LEE HORTON’S OUTDOORS: Steelhead might be arriving on West End

By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News

AT THIS POINT, any news of steelhead in the West End rivers is a reason for optimism.

“I’ve heard fish are showing up in the Bogachiel,” Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said, adding that the fish have been spotted near the hatchery.

Christmas, for good reason, slowed down steelhead fishing, so it remains to be seen if the hatchery steelhead are finally starting their big winter run.

Maybe the steelhead were just waiting for the anglers to finish their Christmas shopping.

Crab season ending

The sport crab harvest concludes its winter season Tuesday (or New Year’s Eve, for those who are mentally on winter break).

“Crabbing’s been good,” Menkal said.

“Dungeness is working out for a lot of people.”

Other than a trip to the coast to dig razor clams, crab harvest seems to be the best bet on the North Olympic Peninsula.

Master Hunter applications being accepted

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife will accept applications for its Master Hunter Permit Program from Wednesday, Jan. 1, through Feb. 15.

According to the state, this program is designed to promote safe, lawful and ethical hunting, and to strengthen our state’s hunting heritage and conservation ethic.

Master hunters are enlisted to remove problem animals that damage property. They also participate in volunteer projects that focus on increasing access to private lands, habitat enhancement, data collection, hunter education and landowner relations.

“To qualify for the program, applicants must demonstrate a high level of skill and be committed to lawful and ethical hunting practices,” David Whipple, state Hunter Education division manager, said in a news release.

Hunters enrolling in the program must pay a $50 application fee, pass a criminal background check, pass a written test, demonstrate shooting proficiency, provide at least 20 hours of approved volunteer service and meet other qualifications described on the state’s website at www.tinyurl.com/pdnMasterHunt.

Whipple encourages those who enroll in the program to prepare thoroughly for the written test, as applicants are allowed only one chance to retake the exam.

There are about 1,850 certified master hunters currently enrolled in the program, which is now administered by state’s Wildlife Program.

Enrollment was closed during 2013 to allow the state Department of Fish and Wildlife time to review the program, clarify its role and identify strategies to better engage members in high-priority volunteer work.

Razor clam digs begin

An eight-day razor clam dig opens Saturday at four beaches along Washington’s coast.

Here are the dates, beaches and low tides of the dig:

■ Sunday, Dec. 29: 4:05 p.m.; -0.2 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks and Copalis.

■ Monday, Dec. 30: 4:55 p.m.; -0.9 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks and Copalis.

■ Tuesday, Dec. 31: 5:42 p.m.; -1.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks and Copalis.

■ Wednesday, Jan. 1: 6:29 p.m.; -1.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks.

■ Thursday, Jan. 2: 7:15 p.m.; -1.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks.

■ Friday, Jan. 3: 8 p.m.; -1.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks.

■ Saturday, Jan. 4: 8:45 p.m.; -0.9 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks and Copalis.

■ Sunday, Jan. 5: 9:31 p.m.; -0.2 feet; Twin Harbors.

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’s outdoors column appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at lhorton@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 26. 2013 5:37PM
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