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Lower Cook Inlet
Recent Lower Cook Inlet News Releases
June 23, 2015
Week of June 22 to June 29
Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders
King Salmon Emergency Orders
- The annual limit of five king salmon 20” or longer has been restored to the Cook Inlet annual limit for fish harvested in the Ninilchik River and all marine waters south of the latitude of the mouth of the Ninilchik River to the latitude of Bluff Point beginning 12:01 a.m., Saturday, June 20, 2015. Any king salmon recorded before Saturday, June 20, on the harvest portion of an Alaska sport fishing license or harvest record card counts towards the Cook Inlet annual limit.
- An emergency order rescinded the preseason action that maintained the conservation zone surrounding the Anchor River mouth and regulations associated with the Special Harvest Areas 2 miles north of the Anchor River to Bluff Point from July 1-15.
Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon Emergency Order
- The Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon on the Homer Spit will open to snagging from noon, Friday, June 26 through 11:59 p.m., Sunday, June 28.
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.
Additional Regulation Reminders
- Snagging is allowed in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi starting June 24 through December 31, except in the Nick Dudiak fishing lagoon.
- China Poot personal use dipnet fishery opens July 1. 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.
- Lingcod may not be harvested until July 1.
- Rockfish caught in deep water suffer injuries from decompression. Recent research by Department staff indicates that survival of released rockfish can be substantially improved by releasing fish at the depth of capture. For more information on the use of deep water release mechanisms, see the department’s Web page at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fishingSportFishingInfo.rockfishconservation .
- All anglers sport fishing for king salmon (except stocked landlocked lakes) must either have a king salmon stamp or harvest card. Refer to page 5 of the regulation summary for requirements.
- Halibut fishing is improving with some large size fish being caught. Sampled fish harvested out of the Homer port averaged 11.7 lbs. (range 5.3 – 50.2 lbs.). The fishery is improving as more fish move from deep, overwintering waters back into the shallower summer feeding areas. Many anglers had success using herring on circle hooks.
- Unguided anglers can retain 2 halibut a day, 4 in possession.
- Regulation changes are in effect for guided anglers 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, and guided anglers have an annual limit of five halibut. A more extensive description of these Federal regulations can be found at: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/frules/79fr13906.pdf
- You can also contact NOAA fisheries at 1-800-304-4846 or 907-586-7228 with questions about regulations pertaining to sport fishing for halibut.
- The department has received reports of “mushy” halibut this season. The flesh of these fish is very soft or flabby, sometimes with pockets of jelly-like tissue, and the flesh is mushy after being cooked. Experience during years of high prevalence of this condition (1998, 2005, 2011-12) shows that the incidence of these fish can be high for anglers fishing certain locales, so if you catch a fish that feels flabby or does not look as robust and rounded as a healthy halibut should, release it immediately unharmed and consider moving to a different area to avoid these fish. Department research is ongoing.
- Trolling success for king salmon is reported as good near Point Pogibshi and along the south side of Kachemak Bay, but has slowed from Bluff Point north,
- Popular trolling set-ups for king salmon include herring, tube flies, and spoons. Try using dodgers or flashers for extra attraction.
- While trolling for king salmon, anglers are reporting catches of pink, chum, sockeye and a few coho salmon.
- Sport caught pink salmon may be used as bait in the salt water fisheries.
- Angling families targeting salmon should think about entering the five species of Pacific salmon challenge. Details are available at www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fishingSport.fiveSalmonFamily
- King salmon fishing remains good in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon on the Homer Spit. Try salmon eggs, herring and blue Vibrax spinners; also try fishing around the incoming tide as new fish arrive.
- King salmon fishing at Seldovia Lagoon is good with more fish entering the lagoon; the best time to fish is during the incoming tide. Anglers are using Vibrax spinners, herring and shrimp as bait.
- King salmon are beginning to show up at the head of Halibut Cove Lagoon.
- As a part of the Chinook Salmon Research Initiative, the Department is looking at the genetic stock composition of the marine king salmon fishery. There are port samplers stationed at the Homer Harbor, and Deep Creek and Anchor Point tractor launches conducting quick interviews and collecting biological information, scales, and genetic clips from sport caught king salmon. If you fished for king salmon in Cook Inlet, regardless of success, we’d like to talk to you! More information on the Chinook Salmon Research Initiative can be found at: http://dfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=chinookinitiative.main .
Other Saltwater Fishing
- Fishing off the end of the Homer Spit can be a fun way to pass the time. Species available include walleye pollock, Pacific cod, a variety of flatfish species and an occasional king salmon.
- The lower sections of the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Ninilchik Rivers will open to sport fishing July 1.
- No fresh water king retention except: hatchery King salmon may be retained in the Ninilchik River after July 1. Hatchery king salmon are recognized by the missing adipose fin and healed fin clip scar. See page 59 of Southcentral Alaska sportfishing regulation book
- The Anchor River weir is operational and fish counts are available online at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/sf/FishCounts/ .
- The Kenai Peninsula stocked lakes fishing conditions are good. Most of these lakes are stocked with rainbow trout which, this time of year, are taken on dry or wet flies, small spoons, spinners, or bait. A brochure listing the locations of the stocked lakes is available on the Sport Fish web site and at ADF&G offices.
- The next series of clamming tides run June 30 through July 7.
- Razor clams can be found on beaches along the west side of Cook Inlet and are accessed by boat or plane. Popular razor clam beaches include Crescent River, Chinitna Bay and Polly Creek.
- Boaters should use caution before traveling across the inlet because of strong currents and should check weather forecast before traveling.
- Littleneck (steamer) and butter clams can be found in gravel beaches on the south side of Kachemak Bay from Seldovia to Chugachik Island.
- Good numbers of 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.
- All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay remain closed for 2015.