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Peninsula Daily News
FISHING IS ABOUT to take off on the North Olympic Peninsula.
It will be great. There will be the lowland lakes opener next Saturday (April 27), and then the halibut and spot shrimp opener the following week.
After that, it seems the openers keep coming throughout most of the summer.
Anglers will have plenty to do.
Before then, they still have options.
The wild steelhead fishery closes in less than two weeks, but the interest in catching and releasing wild steelhead is already winding down.
“It’s been so-so,” Bob Gooding of Olympic Sporting Goods (360-374-6330) in Forks said.
“The number of people fishing has tailed way off.”
Many anglers headed to the West End last weekend to fish for native steelies on the Hoh River before its season ended.
Water conditions made the Hoh difficult to fish, so they had to head to one of the other rivers.
So, there could be one more big push for wild steelhead right before the fishery closes for the year on Tuesday, April 30.
Since the yearly limit is only one native steelhead, though, most anglers may instead elect to move on to halibut or shrimp.
Spring chinook and summer-run steelhead are showing up, but not in large quantities yet.
It’s still early.
“There’s a few, but not many,” Gooding said of the spring chinook.
“Everybody wants it to be hot this time of year, but it ain’t.”
But there are springers in the rivers.
“That’s a good sign,” Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said.
LaPush (Marine Area 3) and Neah Bay (Marine Area 4) are both open to lingcod fishing.
Neah Bay just opened Tuesday. The LaPush season has been under way for a month now.
“When [anglers] get out, they have been doing fairly decent,” Gooding said.
“But, the weather has been rough.”
It isn’t quite the hot spot it was a few weeks ago, right after the state Department of Fish and Wildlife planted 300 cutthroat trout, but anglers are still having success as this column’s favorite lake.
“There’s lots of fish in there,” Menkal said.
If you’re willing to be patient, you should be able to catch a trout.
I have also heard good things about the catch-and-release action at Gibbs Lake.
Ward Norden, a fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist, said the popularity of Lake Leland in recent months could mean anglers are looking for cheaper ways to get their fishing fixes.
Oysters and clams
Menkal said many anglers have been focused on harvesting oysters and clams.
Oysters seem to be the most popular right now, with Sequim and Hood Canal being the most common destinations.
But, Dosewallips State Park, Oak Bay County Park and South Indian Island County Park are also options.
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.