LEE HORTON'S OUTDOORS: Salmon already moving through Strait

By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News

IT WAS THIS weekend last year that a monthslong dry spell ended on the North Olympic Peninsula.

From late July to early October, there was no rain to move the fish from the Strait of Juan de Fuca into the rivers.

It was great for fishing in Sekiu, because the salmon just hung out there, waiting for the signal to move along.

But fishing on the rest of the Strait and in the rivers suffered because the fish were all loitering around Sekiu.

Conditions have been different this. The Peninsula has not lacked rain this year, so the fish didn't stay in the Strait for long.

“All the rain moved them out. They moved much quicker this year,” said Bob Aunspach of Swain's General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles.

“We're on the slower side this year than normal. In my opinion, it will get slower and slower as the month goes on.”

However, there are salmon throughout the Strait.

“It's all coho,” Aunspach said.

“A few guys are out looking for chinook, but most are going for coho, especially now that you can keep a wild coho.”

Brian Menkal of Brian's Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said anglers off Port Angeles are finding more success than are anglers near Sequim. Around Sequim, he said most anglers chasing coho are heading out near the international buoys.

Rivers benefit

The salmon dashed down the Strait so they could make their run up the rivers.

“River fishing is pretty darn good,” Aunspach said.

“There is definitely a lot of pressure on the rivers right now.”

The pressure got especially thick on the Dungeness River, which opened last week. So, there are salmon in the Dungeness, but there also are lots of humans trying to catch those fish.

If you go, don't forget to bring your social skills, because you probably won't be alone.

Due to the rain, the salmon made their run earlier than usual. Menkal reports that most of the have already passed the U.S. Highway 101 bridge.

As for the West End Rivers, Menkal recommends the Sol Duc and Bogachiel.

Admiralty Inlet salmon

Ward Norden, a fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist, reports that there are a lot of silvers in Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet).

“Fishing for coho in Area 9 has been extraordinary in the past week, but timing is critical,” Norden said.

“Typical of this late in the run, only about 20 percent of the fish will be biters.

“If there aren't too many other anglers around, fishing is great. But if the weather is calm on a weekend with lots of boats out, those biters get swept up pretty quickly.”

Norden also said there might be some good chum fishing in the coming weeks.

“The anglers I have talked to have been commenting on large numbers of bigger salmon they are seeing on their sonars below the coho,” he said.

“Those are the leading edge of the fall chum run.

As unusually large as the summer chum run was a few weeks ago, I am expecting the largest chum run in a decade or more next month.”

Important saltwater notes

■ Don't forget the second annual Sekiu King Coho Derby hosted by Olson's Resort (360-963-2311) is Saturday and Sunday.

Derby tickets are $30.

Cash prizes will be awarded for the largest wild or hatchery king, wild or hatchery coho and chum caught by a ticket holder.

The derby operates with a progressive pot, so the cash prize amount will be determined by ticket sales.

Anglers 14 years and younger can participate in a free Lil' Anglers derby.

For more information or tickets, phone Olson's Resort at 360-963-2311 or email olsoninfo@gmail.com, or Greg Ekberg at 206-735-8518 and gofishsekiu@gmail.com.

Or, read Thursday's column about the derby online at www.tinyurl.com/pdnKingCoho.

For the derby weekend, Olson's Resort is offering a derby special of a round-trip launch and three-nights moorage for boats 21 feet and under for $40. Longer boats will cost just $1 more per foot, per night.

■ The LaPush late season ends Sunday.

Last week was the Last Chance Derby, but this weekend is your actual last chance to fish for salmon on the northern coast.

Deer hunt starts

Whether you hunt or not, it is important to know that hunting for deer, elk, ducks, geese and other game birds with modern firearms begins Saturday.

Dave Ware, game manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, reported plentiful game thanks to a mild winter and favorable spring.

“Also, recent storms have helped to quiet hunters' footsteps in the forest and blow leaves off the trees for better visibility,” Ware said.

“Those are all very positive signs for upcoming seasons.”

Hunters are required by law to wear hunter orange clothing.

While that requirement does not apply to non-hunters, Ware suggests hikers, mushroom pickers and others in areas open to hunting wear bright, colorful clothing to maximize their visibility, too.

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.

________

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 10. 2013 6:54PM
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