Roger Ross caught this 21-pound chinook while fishing Freshwater Bay earlier this month.

Roger Ross caught this 21-pound chinook while fishing Freshwater Bay earlier this month.

OUTDOORS: Good catches at Freshwater Bay; king limit upped to two Saturday off Neah Bay

FRESHWATER BAY PROVED productive for an experienced batch of salmon anglers recently.

Avid angler and lure designer Pete Rosko of Port Angeles loves to fish the Strait of Juan de Fuca off Freshwater Bay and he said he’s been witness to a good stretch of fishing.

“Overall, chinook salmon fishing has been consistently good at Freshwater Bay since the July opener,” Rosko said.

Rosko passed along a good fish tale (evidenced in the photo above) he personally witnessed off Freshwater Bay.

Rosko was fishing in his boat next to Eric Thomson and Roger Ross.

Ross, an oil tanker captain, had just eight days of fishing before heading off for a two-month work stint on the high seas.

He took advantage.

“Teaming up with Eric Thomson, Roger found the perfect partner in experiencing frequent episodes of non-stop salmon frenzy,” Rosko said.

Ross caught the above fish, a 21-pounder, earlier this week.

“A day later proved even better after Chestnut Cottage owner Tim Ochs joined Eric and Roger. That day, 20 mature chinook were released in addition to numerous blackmouth,” Rosko said. “The highlight of that special day for Roger was a large hatchery chinook that was bent on ramming Eric’s boat. The battle lasted for over a half hour after hooking the beast, with the fish making a torrid run for Vancouver Island then turning back like an erratic torpedo for Eric’s vessel.

“Numerous times, it came broadsides as it missed T-boning the boat. Three pairs of eyes estimated the fish to be at least 35 pounds. The width of that fish especially impressed Thomson.”

Rosko said all were jigging off a wide expanse of freshwater kelp bed edges.

“Eric was jigging with his favorite lure, a 1 1/2 oz glow white Kandlefish,” he said. “Roger, and Tim, were jigging 1 1/2 oz green back/pearl white belly Kandlefish.”

Two kings off Neah Bay

Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay) will switch Saturday to a two-king daily limit, hatchery or wild.

Anglers also can keep hatchery coho as part of the two-salmon daily limit, but that’s the problem — too many coho have been caught in recreational salmon catch estimates released by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Through Sunday, anglers had snapped up 1,623 of the 4,370 coho quota (37.1 percent) in area 4.

On the chinook side, anglers had caught 664 of the area’s 4,900 chinook guideline (13.6).

Sufficient chinook remain in the area’s guideline to allow retention of two chinook per day.

Area 9 opens Monday

Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) finally joins the salmon party Monday with anglers able to keep one hatchery chinook at least 22 inches in length out of a daily limit of two salmon. Anglers must release chum, wild coho and wild chinook.

The chinook-retention portion of the salmon season is scheduled to run through Aug. 15, but may close earlier if the chinook quota is reached.

Opening day features a high tide at 7:21 a.m. and a low tide (-1.7) at 1:04 p.m.

That’s a solid ebb tide for the afternoon bite at Midchannel Bank off Port Townsend.

Hatchery coho will be open from Aug. 16 to Sept. 30 in Area 9.

Berry picking

Quilcene’s Ward Norden, a former fisheries biologist and owner of Snapper Tackle Company, has been out collecting nature’s sweet bounty.

“Berry picking time is here,” Norden said. “We went out [last Saturday] on our favorite clearcut. Early native blackberries and wild raspberries are at their peak this week with thimble berries almost ready. At least on our favorite clearcut, this is the largest crop of wild raspberries I have seen in years and the thimble berries look enormous as well.

All smiles with purple fingers in Quilcene.”

Know before you go

Checking the status of your favorite beach before harvesting shellfish is a good piece of advice year-round, that way harvesters can avoid things like collecting on a closed beach and the potential fine that can accompany that kind of a mistake. It’s an even better idea to head over to the state Department of Health’s website at tinyurl.com/PDN-ShellfishCheck to discover which beaches are open or closed, what species are harvestable and whether or not there are any current biotoxin closures.

Salmon/steelheading

Menkal will offer another two-part Introduction to Salmon and Steelhead River Fishing course at his store, 609 W. Washington St., No. 21 in Sequim, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday with part two following at the same time Tuesday, July 24.

Menkal knows a ton of tips, tricks and locations and offers the course for $40 per person.

To reserve a space, phone 360-683-1950.

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