By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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Children ages 5-14 are welcome to attend the annual Kids Fishing Derby at the ponds at Port Angeles' Lincoln Park.
“Our goal is to get kids fishing, enjoy the outdoors and hand out some rods and reels,” said Cliff Schleusner of Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishers, which does much of the legwork for the event.
Support also is provided from the two Port Angeles Kiwanis clubs and the city of Port Angeles Parks and Recreation Department.
Participants and their parents/guardians should be on site by 7:30 a.m. to register for the free event, with a bullhorn sounding the start of fishing at 8 a.m., measurement beginning at 8:30 a.m. and conclusion at 10:30 a.m.
Awards will be handed out at 10:45 a.m.
The two ponds will be teeming with Sol Duc Hatchery-planted rainbow trout — 1,500 of them or 900 pounds, whichever came first, according to Cliff Schleusner.
The vast majority of these rainbows will be in the 10-inch-to-12-inch range, but Schleusner added that 45 brood stock trout above 18 inches also are split between the two ponds.
Kids will compete to land the longest fish in age brackets (5-6, 7-8 and older) for seven rod and reel sets per age group.
First-place winners in each group will receive special Pflueger Lady Trion spinning combo rods/reels, with a portion of proceeds from each sale supporting the American Breast Cancer Foundation.
“These are beautiful rods and reels,” Schleusner said of the first-place prizes.
“We buy all our rods from Swain's [General Store] and they give us a great discount price, and also donate a couple of rods on top.
“Bob Aunspach there sets that all up.”
The overall grand prize winner also will receive a nicely outfitted fishing kit along with their spinning combo.
If young anglers have their own rods, they should bring them, and all fishing is spin casting, all-bait.
No fly fishing is allowed for safety's sake.
“It would be complete chaos [with fly-casting]. I can't imagine the insurance bill,” Schleusner said.
There will be a team of helpers from the Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishers available to help rig up rods and get novices and less-experienced young ones started.
Another group of experienced anglers will mosey the perimeter, helping to land fish for the successful or provide help for those in need.
“They will be walking around helping kids undo knots, providing pointers and rigging up some Power Bait,” Schleusner said.
Kiwanis members will offer up hot dogs and soft drinks at the park's Loomis Cabin starting around 9:30 a.m.
It's a pretty relaxed affair, but don't let your children fish before the bullhorn sounds as that's cheating, and no adult fishermen are allowed as well.
“Over 400 rods have been handed out as prizes over the past 10 years we've been handing these out,” Schleusner said.
With the closure of the hatchery chinook season in Marine Area's 5-6 Thursday, anglers must now head east to Marine Area 9 (Port Townsend and nearby areas).
Creel reports were pretty fair last weekend at the Boat Haven ramp with a total of 38 chinook landed by 61 anglers in 29 boats on April 4-6.
Ward Norden, a fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist passed along that “Mid-Channel Bank near Port Townsend produced very well Wednesday with lots of one-salmon limits headed home from the PT launch.”
Lingcod in two spots
With sunny weather planned this weekend, ocean-capable fishers can head to LaPush to try for lingcod or wait until the linger season opens in Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay) on Wednesday.
The limits are the same, size limit is 22 inches, daily bag limit of two lingcod per angler.
Lingcod make for fantastic fish and chips, so stock up on panko and malt vinegar, if you limit out.
Lake Leland report
Norden lives out at Lake Leland near Quilcene and has seen some activity there this month.
He recently saw two state Department of Fish and Wildlife trout-planting trucks back up to the launch and deliver 6,000 catchable rainbows ranging from 8 to 10 inches in length
“The two local fish buzzards grabbed their fair share immediately,” Norden said.
Things didn't go as well for him when he dropped a line Sunday.
“I had hardly a bite on Sunday on my usually deadly little red spoon,” Norden said.
“Weather and the barometer may have been the issue since I know a UFO didn't come down to steal them.”
He advises using Power Bait, Velveeta cheese or night crawlers if you are a bank fisher, and to employ a bobber to keep the bait up high.
And if you prefer to troll, to “break out that little red spoon for 'flatlining' near the surface.”
If you don't want trout, Norden said that are “some very nice-sized yellow perch” in the lake, and this is when they start to bite on night crawlers.
“Those perch are excellent eating,” Norden said.
“Perch school in groups that are all the same size so you have to explore to find one of those schools of bigger ones of 8-9 inches and sometimes more.”
Halibut fishing focus
How to fish for halibut during the upcoming halibut fishing season is the focal point of the next meeting of the North Olympic Peninsula Chapter of the Puget Sound Anglers Club.
The meeting is set for Trinity United Methodist Church, located at 100 S. Blake Ave., in Sequim at 6:45 p.m. Thursday, May 1.
Halibut fishing opens on May 9 in Marine Area 6, the eastern portion of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
At the meeting, members will provide demonstrations of equipment and advice on fishing areas.
There will be an expanded segment on the “Boat Anchoring Method for Catching Halibut.”
For more information on the group, visit www.psanopc.org.
Norden visits fishing gear suppliers all across northwest Washington and says the real excitement this week has been the opening of bottom fishing season in Canada around Vancouver Island.
“Generous limits of shrimp, lingcod, halibut and rockfish have caused local anglers on our U.S. side to start clearing the shelves of bottom fish jigs,” Norden said.
Back to lake fishing, Kokanee fishing also should start to pick up as these guys start to bite.
Norden passed along that area caches of Kokanee can be found in Lake Pleasant, Lake Ozette (which he says is rarely mentioned) and Lake Sutherland.
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Outdoors columnist Michael Carman appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.