now. It’s possible to pick up all five species of salmon while trolling, particularly while fishing in outer Kachemak Bay near Point Pogibshi. Talk about an angler’s paradise.

King fishing has picked up over the last week in Kachemak Bay, although they’re mixed in with plenty of pesky pinks. Some 30 pounders have been nailed in the Bear Cove area, and we received a picture of a couple of beauties tickling the underbelly of 50 pounds slammed Monday in the bay by clients on the charter boat Yoda. It looks like some Kenai River-bound blackmouths took an ill-fated side trip into the bay. Thanks, Capt. Mark.

Nearshore chinook fishing north of Anchor Point has been very slow this year. Anglers have picked up coho, sockeye, and pink salmon near the beach in the past few weeks.


Halibut continue to be found frolicking throughout Kachemak Bay, with more consistent catches towards the outer bay. There are some mighty fine beasts being landed out there.

Using a chum bag of cut herring or fish carcasses when anchored can be an exceptionally cool way to lure in the flats. Try giving a shot at drifting to find a fecund (most bestest) spot to drop anchor.

Other Saltwater Fishing

Anglers still did well dipnetting and snagging sockeye salmon in China Poot during some of the tides last week, but those dip$#@* humpies were also sticking their pointy heads into fray.

Fishing for lingcod and non-pelagic rockfish along the outer coast remains good and steady.

Emergency Orders

•Emergency Order 2-RCL-7-01-19 and 2-RCL-7-02-19 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 for 2019.

For additional information, please contact the ADF&G Homer office at (907) 235-8191.

Nick can be reached at if you have any tips, tales or suggestions on how to genetically engineer a brain for the vacuous pinks.

• By Nick Varney, For the Homer News

More in Sports

Head coach Taylor Shaw (center) talks to the Kenai River Brown Bears during a timeout at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska, on Saturday, March 23, 2024. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Brown Bears take 8 in NAHL Draft; league schedule released

The start of the North American Hockey League season seems closer with… Continue reading

The field of Late Models slide through a turn Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, at Twin City Raceway in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)
Results posted for Circle Track Division race

The Twin City Raceway - Circle Track Division held its second race… Continue reading

Thursday: Miners cruise past Oilers again

The Mat-Su Miners defeated the Peninsula Oilers 10-1 on Thursday in Alaska… Continue reading

Oilers topple Pilots for 1st victory of season

The Peninsula Oilers defeated the Anchorage Glacier Pilots 3-1 on Wednesday at… Continue reading

Allie Ostrander is presented her award by Stacia Rustad at the Alaska High School Hall of Fame's Class of 2023 induction ceremony on Sunday, May 7, 2023, at The Lakefront Hotel in Anchorage, Alaska. (Screenshot)
Ostrander wins tuneup race for Olympic Trials

Allie Ostrander, a 2015 graduate of Kenai Central, set a new personal… Continue reading

Tuesday: Oilers-Chinooks game rained out

Former Oilers pitcher Thorpe makes solid big league debut, but former Oilers pitcher Woo doesn’t make scheduled start

Runners start the fifth lap at the Tsalteshi Backyard Ultra at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Friday, June 8, 2024, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Girdwood’s Behney runs 75 miles to win his 2nd Tsalteshi Backyard Ultra

The Tsalteshi Backyard Ultra is an unusual running race, so it’s no… Continue reading

Monday: Oilers drop close one to Bucs

The Anchorage Bucs defeated the Peninsula Oilers 4-3 Monday in Alaska Baseball… Continue reading

Lee Frey and Niko Zlotnik (501) lead the pack at the start of the 10-mile race at the Run for the River on Saturday, June 8, 2024, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Run for the River nears prepandemic participation levels

The Run for the River, put on Saturday by the Kenai Watershed… Continue reading

Most Read