LEE HORTON’S OUTDOORS: Fall crab harvest has started

By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News

CRAB SEASON IS back.

This reopening was expected, considering the mixed results of the summer sport crab harvest: Sequim was consistently good, especially in July, but Port Angeles never got going.

However, a subpar summer season doesn’t mean we will have a similar fall and winter results.

In fact, there is reason to hope that the fall harvest will be much better.

The summer 2012 harvest also was slow, although it didn’t seem quite as slow as this summer, but was followed up by some pretty good fall crabbing.

Let’s hope this fall has a similar outcome, because there aren’t many things better than getting out on the water, pulling up a crab pot and then having a delicious feast of fresh Dungeness crab later in the day.

Recreational crabbing will be allowed through Dec. 31 in Marine Areas 4 (Neah Bay, east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line), 5 (Sekiu), 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 9 (Admiralty Inlet) and 12 (Hood Canal).

Unlike the summer’s Thursday-through-Monday harvest, the fall crab season is open seven days a week.

As in the summer, the daily catch limit is five Dungeness crab in hard-shell condition, with a minimum carapace width of 6 inches. Males only; females must be gently tossed back into the water — which is kind of fun.

An additional six red rock crab of either sex may be harvested each day. The red rocks must measure at least 5 inches across.

One more thing: All Dungeness crab caught in the late-season fishery must be recorded on winter catch cards, which are valid until Dec. 31. Winter cards are free with crab endorsements, and are available at license vendors across the state.

These winter catch reports must be returned to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife by Feb. 1, 2014. (And that, I believe, is this column’s first reference to 2014.)

Wild chinook and coho

Another big reopening happened this week: Anglers can now retain wild chinook and wild coho in Marine Areas 5 and 6.

This saltwater salmon season update will last through the end of the month.

The daily limit is still two salmon, but only one chinook may be retained per day.

According to Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim, anglers have already had nice success in the first few days of this reopening.

Last chance derby

The LaPush last-season salmon fishery opened Sunday, and the main event of this opening, the Last Chance Salmon Derby, takes place this Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets for the two-day derby are $25, and are available now at the Quileute Marina, Swain’s General Store in Port Angeles, Forks Outfitters, Olympic Sporting Goods in Forks, Forks Chamber of Commerce and during the derby at the Quileute Marina.

The derby includes separate divisions for chinook and coho.

Cash prize is $500 for the largest chinook, $250 for the second largest and $100 for the third largest; and $500 for largest coho, $250 for second largest, and $100 for third largest.

There also is a $100 prize for the largest bottomfish as well.

There are also drawing prizes, for which all ticket holders are eligible. Drawing for prizes will take place on the dock in LaPush within an hour of the close of the derby on Sunday.

This is a family-friendly derby, and coffee, doughnuts and camaraderie are available in the Quileute Marina prior to and during the derby.

Visit www.tinyurl.com/pdnLastChance or phone 360-374-2531 with any questions.

________

Sports Editor Lee Horton appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at lhorton@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 02. 2013 6:22PM
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