Reeling ’em in: Silver fishing gives flash of fall

Now that we are teetering on the precipice of September’s slide into fall, it’s time to concentrate on the silvers entering some of our local streams. Unfortunately, the large schools spoiling for a rumble seem to be draggin’ their anal fins getting here.

Even though the push has been anemic, hard core fin hunters have been landing some beauties because they have the knowledge and patience to stalk their preferred haunts around the crack of dawn or throughout the day’s gloaming, especially during incoming tides.


Silvers are edgy and avoid daylight like it’s a ravenous grizzly with fish-gut breath that could melt the paint off a Hummer. They love the rain and tend to motor upstream as aquatic levels rise. They also prefer the watercourse to be as cool as you think you are when sporting a wading outfit worth more than a truck payment.

I realize that certain piscatorians reading this will snort that they don’t need no stinkin’ tips on how to entice a strike from these battlers and skip on down to the activity report. That’s cool. But, if you are not a fin assassin so skilled that your prey simply throws in the towel and beaches itself as you stroll to the water’s edge, stick around. Maybe some of the following insights and tips will help you in your hunt for the mother lode of silver fury.

Spin casting can be a very productive way to angle for coho.

When casting it is important not to stop retrieving until the spinner or spoon is almost at your feet. Silvers will often follow your lure all the way in before smacking at it. I’ve had them slam the rod just before I was ready to take my Z-Ray out of the water. It startled the hell out of me and I missed a few because I stood there stunned like a clueless dweeb.

Another suggestion is to randomly move the rod to the left or right while retrieving the lure to change its direction of travel. Also, stop reeling for a moment to allow the lure to flutter and, hopefully, wheedle a strike.

If you are using a fly rod and targeting fish holding in the slower currents, don’t cast your fly and line on top of them. Cast beyond or to side of where the fish are and then start your retrieve as short strips with the occasional pause. Silvers will leave the school to chase and hit the fly. They also like to hang out in shadowy areas such as shoreline overhangs or in swirl pools behind rocks and wood jams.

Remember, when hooked, they cop a nasty attitude and will routinely rocket out of the water with a tendency to roll in the line and leader.

Flies commonly used for this type of fishing are Muddler minnows, flash flies in greens, blues and reds and wooly buggers in different colors. Check out the local tackle shops for further suggestions.

Hey, use what works for you but don’t back off from trying something new, including techniques.

Now let’s take a look at the Homer area fishing report for week of Aug. 27 to Sept. 2.

Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon Emergency Order

Per Emergency Order No. 2-SS-7-53-18 the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon and adjacent waters except for the Homer Boat Harbor is open to snagging.

Regulation Reminders

The Kachemak Bay Coho Salmon Gillnet Fishery is closed.

The Anchor River, Ninilchik River, Deep Creek, and Stariski Creek are open 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.

Familiarize yourself with the differences between coho salmon and steelhead trout. Steelhead and rainbow trout have black spots all over both lobes of the tail, while coho salmon have black spots only on the upper lobe of the tail. Steelhead and rainbow trout may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

The lower portions of the Anchor River, Deep Creek and Stariski Creek are open to sport fishing except for kings.

The bag and possession limit for other salmon is three per day and three in possession; however, only two per day and two in possession may be silvers.

On the Anchor River, Ninilchik River, Deep Creek, and Stariski Creek, bait and treble hooks are legal gear only through Aug. 31.

On the Anchor River, Ninilchik River, Deep Creek, and Stariski Creek, effective Sept. 1 to Oct. 31, only one unbaited, single-hook, artificial lure may be used on all stream sections.

In Cook Inlet saltwater, effective Sept. 1 to March 31, the bag and possession limit is two king salmon of any size and there is no recording requirement.

Lingcod season remains open. 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.

Saltwater Fishing

Halibut

Halibut fishing hunts have begun to taper off from the peak of the season. The halibut returned to the harbor have been running small, although plenty of boats are returning with limits and some decent sized fish on board. Two fish over 100 lbs. were reported on Monday.

King Salmon

Vessels trolling for kings in Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet have been more successful in the last week than throughout much of the summer. You will probably pick up some pinks and silvers while chasing the chinooks. Give the head of Kachemak Bay or Bluff Point a shot.

Coho Salmon

The Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon is open to snagging for coho. The action has slowed considerably since the lagoon opened to the technique but tenacious piscatorians are still beaching a few.

Trolling for silvers Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay’s inner bay waters, including near the Homer Spit has continued to be a crap shoot. Determined anglers have reported coho strikes from the tip of the Homer Spit, to Bluff Point and Bear Cove.

Shore based silver fishing along the Homer Spit has assumed ghost status over the last week. If you go, make sure to respect private property in this area.

Lingcod

Both private and charter vessels continue to return to the Homer Harbor with combos of halibut, lingcod, and rockfish. The best chance for lingcod is to travel ‘around the corner’ to areas near the Chugach Islands.

Rockfish

Nonpelagic rockfish species continue to be been caught in waters near Chugach and Perl islands.

They like to hang 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.

Shellfish

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 Dec. 31.

Other Saltwater Fishing

Although the number of participants has waned significantly, there’s still an opportunity to take a chance for some walleye pollock, Pacific cod, Dolly Varden, flatfish, alien looking critters that make mangled bait look good and possibly, a disoriented salmon, off the end of the Homer Spit.

Fresh Water Streams

Silver fishing was slow last week, but there were still some fresh fish entering the area streams on the incoming tides. When the regulations close to the use of bait on September 1, try using marabou jigs, corkie and yarn or streamers.

Fall fishing success in the Homer area streams will fluctuate with changing water conditions associated with periods of rain.

Dollie fishing above the two-mile markers has been fair to good. They are beginning to acquire their spawning coloration, and are dispersed throughout Anchor River, Deep Creek, and Ninilchik River. Fly fisherman have been successful with beads and streamers. As usual, small spinners and spoons on spinning gear will rile them up.

Steelhead trout should start entering these streams in low numbers over the next couple weeks. Expect steelhead fishing to peak in mid-September and continue through October. Steelhead are often targeted with a bead pegged above a hook, although jig and bobber and swinging flies are other popular and effective ways to entice a bite.

Good luck out there.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com if you any tips, tales or reasons why Arrowtooth flounder fillets turn into the consistency of fish-gruel pudding when they get near heat.

Cats have been known to flee from a bowl of it.

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