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Peninsula Daily News
THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND looks like it will yield good results for anglers looking to celebrate our nation’s independence by reeling in a salmon or pulling up some crab.
Both of the big summer fisheries are off to a nice start.
The crab harvest was only open for one day, Monday, but it was a good day for most crabbers, especially near Sequim.
“It went very well for a lot of people,” Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said.
“Others didn’t do so well, but there were more good reports than bad.”
The crab season re-opens today, and will be open Thursdays through Mondays through Sept. 2, in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Admiralty Inlet and Hood Canal.
If you drop your pots early enough in the day, you can serve crab at your Fourth of July barbecue.
The chinook fishery also opened Monday on the Strait.
The fishing thus far hasn’t been easy, but it has been productive.
“I heard that salmon fishing was hotter than a pistol in Port Angeles, just outside the spit,” Menkal said.
“But it was rough; guys got beat up.”
There’s plenty of fish out in the Strait, but anglers will come across many wild kings during their search for hatchery kings.
Wild chinook can’t be harvested on the Strait until October.
Hatchery fish can be distinguished from their native counterparts by a missing adipose fin. If there is a fin, than to keep it is a sin.
Ryan Gedlund of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles said most of the chinook caught in the first few days have been small, but there have been a few big ones brought in, including a 22-pound, 12-ounce fish caught by Ryan Clark that Wednesday morning was at the top of the Port Angeles Salmon Club’s monthly salmon derby ladder at Swain’s.
Next on the ladder is a 20-pound, 8-ouncer caught by Lonnie Torey.
Third place is Steve Breitbach with an 18-pound, 12-ounce fish, and fourth place is an 18-pounder caught by Kim Allison.
That was the ladder as of Wednesday morning. Things could easily change, especially with all the fishing that will be done through the long holiday weekend.
The salmon fishery has been in session since Saturday on the northern coast, and includes wild and hatchery chinook, hatchery coho and pinks.
Dawn Lawrence and Joe Ward of Big Salmon Resort (360-645-2374) in Neah Bay said spots like Umatilla Reef, Spike Rock and Father and Son have been especially productive.
“The evening bit has been really good,” Ward said.
Lawrence said that silvers and pinks are hanging out around Neah Bay along with kings.
Derbies on tap
A pair of significant derbies have been planned in Sekiu and Neah Bay.
In Sekiu, Olson’s Resort (360-963-2311) is holding a one-day derby as part of its 80th anniversary celebration (which includes four days of festivities, starting today and lasting through Sunday).
The derby will award a total of $10,000 in cash prizes.
There will be three different derby ladders; one each for chinook, coho and pink salmon.
The biggest chinook wins $4,000, second place takes $1,300 and third place receives $500.
For coho, the top fish earns $2,000, second place gets $500 and third takes home $200.
The pinks prize money is $1,100, $300 and $100, respectively, for first, second and third place.
Buy-in for the derby is $25.
There also will be a free-entry kids derby with prizes of $30, $20 and $10.
In Neah Bay, Big Salmon Resort is hosting a three-day salmon derby for kids up to 18 years old.
The buy-in is $10.
Dawn Lawrence said the prizes will include Xboxes and bikes, as well as many more.
Go catch yourself some money.
Outdoors columnist Lee Horton appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at email@example.com.