OUTDOORS: Wild coho retention allowed on ocean; West End rivers reopened to fishing

By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News

RAIN AND WIND reduced angler pressure to near zero on the North Olympic Peninsula last weekend, but anglers received two consolation prizes this week.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife announced anglers can now retain wild and hatchery coho in all four ocean marine areas.

With a month remaining in the ocean fishery, only 43 percent of the coho quota has been reached for the coast, according to Fish and Wildlife.

“With so much of the coho catch quota remaining this late in the season, we can allow anglers to keep both hatchery and wild coho without exceeding our conservation objectives for wild salmon,” Doug Milward, state ocean salmon manager, said.

Through Aug. 30, anglers have caught 64,576 coho of the 150,800 coho quota for the coast.

Ocean salmon fisheries are currently scheduled to continue through Sept. 30 in all four marine areas.

Anglers have a two-salmon daily catch limit in all four marine areas off the Washington coast.

Windy off LaPush

Anglers fishing off LaPush in Marine Area 3 can keep two salmon, only one of which may be a chinook, plus two additional pink salmon.

Randy Lato of All-Ways Fishing (360-374-2052) in LaPush said it's been tough to even get out on the water this past week.

“This was the first day we tried to go out since the storm,” Lato said Thursday.

“It's just been too rough. And now we are trying to get ourselves back home.

“We found some little silvers, and the wind forced us off.”

Because the path of last weekend's storm came out of the southwest, Lato said he didn't see a change in ocean water temperature.

“When it's from the south it usually gets warmer,” Lato said.

“When the wind is from the northwest, down out of Alaska, that's when you can see it drop.”

Lato thinks that if anglers can find good weather, there should still be tuna for the taking.

“I haven't had a good clear satellite shot, but yeah, there should be tuna pretty close,” Lato said.

He cautioned those who may head out in the open ocean to take care.

“You're going with the wind on the way out and you get out there and its rough as hell and you have to work your way back against it,” Lato said.

Joey Ward of Big Salmon Resort (360-645-2374) in Neah Bay said the coho fishing is going well close to town.

“The coho are right out front,” Ward said.

“A lot of those wilds are out there, right out by Waadah Island.”

Ward said anglers eyeing coho have been rigging up spoons and hoochies in green and white colors.

“And black and white spoons also have produced,” Ward said.

Ward said anglers heading out around “the point” (Cape Flattery) have been catching kings at Makah Bay.

“Around the corner on the ocean side most folks like to use bait like herring,” Ward said.

The daily limit in Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay) west of the Bonilla-Tattosh line is two salmon, only one of which may be a chinook, plus two additional pink salmon. Anglers must release any chum.

Kings are closed for fishing on the east, or Strait of Juan de Fuca side, of the Bonilla-Tattoosh line.

Rivers reopened

The other consolation prize of last weekend's storm: the reopening of river fishing in prime sections of many West End rivers.

Rivers that have reopened are:

■ Quillayute River, outside Olympic National Park

■ Sol Duc River, downstream of the concrete pump station at the Sol Duc Hatchery.

■ Bogachiel River, downstream of U.S. Highway 101 bridge south of Forks.

■ Calawah River, downstream of the U.S. Highway 101 bridge just north of Forks.

■ Dickey River, from the confluence of the East and West forks downstream to the Olympic National Park boundary.

■ Clearwater River, from the Snahapish River downstream to the mouth.

■ Salmon River, outside the Quinault Indian Reservation.

Jerry Wright of Jerry's Bait and Tackle (360-457-1308) in Port Angeles isn't sure how long these rivers will stay open to fishing, but said anglers should see plenty of coho, particularly on the Sol Duc.

“Yeah, the Sol Duc is full of coho,” Wright said.

“But the [water] levels will drop really fast, the ground is going to suck up all the moisture.

“I think it's going to be kind of tricky with a boat, but you might get down with a raft, possibly.”

Lato also heard the Sol Duc has plenty of fish.

“The guys running the hatchery are seeing a lot of summer coho,” Lato said.

Wright mentioned the Quillayute River as another option.

“There's lots of fish being caught down on the Quillayute if you can time the tide,” Wright said.

Sekiu strong for silvers

Gary Ryan of Van Riper's Resort (360-963-2334) in Sekiu confirmed the bite is back on after taking a weather-related break last weekend.

“The fishing is good, I don't hear any complaints,” Ryan said.

“I've been seeing some pretty decent-sized filets coming through in the past couple of days.

“The only thing I'm hearing is they have to throw back some pretty nice wild ones.”

Anglers can keep wild and hatchery coho in Marine Area 5 (Sekiu) from Saturday through Monday Sept. 12-14, 19-21, and Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 26-27.

The area also will be open to wild coho retention for the entire month of October.

Picking up near PA

“The saltwater has been doing pretty good,” Wright said of coho fishing off Port Angeles.

“Freshwater Bay was doing well early this week in tight right next to the kelp, but that can change daily.

“We have another front moving in and that should push some fish down for sure.”

Coho slow in canal

Coho fishing remains slow in Dabob Bay on Hood Canal, according to Ward Norden, a fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist who lives in Quilcene.

“Most anglers are parking in Quilcene and following the trail out to the mouth of the river at low tide to cast for the coho,” Norden said.

“That fishery is only on low tides, and if you stay too long, you will get very wet on the incoming tide.”

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: September 04. 2015 9:46AM
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