LEE HORTON’S OUTDOORS COLUMN: Rivers should come down

By Lee Horton

Peninsula Daily News

THE WEATHER IS doing a number on fishing throughout the North Olympic Peninsula.

As the weekend progresses, though, there is reason to hope that conditions will improve.

On the West End, all the recent rain blew out the rivers. But they have already started dropping.

“[Today] will be OK, Saturday will be better,” Bob Gooding of Olympic Sporting Goods (360-374-6330) in Forks said.

“There is a lot of water. The color is OK, but there is too much water.

“You put something in the water and it’s 100 miles down the river before you can flip it into gear.”

Bob Aunspach of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles said success is possible, but not probable, and there probably aren’t enough wild steelhead to go around.

“If you’re lucky enough to find a pocket of fish, you’ve had a good day,” he said.

“But the guys behind you might not have.”

There are a few bits of good news from the West End rivers, courtesy of Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim.

He said there are rumors — they are only rumors at this point — that a few spring chinook have started making their run on the rivers.

This is early for them to be showing up, but I don’t foresee any anglers complaining about an early run, especially with the current dearth of fishing opportunities on the Peninsula.

The other piece of good news is that those disruptive seals haven’t been seen for weeks.

For whatever reason, it appears the seals have moved on.

Saltwater still slow

Blackmouth fishing had a few nice days last Thursday and Friday, but then it went back to stagnation.

“Blackmouth has really slowed down,” Menkal said.

“There’s not a lot happening there. The results have not been that good.”

Aunspach said the weather deserves a lot of the blame.

“The wind came [after those two nice days], and it has been windy ever since,” he said.

There hasn’t been much pressure in Marine Area 9, either.

“That doesn’t mean bad fishing, just not many people are going out,” Eric Elliott of Fish N Hole (360-385-7031) in Port Townsend said.

“There has only been a trickle of boats. The weather has been nasty.”

As was expected, the lingcod opener in LaPush last weekend was slowed by weather.

“It has been rainy, windy, nasty,” Gooding said.

“Most people don’t want to go out in the big pond when it’s splashing around.

“It has been kind of snotty. Too rocky and roily.”

A great lake

Menkal is still hearing reports from anglers catching trout on Lake Leland.

“It’s pretty darn neat for everyone,” Menkal said.

Fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist Ward Norden said likewise, but adds the weather could be a negative factor there, too, this weekend.

“Fishing was fair last weekend at Leland, but with the stormy weather and the barometer going up and down wildly [the last few days], I doubt that lake or any other around Puget Sound will be very productive until at least mid-day Sunday,” Norden said.

Early digs

The first morning razor clam digs of the season will occur over a four-day period starting next Thursday at four beaches.

These dates were confirmed by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife after marine toxin tests found the clams are safe to eat.

The dig schedule, including low tides and participating beaches, is as follows:

■ Thursday, March 28: 7:57 a.m., -0.3 feet — Twin Harbors.

■ Friday, March 29: 8:40 a.m., -0.6 feet — Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks.

■ Saturday, March 30: 9:26 a.m., -0.7 feet — Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks.

■ Sunday, March 31: 10:16 a.m., -0.6 feet — Twin Harbors.

No digging will be allowed at any of these beaches after noon.

April is shaping up to be a big month for razor clam digs.

The state currently has 13 days tentatively scheduled.

But remember, licenses expire at midnight March 31, so you razor clam diggers will need 2013-14 licenses to participate in April’s digs.

River fishing class

Menkal is teaching his two-part river salmon and steelhead fishing class on Tuesday, March 26, and Tuesday, April 2.

Both sessions start at 6 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m.

The cost for the class is $25. Bring a notepad, pen or pencil and a chair.

Class attendance is limited to 12 participants. To reserve a spot or for more information, phone Menkal at 360-683-1950.

The classes are held at Brian’s Sporting Goods and More at 542 West Washington St. in Sequim.

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: March 21. 2013 5:47PM
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