LEE HORTON’S OUTDOORS: Duck hunt gets assist from wind

By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News

THE NORTH OLYMPIC Peninsula has been experiencing a roller coaster weather pattern recently.

The Peninsula freezes over, then thaws.

Then it freezes again, and appears to be thawing again.

Mother Nature seems to be teasing anglers. However, she isn’t completely ruining things.

The duck hunt on Hood Canal appeared to be on its way to an early end, but was saved by, of all things, the wind.

“Normally with the hard freeze Quilcene got — four nights in a row with temps in the low teens and highs below freezing — the bays on Hood Canal would completely freeze over, moving the ducks to warmer climes,” Ward Norden, a fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist, said.

“Fortunately, we had just enough wind to maintain enough open water so the ducks are still here, and [there are] even new arrivals.

“The best part of duck hunting season starts now and runs through the end of January, unless we get another even harder freeze that doesn’t have the helpful breeze at night.”

Lake Leland still fishable

Lake Leland received an icy shell during the recent cold snap, but it didn’t shut down the fishing opportunity on the Peninsula’s best lake.

“As of [Tuesday] Lake Leland [was] still about two-thirds frozen over,” Norden said, “but the boat launch and pier end of the lake is in open water, so fishing is possible.

“The rest of the lake should be clear of ice by the weekend if “warm” rains and wind come as predicted.”

Leland and nearby lakes are among the few opportunities remaining in Jefferson County since Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) closed to salmon fishing.

For anglers without boats, the options are even more limited.

“Lake Leland and beach casting for steelhead at Marrowstone or Point Wilson are the only games in town for the boat-free angler in Jefferson County this month,” Norden said.

Beach steelhead fishing doesn’t seem to be a huge deal on this side of Admiralty Inlet, but Norden said it is quite the draw on Whidbey Island.

“There is also crabbing off the piers in Port Townsend, unless you are willing to brave going out at night with a head lamp on [during] the low tides to hand crab in Oak Bay near Port Hadlock,” Norden said.

“If you are into jigging for squid at night, that is also a possibility at the three piers in Port Townsend.”

Volun-deers needed

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife volunteers to help with a blacktail deer project on the North Olympic Peninsula.

This multi-year study intends to assess the effects of forest management (timber harvest and herbicide use) on blacktail deer reproduction — in particular, fawn survivability.

Volunteers will help the state monitor radio-collared deer on Department of Natural Resources-managed lands between Port Angeles and Sequim.

Volunteers must be willing to be on-call (contacted at any time of day) and able to get into the field on short notice.

They will need to provide their own equipment, such as hiking boots, raingear and daypack.

They also will help carry minimal but necessary gear into a site.

Volunteers may be required to drive on logging roads and must be able to hike off-trail (bush-whack through clearcuts and forests).

Volunteers are needed now through the coming winter months when deer mortality is likely to increase due to the cold weather.

However, the bulk of the work will be in late May through July during fawning season when volunteers are most needed to help with fawn searches and attachment of radio collars on fawns.

Participants will learn radio telemetry and use it to track a deer’s location in order to retrieve the radio collar and determine cause of predation.

To volunteer or learn more, send an email with your name address and phone number to state wildlife biologist Kim Loafman at Kim.Loafman@dfw.wa.gov.

Mountaineers course

The Kitsap Branch of the Mountaineers is now accepting applications for its basic mountaineering course.

The five-month course begins Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, and runs through June 1, 2014.

There are one to two classes per month.

Participants should be prepared to climb on rock, snow, ice and glaciers.

There are no prerequisites for the program, but the course does require a time commitment and a high level of physical fitness.

The course fee is $300. Membership in the Mountaineers club is $73, plus a one-time initiation fee of $35.

Course participants provide their own equipment.

The basic mountaineering course consists of evening and weekend classroom sessions followed by field sessions.

Students of the courses can sign up for climbs of The Brothers, Mount Constance, Mount Olympus, Mount Baker and Mount Rainier.

To sign up for either course, contact Mike Raymond, climbing division chairperson of the Kitsap Branch of the Mountaineers by phoning 360-204-2111 or at mikeraymond55@gmail.com.

For more information, visit www.tinyurl.com/pdnMountaineers.

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

Last modified: December 11. 2013 6:17PM
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