OUTDOORS: Lots of fish, and some pretty big ones, are out there

FISH ARE EVERYWHERE, but there are a few problems in reeling them in.

There's a lot of wind and choppy waters in the Pacific Ocean off Neah Bay and off the Strait for saltwater anglers, and there's low and clear rivers in the West End for freshwater anglers.

There's a lot of fish out there, though, and some pretty big ones if you have patience, the right equipment and a sturdy boat.

The Neah Bay and Sekiu areas are reaping the benefits of a lot of kings, silvers and pinks hanging around and holding off their trek down the Strait to Port Angeles, Sequim and Port Townsend.

“The silvers are just starting to show off Port Angeles,” Brian Menkal of Brian's Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said.

The main group of silvers haven't arrived yet, he added.

“They're stacked up out there to the west in Sekiu,” Menkal said.

“When the rain hits the Strait,” the fish start moving eastward.

“I don't know why that is,” Menkal said.

And just in time for the start of the silvers and pinks hitting off Port Angeles and Sequim, Menkal will be putting on a special one-day seminar on trolling for silvers and pinks. More on that below.

Fishing off both Neah Bay in the ocean and Sekiu and Clallam Bay in the Strait should continue to go great guns.

Both Big Salmon Fishing Resort (360-645-2374) in Neah Bay and Olson's Resort (360-963-2311) in Sekiu have been reporting a lot of activity and a lot of salmon being caught during the past week on their web sites.

Some kings in the 30-pound range and many in the 20-pound range are being hauled in.

Big Salmon listed the following post on its web site Tuesday:

“We went out fishing for four hours or less, out-front by Waadah Island and landed seven salmon. Using darts and jigging for salmon. One of the anglers landed a nice ling, too, with that same dart.

“Joe Ward, a Big Salmon Fishing Resort employee, had two great reports.

“1). My first customer came in this morning and told me he caught a nice 30-pound king. He was using spoons, and turned and burned in front of Waadah Island.

“2). Then a second angler came in with almost the same report. He, too, landed a 30-pound king, leaving bloodstains on his deck. He was using bait.”

The fish are there, but, oh, that wind.

“The wind has really been hampering anglers,” Menkal said.

“If the wind is flat, there's a break in the weather, go on out and fish while you can. This is a good time to get out there when you can.”

Right now kings, silvers and pinks can be caught from Port Angeles west, but only silvers and pinks are in season off of Sequim.

Clear rivers

Like the saltwater fish, the freshwater fish are there, and they're big, but it can get a little tricky catching them.

That's because the West End rivers are clear and low because of a lack of rain.

“There's fish around but not a whole bunch of water,” Bob Gooding of Olympic Sporting Goods (360-374-6330) in Forks said.

“The rivers are very low, very clear and very bright. You can see them [the fish], and they can see you.”

There are sockeyes, steelhead and a few kings still around, Gooding said.

The rivers could use some rain, but don't tell that to Gooding, who is never one to mince words.

“I have lived in Forks my whole life, and I have seen plenty of rain,” he said. “If it never rains [here] again, I would be fine with it.”

Menkal fished the Calawah on Sunday, hooking three fish and landing two.

“The rivers are going down,” Menkal said. “They are really clear, and so you have to take special care.

“There is a lot of pressure on the fish, and they spook easily.”

Menkal recommends wearing dark earth-tone clothing and to paint your floats dark green or brown when fishing the rivers right now.

“Don't use bright floats,” he said.

Trolling class

Menkal is sponsoring a seminar for trolling for silvers and pinks at Brian's Sporting Goods and More in Sequim (609 W. Washington St.) on Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

“This is a huge one because it's happening right now with silvers and pinks hitting the Port Angeles area,” Menkal said.

“Fishing has been good off of Port Angeles.”

Area angler Rick Wray will be conducting the seminar.

“Rick is extremely successful at trolling for silvers and pinks,” Menkal said.

“He knows all aspects for trolling.”

Right now the silvers and pinks are showing up in the Port Angeles area, and they are pretty good size at 7 to 9 pounds, Menkal added.

Menkal wants to keep the seminar, which costs $25, to about 20 anglers.

Call 360-683-1950 to reserve a spot for the talk, and remember to bring a notepad, pencil and chair Tuesday night.

Getting crabby

Crabbing right now is hit and miss.

Hitting in Sequim and missing in Port Angeles by a few accounts.

“Crabbing has been good in Sequim but poor in Port Angeles,” Menkal said.

Some crabbers are finding just soft shells and females in Port Angeles.

Hiking weather

The weather's warm, but not too warm, sunny and nice.

That means it must be time to pitch a tent, cook chili and beans over a camp fire, and take a hike in the woods.

“A lot of people are camping and hiking right now,” Menkal said.

“It's a good time to take advantage of the weather, and get out to camp or hike. Hiking season is just starting.

“There's good hiking up there in Upper Dungeness.”

Port Hadlock derby

Coming up is the fourth annual Chimacum Alumni Association Salmon Derby in Port Hadlock.

It is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, July 20-21.

The derby is open to all and will be held in Marine Area 9.

Fishing is open from dawn to 3 p.m. July 20 and from dawn to noon July 21.

Weigh-in location is The Fishin' Hole at the Port Townsend Fuel Dock, 199 Benedict St. in Port Townsend's Boat Haven.

First place will win $1,000, second takes $500, and third-place and mystery-weight finishers will take home $250.

Prizes for fifth through 10th place will be donated by local businesses.

In the kids derby, children can win $100 for first place and bicycles for finishing second and third.

An awards ceremony will be held at the Port Hadlock Marina at 2 p.m. July 21.

Prize winners need not be present to win.

Tickets are $25 per adult, with children 14 and younger admitted free for the kids derby.

All anglers must have a ticket to participate.

Tickets are available at the event's sponsoring businesses: Four Corners Store; Westside Marine, The Fishin' Hole at Port Townsend Fuel Dock and LPL Financial Services/Rich Gastfield in Port Townsend; Eldridge Homes Inc. in Port Ludlow; and Olympic Equipment Rentals in Port Hadlock.

Suggested boat launches are Lower Port Hadlock Boat Launch, Fort Flagler State Park, Port of Port Townsend Marina, Mats Mats Bay or Port Ludlow.

Proceeds benefit scholarships provided by the Chimacum Alumni Association.

For more information, phone Billy Eldridge at 360-821-1007.

Puget Sound Anglers

Sam Brenkman, chief fisheries biologist for the Olympic National Park, will be the speaker at the next meeting of the North Olympic Chapter of the Puget Sound Anglers club on Thursday.

Brenkman will give an update on the current status of salmon and steelhead populations since the Elwha dam removal, and the future impact on various fisheries.

The meeting begins at 6:45 p.m. at the Trinity United Methodist Church and 100 S. Blake Ave. in Sequim.

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Last modified: July 11. 2013 6:46PM
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