Area Sport Fishing Reports
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.)
Angler success usually improves greatly in May, with larger fish showing up in catches. Typical sizes range from 10 to 150 pounds. The halibut fishery should be in full swing by the end of May.
A halibut that is kept counts towards the bag and possession limit OF THE PERSON WHO HOOKS IT, not the person who reels in the fish.
Fishing for Salmon in Salt Water
Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon - King salmon begin to show by mid-May, and numbers improve through early June. Spoons and spinners enhanced with salmon roe or herring are popular. Also, try fishing with only herring or roe.
Halibut Cove and Seldovia - Ready for some majestic scenery, fewer people, and an easier pace than the Homer Spit? Try one of these boat- or plane access-only stocked king fisheries. King salmon begin to show by late May, with numbers building until the peak in early June.
Trolling for King Salmon - Many anglers find success trolling for king salmon during May in near shore marine waters from Anchor Point to Ninilchik. A fair number of the king salmon caught in May are the larger spawners, heading back to their home streams in Cook Inlet. Feeder kings are also caught. Feeders are kings from streams outside Cook Inlet that are feeding before their eventual return 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 and fishing with only herring is also successful.
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 apply, and a 5-king seasonal limit is in effect from April 1 through September 30. Each king salmon you keep must be recorded, either on the back of your fishing license, or on a Harvest Record Card. Check the regulation booklet to see which harvest report you are required to have. 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).
Other Saltwater Opportunities
Rockfish are occasionally caught in Lower Cook Inlet while trolling for salmon or while fishing for halibut south of Point Pogibshi. Rockfish may be kept year-round. The bag limit in Cook Inlet is five rockfish, only one of which may be non-pelagic species. Most of the colorful species, such as the yelloweye rockfish (or "red snapper"), are in the non-pelagic category. Check the rockfish identification pages in the regulation booklet to identify non-pelagic species. Additional protection is needed for non-pelagic rockfishes because of their extreme longevity and low productivity. Anglers are encouraged to fish with a single hook and to avoid fishing in rocky areas so as to avoid catching non-pelagic rockfish. Rockfish caught in deep water suffer injuries from decompression. Recent research by the department indicates that survival of released rockfish can be substantially improved by releasing fish at the depth of capture. For more information on the types and use of deep water release mechanisms, see the department’s web page at http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=fishingSportFishingInfo.rockfishconservation.
Lingcod fishing is closed Janurary 1- June 30. 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 ove-rexploited. Large and abrupt increases in the spiny dogfish population are unlikely because of their low reproductive rate. Spiny dogfish are highly migratory.
Please do not remove the head or tail until ADF&G port samplers have had a chance to measure your fish.
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 requires less lead (sinkers) to get to the bottom and will allow greater time anchored, all of which spells "easier fishing."
Deep Creek, Ninilchik River, and the Anchor River are open only on the weekends and the Mondays following those weekends. Check the regulation booklet for specific dates. A weekend is 12:01 a.m. Saturday through midnight Monday.
Water conditions can vary greatly in these three rivers according to snowmelt and rainy weather.
Bait and multiple hooks are allowed in the salmon fishery on the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River. Favorite lures include PixeesTM, KrocodilesTM, Okie DriftersTM, and Spin-N-GlosTM, all sweetened with a chunk of salmon roe or herring. Many anglers also fish salmon roe alone on a hook beneath a Corkie with enough weight to ensure their bait is bumping against the bottom.
Special restrictions apply, so please consult the sport fishing regulations before heading out to fish the Anchor River, Deep Creek, and the Ninilchik River.
King salmon return to the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Ninilchik River from approximately early May through late July with a peak in June. Stream conditions on the Ninilchik River are generally less turbid than on the Anchor River and Deep Creek in May during fishery openings. The Ninilchik River is stocked with hatchery reared king salmon in addition to having a wild run. Hatchery reared kings are distinguished from wild fish by their adipose fin (a fleshy fin just before the tail); wild fish have an adipose fin while hatchery fish are missing their adipose fin and have a healed scar where the fin was removed.
As a result of the Ninilchik River stocking program, a hatchery-only fishery is allowed on the Ninilchik River in July.
Shrimp, crab - The shrimp and crab fisheries are closed year-round due to low population levels.
Clams - Many recreational clammers choose Memorial Day weekend for their first trip of the season to the clamming beaches.
Your fishing license is required to take hardshell clams and for harvesting razor clams.
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 otherwise. 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 the ones buried under the pile you dug up.
There are literally miles of good razor clam beaches available from north of Anchor Point to Cape Kasilof. 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) 269-7629, or check out their PSP pages on the Internet.