LEE HORTON’S OUTDOORS: Blackmouth season off to a cold start

By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News

THE BLACKMOUTH FISHERY isn’t off to a great start, but there are fish to be caught in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

“Blackmouth is doing pretty darn good when the weather is allowing [anglers] to fish,” Bob Aunspach of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles said.

Of course, wind is the constant enemy of the saltwater salmon angler. It’s even worse this time of year because it’s combined with cold air.

Aunspach said the Winter Hole seems to be the best spot, but anglers also are having success near Ediz Hook.

“There’s just a handful of guys doing it, but the guys who are working hard are doing well,” Aunspach said.

“There have even been some limits.”

The daily limit in Marine Area 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca) is two salmon.

Merry Crab-mas

The crab harvest off Port Angeles remains sporadic.

“There will be one day of success, then two, three days with nothing,” Aunspach said.

“The crab seem to move around a lot this time of year.”

Some brave souls are doing well wading for crab at night time.

Near Sequim, the fairly successful harvest has been slowed by Jack Frost.

“It’s been so cold, people didn’t go out. That’s isn’t surprising,” Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said.

The winter crab season ends when 2013 does — Tuesday, Dec. 31 — which will be here sooner than you think.

Salmon derby tickets

Here’s a Christmas gift idea: The chance to win $10,000 while fishing.

Tickets are now on sale for the 2014 Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby, which will be held Presidents Day weekend February 15-17.

The derby, hosted by the Gardiner Salmon Derby Association, features 500 miles of fishing area and five weigh stations.

Oh, and the grand prize is $10,000.

There also are four $500 mystery fish prizes, as well as many other prizes (last year, the derby ladder had 45 prizes).

This year’s event will have one major rule change.

“In earlier years, we only allowed one fish per person on the ladder,” Dan Tatum, president of Gardiner Salmon Derby Association, said.

“We’ve removed that restriction — if you catch two prize winners, you win two prizes.”

Another big change is that a fish must weigh more than 6 pounds to be eligible for the mystery fish prizes.

“These prizes generate a lot of excitement, and people had been submitting every legal fish they caught, even little ‘shakers’ that most people wouldn’t normally keep,” Tatum said.

“This [new rule] will help keep smaller fish out in the wild, getting bigger for next year.”

Tickets for the derby cost $40 for one day or all three days (or $42.50 online).

Tickets are available at many area merchants and can also be purchased online at www.GardinerSalmonDerby.org and picked up at a launch ramp the day of the derby.

Tickets also will be available at the five launch ramps, but only on Saturday, Feb. 15.

See www.GardinerSalmonDerby.org for more information — including the no-cost tickets available for Wounded Warriors, thanks to generous local donations.

This derby uses selective fishery — clipped-fin hatchery fish only — and it benefits emergency and other vital services for Gardiner, Diamond Point, Blyn and nearby communities.

As usual, the Northwest Marine Trade Association will on-hand and displaying their $60,000 2014 grand prize boat, which every derby ticket holder is automatically entered to win.

The derby spans the North Olympic Peninsula, with weigh stations at five launch ramps: Freshwater Bay, Ediz Hook in Port Angeles, John Wayne Marina in Sequim, Gardiner and Port Townsend Boat Haven.

“Each year we seem to do a little better. Last year, we had 351 fish submitted,” Tatum 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 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: December 19. 2013 6:37PM
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