LEE HORTON’S OUTDOORS COLUMN: Salmon fishing stalled
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Peninsula Daily News
YOU CAN SENSE a definite lull in the outdoors scene lately.
The blackmouth fishing seemed to come to a screeching halt after the successful Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby over Presidents Day weekend.
“I haven’t heard near as many [anglers] going out salmon fishing since the derby,” Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said.
“We’re on a downside right now.”
Eric Elliott of Fish N Hole (360-385-7031) tells a similar tale of Port Townsend, where a combination of the derby and wind have slowed the salmon fishery near Port Townsend.
“There has been nothing since the derby,” Elliott said.
“It’s just too windy.
“Nobody’s going out. It seems like everyone fished the derby and packed it up.
“It’s a quiet time of year.”
Menkal said wind has also hampered the blackmouth fishing on the waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Port Angeles and Sequim.
But even on the non-windy days, there doesn’t seem to be much pressure.
“You keep expecting more things to happen, but everything has just stopped,” Menkal said.
“It’s weird. We’re in that in-between stage.”
One of my favorite tips of the advice during my time writing this column over the last 10 months came during a similar “in-between stage,” last summer.
Bob Aunspach of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles recommended these lulls are a great time to work on honey-do lists.
By doing so, you can build up some good will, so that there will be less, um, resistance when the next big fishing season rolls around.
All that being said, the 31st annual Murray Salmon Derby is being held on Saturday and Sunday.
This derby is also called the Geoduck Derby because it is hosted by the Geoduck Restaurant in Brinnon.
However, contrary to what I wrote in last Friday’s column, it is not also called the Drunken Pig Derby. The Drunken Pig is something separate from the Murray Derby.
The good people at the Geoduck Restaurant wanted me to clear this up, because apparently I am not the first person to be confused.
Names aside, the interesting thing about this salmon derby is that it is the last in Western Washington that is suitable for small boats such as canoes, kayaks and row boats.
“At the Geoduck Derby, a row boater, canoeist or kayaker need only launch at the Pleasant Harbor Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife public launch, and paddle out of the harbor to Black Point to fish,” Ward Norden, a fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist, said.
Norden said he won this derby a couple times in the 1980s.
First prize earns $400, second place gets $300 and third place takes home $200.
There is also a $100 bonus prize that goes to the angler who catches the biggest fish on Saturday.
The fishing area for the derby spans the waters south of the Hood Canal Bridge.
The area opened to blackmouth fishing on Feb. 1, but not many reports have come in.
Norden said the success of two other salmon derbies, the Olympic Peninsula and Roche Harbor derbies, bode well for the Murray.
“The near-record weigh-ins at both derbies are a good indication, and I think the Geoduck Derby will be similar if weather allows fishers to get out beyond Pleasant Harbor and Black Point,” he said.
The entry fee for the derby is $15.
Tickets and information are available at the Geoduck Restaurant at 307103 U.S. Highway 101 (360-796-4430) and the Brinnon General Store at 306413 U.S. Highway 101 (360-796-4400).
Outdoors columnist Lee Horton appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: February 27. 2013 5:52PM