By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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With the end of the saltwater salmon on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the obvious choice is to head to the rivers.
Not so fast.
While there are plenty of fish in the West End rivers, there isn’t plenty of water.
Even with that rain Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
“We got a little; maybe a quarter of an inch,” Bob Gooding of Olympic Sporting Goods (360-374-6330) in Forks said.
“But a quarter of an inch isn’t going to do anything. Those rivers didn’t budge.
“I was out splitting wood in [the rain]. If it doesn’t stop me from splitting wood, then it’s not raining hard enough [to raise the rivers].”
There is rain in the weekend forecast of Forks, but Gooding is skeptical it will be enough to bring up the rivers to a good fishing level.
“It’s going to take quite a bit of rain, probably 3 to 4 inches, and I don’t think we’re going to get it,” Gooding said.
“We need a pile of rain.”
But, there are chinook and coho in those rivers.
“The West End rivers are plugged — the Hoh, Bogachiel, Quillayute,” Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said.
“There’s lots of fish, so guys are getting some.”
To the East, the Dungeness still has a lot of fish.
“They’re low and high,” Menkal said.
“But their moving fast.”
Menkal recommends lighter liter and darker colored lures.
Elk hunting starts Saturday
That little bit of rain much of the North Olympic Peninsula received should improve conditions for the elk hunt, which opens Saturday and runs through Wednesday, Nov. 13.
“It probably will help the hunters some,” Gooding said.
“But, again, we need more.”
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is gushing about the elk hunt prospects for this year.
Dave Ware, state game manager, said in a news release that this elk harvest should be similar to last year’s, which was the best since at least 1997.
If you’re hunting in a gated area — one that is open to hunting — Ware recommends going at least 2 miles beyond the gate.
“There’s something about the magic number 2 miles behind a closed gate to make elk feel secure,” said Ware.
“The lower elevations receive a lot of pressure. Older age-class bulls are typically found in higher elevation, roadless areas or 2 or more miles behind closed gates where they feel safe.”
The state has a couple of online tools to help hunters know where they can hunt:
■ The Private Lands Hunting Access Program: www.tinyurl.com/pdnPrivateLands.
■ The GoHunt! mapping feature, which includes layers displaying public and private lands, game-management units and other useful information: www.tinyurl.com/pdnGoHunt.
Since there are a bunch of hunter wandering around with loaded guns, everyone in areas open to hunting needs to take steps to stay safe.
The state advises hunters, hikers and mushroom pickers wear bright, colorful clothing to maximize their visibility.
Ski bus program
The Kiwanis Club of Port Townsend is again sponsoring its annual youth snow sports program, and will be making six bus trips to Stevens Pass — the first on Saturday, Jan. 11.
This year, Quilcene students will be joining the Port Townsend and Chimacum students.
Signups for the program are earlier this year than they have been the last several years
The first 75 people who sign up, adults and students in seventh grade or above, may register Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Port Townsend Rec Center on Tyler and Clay streets from 9 a.m. to noon.
Participants who are in sixth grade and younger must be accompanied by a paid adult or guardian on all trips.
Registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Please contact Stevens Pass directly for lift ticket prices. Transportation cost is $130.
For further information, please contact Michelle West, Kiwanis snow sports program director at email@example.com (email preferred) or 360-302-1132.
The public is invited to a celebration of salmon at the Ozette Ranger Station Saturday from 1 p.m to 4 p.m.
This free event includes scheduled tours to Umbrella Creek to watch sockeye returning to spawn.
Those who attend also can meet local scientists and people involved in sockeye recover, touch pelts and the skulls of predators and learn about the historic and cultural significance of the salmon of Lake Ozette.
Tip: Bring your rain gear, camera, and if you have them, a pair of binoculars.
Here’s how to get to the Ozette Ranger Station from the east: From U.S. Highway 101, get on State Road 112. About 2.5 miles beyond Sekiu, turn left onto the Hoko-Ozette Road. Follow this road for about 20 miles to the ranger station.
River fishing class, take 3
For the third straight week, Menkal will begin his two-part river salmon and steelhead fishing class to Tuesday, Nov. 5. The class will conclude the following Tuesday, Nov. 12.
Both sessions start at 6 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m.
The cost for the class is $25. Bring a notepad, pen or pencil and a chair.
Class attendance is limited to 20 participants. To reserve a spot or for more information, phone Menkal at 360-683-1950.
The classes are held at Brian’s Sporting Goods and More at 609 W. Washington St. in Sequim.
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.
Sports Editor Lee Horton appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at email@example.com.