Area Sport Fishing Reports
Southern Kenai

March through April Season

Don't forget: your fishing license expired Dec. 31! A sport fishing license makes a great gift -- lasts all year. (Neither the ADF&G Permanent ID license nor the ADF&G Disabled Veteran's license expire.)

The sport fishing regulations are good through April 15 of the new year. Look for new booklets around March or early April.

Salt Water Fishing

Halibut fishing is expected to be poor until late April or early May when fish begin their migration to near-shore waters. When the occasional calm water beckons in winter months, expect to catch fish in the 10-30 pound range.

Rockfish are occasionally caught in Lower Cook Inlet while trolling for king salmon. Rockfish may be kept year-round. The daily bag limit in Cook Inlet is five rockfish, no more than one of which may be a non-pelagic species. Check the rockfish identification pages in the regulation booklet to identify non-pelagic species.

Fishing for lingcod remains closed until July 1. All lingcod caught accidentally must be landed without the use of a gaff and carefully released.

Sharks are occasionally caught in Cook Inlet. The season is open year-round. The bag and possession limit is one shark of any species, except for spiny dogfish which have a bag/possession limit of five fish. There is an annual limit of two sharks of any species, except for spiny dogfish which have no annual limit. All harvested sharks must be recorded immediately upon capture on your license or harvest record. The most common sharks are the spiny dogfish (also called "sand sharks"), salmon sharks, and sleeper sharks. Sleeper sharks are generally inedible and should be released. Salmon sharks have high urea content and should be gutted and bled upon capture to ensure that the meat is edible. Spiny dogfish are a long-lived, slow to mature species that require long recovery times when stocks are over-exploited. Large and abrupt increases in the spiny dogfish population are unlikely because of their low reproductive rate. Spiny dogfish are highly migratory.

Some anglers find success trolling for "feeder" king salmon throughout winter and early spring. Feeder kings are fish from streams outside Cook Inlet that are feeding here before returning to their home stream to spawn. Plastic hootchies or tube flies in green, chartreuse, or blue herring trolled behind dodgers/flashers are often effective, as are variously-colored spoons and spinners. Dressing the tackle with herring can improve success.

Certain salt waters from the Ninilchik River south to Bluff Point close to all fishing April 1 through June 30. Also, special harvest limits apply in some salt waters from Ninilchik to Bluff Point. These restrictions are in place to protect early run king salmon. Carefully check the “Cook Inlet salt water” section of the regulation book before heading out to fish.

All king salmon bag limits still apply. From April 1 through September 30, king salmon harvested need to be recorded on the back of your fishing license, and the 5 king seasonal limit applies. A king stamp IS required year-round (unless you have the ADF&G Senior License or ADF&G Disabled Veterans License, or unless you are under 16 years old).

Eager anglers ready for a change from ice fishing might want to try fishing off the tip of the Homer Spit in mid-April to early May for Dolly Varden. Try a small spinner, Swedish PimpleTM, or preserved salmon eggs. Snagging is not allowed at this time in Kachemak Bay.

Good fishing for pollock and cod can also be found throughout Kachemak Bay. Other species that may be caught include Dolly Varden, greenling, Irish lord, flounder, sole, and skate. TIP: Fishing during slack tide or relatively small tidal exchanges require less lead (sinkers) to get to the bottom and will allow greater time anchored, all of which spells "easier fishing."

Freshwater Fishing

The Anchor River is closed to all fishing until the weekend before Memorial Day, while Deep Creek and the Ninilchik River are closed to all fishing until Memorial Day weekend, to protect various spawning salmon and trout. Please consult the sport fishing regulations before heading out to fish the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and the Ninilchik River.

Caribou Lake is 9 miles from the road system and is sometimes fished through the ice for small Dolly Varden and an occassional kokanee. Leisure Lake, across Kachemak Bay, also has a small population of rainbow trout. The ice conditions on either lake are not monitored by any state agency, and traveling on the ice is at your own risk.

Shellfish

Shrimp, crab - The shrimp and crab fisheries are closed year-round due to low population levels.

Clams - Only the hardiest clammers brave the weather and large breakers. You will need a lantern or strong flashlight if minus tides occur after 6 p.m. or before 7 a.m.

Butter and littleneck clams have different size and limit restrictions. Pictures in the sport fishing regulation book can help you learn to recognize the differences to avoid taking undersized butters. Bury your discarded clams neck up - they can't do it themselves and will die if you don't. Additionally fill in any holes dug in search of clams for the protection of the other beach creatures in the hole and to prevent smothering animals under the beach material you have piled up.

A sport-fishing license is required to harvest clams, including razor clams. There are literally miles of good razor clam beaches available from north of the Anchor River to Cape Stariski. The limit is the first 60 razor clams dug.

Occasionally there are PSP advisories issued by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. Contact them at (907) 269-7640, or check out their PSP pages on the Internet.

For more information on fishing contact the Homer ADF&G Area Office at (907) 235-8191.