By Nick C. Varney, for the Homer News
Let’s face it. Putting the hammer on silvers while they are cruising beneath our inlet waters or doing acerebral loops inside the infamous Nick Dudiak Fishing lagoon can be a spectacle of aerobatic fights and unruly runs.
Yes, I realize that pinks are also fierce and insolent battlers, but it takes more skill to keep them off your line than getting them to hit. The only thing stupider than a school of humpies is a canned one, but not by much.
OK, OK, they can be tasty if you pan fry them directly after they stop quivering. Otherwise, humps transform into various stages of mush as the clock ticks. The first stage of malleable pottage is good for patties but a slight misstep in timing can result in salmon pucks reasonably adequate for skeet shooting if dried properly.
Other than that, I’m a big fan.
Coho, on the contrary, are somewhat pickier as to when, where or why they start a serious munch. Plus they are quite palatable.
Savvy boat hunters realize silvers are keen on areas featuring cool waters with swarms of baitfish. Sharp skippers search for these schools with fish-finders and/or scan for a mass of sea birds diving in a feeding frenzy.
As I’ve noted before, salmon attack baitfish from beneath and drive them to the surface where they tear through the massed ball smacking the small rapid breeders with their heads and tails and then do a one-eighty to seek out cripples to scarf up. The hovering gluttonous sea birds dive on what’s leftover like they’ve just discovered a new-fangled government giveaway program for shallow divers.
Towing a submerged flasher and a herring through such a melee can be a riot.
No matter where you are stalking these beautiful fighters it’s always beneficial to know what your target fish are feeding on.
They can be pretty persnickety too when it comes to what sort of cuisine they’re interested in at the moment.
At The Hole, they may chase cured red eggs stripped along the bottom on the lagoon’s outgoing tide and then ignore everything else but a small plug-cut herring floating upside down two and three quarter inches below a chartreuse and orange bobber with a flashing light on the incoming. In other words, look around and use whatever the anglers catching fish are hurling.
Why offer them salmon egg hummus when they crave a candlefish quiche?
Coho also are notorious for suddenly going on or off the bite.
One minute you can’t get your line back in the water fast enough because they seem to be jackin’ anything that hits the water then, just as suddenly, you might as well be fishing in a pet cemetery for goldfish. Ask any experienced angler about the “morning bite.”
Now let’s take a look at this week’s fishing report.
Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders
Saltwater Regulation Reminders
The Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon Area remains closed to snagging.
Why would you want to unless you possess the piscatorial skills of dried kelp and enjoy meeting inquisitive enforcement personnel?
Lingcod season is open.
Stalkers of this beast need to remember that the bag and possession limit is two of the fang enhanced ogres that meet the minimum legal size of 35 inches.
Fresh Water Regulation Reminders
The China Poot personal use dipnet fishery is open until Aug. 7 upstream of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game markers.
Personal use caught sockeye salmon must have both tips of the tail fin removed. Complete regulations are found on page 16 of the Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Regulation Summary booklet.
The Anchor River, Deep Creek and Stariski Creek are open to sport fishing but closed for king salmon. King salmon may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
Saltwater Fisheries: Halibut
Unguided anglers can retain two halibut a day of any size, with four in possession.
Regulation changes are in effect for guided sportsmen fishing for halibut.
The bag limit for guided anglers is two fish per day, one of any size and one less than or equal to 29 inches in length. Guided anglers have an annual limit of five halibut.
Halibut fishing keeps on keeping on as additional flats move from the deep salt to their summer vacation feeding areas featuring shallower waters and limitless buffets.
Sampled fish harvested out of the Homer port averaged 12.87 pounds (range 5.6 to152.2 pounds).
Saltwater Fisheries: Salmon
Trolling success is reported from adequate to beyond respectable for kings near Bear Cove, Point Pogibshi and Flat Island.
Fishing for king salmon is reported as taking a nap north of Bluff Point.
Anglers are reporting first-rate catches of coho and bothersome pinks in Kachemak Bay mixed with a quantity of chum and sockeye.
Silvers are picking up speed in Cook Inlet. Opportunities to do battle with them will improve as their core offensive units begin to turn up.
Coho are continuing slide into the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon during the tide changes. Fishing has been reported as good to wicked if you time it right. Small bait herring are putting the stomp on them at the moment.
At Tutka Bay Lagoon, there seems to be a flash mob of witless pinks but very few sockeye.
This is a stocked fishery paid for by enhancement taxes on commercial fisheries. Anglers need to avoid unwelcome attempts to bond with the commercial boats operating in the area.
Other Saltwater Fishing
The Homer Spit offers a multiplicity of fishing prospects and skookum toilet facilities. The latter not to be mistaken for a fish processing station, get it?
Fisherpersonages have the unique opportunity to haul in an array of species such as tasty Pacific cod, flaccid pollock, and a diversity of flatfish along with a rowdy silver or two along the east and west shore of the spit.
Anglers fishing near the Barren, Chugach and Elizabeth islands are doing pretty well popping lingcod and rockfish.
Rockfish caught in deep water suffer injuries from decompression. Recent research by ADFG staff indicates that survival of released rockfish can be substantially improved by releasing fish at the depth of capture.
Fresh Waters: Personal Use Fishing
Dipnetting success for sockeye salmon in China Poot is a bit better than OK.
Early risers are having the best luck.
For the Ninilchik River, some bright to blush hatchery king salmon are still available.
Salmon roe clusters, plug cut herring, spinners, spoons and jigs should bring on the strikes if you want a crack at a hatchery blackmouth.
Expect better fishing for Dolly Varden and hapless humpies in roadside streams. Give them a shot near the stream mouths’ to up your odds.
Dolly Varden normally have the hots for small bright spinners, fresh salmon eggs, or fly patterns that resemble fish such as muddler minnows or egg patterns.
A few scouts from the oncoming silver hordes have been reported nosing into the streams. Try hitting them at the break of dawn and/or at the mouth of the streams during the incoming tide.
Humpy fishing is reported as less than insane but getting there on the south side of Kachemak Bay. Humpy Creek (we get it) and the Seldovia River are all the rage when it comes to pounding pinks.
Razor Clam Emergency Order
All Eastside Cook Inlet beaches from the Kenai River to the tip of the Homer Spit are closed to all clams and mussels through December 31, 2015.
Tanner Crab Emergency Order
The Cook Inlet and North Gulf Coast sport, personal use & subsistence Tanner crab fisheries will not open for the 2015-2016 season.
The next clamming tides run from July 29 through Aug. 4.
All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay remain closed for 2015.
Nick can be reached at email@example.com if he isn’t attending another anger management course concerning his attitude toward the ingravescent mental perspicacity of the arriving hordes of humpies. In other words, he finds it really hard to deal with something featuring the IQ of a party balloon.