Bite shows signs of picking up

Posted: Thursday, May 28, 2009

With the holiday out of the way, Kenai Peninsula anglers should be able to look forward to a weekend fewer crowds and, hopefully, more fish.

Runs are starting to show signs of life.

While as of Tuesday only 48 kings have passed the weir on the Anchor River since counts began on May 12, in the last few days daily counts have gone from 0-3 fish to 8-10 a day.

Word on the salt is that trolling for kings has improved.

Scott Miller, of Trustworthy Hardware, said closer to Homer the fishing was picking up, but lagged as anglers moved northward.

"I heard for kings there was a pretty good bite off Bluff Point coming up toward Anchor Point," he said "Farther south they've been doing pretty good. It's been spotty in Ninilichik."

Steve McClure, of McClure's Guide Service, had a similar tale, saying the bigger kings were closer to Homer, while farther north people were getting mainly feeder kings.

McClure said he went out of Deep Creek without much luck last week.

"It's definitely been a tougher than normal year," he said.

The minus tides over the weekend probably weren't helping either.

He was optimistic about the coming week though, saying, "I did hear a shot of fish came through Monday. That's the first time I've heard of multiple boats doing pretty good."

He said the bites been strongest in 28 to 32 feet of water either first thing in the morning or two to three hours before or after the tide.

For gear he said, "It's definitely been a herring bite. There seems to be a pretty big mix between guys using lead and herring or flashers and herring. That's pretty much a standard."

Between tides, many anglers have found success chasing halibut.

Mel Erickson, of Alaskan Gamefisher, said he finally hit it big this weekend, landing his clients a 125 pounder, one in the 60-pound range and a few in the 40s.

Erickson said he thinks the bigger fish have finally arrived.

Miller agreed, saying he'd heard similar reports.

"Halibut fishing has really picked up a lot over the last few weeks and the tides are looking good at the end of the week," he said.

Reports indicate the fishing's been good close to shore too, meaning anglers don't have to run out as far.

Fishing on the Kenai has improved as well, with reports of several kings making it to the boat over the weekend.

Sonar counts, which began May 16, have shown a steady stream of 35-45 fish comning in over the past few days. As of Tuesday, 510 early run kings had been recorded by the sonar so far.

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