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Area Sport Fishing Reports
Lower Cook Inlet
May 25, 2016
Week of May 23 to May 29
Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders
- It’s a good idea to consult the sport fishing regulation booklet before starting your fishing trip. Make sure to consult pages 18-20 before heading out to fish for king salmon in Cook Inlet saltwaters areas. Before heading out to fish on freshwater streams, consult page 54-56 for the Anchor River; page 56 for Deep Creek and page 59 for the Ninilchik River.
- Anglers are reminded that hooked steelhead trout must not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.
- Anglers are also reminded a king salmon 20 inches or longer that is removed from salt or fresh water must be retained and becomes part of the bag limit of the person who hooked the fish.
- Regulation changes are in effect for guided anglers fishing for halibut. A more extensive description of these Federal regulations can be found at: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/frules/79fr13906.pdf .
- Lingcod may not be harvested until July 1. All lingcod caught accidentally must be carefully released and may not be punctured with a gaff.
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 through December 31, 2016.
Saltwaters Fishing Report
- Early-season halibut fishing is fair though most fish are small. The fishery will improve as more fish move from deep, overwintering waters back to the shallower summer feeding areas.
- Herring is the most popular bait, but octopus, squid, salmon heads, and jigs also work well.
- The department has been receiving reports of “mushy” halibut again this season. The flesh of these fish is very soft or flabby, sometimes with pockets of jelly-like tissue, and fish are 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 on this condition is ongoing.
- Early-run king salmon are available this time of year in the nearshore salt waters of Anchor Point, Whiskey Gulch and Deep Creek.
- Trolling success for feeder king salmon is reported as fair to good from Bluff Point north. Feeder king salmon are often mixed with maturing Cook Inlet king salmon making their way to Cook Inlet streams.
- Anglers are beginning to catch chum salmon.
- Downriggers are essential for trolling in deeper water. Small herring trolled behind a flasher or dodger is the most effective presentation.
- Other effective gear includes spoons, hootchies and tube flies.
- 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 .
- King salmon fishing is improving at the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon on the Homer Spit and Seldovia. There have been no reported king salmon sightings at Halibut Cove Lagoon.
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.
- Fresh waters Fishing Report
- The Anchor and Ninilchik Rivers and Deep Creek will open from the mouth upstream approximately 2 miles to the ADF&G regulatory marks to fishing Memorial Day weekend (Saturday-Monday). In addition the Anchor River will open to fishing on Wednesday May 25.
- River conditions on the Anchor River and Ninilchik River are expected to be good. Expect less favorable water conditions on Deep Creek.
- Expect a good return of hatchery-reared king salmon less than 20” on the Ninilchik River.
- Try fishing near the mouths of these streams during high tide to target newly arriving fish.
- Spinners, flies and yarn are effective for king salmon in these streams as well as bait such as eggs and herring.
- The ice is gone from Kenai Peninsula stocked lakes and 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 clamming tides run from June 3-9, Included in this tide series are some minus 5 ft. tides.
- All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay remain closed for 2016.