By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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Only one hatchery chinook of a minimum 22 inches in length is allowed to be kept through Aug. 15, along with one other salmon species, provided that fish is not a wild chinook or a chum.
“The state did it, they went down from two to one,” said Eric Elliott of The Fishin' Hole (360-385-7031) in Port Townsend.
“I think the thought is to stretch the season out longer with fewer boats out there at a time and have less of the combat fishing that we've seen in recent years,” Elliott said.
The switch was brought about by citizen action according to Ryan Lothrop, the Puget Sound recreational salmon fishery manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“We have a sport fishing interest group and receive public comment and the vast majority, a clear majority of folks, reported in that they wished to see the season extended as far as possible,” Lothrop said.
“Basically, they wanted more time on the water.”
“This was a proposal brought by the public, they wanted it and it made sense, so we gave it to them.”
Even with the trimmed-back daily limit, Lothrop still feels the fishery will be hard-pressed to stay open until the end of the season Aug. 15.
“In all likelihood, we won't even get there even with the one-fish limit, but this is the cleanest way to reduce the pressure,” Lothrop said.
“The last thing we want to do is close certain days of the week, so the bag limit is the way to go.”
Waiting game in Port Townsend
Elliott said the action off Port Townsend has been nonexistent, save for a decent opener to the crabbing season.
“We haven't had anybody really coming through and going out for coho or any other fish,” Elliott said.
Even with the rule change, boat launches and popular fishing holes near Port Townsend should be busy.
“I'm sure the first few days will be crazy, but it's a fun kind of crazy,” Elliott said.
Mid Channel Bank, a structure stretching from Marrowstone Point off Marrowstone Island all the way over to Point Wilson, is the most productive fishing spot off Port Townsend.
Shore fishers can try their luck near the Point Wilson lighthouse at Fort Worden State Park or along the beach near the lighthouse at Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island.
Salmon slow in Port Angeles
Catch report totals over the Fourth of July weekend show a good amount of activity, but not much production for king anglers off Port Angeles.
“Salmon sure dropped off near Port Angeles,” said Brian Menkal of Brian's Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim.
“They must have moved out, but the fish aren't talking,” Menkal joked.
“I did hear a report of some silvers off Whiskey Creek [west of Joyce], way out in international waters.
“These were smaller, about 5 pounds or so.”
Coho fishing seminar
A coho fishing seminar in time for the anticipated movement of silvers through the Strait of Juan de Fuca is planned at Brian's Sporting Goods and More in Sequim from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 29.
Rick Ray, who recently conducted a well-attended king seminar at Brian's, will offer plenty of information on attracting the silver set.
Cost is $20 and those interested in attending should phone the store at 360-683-1950 to RSVP.
Fun days fireworks
Clallam Bay-Sekiu Fun Days fireworks are planned Saturday off the Olson's Resort jetty at 10 p.m.
The weekend saw a big increase in angler effort and a corresponding amount of success, according to state fisheries biologist Wendy Beeghley.
“A total of 1.4 fish per angler last week out at LaPush,” Beeghley said.
“We saw a few more chinook than coho, with the chinook averaging around 10 to 12 pounds and the coho still small at around 3 to 5 pounds.”
Neah Bay steady
At Neah Bay, where Beeghley said the catch rate was 0.8 fish per angler, the ratio of chinook to coho dipped to two to one from earlier in the season numbers of four chinook to every one coho landed.
“The fact that the coho are showing up is encouraging,” Beeghley said.
“There could be coho around that are not susceptible to the methods anglers are using since most are going for kings right now.
“We're certainly seeing a lot [of coho] down south.”
Dawn Lawrence of Big Salmon Fishing Resort (360-645-2374) mentioned the salmon are beginning to show up in the Straits.
She mentioned checking out the waters near Spike Rock, Skagway and Mushroom Rock.
Ward Norden, a fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist, avoided the salt and stayed in for some bass fishing in the lakes near Port Townsend.
“Both topwater plugs and light spinner baits worked along the surface produced,” Norden said.
“Catfish are now also biting for the few who fish for them knowing how well they taste.”
Norden also mentioned “bluegill are biting in Lake Leland but crappie have been a no-show.”
If crab is not your favorite dish, Norden said to try Crocker Lake along U.S. Highway 101 about 10 miles north of Quilcene.
“Game wardens have assured me that while Crocker is closed to fishing, it is not closed to crawfish fishing,” Norden said.
“Crocker has some of the biggest craws I have ever seen in the Northwest.”
Sonar lecture slated
Steve Chamberlin will present “Improving Your Angling Skills By Taking Full Advantage Of Your Sonar” at a meeting of the Puget Sound Anglers, North Olympic Peninsula Chapter.
The meeting is set for Trinity United Methodist Church, at 100 S. Blake Ave. in Sequim, at 6:45 p.m. Thursday.
Chamberlin, a retired Navy Chief Sonarman with 27 years of experience, also is the vice president of the Fidalgo/San Juan Islands chapter of Puget Sound Anglers.
Neah Bay youth derby
Big Salmon Resort in Neah Bay held its fifth annual Youth Fishing Derby on July 4-5.
A total of 46 anglers 18 and younger participated, receiving a shot at prizes like an Xbox video game console for the winner, a bike for second place and an electronic learning device for third place.
Winners in the 12 and younger category: Taelyn Bruner, first; Terran Pham, second; Taylan Pham, third.
Winners in the 13 and older category: Thomas Gifford, first; Thomas Cripe, second; Mykenzie Bruner, third.
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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.