By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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A prime example: Fred Dockendorf of Stanwood caught a 35-pound king in Marine Area 5 earlier this week, reports Jim Bartz of Curley’s Resort (800-542-9680) in Sekiu.
That’s the biggest king I’ve heard about so far this year.
Dockendorf is no stranger to reeling in big salmon.
In Aug. 2001, he caught a 25.26-pound chum salmon, which is still listed by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife as the state record for the biggest chum.
Dockendorf’s catch this week might be the North Olympic Peninsula’s largest chinook for 2013, but it doesn’t come close to the state record.
In fact, it’s only half as big as the 70.5-pound king that Chet Guasta caught near Sekiu in Sept. 1964.
“The big story right now is the salmon fishing on the salt water,” Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said.
Menkal said that anglers are catching a lot of chinook near Port Angeles, despite having to contend with the loitering fog.
Most anglers are targeting hatchery chinook, but some coho and pinks also are being taken.
John Albiso of the Coastal Conservation Association’s North Olympic Peninsula Chapter said timing is the key at Freshwater Bay.
“Fishing seems to be good at Freshwater Bay, but you need to get there early to avoid having top park in the overflow,” Albiso said.
“Kings and pinks and few silvers all being caught.”
Sekiu (Marine Area 5) remains the best option for all three salmon species.
The catch numbers for pinks off Sekiu have increased recently — likewise for Port Angeles — but it’s likely the big invasion hasn’t happened yet.
“Some years, they dribble in, other years they come through in one big run,” Menkal said.
Ward Norden, a fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist, said the big run of pinks should happen in the next few weeks.
“More humpies are showing up every day, but the best is yet to come,” Norden said.
“The main run of humpies never arrives before August 8, and peaks on South Whidbey about September 1.”
■ Port Townsend: Kings are still doing well Admiralty Inlet, especially near Midchannel Bank.
“[Marine] Area 9 remains excellent for kings,” Norden said.
Unfortunately, as I wrote about in Thursday’s column, the chinook limit has been decreased to one per day in Area 9.
Menkal said the beach fishing also is picking up, especially for silvers and pinks.
■ Neah Bay: The wind has stopped blowing, so the fishing is great on the northern coast, according to Joey Lawrence of Big Salmon Resort (360-645-2374) in Neah Bay.
“The fishing is great; the weather if finally cooperating,” Lawrence said.
“The water is just like a lake. The fishermen deserve it; they’ve had to wait a while for good conditions.”
Lawrence said kings, coho and pinks are being caught. The latter two are doing best on the Strait of Juan de Fuca portion of Marine Area 4.
“There are lots of silvers and humpies,” Lawrence said.
“Anglers are doing well fishing for them a couple miles east of Tatoosh Island, in 400 feet of water.
“Kings are doing decent, particularly near Swiftsure Bank and Skagway Rock.
The Skokomish River, from the mouth to the U.S. Highway 101 bridge, will open to recreational salmon fishing Saturday.
Earlier this year, the state and Skokomish tribe were unable to reach agreement on the fishery during the annual salmon season-setting process, known as North of Falcon.
The state announced last week that after several weeks of discussions, the two sides have come to an agreement.
The hatchery chinook fishery on the Skokomish River from the U.S. Highway 106 bridge upstream will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays each week through Sunday, Aug. 25.
Fishing is closed the other days to avoid gear conflicts, as well as limit impacts to wild chinook.
Downstream from the U.S. Highway 106 bridge, the fishery will be open seven days a week through Aug. 25.
The daily limit is two hatchery kings, and anglers must keep the first two legal salmon they catch and stop fishing for the day. Wild chinook and chum must be released.
The crab harvest is as it has been since it open July 1: Good in Sequim, bad in Port Angeles.
“Sequim is the place to be for crabbing,” Menkal said.
“I keep hearing bad things about Port Angeles. It doesn’t make sense, there is deeper water there.”
River fishing class
Menkal is teaching his two-part river salmon and steelhead fishing class on Tuesday, Aug. 6, and the following Tuesday, Aug. 13.
Both sessions start at 6 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m.
The classes start with the basics of salmon and steelhead river fishing, and transitions into the intermediate-level knowledge.
The cost for the class is $25. Bring a notepad, pen or pencil and a chair.
Class attendance is limited to 20 participants. To reserve a spot or for more information, phone Menkal at 360-683-1950.
The classes are held at Brian’s Sporting Goods and More at 609 W. Washington St. in Sequim.
The North Olympic Peninsula Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association will meet Wednesday, Aug. 14, at 6:30 p.m. at the Sequim Library (630 N. Sequim Ave.).
The topic of discussion will be bottomfish and halibut management and the local and state chapter activities.
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Outdoors columnist Lee Horton appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at email@example.com.