Area Sport Fishing Reports
September 04, 2018
Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders
- Anglers are reminded to review Emergency Orders and News Releases and the 2018 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for the Homer Area before heading out on their next fishing trip.
Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon Emergency Order
- Per Emergency Order No. 2-SS-7-53-18 the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon and adjacent waters except for the Homer Boat Harbor is open to snagging.
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.
- The 2018/2019 Tanner crab fishery is set to open October 1, 2018. Stay tuned for the news release pertaining to this fishery after the completion of a trawl survey, which is being conducted this week.
- The Kachemak Bay Coho Salmon Gillnet Fishery closed August 18, 2018.
- The Anchor River, Ninilchik River, Deep Creek, and Stariski Creek are open from August 1, 2018, through October 31, 2018, to fishing for Dolly Varden and steelhead/rainbow trout upstream of the two-mile markers.
- Please familiarize yourself with the differences between coho salmon and steelhead trout. Steelhead and rainbow trout have black spots all over both lobes of the tail, while coho salmon have black spots only on the upper lobe of the tail.
- Steelhead/rainbow trout may never be removed from the water and must be immediately released. You may not fish for salmon upstream of the two-mile markers.
- The lower portions of the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Stariski Creek are open to sport fishing except for king salmon.
- The bag and possession limit for other salmon is three per day and three in possession; however, only two per day and two in possession may be coho salmon.
- Only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure may be used on the Anchor River, Ninilchik River, Deep Creek, and Stariski Creek through October 31, 2018.
- In Cook Inlet saltwaters, from September 1, 2018, through March 31, 2019, the bag and possession limit is two king salmon of any size and there is no recording requirement.
- Lingcod season is open from July 1, 2018, through December 31, 2018. 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 front 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.
- 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.
- Halibut fishing effort has tailed off from peak season. The average halibut returning to the harbor has been 15 to 25 pounds, although plenty of boats are returning with limits and bigger fish on board. Halibut fishing is still possible throughout the fall and into the winter, but few anglers target them as larger halibut have begun their migration offshore.
- 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 are available all year in Kachemak Bay. There are numerous spots to try trolling throughout the winter from the head of Kachemak Bay to Bluff Point and Point Pogibshi, including areas near Yukon and Cohen islands and the tip of the Homer Spit. Over the last week, king salmon were caught north of Bluff Point and the tip of the Homer Spit.
- 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.
- The Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon is open to snagging but the coho salmon run is mostly over.
- In the past week anglers have reported limited success trolling for coho salmon from the tip of the Homer Spit, Bluff Point, Silver Ridge, and Bear Cove. Coho salmon will take most presentations that a king salmon will. Try the thin blade spoons or herring in a head clip behind a flasher.
- Fall and winter storms tend to limit lingcod fishing, though it is possible until the season closes at the end of the year on December 31, 2018. Success for lingcod can be found near Chugach or Elizabeth islands.
- Anglers have reported high numbers of juvenile lingcod while fishing for rockfish or salmon in waters near Bluff Point and the Chugach Islands. This is encouraging news for the lingcod fishery. Please remember to carefully release all undersized lingcod and to never use a gaff on a fish intended to be released.
- The best locations for targeting black, dark, and dusky rockfish in Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet are along Bluff Point and near Point Pogibshi. The best fishing tends to be outside of Cook Inlet around the Chugach Islands.
- 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.
- The next clamming tides are September 8-12, 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 Shellfish Poisoning 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.
- Coho salmon fishing is winding down, but there may still be some fresh fish entering area streams on the incoming tides. Coho salmon are the most active at the break of day and often respond to marabou jigs, corkie and yarn setups, or streamers.
- Fall fishing success in the Homer area streams will fluctuate with changing water conditions associated with periods of rain.
- Fishing for Dolly Varden above the two-mile markers has been fair to good. Dolly Varden are beginning to acquire their spawning coloration, and are dispersed throughout Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River. Fly fisherman are most successful with beads and streamers and small spinners and spoons are effective on spinning gear.
- Steelhead trout have entered the roadside streams. Expect steelhead fishing to peak in mid-September and continue through October. Steelhead are often targeted with a bead pegged above a hook, although jig and bobber and swinging flies are other popular and effective ways to entice a bite.
- 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.
This fishing report will be updated when additional information is available. For current seasonal information, please contact the Homer office at (907) 235-8191.