Fishing report: Plenty of choices await anglers

Daily News correspondentAugust 14, 2013 

Angler Lei Zhao with a 40-pound king salmon caught Tuesday in Seward with Crackerjack Sportfishing.

PHOTO BY ANDY MEZIROW

It's great to have options, especially when the choices involve fishing. But options are like shopping for shoes on Amazon. What do you do when you have so many options that it's hard to make a decision? There is so much good fishing going on now it makes it tough to decide where I'm fishing next.

Should I travel north for a float trip or do some saltwater fishing? Maybe I should take a lake trip? I have been researching a certain lake and I hear there are some monster trout there, so I still need to do that. I also need to go halibut fishing for the freezer. I'm sure the great fishing won't last forever, so I need to do that while the tides and weather are right, but the silver salmon fishing is really starting to heat up.

Then to complicate things I get an email with photos from a guide buddy who has been fishing the Gibraltar River out west. The numbers and size of fish he's been catching were unbelievable. He said he's been averaging 50 rainbows a day between 22-28 inches and had pictures to prove it. He bragged of epic fishing.

Of course his email got me thinking. Maybe I can slip away for a few days, catch some really nice rainbows on the Gibraltar, get back home, work, sleep, mow the lawn, start the driveway project (weather permitting) then squeeze in a fly-in day trip for salmon across the inlet.

Damn, I forgot I promised my buddy we would float the Gulkana this year. I've been hearing that the trout fishing has been really good below Paxson, I still need to make good on that promise.

Sometimes I think, wouldn't it be easier if I lived in New York City, where maybe the options would be the Catskills for a few dinky trout or Cape Cod for striper fishing with the tourist crowds -- two choices, no problem. No, I probably would quit this fishing problem if I had to live in New York City. I would become a Yankees fan and start a 12-step plan for anglers.

It's nice living in the epicenter of the world's greatest fishing. I'm gutting the fishing season out till my fingers freeze and I'm finishing my driveway in October.

Here's the latest report from the field.

Kenai Peninsula

The silver fishing is picking up on the Kenai River. I spoke with Rod Berg on Tuesday and he said he had success that morning fishing for silvers. The current no-bait restrictions have made the fishing tougher, but Berg said he did well fishing M2 Flatfish in silver and chartreuse and K13 Kwikfish plugs. He said there are a decent amount of silvers in the river.

A few silvers are being reported caught in the Russian River. The Middle Kenai has also been productive for silvers, with anglers catching fish on spoons and Vibraxes from Skilak Lake to Bing Browns Landing. Most of the silvers are spread throughout the river.

The trout fishing is still only fair to slow, with most of the best fishing yet to come. As the salmon start to spawn and die off in numbers, the trout fishing should pick up.

The Deep Creek and Anchor Marine fisheries have been productive with nice healthy halibut being caught. I spoke Tuesday with Capt. Rod Van Saun with Van Saun Charters, who said most of the fish have been in the 20 to 40-pound class with an occasional larger fish being caught.

Van Saun said most charters should be done by the end of month. Now might be the last couple of chances to get out for some halibut fishing.

Homer

Fishing for halibut remains very good with boats catching limit on most trips. I got this report from Jim Lavrakas on Monday: "Big bite of silvers with feeder kings mixed in last week around Flat Island. Then the silvers spread out from the Chugach Island area to the Silver Ridge area (30 miles out in Cook Inlet around the 34/10 Latitude /Longitude coordinates) toThe Bluffs the last couple of days.

"Ling cod fishing in the Chugach Islands has been fair with better fishing in the Barren Island and Gore Point locations.

"The halibut catch has just continued to get better and better with bigger fish moving closer in to Kachemak Bay. Beautiful fish this year with very few 'mushy' halibut being reported."

The current leader in the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby is still Gene Jones of Bellevue, Wash., with a 236.2-pound fish. There's a month to go and they've had a banner year for anglers catching tagged fish, but there's still more than 80 tagged fish out there.

Seward

The fishing in Seward has remained very good for silvers with fish now being caught inside in the bay. I spoke with Capt. Andy Mezirow with Crackerjack Sportfishing on Tuesday and he said this has been the best derby fishing he has seen in 18 years as a charter operator.

Mezirow said he caught 36 silvers, eight pinks, one chum and a 43-pound king in three hours on his Tuesday morning charter. Fish are being caught from the across the bay from the harbor all the way out to Cheval Island, he said.

Mezirow said the silvers are still feeding, their scales are loose and action has been hot and furious with numerous boats hooking fish in the areas he has been fishing.

The halibut fishing also has been very good with larger fish being caught out at Montague. Mezirow said the Lil' Crackerjack had three fish over 100 pounds Monday and the Pro-Fish and Sea had boated a 180-pounder.

Mezirow said the silvers are so plentiful they have quit using herring while fishing for halibut and resorted to salmon carcasses to keep the silvers from cleaning their hooks.

The Seward Silver Salmon Derby is weighing in bigger fish than 2012. The derby continues through noon Sunday.

Mat-Su

The Parks Highway streams are still loaded with pinks and chums, and silvers are starting to show. Most of best silver fishing has been near the mouths.

Trout fishing should also be productive above the bridges. Most of the trout are gorging on eggs from kings, pinks and chum salmon. Try beads in 8-10 millimeter sizes and Sculpin flies fished near spawning kings.

The Deshka River had more than 8,000 coho pass the weir Monday. Most are moving on the cooler weather and recent rain.

The Talkeetna River and Clear Creek have been good for salmon, with the silvers finally starting to show up. Trout fishing in Clear Creek has been fair to good for anglers willing to walk.

A recent emergency order from the Department of Fish and Game opened the Fish, Cottonwood and Wasilla creeks to a three-fish limit and added Mondays to the weekend-only fisheries. Fishing hours are from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The run of coho salmon to certain Knik Arm streams appears to be strong. As of Monday, 2,908 cohos had passed the Fish Creek weir, and the department projects an escapement of approximately 9,900 fish.

Valdez

The silver fishing has picked up in Valdez with fish being caught near Gold Creek, Shoup and Anderson bays and the Narrows.

Saturday more than 700 women joined the ranks of the Silver Salmon Sisterhood in the one-day Valdez Women's Silver Salmon Derby. Regina Blood of Valdez took home the title of Queen of the Silver Salmon Sisterhood with a 15.68-pound silver she reeled in while fishing with friends.

The fishing should improve as more fish mover closer into the bay.

Anchorage

Ship Creek continues to be a great place to fish for silver salmon. The falling tide is producing, and anglers are having success with a variety of techniques -- eggs and bobbers, flies and Vibraxes.

Bird Creek is having a decent run of pink salmon, and some anglers are catching silvers.

Campbell Creek is a good place to scout for silvers. The recent rains have likely brought some fish into the creek.

Streams at the head of Turnagain Arm could be a good spot for silver salmon fishing. These silvers have a later season return.

Campbell Point, Sand, Delong, Cheney and Mirror lakes have all been stocked within the last week with some very nice catchable-sized trout or char.

Campbell and Chester creeks are your best bet for some local rainbow trout stream fishing -- both are stocked with catchable sized rainbows.

Whittier

I got a text Tuesday from Captain Kristen Labrecque aboard the Saltwater Addiction. As usual I cut her no slack and posted it word-for-word for you.

"Thursday, Friday and Saturday we were weathered off the water. Sunday and Monday the silver fishing remained on fire! Mooching Hoochies with cut piece of herring (pink, green and blue) any where from surface to 150 feet.

"Silvers are moving in closer to Whittier. If trolling use deep six divers and a flasher in front of a hoochie with a cut piece of herring.

"Lots of nice halibut were caught Sunday and Monday using pink and yellow squid skirts on circle hooks soaking bait and Kodiak Custom Tackle Bottom Jigs.

Halibut were at 250 feet today and 150 yesterday. Tuesday we limited the boat out in one hour and ten minutes for halibut and about the same amount of time for black rockfish. We already have six silvers in the boat as I type this. Things are looking good so far! Taking the day off tomorrow."

Tony Weaver has fished all over Alaska for more than 40 years. He is the host of Wolf Outdoors, which airs on FM-96.3 Saturday mornings. He worked as chief technical editor for Fish Alaska and has written for Fish and Fly, Flyfisher and Flyfisherman magazines. He is a photographer and author of "Topwater: Fly Fishing the Last Frontier Alaska."

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