By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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After more than a week of vacation, I have returned to the North Olympic Peninsula.
Every time I leave the Peninsula, whether it is for a day or a week, I am always reminded during my drive back of how great this area is.
We are lucky to live here.
Sometimes we might forget how lucky because we see small segments of the Peninsula on a daily basis, but returning after some time away provides the necessary reminder.
Anglers, on the other hand, don’t need to leave to be reminded of the Peninsula’s greatness.
Saltwater salmon fishing is in full force right now.
Chinook, coho and pinks all are in season along the north coast, Strait of Juan de Fuca and Hood Canal.
And just a few weeks in, the salmon fishing is off to a fantastic start.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s creel reports reveal that there were seven instances last week in which the daily reported chinook catch totals off Sekiu and Port Angeles were 95 or more.
Sekiu has been the hot spot for silvers, with four days of 100 or more coho being reported.
Humpies really took off late last week.
In Sekiu, the catch totals surpassed 240 pinks twice, and surpassed 125 another two times.
Port Angeles had a whopping 258 pinks reported Saturday, 199 on Sunday and 164 on Friday.
Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said the success has carried over into this week.
“Lots of kings are being caught off P.A., and silvers and humpies are going nuts,” he said.
Port Townsend salmon
After letting the rest of the Peninsula get a head start, the chinook fishery opened in Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) earlier this week.
“It was amazing,” Eric Elliott of The Fishin’ Hole (360-385-7031) in Port Townsend said of the fisheries first days.
“Everyone was saying they were hitting their limits.”
And what would a salmon fishery opening be without a salmon derby?
The fourth annual Chimacum Alumni Association Salmon Derby in Port Hadlock will take place Saturday and Sunday.
Proceeds from this derby will go towards scholarships provided by the Chimacum Alumni Association.
The derby is open to all and will be held in the waters of Marine Area 9.
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.
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.
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.
Prize winners need not be present to win.
Suggested boat launches are Lower Port Hadlock Boat Launch, Fort Flagler State Park, Port of Port Townsend Marina, Mats Mats Bay or Port Ludlow.
For more information, phone Billy Eldridge at 360-821-1007.
Another PT derby
The Fishin’ Hole also will serve as a weigh-in station for the 15th annual Kitsap Poggies Club Salmon Derby on Saturday, Aug. 3.
This derby covers Marine Areas 9, 10 (Seattle/Bremerton area) and 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island).
Tickets cost $25.
First prize is $1,000, second places takes home $750, third place gets $500, fourth place receives $250 and fifth place takes home $200.
Fish must be weighed by 2 p.m. to be eligible for prizes, which will be awarded at 6 p.m. at Brownsville Marina on the evening of the derby.
Puget Sound Anglers
Sam Brenkman, chief fisheries biologist for the Olympic National Park, will be the speaker at tonight’s meeting of the North Olympic Chapter of the Puget Sound Anglers club.
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.
Outdoors columnist Lee Horton appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at email@example.com.