LEE HORTON'S OUTDOORS: Great beach fishing along Strait

By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News

HIT THE BEACH this Labor Day weekend.

“It has been slow for boat fishermen, but beach fishing has been great,” Eric Elliott of The Fishin' Hole (360-385-7031) in Port Townsend.

Elliott said Fort Worden and Fort Flagler have been popular spots for beach casters near Port Townsend.

To the west, Brian Menkal of Brian's Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said that anglers have been having success beach casting at Gibson Spit and Sequim Bay.

Ward Norden, a fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist, has some gear advice for those trying to catch salmon from the beach.

“For beach casters, it is time to start switching from pink jigs to green or chartreuse jigs like Buzz Bombs,” he said.

Bob Aunspach of Swain's General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles said that boat anglers in the Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca have been enjoying favorable conditions lately.

“The water has been awesome,” he said.

“It has been flat all the way until night.”

Aunspach said that more silvers are being caught, and many are weighing as much as 8 to 10 pounds.

The pinks, meanwhile, have grown to 6 to 8 pounds.

Ward Norden, a fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist, said pinks are still the most common catches for beach and boat anglers, but the coho are on their way.

“Right now the catches are about 90 percent humpy and 10 percent coho, but that will begin changing this weekend as the humpy run starts winding down — it is already past its peak in [Marine] Area 9,” Norden said.

Menkal said that many pinks have been reported in the Pacific Ocean, so there could be even more humpies on the way.

And since the silvers have yet to make their big run through the Strait, the salmon fishing season is far from over.

“There's just lots of fish out there,” Aunspach said.

“We have another good month of good fishing yet for silvers.”

Menkal goes one month further

“We have two really good months of fishing coming up in September and October,” Menkal said.

“There is a whole bunch of fish.

“Things are starting to happen.”

Crab closing

The crab season will end at the end of the day Monday.

After you've pulled your pots up for the final time, send your summer catch reports to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

All crabbers must submit these cards by Oct. 1, even if they didn't harvest any crab.

The catch report cards are important for determining how much of a winter crab season we will have.

Let the chum run

Norden saw something saw something from the bridge of the Big Quilcene River: “An unusually high percentage of Puget Sound summer chum salmon.”

But, anglers can't catch these fish.

“This subspecies of salmon is officially listed [as] endangered/threatened, and rightfully so, unlike chinook or steelhead,” Norden said.

“Tell anglers [to] do no harm to these salmon. They are hard to miss since they are significantly larger than the hatchery coho.

“The commercial fishers in the bay will likely have to quit until the chum run passes.”

Norden said that in the early 1990s, only about 150 chum remained.

“Through the hard work and agreements between the USFWS, the WDFW, and the Skokomish Tribe, these mysterious fish have been brought back from extinction.

“This is the greatest story of salmon recovery in the last 50 years. I am proud to say I played a miniscule role in the effort.

“As a fishery biologist, I have given lectures from time to time on the mystery of this fish's natural history and how it was saved from extinction.

“Seeing all of them a few moments ago brought a smile and a tear.”

Winners don't have fins

The Clallam Bay-Sekiu Chamber of Commerce is hosting it “No Fin, You Win” salmon derby next Saturday, Sept. 7.

Derby tickets cost $15, and are available at Van Riper's Resort (360-963-2334) and Olson's Resort (360-963-2311) in Sekiu.

First prize is 50 percent of the overall ticket sales, second place receives 20 percent, and third place takes home 10 percent.

The derby ends at 3 p.m. Weigh-in is at Olson's Resort.

Sekiu kids derby

Christopher Evans of Lacey came within three-hundreths of a pound from repeating as champion of the annual Lions Club Kids Derby in Sekiu last month.

Despite catching a larger fish than last year, the 13-year-old Evans finished second this year with an 8.2-pound coho.

Aidan McKinney, age 12, of Port Orchard edged Evans with a coho that weighed 8.23 pounds.

Third place was 6-year-old Gabe Barros of Clallam Bay with a 8.08-pound coho.

Rounding out the top-ten award winners were Nora Parker (age 9) of Clallam Bay, Nick Young (14) of Clallam Bay, Josef Babbitt (12) of Bonney Lake, Dyxsan Martin (5) of Maple Valley, Devan Martin (11) of Maple Valley, Kalin Duncan (11) of Clallam Bay, and Madison Evans (8) of Lacey.

Fifty-three young anglers ages 5-14 participated, and 44 kids brought in fish.

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 sports@peninsuladailynews.com 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 lhorton@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: August 31. 2013 9:59AM
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