LEE HORTON’S OUTDOORS COLUMN: Check water before you go

By Lee Horton

Peninsula Daily News

DESPITE THE HIGH water levels brought about by all the rain, the steelhead fishing on the Bogachiel River hasn’t been terrible.

“The fishing actually is OK,” Bob Gooding of Olympic Sporting Goods (360-374-6330) in Forks said.

“The rain we’ve had for the last several days, and I do mean several, has made the water high.

“The Bogachiel is green and really high, but guys have gotten some fish {this week].”

Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim gives a similar report.

“There’s fish out on the Bogey,” Menkal said.

“It’s so volatile for water, though. The levels are up and down.

“People are trying to get out there, but the levels aren’t cooperating.”

Because of the unpredictable river levels, Menkal strongly recommends sparking up the Internet and checking the water levels on one of a number of websites.

It’s as easy as going to your preferred search engine — whether it’s Google, Bing or Yahoo (do people still search for things with Yahoo?) — and typing “real time water data” and then the river you’re planning to fish.

Since the Bogachiel is the river of the moment, I’ll make it really easy for you. Just enter this URL into you browser: http://tinyurl.com/bogeylevel.

Checking the water levels early in the morning can prevent you from wasting time and gasoline.

“If [the levels are] too high, stay home, go back to bed, or go out to breakfast,” Menkal said.

“It’s a tool not enough people use. It makes your job much easier.”

Lyre and Hoko

The Lyre River in Clallam County is producing some fish, but nothing spectacular.

“They just don’t stock it as much as they used to,” Menkal said.

On the Hoko River, fishing has been shut down from the hatchery fish ladder downstream for 100 feet the remainder of the month.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife said reason for the closure is the Hoko hatchery is short of its broodstock needs.

Closing this portion of the river should better allow steelhead to aggregate outside the ladder and move up into the facility.

The closure pertains to boat fishing and fishing from both banks.

The saltwater scoop

Not much to report from the first few days of the blackmouth fishery.

My friend Frank told me that nobody was talking about catching any over his boat’s radio when the season opened last Saturday.

Menkal said he heard about one angler who caught one, but there doesn’t seem to be many going after blackmouth.

The blackmouth fishery typically doesn’t open in December, so Menkal suspects there is less pressure because it’s so new to anglers.

Also, most people have put their boats away for the winter.

Menkal said the crabbing is still going well, for the few crabheads who are still going after them.

The winter crab season has been a nice little fishery this season.

More razor clam digs

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has approved another razor clam dig that starts Tuesday.

Coastal shellfish manager Dan Ayres said diggers should experience some of the best tides of the year.

“The position of the moon in December always generates favorable tides for digging razor clams,” Ayres said.

“Unfortunately, the weather isn’t always as cooperative, so diggers should dress for cold, wet conditions.”

The dig will be open for six days at Twin Harbors, three days at Mocrocks and Long Beach, and two days at Copalis.

Here is the dig schedule, evening low tides and participating beaches:

■ Tuesday: 4:51 p.m., -1.1 feet — Twin Harbors.

■ Wednesday: 5:40 p.m., -1.6 feet — Twin Harbors.

■ Thursday: 6:29 p.m., -1.9 feet — Twin Harbors.

■ Friday, Dec. 14: 7:15 p.m., -1.8 feet — Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Long Beach, Copalis.

■ Saturday, Dec. 15: 8:01 p.m., -1.6 feet — Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Long Beach, Copalis.

■ Sunday, Dec. 16: 8:47 p.m., -1.0 feet — Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Long Beach.

No digging will be allowed on these beaches until after noon.

Ayres said that the best digging occurs one to two hours prior to low tide.

Diggers can harvest 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 clams they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

Because the digs are all scheduled for the evening, don’t forget to bring a lantern or flashlight.

Menkal class

Part two of Menkal’s fly fishing class will be Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Brian’s Sporting Goods and More at 542 W. Washington St. in Sequim.

This will be the final fishing class Menkal holds this year.

Bring a pen or pencil, a notebook and a chair to the class.

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

Anglers meeting

The Puget Sound Anglers — North Olympic Peninsula Chapter will be featuring Menkal at its next meeting.

Menkal will be the guest speaker, and will give a presentation that covers the techniques of bank fishing for steelhead and salmon on the Peninsula’s rivers.

The meeting will take place Thursday, Dec. 20, at 6:45 p.m. at the Trinity United Methodist Church located at 100 S. Blake Ave. in Sequim.

2013 derby tickets

Tickets for the 2013 Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby are now on sale.

The derby, which takes place on Presidents Day weekend (Saturday, Feb. 16, to Monday, Feb. 18), features a $10,000 first prize.

The event spans the North Olympic Peninsula and features more than 500 square miles of fishing with weigh stations at five launch ramps: Freshwater Bay, Ediz Hook in Port Angeles, John Wayne Marina in Sequim, Gardiner and Port Townsend Boat Haven.

Derby tickets cost $40. They can also be purchased online at www.GardinerSalmonDerby.org.

The derby benefits emergency and other vital services for Gardiner, Diamond Point and nearby communities.

Send photos, stories

Have a photograph, a fishing or hunting report, an anecdote about an outdoors experience or a tip on gear or technique?

Send it to sports@peninsuladailynews.com or P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.


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: December 06. 2012 5:52PM
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