SCHOOL IS IN session and the classroom is the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Hood Canal for coho.
Sekiu has been the hot spot.
“Coho fishing is red hot in Sekiu now,” Fat Otter Fishing’s John Dickson said Tuesday. (360-301-1297). “If you have been waiting until the fishing is close to the docks and non-stop catching, the time has arrived.”
I don’t recall ever seeing fish counts above 250, but creel reports counted 258 coho were landed by 184 anglers last Saturday and 316 silvers caught by 207 anglers came in Sunday.
And not every fish that is landed is checked, so it’s highly likely those catch totals were even better.
Head west for the fish.
Slower go in PA
Those same creel reports paint a different picture, no 300-fish days, but silvers are slipping through the Strait of Juan de Fuca on their way to their home stream.
Sequim-area angler Dave Croonquist was out with his wife Judy on Monday to chase coho.
“The water was lumpy and it took us about 45 minutes to get to the Port Angeles buoy,” Croonquist said. “Pretty big swells and some wind chop made footing dicey. The water finally started to lay down about 10:30 a.m.
“We ended up with our limits of coho about 11:30 a.m. [We] had a few small shakers, both coho and chinook, with a 50 percent clip rate [hatchery vs. wild]. Had some nice sized coho that weren’t clipped.”
Croonquist runs 15-pound cannonballs on his downrigger.
“We caught our fish between 65 feet and 105 feet [deep] on the wire,” he said. “The white UV hootchie and the Herring Finish Kingfisher spoon caught most of the fish. Cookies and cream also worked. We were fishing about 1/2 mile north of the Port Angeles buoy and a little to the west. We were marking fish almost all time at depths from 50 to 140 feet deep. Some big bait balls, too.
Croonquist said he saw fellow Puget Sound Anglers-North Olympic Peninsula chapter members Steve and Wendy Schmidt and Sherry Anderson fishing in the same area.
“They ended up with their limits shortly after us,” Croonquist said. [We] saw lots of nets flying on other boats in the area.”
Avid angler and lure designer Pete Rosko is happy to see school start and Lake Sutherland a little less rowdy just in time for the best kokanee fishing of the year.
“Middle to late September is the best time of the year for hooking large numbers of kokanee,” Rosko said. “This is a special time when serious kokanee anglers replace noisy jet ski and speed boat traffic that normally spook the kokanee.
“A quiet lake, a gentle breeze and cloudy sky is an important combination to insure a memorable day of hooking kokanee.”
Rosko loves to jig and Lake Sutherland is a typically productive location.
“My four top jig colors are solid cerise (a variety of pink), glow pink, glow orange and glow chartreuse,” he said.
“Glow chartreuse is my choice for trout. A Sonic BaitFish is hard to beat when jigging on Lake Sutherland. Despite a bright sun, and noisy jet ski traffic, Lake Sutherland still produced four limits of released kokanee on Wednesday while jigging 10 to 18 feet off bottom, in 45 to 60 feet of water.” where most kokanee marks were seen on the fish finder.
“With your fish finder, check the deep side areas of the slow wake buoys off the Maple grove section of the lake. This was very productive.”
The Hoh Rain Forest area is closed to all public access at the Olympic National Park boundary 12 miles from U.S. Highway 101 on Upper Hoh Road for major road repair work. The closure includes the Hoh Campground and visitor center is set to last through Oct. 5.
But West End folks are adaptable and the Peterson family, descendents of Hoh River Valley homesteading pioneer Minnie Peterson, have a plan.
The Petersons are allowing free pedestrian access to its own Hoh River Rainforest River Walk and Hoh River Reserve at Elk Meadows for the duration of the shutdown.
The reserve and trail system are found 5.5 miles east of U.S. Highway 101 on the Upper Hoh Road.
Free parking (and a restroom) is available at the Nikolai Memorial site and the Hard Rain Cafe.
Cross the Upper Hoh Road to find a marked trail head double-track trail suitable for hikers and mountain bikers.
Leashed dogs are welcome on the trail.