By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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I have a valid freshwater fishing license, one purchased before my last fishing trip — a jaunt across the Cascades last May to ply for tiger muskie in the depths of Curlew Lake.
We heard them surface and splash at night but never hooked a one.
Instead, we caught trout and I made blended margaritas in a state park rest room as we fished from shore.
Looking back, I'd chalk that trip up as a winner any way you slice it.
So picking up a new license is on the agenda as the new fishing season begins April 1.
Hunting? Well, I've done that a grand total of twice in my life — for chukar in the wheat fields near Pullman when I was in college.
I tried, but learned I'm not much of a shot.
Skiing or snowboarding with these knees, my lack of coordination and this build? Not likely, but I enjoy snow, so long as it stays on mountains or falls in the lowlands when I don't have anywhere to be and can enjoy watching it fall.
Surfing? I can barely doggy-paddle, let alone be coordinated enough to paddle a board, stand up and try to maneuver through frothy water.
A perfect choice as the Peninsula Daily News' new and twice-weekly, outdoors columnist, agreed?
What I am is sincere. I wouldn't live here if I didn't love it here.
My aim is to compile and chronicle all the ways in which we enjoy our North Olympic Peninsula.
I'll need some aid in doing that, so feel free to send along stories, pictures (fishing, hunting, bigfoot) or to inform me of events.
My contact info is at the end of the column.
Poma lift still sidelined
Checking the weekend forecast for Hurricane Ridge, the safe bet is to head up before 11 a.m. Saturday.
It's supposed to snow less than a half an inch this afternoon, and Saturday any snow is supposed to turn to rain in the afternoon.
The intermediate and bunny rope tows and tubing areas are expected to be open, but crews are “still working on the poma lift,” according to John Fox, Hurricane Ridge ski and snowboard area mountain manager.
“There hasn't been any new snow all week and the snow sensor has it about 5 to 6 feet of snow, and in the past we have needed about 8 to 10 feet of snow to finish that track, but we're trying to get it going with less,” Fox said.
Always check the conditions before heading up by phoning 360-565-3131, visiting tinyurl.com/PDN-TripPlan or checking @HrWinterAccess on Twitter.
Catching slow going
Brian Menkal of Brian's Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim let me know that last weekend's rain and recent snow melt from this week's stretch of sunshine is affecting our West End rivers in a negative way.
Some good friends of mine, including Max Raymond of Port Townsend, headed west last weekend for their annual attempt at catching (and then releasing) a native steelhead.
They dipped their lines in the Calawah River near Forks and that's about all they did.
Nary a bite for the four, each of them experienced fishermen.
Times were tough fish-wise, but a chance to get together and put thoughts of children, work, significant others, et cetera, out of their minds, well, that's worth it every time out.
Learn before you go
Menkal will hold a two-part river salmon steelhead fishing course at his shop, located in Sequim next to JC Penney at 609 W. Washington St., on Tuesday night from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and then again from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 25.
Call ahead to reserve a spot.
The course covers everything to do with our area river system and “gets a guy [or gal] miles ahead,” Menkal said.
Cost is $25 and attendees should bring a chair and a notebook with a pen or pencil.
“The course is a very quick way to jump in without spending five years to find things out.”
Since I have five days until my next column, not five years, I plan on attending.
Lines up for lingcod
Fishing for those ugly looking, delicious-tasting lingcod starts Saturday in marine areas 1-3, south of Cape Alava.
The minimum size for lingcod in these areas is 22 inches, with a daily limit of two fish per angler.
“It's volatile fishing with the weather out there, but it's a slam dunk for most fishermen, a quick limit,” Menkal said.
For lingcod fishing regulations, check http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations.
3-D archery shoot
Archery enthusiasts can notch, aim and fire at the first 3-D shoot of the spring on Saturday and Sunday at the Wapiti Bowmen Archery Club invitational.
Targets will be setup around the 20-acre site, at 374 Arnett Road, just off of Monroe Road, in Port Angeles.
There will be 30 life-like targets deposited around the site for archers to target.
Registration begins at 8 a.m. each day.
Breakfast begins at 7 a.m. with the barbecue grilling up lunch items in the afternoon, each for a nominal cost.
Adult shooting fees are $12 per day or $20 for both days. Youth fees (12-17) are $8 per day or $12 for both, those ages 6-11 are just $4 for one day and $5 for two. Kids under 5 are free.
Funds from the meals and an auction of used 3-D targets go for upkeep and maintenance of the non-profit club.
For this shoot, the Wapati Club is providing limited on-site spaces for dry camping.
For more information, phone 360-683-7787 or visit wapitibowmen.us.
Tour de Dungeness
Cyclists can enjoy the final day of the 17th annual Tour de Dungeness bike race on Saturday.
Riders in different categories will compete in a 12-mile course through the Dungeness Valley off of Lotzgesell, Cays, East Anderson, Sequim Dungeness Way, Woodcock and Kitchen-Dick roads.
The races start at 9:45 a.m. each day, and will go on regardless of the weather.
The start and finish, as well as parking, is located at the north end of Kithen-Dick Road, across from the Dungeness Recreation area.
For more information or to register, contact Mike Van Doren at 360-775-7796 or 360-417-5257 (after 5 p.m.).
Fishing the Peninsula
Fishing the Peninsula, a Peninsula College course that intends to help those new to the area become more familiar with the variety of fishing opportunities available here, is set for Friday and Saturday, April 11-12.
The course is taught by Ron Link and consists of a three-hour classroom session from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. that Friday, followed by a fishing excursion on Saturday.
Cost is $76.50.
To register, phone 360-452-9277 or visit pencol.edu.
Link has been a recreational fishing instructor with Peninsula College since 1999 and also has been a licensed fishing guide and commercial fisherman.
North of Falcon meeting
The North Olympic Peninsula chapter of Puget Sound Anglers is hosting the state Department of Fish and Wildlife's North of Falcon meeting to discuss the 2014 salmon seasons on Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. (Note that it is one hour earlier than the normal monthly meeting time.)
State personnel will discuss salmon season dates, catch limits and some new proposals to expand salmon fishing opportunities in 2014.
Public input will be taken.
The meeting will be held at Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake, Sequim.
For more, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.
Outdoors columnist Michael Carman appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at email@example.com.