OUTDOORS: Halibut opener tops list of options for the outdoor enthusiast

By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News

OPTIONS ABOUND FOR the outdoors enthusiast this weekend.

There are many choices to comb through, but the biggie is the flat fish with halibut fishing opening today in Marine Area 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca) and 9 (Admiralty Inlet).

Add in continued lingcod fishing, shrimping on Saturday and lowland lake’s continuing to offer up rainbow trout and other tasty freshwater species, and the dance card is full, so to speak.

Bob Aunspach of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles is jazzed about the halibut opener.

“I’ll be out Friday [today] and Saturday,” Aunspach said

“As far as tides go, things are looking great for this weekend and it should be productive for wherever you prefer to cast.”

Low tide in Port Angeles is set for 3.40 feet at 6:15 a.m. today, with a high tide of 4.37 feet coming at 11:38 a.m.

Saturday’s low tide is 2.55 feet at 6:59 a.m. with high tide at 4.42 feet at 12:48 p.m.

Huge slabs of beefy halibut can’t get to their weights without having a voracious appetite.

“They are a pretty adaptive fish,” Aunspach said.

“They’ll bite at anything from herring to squid to octopus, mackeral and sardines.

“Halibut will go for clams, too.”

A reminder: halibut is open in Area’s 6 and 9 today and Saturday and again Saturday, May 17.

The fishery will be open Thursday through Sunday, May 22-25, for Memorial Day weekend.

It will be back open from Thursday through Saturday, May 29-31 and one last day Saturday, June 7.

Halibut opens next Thursday in Marine Areas 3 (LaPush) and 4 (Neah Bay) and will be open Saturday, May 17, Thursday, May 22, and Saturday, May 24.

If enough fish remain the fishery will reopen on Thursday, June 5, and/or June 7 and possibly on additional days (Thursdays and Saturdays), depending on the amount of quota available until the quota of 108,030 pounds (for both areas) is reached or Sept. 30, whichever occurs first.

Judging from the amount of trucks towing boats I witnessed driving to Sequim on Thursday, there will be many boats out in the Strait today and Saturday, so be safe and have a good time.

“I talked to a couple that is here to fish halibut every day they can for the whole month,” Aunspach said.

Shrimping

Aunspach mentioned that he spoke to a friend that “hit a 50-spot of shrimp” in Port Angeles Harbor but that was the outlier in what he had heard.

“Most everybody I’ve heard from has been hitting four or five,” Aunspach said.

Enough for an appetizer, not enough for a main course, unless you’ve hauled in some of those 10-inch prawns.

Razor clam digs

Eight days of razor clamming opportunities will begin Tuesday at four Pacific Ocean beaches.

No digging will be allowed after noon on any beach.

“Fish and Wildlife was able to add days at Copalis because the Quinault Indian Nation provided clams from their share to the state share, said state Fish and Wildlife Director Phil Anderson.

Here are the digs, low tides and participating beaches:

■ Tuesday: 6:21 a.m., -0.6 feet; Twin Harbors.

■ Wednesday: 7:02 a.m., -1.2 feet; Twin Harbors and Long Beach.

■ Thursday: 7:44 a.m., -1.5 feet; Twin Harbors and Long Beach.

■ Friday, May 16: 8:27 a.m., -1.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Copalis.

■ Saturday, May 17: 9:12 a.m., -1.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks.

■ Sunday, May 18: 9:59 a.m., -1.5 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks.

■ Monday, May 19: 10:50 a.m., -1.1 feet; Twin Harbors.

■ Monday, May 19: 11:44 a.m., -0.6 feet; Twin Harbors.

Under state law, diggers can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig.

Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

Diggers may not harvest any part of another person’s daily limit, unless they possess a designated harvester card.

Salmon discussed

Halibut is ruling the roost for the time being but it’s never too early to take a look ahead at the ultimate prize: salmon.

Salmon fishing season opens July 1 in Marine Area 6 and a talk on “How to Fish For King, Coho and Sockeye Salmon” in this area will be discussed at a meeting of the North Olympic Peninsula Chapter of the Puget Sound Anglers Club on Thursday.

The meeting is set for Trinity United Methodist Church, located at 100 S. Blake Ave., in Sequim, at 6:45 p.m.

“Millions of sockeye will be coming down the Strait at the end of July, beginning of August for the best fishing in four years,” Herb Prins of the Puget Sound Anglers said.

Anglers will be allowed to retain two sockeye in addition to the daily quota of king and/or coho.

Special techniques for catching sockeye in the Strait will be discussed. For more information, visit www.psanopc.org.

Trout opener results

I received a state Fish and Wildlife document with creel results from the opening day of lowland lake trout fishing for three Jefferson County lakes.

No information from Clallam County lakes was available.

Anderson Lake yielded the largest fish, a 17.5-inch rainbow trout, with a 16- inch rainbow landed in Horseshoe Lake, and a 14- inch rainbow in Silent Lake.

Fish checkers counted 72 anglers at peak on opening day at Anderson and they checked 47.

A total of 132 fish were caught, 100 released there, and “all anglers were happy with fish and weather,” according to the report.

If only fishing were always that easy.

________

Outdoors columnist Michael Carman appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at mcarman@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 08. 2014 6:42PM
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