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Peninsula Daily News
LINGCOD FISHING MAKES its return to the North Olympic Peninsula this weekend.
That’s the good news.
Let’s linger on the good news for now.
In Marine Area 3 (LaPush), the lingcod fishery opens Saturday.
The daily limit is two, with a minimum size of 22 inches.
Last year, this was a great fishery on the Pacific Coast.
Limits were usually taken, and quickly.
Now for the not-so-good news.
It’s windy on the coast.
Lingcod are bottomfish, and like all bottomfish, fishing success is hampered by wind.
It’s hard to keep your bait on the bottom if you’re getting blown all over the place.
“With the weather, it won’t be much [of a big deal] at all,” Randy Lato of All-Ways Fishing (360-374-2052) in LaPush said of the lingcod opener.
“I don’t think there will be a lot of pressure.”
Lato said the wind will likely reach 15 and 25 miles per hour Saturday.
Expect the pressure to pick up as soon as the wind dies down.
Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said anglers are already purchasing gear for lingcod fishing, because “You’ve got to go when it’s open.”
Lato said the importance of getting out early in the season is heightened this year due to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s 20-fathom restriction starting May 1 this year, compared to June 1 in 2012.
“There was no discussion at all,” Lato said of the state’s decision to move up the date.
The Neah Bay (Marine Area 4) lingcod season begins Tuesday, April 16.
Lato said he won’t be doing saltwater guide trips until mid-April.
For now, his focus is native steelhead fishing.
The Hoh River had been good to him recently, but too much rain caused the river to rise too high for quality fishing.
With more rain forecast for the West End this weekend, Menkal said checking water levels online will be crucial for anglers hoping to catch (then release) a big native steelhead this weekend.
“It will save you $30 in gas, and you don’t have to wake up early,” Menkal said.
Since the Hoh seems to have the best fishing lately, here is a link to its water data: www.tinyurl.com/HohRiver.
Leland warming up
Ward Norden, a fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist, stopped by Lake Leland and stuck a thermometer in the water.
As we discussed in last week’s column (www.tinyurl.com/LelandColumn), warmer water means better trout fishing.
“It is now 42 degrees,” Norden said.
“Getting closer, but the trout are already getting active.
“In just the few minutes [I was] there I saw pier anglers catch two beautiful rainbows.
“Both were about 14 inches, very fat like footballs, and probably 1 1/2 pounds each, with vivid pink meat like a fine salmon.”
Norden said the fish were caught with orange Power Bait that was floated about 30 inches above the lake bottom.
Time to renew
Fishing and hunting licenses expire March 31.
You can wait until then to purchase 2013-14 licenses, or you can be proactive and do it now. Just make sure you do so before your first fishing trip in April.
These licenses can be purchased online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov, and from license dealers throughout the state.
The cost of 2013-14 hunting and fishing licenses is the same as last year.
The Olympic Outdoor Club will hike the Miller Peninsula Trail on Sunday.
This fairly easy 5-mile round-trip hike has an elevation gain of 360 feet and a high point of 360 feet.
For more information about the Olympic Outdoor Club, contact Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.