LEE HORTON’S OUTDOORS: Cold weather doesn’t end fishing opportunities

By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News

IT GOT COLD around here, didn’t it?

So cold, that I’m willing to bet that many outdoors enthusiasts throughout the North Olympic Peninsula will become indoor enthusiasts.

For the rest of you hearty souls, there is still much to do in the great outdoors. Especially for anglers.

The Dungeness River is providing options.

“There are a few steelhead in the Dungeness. Not a huge amount, but there are some there,” Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim.

“And there’s still salmon coming in; some nice coho.

“So, that doubles your chances.”

The same can almost be said of the West End Rivers.

There are still kings and silvers, and steelhead showing up, one slow trickle at a time.

“It’s a little early for steelhead, but it could be any day,” Menkal said.

“If it rains a little bit, I’d be running out there and taking a look.”

It is important to remember that all wild steelhead must be released.

It’s also important to remember to dress appropriately, because it’s a cold world out there.

Saltwater fishing spot

Admiralty Inlet is one of the few spots on the Peninsula open to saltwater salmon fishing, but not many anglers are participating.

“There are only a small handful of people that are going out,” Eric Elliott of The Fishin’ Hole (360-385-7031) in Port Townsend said.

However, it doesn’t seem to be the cold that is keeping anglers away.

In fact, the number of boats going out has increased, though only slightly, in the last few days since the cold air has been accompanied by sunshine.

“It’s sunny and it’s not blowing,” Elliott said.

“There are some blackmouth being caught.”

Elliott also said beach casting has slowed down recently.

Lake fishing

The trout are in feeding mode at Lake Leland.

“Leland is doing quite well,” Menkal said.

“A lot of people going out there are getting fish. These fish have a tendency to bulk up for the winter.

“It’s a little colder, [so] dress appropriately.”

I’m interested to know how busy Lake Leland is these days. Apparently, Leland’s winter fishing reputation is spreading.

“The bad news about Lake Leland is that I talked to one of my customers on the other side of Puget Sound [last week] who has had people buying night crawlers and planning to take the ferry over,” Ward Norden, a fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist, said.

“Things could get crowded as the word gets out.”

Crab picking up

Menkal said crabbing near Sequim has had a recent uptick in success.

“Some guys are doing really well,” he said.

“[The winter harvest] started slow, but it’s picking up.

“Not a lot of people are doing it, but that probably means there is more to go around.”

Dungeness crab makes a fine addition to a Thanksgiving feast.

Deer and elk hunt recap

The modern firearm deer and elk hunts have both come to a close.

Not that either hunt ever really got started.

Menkal said there was a little bit more success in the late-season deer hunt last weekend, but the deer and elk won 2013.

“It wasn’t a banner year for deer or elk [hunting],” he said.

“But hopefully that just means more for next year.”

The late-season muzzleloader and archery deer and elk hunts open next week and last through the middle of December in certain parts of western Washington.

Consult the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s “2013 Big Game Hunting Seasons and Regulations” pamphlet for more information. You can view or download your own copy here: www.tinyurl.com/pdnHuntRegs.

Winterfest on Saturday

Don’t forget Winterfest, the annual fundraiser to support winter sports education at Hurricane Ridge, will be held Saturday.

The event will feature a prime rib dinner prepared by Next Door Gastro Pub, live and silent auctions and a series of short films featuring local skiers and snowboarders at Hurricane Ridge.

Proceeds go to snow school and ski team operations, as well as scholarships to underprivileged youth in the community who would like to learn how to ski, snowboard or participate on ski team.

Winterfest will run from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Vern Burton Community Center in Port Angeles.

Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door. Children twelve years of age and under are $25.

Individual tickets can be purchased at Swain’s General Store, Necessities & Temptations, Brown’s Outdoor, all in Port Angeles, and at Brian’s Sporting Goods in Sequim.

Community tables are $320, a $5 per person savings. For further information regarding community tables, phone Eric Flodstrom at 360-452-2327 ext. 30.

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.

________

Sports Editor Lee Horton appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at lhorton@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: November 21. 2013 6:17PM
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