LEE HORTON'S OUTDOORS: Watch the Hawks hunt (for a Super Bowl)

By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News

THE LAST FEW years, January has been a popular bird-watching month in the Northwest.

Especially in the CenturyLink area of the state.

With the outdoors scene being as slow as it is on the North Olympic Peninsula, you should probably instead focus your attention on the Seattle Seahawks' playoff run.

The only downside to joining Seahawksmania is the recent shortage of Velveeta could affect your queso dip.

Seriously, there is no better time to be a Seahawks fan.

It's still and up-and-coming team, so every win is a fantastic, life-improving event for fans.

Even as one of the favorites, if Seattle doesn't win the Super Bowl this year, its fans will be disappointed but not disgruntled.

To them, Pete Carroll will still be the best coach in the world, Russell Wilson will still be the soon-to-be best quarterback in the world (just waiting for Peyton Manning and Tom Brady to retire, but even those guys are on notice) and no legion of defensive backs can or will ever boom like Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.

No matter what happens between now and Sunday, Feb. 2, nothing will be quite so sweet for most fans next season.

They'll still enjoy the ride, but they will become more irritated by the speed bumps, such as last month's loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Perfection becomes the expectation. Questions arise.

Why aren't Wilson and the offense great every game? How did the defense allow that team to score so many points? Why isn't Marshawn Lynch as beastly as he used to be? The Seahawks always talk about each week being a championship opportunity; I know it's only Week 4, but did they just lose the championship?

Fans will still be dedicated, but cynicism will seep in. This just happens; there's nothing you can do to stop it.

So, take a break from your fishing gear and snowboard to enjoy the Seahawks.

Start wearing your Seahawks jacket or replica jersey everywhere, and end every phone call by saying “Go Hawks!”

Drive by 12th Street in Port Angeles and wonder when it will be renamed 12th Man Street.

Put your friendships with 49ers fans on hiatus until after the playoffs.

Knowing that some of you just can't turn your backs on the outdoors scene, here's what you need to know:

Steelhead still missing

If you were holding out hope that rain was the only thing keeping the steelhead from running through the West End rivers, you can probably stop.

“It's been raining pretty good,” Bob Gooding of Olympic Sporting Goods (360-374-6330) in Forks said, adding that more rain is on the way, so the rivers will be too high to fish.

“People keep saying that the fish are late. They ain't late; they ain't coming.

“The hatchery fishing has pretty much been a bust. Hopefully, the wild steelhead fishing will be fine.”

Gooding said that if the native steelhead are going to show up this season, it could be as early as next week.

Area 9 opening

The blackmouth fishery in Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) begins Thursday.

“I am expecting an opening in Area 9 to be a bit slow on the west end (Port Townsend), but on the eastern end (Possession Point) it should be very good,” Ward Norden, a fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist, said.

“Fishing depends on where the baitfish migration is. That migration is a bit slow right now.

“Fishing out at Mid-Channel Bank should pick up markedly late in the month.

“Also, for the boat-free anglers, the opening of Area 9 also opens the beach casting area at Marrowstone Point in Fort Flagler State Park.

“The east side of this point can be very good for casting to blackmouth, on incoming tides only.

“Many successful anglers cast an anchovy or small plug-cut herring using a 1/2- or 1-ounce spin sinker, about 3 feet in front of the bait. The bait is then slowly retrieved in without touching the bottom.”

Here comes the snow

The good news for skiers and snowboarders is that the good news is probably only a week or two away.

It's finally snowing at Hurricane Ridge.

“It won't be enough for this weekend, but cross your fingers for next weekend,” Frank Crippen, owner of North by Northwest Surf Co. (360-452-5144) in Port Angeles, said.

Crippen is a past president of the Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club, and he said everything is set up for the season to begin once there is enough snow.

He also said that the ski school will happen, it will just continue to be postponed until, once again, there is enough snow.

Puget Sound Anglers

The next meeting of the North Olympic Peninsula Chapter of the Puget Sound Anglers will feature Scott Chitwood, fisheries manager for Jamestown S'Klallam tribe, who will talk about how salmon management has evolved in the Pacific Northwest.

Included in his talk will be how the North of Falcon Salmon conference process is used to set the annual salmon fishing seasons.

The meeting will be held Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. at the Trinity United Methodist Church (100 S. Blake Ave. in Sequim).

In addition to that meeting, the chapter will hold its annual fund-raising auction and dinner at 5 p.m. Saturday, February 22, at SunLand Golf and Country Club.

The proceeds from this auction provide the majority of funding for the annual Olympic Peninsula Kids Fishing Program held every summer at the Sequim water reclamation pond, Carry Blake Park.

Further details of the event will be announced at the end of January.

For more information about the Puget Sound Anglers, see www.psanopc.org.

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: January 09. 2014 5:59PM
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