Area Sport Fishing Reports
August 14, 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, effective Saturday, August 11, 2018, the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon and adjacent waters except for the Homer Boat Harbor opened 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 Kachemak Bay Coho Salmon Gillnet Fishery opens August 16. Open periods are 6:00 a.m. Monday to 6:00 a.m. Wednesday and 6:00 a.m. Thursday to 6:00 a.m. Saturday. The fishery closes when 1,000-2,000 coho salmon have been harvested. Permits are available at the Homer ADF&G office until the fishery closes.
- The Anchor River, Ninilchik River, Deep Creek, and Stariski Creek opened on August 1 to fishing for Dolly Varden and steelhead/rainbow trout upstream of the two-mile markers. 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. Anglers are reminded that king salmon may not be targeted and if hooked, they must be released immediately. The bag and possession limit for other salmon is three per day, three in possession - only two per day, two in possession may be coho salmon.
- On the Anchor River, Ninilchik River, Deep Creek, and Stariski Creek, bait and treble hooks are legal gear through August 31.
- Anglers are allowed to snag fish in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi including the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon (Fishing Hole), which opened to snagging by emergency order.
- 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 is open. 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.
- The marine waters of Tutka Bay Lagoon within 100 yards of the hatchery net pens are closed to sport fishing for any species.
- Rough weather hampered effort on both ends of last week, but most boats that made it out on nicer days were able to return with halibut. Most halibut brought back to the harbor this week were small. Anglers are targeting halibut in the usual spots out in the inlet, including areas near Flat Island, Diamond Creek, and various spots in the inner bay. 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.
- If you have fished from a harbor in Southcentral Alaska you may be familiar with the Department of Fish and Game groundfish port sampling program. The groundfish port sampling program was a featured on KTUU.
- Hot spots for feeder king salmon trolling continue to move around the bay. Anglers targeting salmon in the usual spots, including Flat Island, Silver Ridge, and areas between Bluff Point and Anchor Point have found king salmon mixed in with coho salmon. Pink salmon have been commonly picked up while pulling lines as well.
- 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 for coho salmon. The Homer Boat Harbor is excluded from this emergency order and snagging is not allowed in the Homer Boat Harbor. Watch for schools of coho salmon circling the lagoon or swimming near the mouth.
- Trolling for coho salmon in Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay in the inner bay and near the Homer Spit has also been productive. 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.
- Anglers are also intercepting coho salmon from shore at high tide along the Homer Spit north of the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon. Make sure to respect private property in this area.
Sockeye and Pink Salmon
- There are good numbers of pink salmon 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.
- Both private and charter vessels have returned to the Homer Harbor with combos of halibut, lingcod, and rockfish. Boats targeting lingcod continue to travel ‘around the corner’ to areas near the Chugach 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.
- Many anglers are successfully targeting rockfish to complement halibut or salmon trips. More nonpelagic rockfish species have been caught in 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.
- August 14 is the last clamming tide in August. There is a series of small negative tides beginning August 26.
- 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 has been fair to good and should continue to be good in the streams on the lower Kenai Peninsula. Many methods can be effective, including eggs or herring under a bobber, and spinners. Try fishing on an incoming tide near the river mouth on the Ninilchik River, Deep Creek, or Anchor River. Coho salmon are the most active at the break of day.
- Fishing for Dolly Varden above the two-mile markers has been fair to good. Most dollies appear to have passed the weirs on Deep Creek and Anchor River. Fly fisherman are most successful with beads and streamers and small spinners and spoons are effective on spinning gear.
- 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.