LEE HORTON’S OUTDOORS COLUMN: Ocean salmon season set

By Lee Horton

Peninsula Daily News

THIS YEAR’S OCEAN salmon fishing season has been announced by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

At its meeting in Portland earlier this week, the Pacific Fishery Management Council approved a recreational chinook catch quota of 48,000 and a coho quota of 74,760.

The chinook quota is 3,500 less than last year, while the coho quota is about 5,000 fish higher than 2012.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council establishes fishing seasons in ocean waters 3 to 200 miles off the Pacific coast in Washington, Oregon and California.

In Marine Areas 3 (LaPush) and 4 (Neah Bay), the salmon fishing season will begin with two Friday and Saturday openings for hatchery chinook on May 10-11 and May 17-18.

Ward Norden, a fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist, said this May opening is “quite interesting” because it is the first time in years Neah Bay has been open to sport anglers during the migration of the Columbia River summer chinook.

Under the right ocean conditions — water temperatures and food availability — this could provide anglers some great catches.

“Those Columbia River summer chinook are big, and because of their oil-rich meat, are especially good eating,” Norden said.

“In a normal year, fishing will be excellent. But if it is like last May, those fish will pass through at a depth of 75 fathoms or more . . . out of reach for all but the commercial trollers.

“I have my fingers crossed that the Pacific [Ocean] will be its normal, cool self at Neah Bay in May, and plankton productivity is high, so those big kings will be up and feeding at the old ‘garbage dump hole.’ ”

The hatchery chinook fishery will reopen Saturday, June 22, and be open seven days a week.

The daily catch limit will be two hatchery chinook.

The sport coho season in Neah Bay and LaPush will begin Saturday, June 29.

The daily limit is two salmon — either chinook or hatchery coho, or a combination of the two.

Anglers fishing off LaPush and Neah Bay also will be able to retain two additional pink salmon, which will make their odd-year-only run this year.

The coho and chinook fisheries will end when their respective quotas are reached.

San Juan limit

Starting today, the salmon limit in the San Juan Island (Marine Area 7) will drop to one salmon per day, down from two fish per day.

Unlike Marine Areas 6 (Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca) and 9 (Admiralty Inlet), the blackmouth season in the San Juans has been going strong since December.

The Marine Area 7 salmon season ends Tuesday, April 30.

Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) closes that same day.

Sekiu, Port Angeles and Sequim closed earlier this week, and Marine Area 9 closes Monday.

River fishing update

The wild steelhead photo fishery is winding down, and closes on the Hoh River on Monday.

Native steelhead can be fished for on the other West End Rivers until Tuesday, April 30.

“It’s OK; not great by any means,” Bob Gooding of Olympic Sporting Goods (360-374-6330) in Forks said.

Most anglers, however, are waiting for the delicious spring chinook to make their run on the rivers.

“It’s a phenomenal fish, a great fighting fish,” Gooding said.

“Pretty good on the old barbecue.”

Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said a few springers are being seen, but the run hasn’t yet begun.

There have, however, been reports of summer-run steelhead showing up early in the West End rivers.

Shellfish time

Menkal said many anglers are using this lull in the action to go after oysters or razor clams.

Here are the razor clam digging dates, morning low tides and participating beaches:

■ Today: 8:34 a.m., -0.4 feet — Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks.

■ Saturday: 9:11 a.m., -0.2 feet — Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks.

■ Sunday: 9:49 a.m., +0.1 feet — Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks.

Leland decline

Anglers are still finding success at Lake Leland, but it has declined significantly from what it was a few weeks ago.

It seems many of the cutthroat that were planted last month have been caught, so the fishing might slow until the state plants more fish.

“Fishing in Lake Leland has slowed quite a bit in the last week, as the number of those large, good eating holdover rainbows and cutthroats have been thinned dramatically,” Norden said.

“Even the cormorants are now sitting on their log, waiting for the planting truck.

“There are still quite a few of those 15- to 17-inch trout there, but you will have to earn them. Especially since the lake water temperature has dropped two degrees in the last week.”

Puget Sound Anglers

With halibut season opening May 2, the next meeting of the North Olympic Peninsula Chapter of the Puget Sound Anglers will focus on how to fish for halibut in Marine Area 6.

Club members will provide demonstrations of equipment and advice on places to fish.

The meeting will be Thursday, April 18, at 6:45 p.m. at the Trinity United Methodist Church at 100 S. Blake Ave. in Sequim.

For more information, phone 360-582-0836 or visit www.psanop.com.

Winter sports gathering

Area videographer Tim Stanford will be the speaker at the Second Saturday Series, hosted by the Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club, on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Wine on the Waterfront.

Stanford created the Home School video series — videos given to friends which recapped the previous years shred and exploited a fun, adventurous action sports lifestyle — from 1996 through 2009.

The series is currently on hold, but Stanford continues to make videos for Mervin Manufacturing, the largest U.S.-based snowboard manufacturer.

Wine on the Waterfront is located at 115 E. Railroad Ave. in Port Angeles.

Fly fishing class

Menkal is teaching part one of his fly fishing class this Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., with part two taking place the following Tuesday (April 23), at the same time.

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 formation, phone Menkal at 360-683-1950.

The classes are held at Brian’s Sporting Goods and More at 542 W. 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.

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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: April 11. 2013 6:02PM
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