Area Sport Fishing Reports
July 17, 2018
Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders
King Salmon Emergency Order
- Per Emergency Order No. 2-KS-7-36-18, effective July 16 through July 31, 2018, the conservation zones surrounding the mouths of Anchor River, Stariski Creek, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River remain closed to king salmon fishing.
- Per Emergency Order No. 2-KS-7-37-18, effective July 16 through July 31, 2018, sport fishing gear in Anchor River, Deep Creek, Stariski Creek, and Ninilchik River is restricted to one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure.
Razor Clam Emergency Order
- Per Emergency Order No. 2-RCL-7-01-18 and 2-RCL-07-02-18 all EASTSIDE Cook Inlet beaches from the Kenai River to the tip of the Homer Spit are CLOSED to all clamming through December 31, 2018.
- Ninilchik River is closed to wild king salmon, but open to hatchery king salmon. The bag and possession limit on hatchery king salmon is one 20 inches or greater. Hatchery king salmon are identified as missing their adipose fin, the fleshy fin on the back just in front of the tail.
- To release a king salmon, the fish may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
- Anglers are now allowed to snag fish in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi except for the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon (Fishing Hole), which only opens by emergency order.
- China Poot personal use dip net fishery opened July 1 to Alaska residents only, upstream of the ADF&G markers. Personal use caught sockeye salmon must have both tips of the tail fin removed. Complete regulations are found on page 15 of the 2018 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet.
- Halibut are federally managed by NOAA. Make sure you know the regulations! Unguided and guided anglers have different rules to follow. A more extensive description of the federal regulations can be found on the NOAA Fisheries Sport Halibut Fishing in Alaska webpage.
- Lingcod season opened July 1. Anglers are reminded that the bag and possession limit is two fish and the minimum legal size is 35 inches with the head attached or 28 inches from tip of tail to font of the dorsal fin with the head removed. Lingcod which are gaffed must be retained. A gaff may not be used to puncture any fish intended or required to be released.
- The marine waters of Tutka Bay Lagoon within 100 yards of the hatchery net pens are closed to sport fishing for any species.
- Halibut fishing was fair to good this past week. A handful of halibut larger than 100 pounds returned on vessels to the Homer Harbor. Halibut fishing was also productive for boats returning to Anchor and Deep Creek tractor launches.
- Reports of spiny dogfish (small sharks) bycatch while targeting halibut have increased. Watch out for the sharp spine behind the dorsal fin and use best catch and release practices when returning them to the water.
- Halibut can be caught while trolling, drifting with the tide, and while anchored.
- Herring on a circle hook is the most popular bait; however, octopus, salmon heads, and jigs also work well.
- Fish near slack tide so you don’t need as much weight to keep your line on the bottom while your boat is anchored.
- Feeder king salmon trolling has picked up some within the last week. Anglers have found some spotty success near the Homer Spit and Glacier Spit. Catches of sockeye salmon, coho salmon, and Dolly Varden while trolling have also been reported.
- Now that the one-mile corridor restrictions for king salmon fishing are lifted, trolling near the beach in Upper Cook Inlet for late run king salmon will be a popular activity for anglers this week. Expect slow fishing for these spawners in shallow waters near the beach.
- Anglers are reminded king salmon fishing is closed within the conservation zones surrounding the mouths of Anchor River, Stariski Creek, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River per an emergency order.
- To find feeder king salmon, try fishing a variety of depths up to 100 feet near rocky points and kelp beds. Look for birds feeding on bait fish.
- Popular trolling set-ups for king salmon include herring, hootchies, tube flies, and spoons behind a flasher or dodger. Try various leader lengths for different gear action behind flashers.
- A downrigger setup is necessary to troll deeper water. Banana weights work well to troll gear near the surface.
- Still waiting for a bite? Try switching up flasher styles and colors, gear depths, and trolling speed. Consider the direction the tide is moving when trolling. On days with larger tidal exchanges, troll with the current for a more effective presentation.
- Fishing for coho salmon at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon (the Fishing Hole) has been fair to good. Several large schools have been observed entering the lagoon during the incoming tide. Some newly arriving king salmon are still present in the lagoon as well.
- A variety of methods can work at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon, including spinners and herring or eggs suspended beneath a bobber. Notice the depth the salmon are swimming at and adjust the depth of your bait accordingly. Try fishing when the incoming tide begins to flood the lagoon.
- Trolling for coho salmon in salt waters outside Cook Inlet and in Kachemak Bay near Point Pogibshi and the Homer Spit has also been productive.
Sockeye and Pink Salmon
- Dipnetting and snagging for stocked sockeye salmon returning to China Poot slowed down during the middle of last week but picked up again over the weekend.
- Sockeye and pink salmon have arrived in Tutka Bay Lagoon. This is a stocked fishery paid for by enhancement taxes on commercial fisheries. Anglers are reminded to avoid commercial boats operating in the area.
- Lingcod fishing has been fair for those willing to make the trip outside Cook Inlet to target them. Lingcod catches returning to the Homer Harbor have been between 30 to 44 pounds.
- Anglers have reported high numbers of juvenile lingcod while fishing for rockfish. This is encouraging news for the lingcod fishery. Please remember to carefully release all undersized lingcod and never use a gaff on a fish intended to be released.
- Many anglers are successfully targeting rockfish to complement halibut or salmon trips. More non-pelagic rockfish species have been caught in outside Cook Inlet waters near Chugach and Perl islands.
- Rockfish are found near rocky points and in kelp beds. The most popular places to target pelagic rockfish in Kachemak Bay are near Bluff Point and Point Pogibshi.
- Try fishing for them while trolling by using spoons, tube flies, or herring. Jigs also work well.
- Use deepwater release methods to release incidentally caught rockfish! Never heard of deepwater release for rockfish? For details, review the ADF&G Rockfish Conservation and Deepwater Release webpage.
- Clamming tides last through July 18. The next clamming tides are July 27-31, 2018.
- Razor clams can be found on beaches along the WESTSIDE of Cook Inlet and can be accessed by boat or plane. Popular razor clam beaches include the Polly Creek beach, Crescent River Bar, and Chinitna Bay. Boaters are advised to use caution before traveling across the Cook Inlet because of strong tidal currents and variable weather conditions.
- Littleneck (steamer) clams can be found in gravel beaches on the south side of Kachemak Bay from Seldovia to Chugachik Island.
- Butter clams are found on the islands in China Poot Bay. Butter clams can be found up to two feet deep.
- Littleneck clams can be found in a variety of habitats from Jakolof Bay to Bear Cove. Try exploring new beaches for success. Typically, littleneck clams are found shallower in the substrate, up to eight inches deep.
- Occasionally there are PSP advisories issued by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Contact the DEC at (907) 269-7501 or visit the DEC PSP webpage for more information.
Other Saltwater Fishing
- If you’re limited by access to a boat or by the weather, fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a great way to wet a line. Species available include walleye pollock, Pacific cod, Dolly Varden, a variety of flatfish species, coho salmon, and the occasional king salmon.
Fresh Water Streams
- On the Ninilchik River, fishing for hatchery king salmon is expected to be slow. Try the early morning hours for the best fishing.
- Fishing for Dolly Varden should be fair to good this week. Fly fisherman are most successful with beads and streamers and small spinners and spoons are effective on spinning gear.
- Very few pink salmon have been observed in the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River this year.
- Most of the Kenai Peninsula stocked lakes have been stocked with rainbow trout. Fishing conditions should be good. Try fishing with dry or wet flies, small spoons, spinners, or bait. The 2018 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet contains a current list of lakes and the species they’re stocked with.