Area Sport Fishing Reports
Southern Kenai

June Season

Freshwater Fishing

Anchor River, Deep Creek, and the Ninilchik River are usually open in June, but are weekend-only fisheries (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday). Please check the regulation booklet for specific dates.

The king salmon fishing success at Anchor River, Deep Creek, and the Ninilchik River often depends on river conditions. The last two weekend openers are usually drier, and water levels have usually gone down from their spring flood highs. In addition, the second or third weekend openings often see more fish entering the rivers, as this is typically the peak of the king salmon return. On the Anchor River, the final weekend opener is often slow fishing because fewer fish are entering the river.

Overall, king salmon catches improve each weekend until mid-month, then catches decline as the month wears on. These rivers tend to produce better fishing early in the day, but fishing success is also tide dependent. Anglers report that they start to catch fish around one to two hours before high tide, until about one hour after high tide.

Bait and multiple hooks are legal gear in these streams, with salmon roe preferred. Many king salmon anglers will add an Okie DrifterTM, Lil CorkieTM, Spin-n-GloTM, or orange or red yarn as an extra attractor. Anglers fishing without bait seem to prefer PixeesTM, KrokodilesTM, or TeeSpoonsTM. Whatever your preferred method, give it a try and if that doesn't work look around and see what the lucky ones are using.

Please consult the sport fishing regulations prior to fishing these streams.

Saltwater Fishing

Salmon

The June marine fishery for king salmon usually runs from poor to good, depending on the weather. Many kings are in the 15- to 25-pound range; occasionally fish weighing 40 pounds or more are reported. Spawning or mature fish represent a majority of the catch. Spawning kings tend to weigh in at 18-22 lbs., and fish smaller than that are typically "feeders." Feeders are immature king salmon that will not spawn for several months or years and are feeding in near shore waters of Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay.

By the end of the month, second-run kings start to show up in saltwater catches. The best bet when trolling for kings is fishing a herring behind a flasher in about 60 feet of water between Bluff Point and Anchor Point.

The stocked king salmon fisheries of Halibut Cove Lagoon require a boat for access. Seldovia may be reached by boat - regular air service is also available. Participating anglers are rewarded with majestic scenery, fewer anglers and a pleasant day away from the hustle and bustle. King salmon returns to these areas peak in mid-June, and the run is pretty much over by the end of June.

Most of the action at Seldovia is centered near the bridge that crosses the Seldovia Slough. The harbor can also produce good catches. Trolling along the outside of the breakwater is effective for boat anglers, as is anchoring up in the slough at higher tide stages. The best chance of catching a fish here is on the ebb and flow of the tide. In Halibut Cove, most angling activity occurs from boats near the far end of the lagoon by the boat docks. Anglers also troll or cast on either end of the channel.

By late June, red (sockeye) salmon will enter the sheltered waters of China Poot Bay. These salmon are returning to an enhancement project financed by commercial fishermen. Not all are caught by their nets, though, and it’s possible for anglers to harvest some for their freezers. Higher concentrations of fish will be found near the mouth of China Poot Creek.

Also by the end of June, hatchery personnel at the small Tutka Bay lagoon usually see their first pink salmon of the year. These fish must first swim in Tutka Bay to return to the hatchery. Try cruising the shoreline in your Bayliner until you spot jumpers. Stop and cast a hot pink PixeeTM into the school and you can hardly go wrong.

Except for the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon area, snagging is allowed in Kachemak Bay from June 24 through Dec. 31. Check the regulation booklet carefully. Before snagging is allowed, king salmon anglers cast out lures such as PixeesTM, Spin-N-GlosTM, or TeeSpoonsTM, sometimes adding salmon roe or fresh herring.

Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon - The king fishery begins in earnest in the first week of June. Because these fish are stocked into this saltwater lagoon, they have no freshwater stream to enter. These fish remain easily accessible and all will get caught. Many anglers, even some who have never before caught a king salmon, take their daily bag limit of two fish. Generally speaking, you can expect to catch a fish at this site just about any time of the day, but fishing is especially hot when the tide is flowing into the lagoon. Anglers have luck both inside and outside of the lagoon.

Preferred bait is cut herring or salmon roe, sometimes suspended beneath a bobber if the tide is high. Anglers are reminded that this area remains closed to snagging until the Alaska Department of Fish and Game issues an Emergency Order (EO). Such an EO will be announced through the media and signs will be posted throughout the Fishing Lagoon area.

Groundfish

Halibut - Weather always plays a big part in bringing back fresh halibut. June is usually a calm month, but keep a watchful eye on weather and water conditions. Times of slack tide, or very little tidal interchanges often make it easier to keep your bait on the bottom.

Halibut fishing in lower Cook Inlet (Homer and Seldovia) is expected to remain good this year. Although abundance throughout Southcentral Alaska is currently above the historical average, reproduction is down and abundance is believed to be decreasing.

Halibut fishing should pick up a little in June, with slightly larger fish compared to May. Most charters run 15-50 miles from Homer and fish in 100-300 feet of water. Charter boat anglers can expect to catch fish in the 10-60 pound range, although an occasional larger fish, up to 200 pounds, will be landed. Private anglers fishing closer to port will do well in 80-150 feet of water. Popular spots include the bluffs on the north side of the outer bay, and the Glacier Spit area. Halibut taken closer to Homer are typically smaller, in the 10-40 pound range, with occasional larger fish up to 100 pounds or more.

Halibut fishing in central Cook Inlet (Anchor Point and Ninilchik) is usually good in June, with many boats reporting limit catches. June also presents the opportunity to harvest halibut while trolling for king salmon. Most boats fish 70-300 feet of water. Expect most fish to be in the 10-30 pound range. The majority of larger fish come from deeper water farther offshore.

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.

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 until July 1 to protect male lingcod guarding their nests. Targeting lingcod, even for catch and release, is not allowed. All lingcod caught unintentionally 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 overexploited. 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."

The Division of Sport Fish collects data on the recreational bottomfish harvest landed in Homer and on the beaches at Anchor Point and Deep Creek. Fishery technicians interview returning anglers and sample halibut, rockfish, and sharks for length, weight, sex, and age. You can help by providing information when interviewed and by allowing technicians to sample your catch. Information collected by this project is used to monitor the health of the fishery, advise halibut management agencies, and help the Alaska Board of Fisheries formulate regulations that protect fish stocks and provide maximum fishing opportunity. Contact ADF&G in Homer at (907) 235-1730 for additional information.

Shellfish

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

Clams - Lower Cook Inlet in June often sees at least one or two series of minus tides, the best times to dig for clams. Clam diggers are reminded that a sport-fishing license is needed to dig for 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. Additionally, it is a good practice to fill in any holes dug in search of clams, and to bury your discarded clams neck up.

There are literally miles of good razor clam beaches available from Bluff Point north to the mouth of the Kenai River. The limit is the first 60 razor clams dug. All razor clams dug must be kept.

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.

For more information on the Lower Kenai Peninsula salmon sport fisheries contact the Homer Area Office at (907) 235-8191.