LEE HORTON’S OUTDOORS: Irksome side of fishing
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Peninsula Daily News
An angler’s life can be a frustrating life.
Let us count the ways.
One: Hatchery chinook fishing in Marine Area 9.
The fishery closed Aug. 4, about four weeks early, because the king quota had been met.
But, that doesn’t mean the kings have stopped swimming through Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet).
For the most part, the chinook run is over, but there are still a few stragglers.
Ward Norden, a fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist, said anglers need to be careful to avoid harming the remaining kings.
It can be difficult to reel in a huge king and have to carefully release it back into the water.
“One angler reportedly hooked what he said was a 37-pound hatchery king and was so disgusted, just went home,” Norden said.
Two: Pinks running up the Dungeness River.
Again, awful timing, because the Dungeness doesn’t open to fishing until Oct. 8.
I’ve heard a few reports of schools of pinks swimming up this Clallam County river.
“They’re so thick you can walk on them,” Bob Aunspach of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles said.
Three: Thieving sea lions.
Lonnie Archibald, a freelance photographer for the Peninsula Daily News, went salmon fishing near LaPush earlier this month with his son and grandson.
They caught their limit of coho and reeled in one chinook.
But the trio had to fight with sea lions for their catches.
“Sea lions off LaPush have learned to follow fishing boats off the Quileute village for free salmon meals,” Archibald wrote in an email that included a photo of a sea lion who narrowly missed pilfering a salmon.
“They often wait for fishermen to hook kings and silvers, then attack like sharks, consuming that which the sportsman had traveled 10 to 20 miles off the coast in hopes to harvest.
“Sea lions are becoming a nuisance to sportsmen.”
Pinks and silvers
The hatchery chinook season ended Thursday in Marine Areas 5 (Sekiu) and 6 (Port Angeles).
Now the focus is solely on silvers and pinks.
Pinks seem to be stealing the show right now, and probably will until they finish their run.
“Humpies and coho don’t play well together in the water, so the best coho fishing . . . won’t be until most of the humpies have gone by,” Norden said, adding that the pinks will probably finish in early September.
More and more pinks are being caught in Areas 5 and 6, and Sekiu had a nice coho day Sunday.
Beach fishing for humpies in Admiralty Inlet is going pretty well, but Norden said, “The big schools of pinks seemed to be migrating just far enough offshore, so the beach casters couldn’t quite get to them.
“The anglers who did the best were the ones who anchored their boats just off the beach in about 25 to 30 feet of water and cast toward the rolling humpies as the schools of fish went by.
“Some of those anglers reported getting 20 to 25 humpies in a couple hours.”
Beach casting elsewhere
We’ve often discussed beach fishing in Port Townsend, but I received an email from an out-of-towner on his way to Neah Bay this weekend who wanted to know a good place near Neah Bay or Sekiu to fish for pinks from the shore.
Norden said there are a few places near Sekiu, but only one is simple to find.
“The easy one is the beach between the mouth of the Clallam River and Slip Point — the lighthouse,” he said.
“If you turn right at that sharp left turn of U.S. Highway 112 in Clallam Bay and go down to the residential area, there are some access points to the beach.”
Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said some of his customers were swimming near Marlyn Nelson County Park, and saw a bunch of pinks.
So, they did some beach casting at Gibson Spit, and had a lot of success.
With the hatchery chinook closures of Marine Areas 5 and 6, the only places to fish for kings are Area 3 (LaPush), 4 (Neah Bay) and 12 (Hood Canal).
The limit restrictions in Neah Bay and LaPush were lowered to one chinook per day, but the salmon fishing has stayed strong.
Big Salmon Resort (360-645-2374) in Neah Bay posted a photo on its Facebook page of a group of 13 anglers holding big salmon on the Windsong charter boat.
As of Thursday afternoon, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife hadn’t announced anything, but it appears the Neah Bay chinook fishery will be closed down soon, because by the past Sunday, Marine Area 4 had harvested 4 percent more than its chinook quota.
Area 3, meanwhile, has caught 89 percent of its quota.
It seems not much has been happening on the Hood Canal salmon fishing front.
But, that could change, as Quilcene Bay and Dabob Bay open to coho fishing today, with a four-fish daily limit.
“Depending on [recent rainfall], there should be a lot of coho swimming circles near the drop-off ledge off shore of the Quilcene boat haven, since few new ones have come back to the [Quilcene] hatchery in the last week,” Norden said.
“The water in the bay and river is quite warm, so the coho are undoubtedly down 60 to 80 feet in cooler water.”
Get your albacore gear ready.
“After three weeks of the tuna being pushed offshore by cooler water, the warmer Pacific [Ocean] currents are moving inshore again,” Norden said.
“The tuna should be within 20 miles of La Push already, if not closer for the next 5-6 days.”
Sekiu kids derby
Don’t forget the Clallam Bay-Sekiu Lions Kids Fishing Derby is Saturday.
There is no entry fee, and the derby is open to kids ages 5 to 14.
Registration starts at 5:30 a.m. at Van Riper’s Resort and Olson’s Resort.
The weigh-in will be at noon at the Lion’s Club swings.
For more information, questions, or to donate, phone Adam Campbell at 360-461-6701 or Roy Morris at 360-963-2442.
Learn to row
The Olympic Peninsula Rowing Association has two learn-to-row summer clinics remaining.
The clinics, open to youth ages 12 and older, start Mondays (Aug. 19 and 26) and run through Fridays each week, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Participants will be taught rowing technique by Rodrigo Rodrigues, a world-class rowing coach, with help from assistant coaches Holly Stevens and Tarah Erickson, both college rowers at the Division 1 level.
The cost for one week is $50.
For more information, or to reserve a spot in one of the clinics, contact John Halberg at 360-460-6525 or at email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.
Outdoors columnist Lee Horton appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at email@example.com.
Last modified: August 15. 2013 5:32PM