Area Sport Fishing Reports
Southern Kenai

Archived Sport Fishing Report

May 23, 2018

Regulation Reminders and Emergency Orders

Razor Clam Emergency Order

  • Per Emergency Order No. 2-RCL-7-01-18 and 2-RCL-7-02-18 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.

Regulation Reminders

  • 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. The Regulation Summary booklet is available on the ADF&G website, at ADF&G offices, and local vendors.
    • King salmon regulations for the Cook Inlet saltwaters are located on pages 72-74 and begin on page 66 for Kenai Peninsula freshwaters.
    • Anglers are reminded a king salmon 20 inches or longer that is removed from the water must be retained and becomes part of the bag limit of the person who hooked the fish.
  • Steelhead trout are present in Lower Cook Inlet streams in the spring. Be familiar with identifying steelhead and king salmon before you go fishing. Steelhead may never be retained or removed from the water.
  • 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 NOAA’s Fisheries Sport Halibut Fishing in Alaska webpage.

Saltwater Fishing


  • Halibut fishing has been fair. A few boats returning to the Homer Harbor last week had halibut larger than 100 pounds.
  • Halibut fishing will continue to improve throughout May and should be in full swing by Memorial Day weekend, as more fish move from overwintering waters back to summer feeding areas in the Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay areas. Halibut sizes range from 10 to 250 pounds, with an average size being 14 pounds.
  • Herring on a circle hook is the most popular bait, but 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.

King Salmon

  • Trolling for king salmon has been fair in Upper Cook Inlet north of Bluff Point to the Anchor Point Light and in the Whiskey Gulch area. There has been some effort in Kachemak Bay but catches have been spotty.
  • Spawner king salmon are returning to Cook Inlet; however, harvest has been low. Anglers have had success targeting these fish in shallower waters close to shore in Upper Cook Inlet from Deep Creek south to Bluff Point.
  • Feeder king salmon can be found throughout Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay. The most consistent catches have been north of Bluff Point over the last week.
  • 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.
  • To find 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.
  • ADF&G is continuing to sample the genetic stock composition of the marine king salmon fishery. There are port samplers at the Homer Harbor, Deep Creek, and Anchor Point tractor launches. If you fished for king salmon in the Cook Inlet area, regardless of success, we’d like to talk to you and collect biological samples from your fish.
  • King salmon have begun showing up in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon, the Fishing Hole, in small numbers. A variety of methods can work here, including spinners, and herring or eggs suspended beneath a bobber. Try fishing when the incoming tide begins to flood the lagoon for a chance at fresh king salmon.


  • 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, see the ADF&G Rockfish Conservation and Deepwater Release webpage.


  • Tides are small this week. Clamming tides are May 27 – June 1, 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, and the occasional king salmon.

Freshwater Fishing

Fresh Water Streams

  • The Anchor River is open to king salmon Wednesday, May 23, 2018, and Memorial Day weekend, May 26 - May 28. Fishing was poor on the opening weekend; expect poor to fair fishing this week as well. Water conditions are still very cold and somewhat turbid, although the water level has fallen to a fishable level.
  • Deep Creek and Ninilchik River will also be open to king salmon fishing Memorial Day weekend, May 26 - May 28. Expect Ninilchik to have the best water conditions for fishing and Deep Creek to have higher and more turbid water.
    • Increased numbers of hatchery king salmon are expected to return to the Ninilchik River this season.
  • Salmon egg clusters are usually the most effective in these water conditions. Try fishing at the mouth of the rivers on the incoming tide for newly arriving fish. Herring or spinners may also work well.

Lake Fishing

  • The ice is gone from most Kenai Peninsula stocked lakes. Spring fishing can be great for hungry trout after a long winter under the ice. Most of these lakes are stocked with rainbow trout, which can be taken on dry or wet flies, small spoons, spinners, or bait. Review the 2018 Southcentral Sport Fishing Regulations Summary booklet for a current list of stocked lakes.


Southern Kenai Area Archives for:
Sep 04, 2018 Aug 29, 2018 Aug 21, 2018 Aug 14, 2018 Aug 08, 2018 Aug 01, 2018 Jul 24, 2018 Jul 17, 2018
Jul 10, 2018 Jul 03, 2018 Jun 26, 2018 Jun 19, 2018 Jun 13, 2018 Jun 05, 2018 May 30, 2018 May 23, 2018
May 18, 2018