By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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The largest shrimp in these waters, spotted shrimp can grow up to 10 inches in length.
To get that size, our crawling, antennaed friends need to eat heartily.
These animals will seek out a meal by sniffing around with their flexible antennas, and if you put a tempting meal in a pot, you should come home happy.
No word on depleted stocks of the seafaring scavengers' favorite treat, fish or ocean-flavored cat food, at area merchants, but a plugged-in grocery manager would be wise to order an extra pallet or two to cover the shrimping season.
Cat food cans should be punctured on both sides and ends and placed in the pot as bait.
Brian Menkal of Brian's Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim agreed with the cat food recommendation, but added his own advice.
“They don't make the Puss and Boots brand cat food anymore but it's [cat food] still the most popular [method],” Menkal said.
“A lot of people go for these shrimp pellets and then buy some fish, prawn or cod liver oil, soak the pellets in the oil and let the scent ooze out.”
Most anything that will catch a crab will attract shrimp, according to Bob Aunspach of Swain's General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles.
“Fish heads, carcasses, herring works; they'll go for it,” Aunspach said.
Put that in your pot and sink it and see what comes up a few hours later.
“Wild creatures don't have Safeways, they will be opportunistic feeders,” Menkal joked.
Hood Canal is considered the prime shrimping territory in our state, so expect things to be busy at every available boat launch.
This is especially true in a time-limited fishery such as shrimp.
If you are an expert at backing your boat trailer into the water at ramps, maybe offer to assist a greenhorn rather than get cross and curse someone out.
“Anytime you have limited access and people who don't back trailers every day, well, it's almost an Olympic sport in itself,” Menkal said.
“The thing is they don't give out medals just raspberry awards.”
If you are late to the party, Brian's Sporting Goods and More and Swain's and other sporting goods carriers have the full assortment of gear on sale.
Both Aunspach and Menkal mentioned that shrimp seekers do not need to head for the Hood Canal, or dash for another popular spot in Discovery Bay, as shrimp are found in limited, though no less delicious, numbers in Port Angeles Harbor and Sequim Bay.
In all areas of Puget Sound, Hood Canal and the Strait of Juan De Fuca, fishers are limited to 80 spot shrimp per day.
The area, dates and times for the shrimp season follow.
■ Hood Canal Shrimp District (Marine Area 12): Open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Wednesday, next Saturday, May 10 and Wednesday, May 21.
■ Discovery Bay Shrimp District (Marine Area 6): Open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Wednesday, next Saturday, May 10 and Wednesday, May 21.
“We have slightly lower quotas than last year in Hood Canal and Discovery Bay, which are traditionally popular areas,” said state Department of Fish and Wildlife shellfish biologist Mark O'Toole.
“We will reopen the areas later if sufficient quota remains.”
■ Marine Areas 4 (east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line), 5, 6 (excluding Discovery Bay Shrimp District): Open daily starting Saturday.
The sport spot shrimp season closes when the quota is attained or Sept. 15, whichever comes first.
In areas 4-6, start times will be one hour before sunrise.
Lingcod in areas 6, 9
Lingcod season opened Thursday in Marine Area 6 and 9 and will run through June 15.
Minimum size is 26 inches and maximum is 36 inches, with a limit of one per day.
“They are really hard to find and get to in Area 6,” Aunspach said.
Then he mentioned that he was going to fish for some Sunday, so I thought he might be throwing a bit of shade, like many anglers do.
But after years of plying these waters and helping PDN outdoors columnists, he's just being honest.
“We have a couple ideas of where we think they are and they are definitely in Port Angeles Harbor, where the old radio tower was located about halfway down the [Ediz] Hook,” Aunspach said.
“It gets really snaggy in there, there are lots of logs hanging out down on the bottom.”
Another spot Aunspach mentioned was the shipwreck off Salt Creek.
“They are in around that wreck, if you are quick enough you can yard them out of there,” Aunspach said.
“Guys will try lead jigs like a 2 or 3 ounce Dungeness Stinger or the Younquist jigs, a torpedo type.”
Forks Kids Fishing Day
Early risers rejoice, the annual West End Sportsmen's Club-sponsored Kids Fishing Day will be held at the Bogachiel Hatchery Rearing Pond from 6 a.m. to noon Sunday.
All children ages 12 and younger are welcome.
Coffee, hot chocolate and doughnuts will be provided free of charge.
The club has poles to loan if needed. Fishing gear is first-come, first-served.
Club members will be available to provide assistance.
There is a five-fish limit per fisher.
Kids fishing in Sequim
The 12th annual Kids Fishing Day presented by Puget Sound Anglers - North Olympic Peninsula Chapter is set for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 17.
Children 14 and younger can participate in a free day of fishing in the pond just north of Carrie Blake Park in Sequim.
A total of 1,500 trout will be stocked for the big day, including some big ones up to 5 pounds.
A special pool for younger kids also will be stocked.
Club members will have some poles and bait for youth but if your child has fishing supplies, bring them.
The city of Sequim Public Works Department and state Fish and Wildlife help put this event on for the kids.
A free seminar on all things halibut in advance of the upcoming season will be offered at Brian's Sporting Goods and More, next to J.C. Penney's at 609 W. Washington St. in Sequim, starting at 6 p.m. tonight.
John Beath of Carlsborg, a tackle designer and manufacturer, will impart his knowledge of just how to stalk the flat fish.
Call ahead to 360-683-1950 or stop by Menkal's store to RSVP for the seminar
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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.