LEE HORTON’S OUTDOORS COLUMN: Salmon moving into rivers

By Lee Horton

Peninsula Daily News

THERE IS SPAWNING to do, so the coho are cruising straight through the Strait of Juan de Fuca on their way to the rivers.

While this isn’t great news for fishing on the Strait, it’s good for river fishing.

“Saltwater turns off, the freshwater fishing turns on,” Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said.

So, obviously, rivers such as the Dungeness, Bogachiel, Calawah, Dickey, Hoh and Sol Duc are the best place to catch fish right now.

“The rivers have been influxed with salmon,” Bob Aunspach of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles said.

Aunspach reports the Hoh is especially good for fishing, but the quality of some of the other West End rivers has diminished.

“The rivers are getting low and clear again,” Aunspach said.

“The Hoh has been good, but the other are low and clear.

“There hasn’t been enough rain. They were up, but they came back down. The ground just soaked [the recent rainfall] up.”

And here we are again, hoping for more rain.

If feels like September, except that it rains every day. Just not enough yet.

Menkal said the Dungeness, which only opened last week, is slow right now with a lot of fish having made their way to holding tanks.

“It hasn’t had a big push,” Menkal said.

“So, we’re waiting for that.”

He said the best fishing is up high on the river.

When the rivers to start to rise, Menkal recommends checking water charts before you head out to ensure the water doesn’t get too high.

Due to the late start to the river season, there should be another few weeks of great river salmon fishing.

“The salmon fishing should be outstanding for the next month or so,” Menkal said.

He added that the late season might end up being like it was a few years ago when fresh fish were still heading up the rivers in the middle of November.

Watch them leap

You can watch summer coho as they go upstream against strong currents to migrate at the Sol Duc Salmon Cascades in Olympic National Park, located 28 miles west of Port Angeles.

To get there, travel south on U.S. Highway 101 to Milepost 219 into Olympic National Park on Sol Duc Hot Springs Road.

About six miles down the road is a well-marked parking area for the Cascades.

There’s a viewing platform from where you can watch the leaping salmon.

But you do have to get a little bit lucky and be there at just the right time. Also no fishing allowed.

For more on watching the migrating salmon, read this recent Peninsula Daily News story (photos included): http://tinyurl.com/leapingsalmon.

The rivers

Since it has been forever since the rivers have been fishable — or does it just feel that way? — here is a brief rundown of some of the rivers on the North Olympic Peninsula.

■ Bogachiel, Quillayute, Calawah, Sol Duc and Dickey rivers:

Open through Nov. 30.

Daily limit: Six salmon; up to two adults plus two additional adult hatchery coho may be retained.

Minimum size: 12 inches.

■ Hoh River:

Open through Nov. 30.

Daily limit: Six salmon; up to two adults may be retained.

Minimum size: 12 inches.

■ Dungeness River:

Open through Dec. 31.

Daily limit: Four coho.

Minimum size: 12 inches.

■ Quilcene River:

Open through Wednesday, Oct. 31.

Daily limit: Four coho; only fish hooked inside the mouth may be retained.

Minimum size: 12 inches.

River fishing class

Menkal teaches a two-part class that covers basics of catching salmon and steelhead on the Peninsula’s rivers, including tips on good spots.

The first part will take place Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Brian’s Sporting Goods and More at 542 W. Washington St. in Sequim.

Part two will be held the following Tuesday, Nov. 6, also from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Bring a pen or pencil, a notebook and a chair.

For more information, contact Menkal at 360-683-1950.


Outdoors columnist Lee Horton appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at lhorton@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 24. 2012 6:07PM
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