By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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Last Friday night, I went to Forks to cover a football game, and it started to rain.
“It’s because somebody had to write that Forks needed more rain,” someone said to me with a friendly laugh.
It was a good-natured dig, but one I probably deserved.
I’m sorry, Forks citizens, for often calling for an end to your sunshine, but I’m merely looking out for the anglers and hunters.
Twice a week, my concern is for the outdoors.
The other five days, I’m on your side.
Unfortunately, this is not one of those days, so . . .
Great news: The West End is getting rain.
“There’s lots of fish in the rivers out West,” Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said.
“The Sol Duc, Bogachiel, Hoh and Quillayute rivers all have fish. This rain should really help.”
Bob Aunspach of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles checked the water levels online.
“If they don’t go up to much, it could be a really good weekend,” he said.
For the record, when Aunspach says, “Really good weekend,” he’s talking about fishing, not getting a tan.
“The Hoh is the river everyone is talking about, because it’s held its color,” Aunspach said.
He said that fall hatchery chinook are the main catch, but there also should be some coho, and with enough rain, some early hatchery steelhead.
Moving to the East, Menkal said fishing for coho on the Dungeness River hasn’t been great recently.
“It’s definitely slowing down on the Dungy,” he said.
“We are supposed to get more rain, so hopefully that will stir things up.
“Somebody told me the hatchery was expecting more fish, so hopefully there are more to come.
“Traditionally, this is the time of year it starts tapering off, but not every year is the same. It will be interesting to see what happens.”
Crab harvest improving
The fall crab season has experienced an uptick in the last week.
Even in Port Angeles.
It isn’t great there, but the harbor has had its good days.
“You know, it has gotten a little better,” Aunspach said.
“It has definitely picked up.”
Remember, Port Angeles was slow in the summer and again when the fall harvest opened Oct. 1. That makes this perhaps the most glowing report I have heard of crab this year.
Aunspach said one of the things that has helped is there aren’t as many softshell Dungeness crab as there have been.
After a brief period of slowing, Menkal said crabbers near Sequim have been doing better lately.
“I wouldn’t say its red hot, but it seems to be picking up,” he said.
“Lots of guys are getting their limits. Even some who are wading for crab are getting their limits. So, that’s cool.”
Ward Norden, a fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist who also serves as this column’s bird-hunting expert, checked in with this report:
“As you would expect, in the weeks since the opening waterfowl hunting season, the local birds have been getting pretty wise to the ways of shotguns and decoy sets,” Norden said.
“The good news is that the first few flocks of northern birds started to arrive this week on Hood Canal bays, and other North Olympic Peninsula bays as well.
“The main flights often don’t arrive until almost Thanksgiving, but hunting is already improving when the winds allow hunters onto the bays.”
It hasn’t been approved yet, but pending marine toxin tests finding the razor clams to be safe, there will be a six-day dig beginning next Friday.
Here are the tentative dates, beaches and low tides:
■ Friday, Nov. 15: 5:01 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks.
■ Saturday, Nov. 16: 5:42 p.m.; -0.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks
■ Sunday, Nov. 17: 6:20 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks.
■ Monday, Nov. 18: 6:57 p.m.; -0.6 feet; Twin Harbors.
■ Tuesday, Nov. 19: 7:33 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors.
■ Wednesday, Nov. 20: 8:09 p.m.; -0.2 feet; Twin Harbors.
Stay tuned. This dig should be approved by early next week.
Also, stay tuned to the bear on the loose in Long Beach. It killed a dog, bit a lady and has avoided the traps intended to catch it. (Read more here: www.tinyurl.com/pdnBitingBear.
Watch for otters
Reader and outdoors photographer Randall Page said there is a female sea otter and one kit living on Ediz Hook in Port Angeles.
“They are in the rocks in a part of the Strait [of Juan de Fuca] side that is rarely accessed,” Page said.
“Mostly they stay on the Strait, but on occasion they do cross the road and forage in the harbor.”
Page recommends being on the lookout when driving on the Hook.
“It would be tragic if they were hit by a speeding car,” he said.
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.