OUTDOORS: Coho fishing kicking into gear along Strait of Juan de Fuca
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Brenda Chisholm, left of Port Townsend, and Terry Snider of Sequim caught 181 tuna in eight hours last Saturday with six other friends in waters 43 miles offshore of Westport

By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News

A PLEASANT SURPRISE, this fishing report is filled with positive anecdotes and high catch totals instead of the few and far between tallies of recent weeks.

Angling aficionados I spoke to this week all had excellent things to say about fishing prospects from the coastal Pacific to Sequim Bay.

My advice for Jefferson County anglers is to either be patient and wait for the fish to move on over, or be proactive and head west for a better bet at a bite.

Jerry Wright of Jerry’s Bait and Tackle (360-457-1308) in Port Angeles had plenty of positives.

“Everything is going good, lots of fish are being caught, with most coho ranging from 5 to 12 pounds,” Wright said.

It appears that a run of cool, fall-like weather and, most importantly, a couple of days of rain have helped push the silvers down the Strait.

Wright recommends fishing around the Yellow Can near Port Angeles, an opinion shared by Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim.

“Fishing off the Yellow Can has really taken off,” Menkal said.

State fish checks back both experts up.

The Port Angeles West Ramp offered up 52 coho caught by 44 anglers in 18 boats last Saturday and Sunday.

Ediz Hook anglers reported 84 coho landed by 87 anglers in 34 boats.

“I’ve also had some good reports from a few fishermen of some silvers being caught in Sequim Bay,” Menkal said.

Wright said anglers in the central Strait of Juan de Fuca should “try in about 60 to 80 feet of water. White hoochies and white lightning and purple haze spoons have been working real well.”

Things are even better in Sekiu.

“Right now I’m not hearing any complaints,” said Gary Ryan of Van Riper’s Resort (360-963-2334) in Sekiu when I spoke to him at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

“We’ve had folks out and back with limits already today, and if you’d called about half an hour ago, all of our fish-cleaning tables were full up.

“Some are running a little on the small side, but we are getting some from 9 to 13 pounds.

Ryan said the bite was better closer to shore in the early mornings in depths of around 250 feet.

Later in the morning, some anglers were seeing strikes well offshore in depths of 400 or 500 feet.

“Seems like lately the nicer fish have been caught closer to shore in 250 or 300 feet of water,” Ryan said.

“Overall, the fishing is really good, probably an 8 or 9 on a scale of 1 to 0.”

West End rivers

Wright and Menkal differ about coho in the Sol Duc River.

Menkal feels many of them have moved up past the Sol Duc Hatchery into the no-retention zone.

Wright thinks anglers have opportunities below the hatchery.

“Just twitch them through without a float and use 6-pound test on your line, real light gear,” Wright advised.

He also said the Upper Bogachiel River is still productive for cutthroat trout, and it stands to improve as the caddis fly hatch nears.

“I’ve heard of a few in the 16-to-18-inch range, but really fat,” Wright said.

“I don’t know what size [has been best], but I know it’s a brown stone fly and a black woolly bugger that’s been working.”

Wright said river access is pretty easy, with anglers able to reach some good spots from the launch underneath the U.S. Highway 101 bridge or up along Undi Road.

“You can wade for miles, there’s lots of access up there,” Wright said.

“Guys were catching them everywhere they cast — in ripples, pools, little seams.”

He said to throw little spinners around a size 3 — gold, or an orange body with a gold or copper stripe.

“They are really aggressive, and this is a good time to go up there for a kid fishing trip,” Wright said.

“Plenty of action to keep them interested.”

Tuna triumph

Wright went to Westport recently for a day of tuna fishing.

He came back sore but loaded down with tuna steaks.

“We landed 61 on our trip,” Wright said. “I was beat after that.”

He thinks the best way in locating the warm-water dwellers is to head out at least 20 if not 40 or 50 miles into the Pacific.

“Find that dividing line in temperature and look for the birds,” Wright said.

Sekiu Salmon Derby

A “No Fin, You Win” salmon derby is set for Sekiu on Saturday, Sept. 13.

The Clallam Bay-Sekiu Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the event, with the first-prize winner taking home 50 percent of ticket sales, second place coming back with 20 percent and the third-place receiving 10 percent.

Derby tickets are $15 and available at Olson’s Resort (360-963-2311) and Van Riper’s Resort (360-963-2334) in Sekiu.

The derby wraps at 3 p.m. with a weigh-in at Van Riper’s.

Race and signing

Daniel James Brown, author of the best-selling novel (and soon-to-be movie) Boys in the Boat, will sign books at the Rat Island Rowing and Sculling Club’s boathouse at the Northwest Maritime Center, 431 Water St., this Saturday.

The signing is from noon to 4 p.m. and occurs during the Wooden Boat Festival.

The book focuses on nine working-class rowers that made up the 1936 U.S. men’s Olympic gold-medal winning eight-oar rowing team.

Joe Rantz of Sequim was one of the Washington oarsmen who rowed against Hitler’s handpicked team.

The crew from the Pacific Northwest — sons of Depression-stricken loggers and dairy farmers — raced against regimented Germans in crisp whites with swastikas on their chests.

And they won the gold medal in front of Hitler.

While I haven’t read it yet, the book received the highest of praise from Peninsula Daily News Sports Editor Lee Horton.

“It’s probably the best book I’ve ever read,” Horton said. “Definitely the best sports book I’ve read.”

The Rat Island club is on a mission to rescue, restore and race the Pocock cedar shells used in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

They will be on display in a race on Port Townsend Bay at 10 a.m. Saturday, just before the book-signing.

For more information, visit www.ratislandrowing.com or www.nwmaritime.org.

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. 2014 6:27PM
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