OUTDOORS: Chinook fishing inconsistent in Strait; silvers off LaPush

By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News

THE LAST GASP of chinook fishing in the Strait of Juan de Fuca is inconsistent.

The king fishery in Marine Areas 5 ( Sekiu) 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca) and 9 (Admiralty Inlet) is set to close Friday, Aug. 15.

After a slow couple of weeks, fishing appears to have picked up around Port Angeles, but remains slow around Port Townsend.

The Wright ReportJerry Wright of Jerry’s Bait and Tackle (360-457-1308) in Port Angeles had plenty of information this week, including some good chinook news as that fishery enters its final days in Marine Area 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca).

“We went out salmon fishing today [Thursday] and they [chinook] were in,” Wright said.

“We had our limit of fish by 7:30 a.m.”

Wright said he went out near the Red Buoy about a mile off Ediz Hook and sent his lines down pretty far.

“We were down about 180 to 200 feet deep and it was money; lots of fish and all of them kings,” Wright said.

“We hooked four natives and got two hatchery fish.”

Wright was using a Silver Horde Gold Star spoon size 3.5 with both the watermelon and easter egg colors getting strikes.

“You really have to think differently this year and go down deep,” Wright said

“These fish all had shrimp in their bellies, no herring, so that means they are going deep down for shrimp.”

Wright also said Freshwater Bay was hot on Wednesday, with 20 hatchery fish being kept and more natives being put back down.

Wright has had folks coming in asking for squid gear.

He mentioned fishing off the Port Angeles City Pier for the inky beasts.

He also heard the east end of Lake Sutherland has come on strong for kokanee.

“You need a boat of course,” Wright cautioned, “but trolling those slingblade flashers with pink micro shrimps has been working well.”

Wright advised using a size one hook and basically draping the shrimp over the hook, to create a small but alluring lure.

Coastal action

Farther west, Wright heard that coho are coming up the Quillayute River “pretty consistently recently,” which jives with reports of increased coho action off the coast.

And cutthroat trout fishing has been solid on many of the West End rivers, particularly portions of the Bogachiel.

“The upper Bogey is packed full of them,” Wright said.

His advice is to run a little black rooster tail or a Panther Martin spinner in size 2 and 3.

He also mentioned trying out a sea run micro jig, a 1/16th, with a red head with purple maribou feathering.

Wright heard of summer-run steelhead finally showing up on the lower Hoh River and said that’s a bait fishery, with eggs and shrimp more likely to land a strike.

“A few guys are throwing spinners, but this is a really time-sensitive fishery. Getting the tides down is crucial,” Wright said.

“Head down an hour before high tide and fish sometimes three or four hours after the peak tide as sometimes it takes a bit of time for them to come back through.”

Salmon slow to a crawl

Eric Elliott of The Fishin’ Hole (360-385-7031) in Port Townsend hasn’t seen many fish coming off the marina docks.

“Dead. There’s hardly any boats coming and going,” Elliott said.

“I did see one fish come in yesterday [Wednesday] and I did talk to one guy who caught some coho near Point No Point, but it’s nonexistent right now.”

State Department of Fish and Wildlife checks hammer this point home.

A grand total of three chinook were landed by 116 anglers in 58 boats from Aug. 1-3.

My sister Kristin Carman went out to Midchannel Bank on Monday for an afternoon of birthday fishing with her friend Cavin Richie.

She did land a chinook but it was below the legal size limit so back down it went.

Another Port Townsend angler, Sean McGinnis, hauled a good-sized halibut up to the surface, but the out-of-season beauty also was sent back to the deep.

Menkal weighs in

I checked in with Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim, who passed along good news about the crab fishery around Sequim.

“Crabbing has certainly picked up around Sequim,” Menkal said.

“Folks are getting limits and its definitely an upswing since the commercial/tribal guys finished up.”

Menkal went out to the West End for a quick river fishing trip last Saturday.

“Rivers out west are super low,” Menkal said.

“I saw two fish on the Calawah all morning, and it was over by 7:30 a.m. or 8 a.m.”

Menkal also saw some silvers coming into the lower end of the Sol Duc River.

Out on the salt water, Menkal heard an interesting tale of suspected sockeye.

“A guy saw something on his depth finder off Port Angeles in the Strait of Juan de Fuca near the International Boundary,” Menkal said.

“They were too large for baitfish, and weren’t kings, and they weren’t silver, so it makes sense to think they might be sockeye.”

Menkal did say that the recreational sockeye season has opened in British Columbia’s marine and Fraser River waters, so the likelihood is strong.

Now it’s just a matter if anglers wish to pursue sockeye instead of the last gasp-chinook or the start of the coho push.

“Whatever those fish were, they were only 40-feet down,” Menkal said.

LaPush fishing

Randy Lato of All-Ways Fishing (360-374-2052 or 360-640-1137) in LaPush said the silver switch may be in effect.

“We were seeing a good amount of kings, but the silvers have really moved in,” Lato said.

“You can put a hook on a banana sinker and catch a silver right now. They are pretty thick.”

Lato said his boat has been fishing a bit further out in the Pacific Ocean.

“We moved out a little further to the edge of Juan de Fuca Canyon about 25 nautical miles from LaPush,” Lato said.

The silvers have been so plentiful that Lato has been “wading through” and releasing 8-pound fish in favor of keeping 10-pound and 12-pound coho for his charter customers.

Lato also said he heard the tuna fishing wasn’t going so well deep off of LaPush.

“There was a boat that went out for them yesterday [Tuesday] and didn’t do that well, he had six landed, and a boat went out [Wednesday] and got skunked,” Lato said.

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 sports@peninsuladailynews.com 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 mcarman@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: August 07. 2014 6:22PM
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