By Randi Somers
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has issued an emergency order to protect the Anchor River king salmon fishery through midnight July 31. They are prohibiting the use of bait and/or treble hooks and also closing the inlet waters for two miles north and south of the river’s mouth.
Another order has been issued to reduce the sport, personal use and subsistence bag and possession limits for clams in Cook Inlet and Resurrection Bay from 1,000 little necks and 700 butters to a combined limit of 80 clams.
The lower reaches of the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Stariski Creek are open to sport fishing except king salmon effective July 1. Kings may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately to enhance chances of survival. On the Anchor river fishermen may use only one unbated single hook artificial lure. These restrictions are in effect until July 31 at midnight. Bait and treble hooks may be used in Deep Creek, Stariski Ceek and the Ninilchik River.
The Ninilchik river is open to sport fishing including hatchery king salmon. Hatchery fish are missing their adipose fin which is the fleshy fin on the back just forward of the tail.
The department advises to expect slow fishing for Dolly Varden and pink salmon in all streams as most runs are just starting. The Anchor River weir daily and cumulative counts are available on the Sport Fish web site or by calling Homer ADF&G office, 235-8191.
Numerous Kenai Peninsula lakes are stocked, providing fresh water fishing opportunities. A list of stocked lakes is available at the office, at 3298 Douglas Place behind Alyeska Tire. Turn west on Douglas off Ocean Drive and look for a blue and white sign. The list is also on the website.
Halibut fishing is productive out of Homer, Anchor Point and Deep Creek. Most fishermen have been catching their two-a-day limit. Sampled halibut landed over the past week averaged 20 pounds. Herring is the most popular bait but octopus, squid, salmon heads and jigs are also working well. The department has received several reports of “mushy” halibut with very soft flabby flesh and sometimes with pockets of jelly-like tissue. They are reportedly still mushy after being cooked. They have not yet been officially tested but similar incidents were reported in 1998 and 2005 which were diagnosed as a nutritional myopathy. They advise that anglers release such fish immediately unharmed and find a different place to fish.
Salmon snagging is allowed in Kachemak Bay east of a line from Anchor Point to Point Pogibshi until December 31 except in the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon.
Trollers aren’t reporting much success on the south side of Kachemak Bay and Bluff Point and fishing has also been slow for early run king salmon. Popular set ups for king salmon include herring, hootchies, tube flies and spoons. Adding dodgers or flashers helps attract the fish. In the Nick Dudiak Lagoon on the Spit, kings are being caught mostly on incoming and high tide on salmon eggs, herring and blue spinners. On the far side, the king fishing is slow in Halibut Cove Lagoon and Seldovia.
In other salt water fishing, lingcod is open and anglers are finding rock piles and pinnacles near Elizabeth Island and Kennedy Entrance productive. Legal size is 35 inches and the bag limit is two per day or two in possession. A gaff may not be used on any fish intended for release.
The China Poot personal use dipnet fishery is open and complete regulations are found on page 17 of the Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing regulations summary booklet. This run peaks about the middle of July.
Shellfish: Extreme tides, best for clamming have ended for now, but razors can still be taken from sandy beaches from Homer to Kasilof, which are exposed on any minus tide of at least two feet.
Bag limit for razors is the first 60 dug regardless of size. Checking through the sand removed from the hole sometimes reveals additional clams. The clams spawned in 2007 are now about 3.5 inches. Clam Gulch is producing well and larger razors are being found from Deep Creek to Whiskey Gulch. On the far side, little neck and butters are found from Jakolof to Bear Cove. Typically littlenecks are fairly shallow, about six feet down, while butters are up to two feet deep.
All shrimp and crab fisheries in Kachemak Bay are currently closed, but Tanner crab season opens July 15. A free permit is required and available from the department. Personal use shrimp (for Alaskans only) is open for the North Gulf coast waters and a free permit is required.
The fish and game web page has been redesigned and provides detailed information.
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