Anglers looking for some full throttle fishing excitement may want to head south this weekend.
According to an Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Southcentral region fishing report, hot fishing continues at the Homer Spit Fishing Lagoon.
Herring and blue Vibrax spinners in sizes five to six have been working well, and the high tides this week likely will bring in many sea bright chinooks. However, anglers should bear in mind that the lagoon will not open to snagging until later this month.
Although not quite the "sure thing" the lagoon has been, the marine fishery still was rated as good this past week. Feeder kings are being taken by trolling herring and green flashers 25 feet down in the Bluff Point area.
The first king salmon opening on the Anchor River was sizzling last weekend, and should offer some more top-notch angling adventure again this Saturday, Sunday and Monday, according to Stan Harrington of the Anchor Angler in Anchor Point.
"We're having a great run so far this year," Harrington said. He explained that last Saturday was "red hot," then slowed a bit on Sunday, but picked back up late Monday afternoon.
"There's a lot of fish in the Anchor River right now," added Harrington. He said the Fish and Game sonar counter located upstream near the confluence of the north and south fork had already counted a whopping 4,500 fish as of Tuesday.
Not only are there a lot of fish, but there are big ones as well. Harrington said one lucky angler landed a 42-pounder downriver in the tidal zone of the "Slide Hole" area.
This second weekend opener on the Anchor River, anglers should expect water conditions to be lower, although fish may be a bit spooky as the river is running clearer, as well.
Deep Creek also produced well last weekend according to Harrington. "There's plenty of fish in there. It wasn't as good as the Anchor, but it wasn't as crowded, either," he said.
The lower portions of both the Anchor River and Deep Creek open Saturday at 12:01 a.m., and close Monday at 11:59 p.m. Bait and treble hooks are allowed.
On the Ninilchik River, an emergency order issued by Fish and Game has opened the river for continuous harvest of hatchery-produced king salmon, identifiable by a healed adipose fin-clip.
However, wild kings can only be retained during the usual weekend regulatory opening. The second "Wild Weekend" will open Saturday at 12:01 a.m., and end Monday at 11:59 p.m. and both wild and hatchery kings can be harvested during this time.
Bait is allowed, but only one single hook may be used while fishing the Ninilchik regardless of whether it's a weekday or weekend.
Further north on the Kasilof, fishing is still good, according to Larry Marsh, assistant area manager biologist with Fish and Game Sportfish Division.
Marsh said creel surveys have reflected a duration of roughly eight hours of angling per king caught.
"About 42 percent of those being caught are hatchery fish," he said. "Seeing more wild fish is typical this early in the season, but we should start to see the harvest composition gradually shift to more hatchery fish later in the season," he said.
Anglers on the Kasilof may retain hatchery-reared fish, but wild kings must be released.
With so many wild chinooks being caught, many guide boats have taken to targeting the brownish waters close to shore below the confluence of the Kasilof River and Crooked Creek. Bank fishers also have picked up on this, and many anglers have started to flip flies just a few feet from shore in a manner much more reminiscent of sockeye fishing.
Although more wild than hatchery kings are being caught, Marsh said numerous lunkers are among those fish being kept. "We're still seeing bigger than normal fish. There's been a number in the 40-pound range hatchery fish that are being caught and kept. This really stands out for the Kasilof," he said.
As word has spread that the kings are in on the Kasilof, crowds have started to build especially on weekends. "We're seeing above average participation in the fishery, but it's not elbow to elbow yet, or the type of congestion when boat trailers are backing up on the highway," Marsh said.
Up on the mighty Kenai, king fishing was slow last weekend, but picked up on Tuesday and Wednesday. "The river conditions have improved," Marsh said.
He explained that water clarity has been better and water flow has been down this week, which is likely contributing to the jump in fish caught the last few days.
"As of June 2, we were just over 2,500 fish by the sonar estimates," said Marsh.
Numbers are still slightly below the average return for this time of year, and Marsh speculated that the real push in the Kenai might not begin until after this current series of high tides ends early next week.
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