LEE HORTON’S OUTDOORS: Olympic National Park proposing changes to fishing rules

By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK is tweaking its recreational fishing regulations and your opinion is wanted.

The proposed changes, which apply to non-tribal, recreational fisheries within the park’s boundaries, apply to the mouths of the Dickey, Hoh and Quillayute rivers in the Pacific Coastal Area of the park.

According to the park, these minor changes would make the gear regulations and daily limits for hatchery salmon and steelhead identical to those of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife for the areas immediately upstream of the park boundary in those rivers.

The new rules, if enacted, will would take effect May 1. By that time, the state’s 2014-15 fishing regulations pamphlet will be out.

But, assuming the rules for the Hoh, Dickey and Quillayute rivers will be fairly similar next year, this is what the limits will look like:

■   Hoh: Salmon, May 16 through Aug. 31, Wednesdays through Sundays: Six-fish daily limit, only one adult may be retained; release wild chinook.

Salmon, Sept. 1 through Nov. 1: Six-fish daily limit, up to two adults may be retained.

Trout, first Saturday in June through April 15: Two-fish daily limit; Nov. 1 to Feb. 15: Additional hatchery steelhead may be retained.

■   Dickey: Salmon, July 1 through Aug. 31: Six-fish daily limit, up to two adults may be retained; release wild adult chinook and wild adult coho.

Salmon, Sept. 1 through Nov. 30: Six-fish daily limit, up to two adults plus two additional adult hatchery coho may be retained.

Trout, first Saturday in June through April 30: Two-fish limit.

■   Quillayute: Salmon, Feb. 1 through Aug. 31: Six-fish daily limit, up to two adults may be retained.

Salmon, Sept. 1 through Nov. 30: Six-fish daily limit, up to two adults plus two additional adult hatchery coho may be retained.

Trout, first Saturday in June through April 30: Two-fish daily limit, except Nov. 1 through end of February, when an additional hatchery steelhead may be retained.

For all three rivers, all wild salmon and trout, including steelhead must be released.

The gear regulations also will matchup with the state requires on nearby portions of the three rivers, which means barbed hooks can be used.

These changes by the park are meant to make fishing the park less confusing.

It also takes the onus off making annual changes to gear and hatchery limits off the park because they will conform to the state’s regulations.

The public is invited to review the proposed changes at www.tinyurl.com/pdnONPFishRegs and provide comments or information that may not have been considered in developing these proposals.

Comments must be received by Monday, March 24.

Rivers picking up

Talk to anybody who has been to the West End in the past week, and they’re sure to tell you that the river are in optimal shape: The water levels are good and the colors are great.

And, it appears the wild steelhead fishing has improved.

“It’s not booming and banging, but it’s all right,” Bob Gooding of Olympic Sporting Goods (360-374-6330) in Forks.

“The Sol Duc has probably been the best, but the Hoh has been OK, the Bogachiel has been OK . . . they’re all OK.”

“All right” and “OK” are hardly rave reviews, but they’re good to hear after the hatchery steelhead season was a bust.

Looking at the creel reports, it’s clear more native steelhead are being caught (and usually released), especially on the Sol Duc.

Over the weekend, 184 wild steelhead (all but 12 were released) were caught by 203 angers were interviewed on the Sul Duc.

Windy on the water

Bob Aunspach of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles said blackmouth fishing was good Saturday, but died Sunday and then picked up again Wednesday.

The National Weather Forecast predicts the wind will pick up in the next few days on the Strait of Juan de Fuca, so weekend blackmouth fishing could be hampered.

Aunspach said that Tom Blore caught a 12-pound, 9-ounce blackmouth Wednesday that moves him to the top of the Port Angeles Salmon Club’s monthly ladder at Swain’s.

Hurricane Ridge update

The poma lift won’t be running this weekend at Hurricane Ridge, but the two rope tows and the tubing area will be open.

The Snowcat is fixed, but it takes a lot of time and effort to get the poma up and running.

Also, the Ridge has been hit with rain this week, which has compacted the snow down to about 6 feet. Hurricane Ridge ski and snowboard area mountain manager John Fox said that 8 to 10 feet is needed for the poma lift.

Fox said private lessons are available. To get a private lesson, inquire at the ticket trailer.

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: February 27. 2014 6:22PM
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