OUTDOORS: Sol Duc hatchery coho season extended

ADDITIONAL FISHING TIME and the possibility of sunshine would be a nice break in the recent routine of rain, windstorm and a little more rain.

Sunny skies are at least in the forecast out west for Tuesday through Thursday next week. We’ll see if that happens, but more time casting after coho is a definite.

The added fishing, two more weeks to hook hatchery coho on the Sol Duc River, will run through Dec. 15, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife announced earlier this week.

Fish and Wildlife said coho broodstock needs at the Sol Duc Hatchery have been met, and surplus hatchery (adipose fin-clipped) coho remain in the Sol Duc River below the hatchery.

The daily limit for salmon during this period will be two hatchery coho marked with a clipped adipose fin only with a minimum size of 14 inches. Anglers must release all chinook and wild coho.

Tough sledding

Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said recent stormy weather has made it problematic for anglers and hunters.

“It’s been a little challenging, no doubt about it,” Menkal said.

But if that short pause between weather systems proves true, hatchery steelhead anglers should take note.

“The fish are out in the Bogachiel and Calawah [rivers],” Menkal said. “When those rivers drop next week, they should be plugged full of hatchery steelhead.”

Menkal said he hasn’t heard anything on the hunting tip.

“It’s pretty challenging when [rain and wind] is coming in sideways on you, for sure,” Menkal said.

Crabbing prospects for recreational crabbers may turn around.

Menkal saw a commercial crabber hauling pots out in the parking lot in front of his store earlier this week.

Bird hunting tough

“Hunting on our bays has been really tough the last few weeks but not for lack of birds,” Quilcene’s Ward Norden, a former fisheries biologist and owner of Snapper Tackle Company, said earlier this week.

“With windstorms coming in about every 48 hours, most of the puddle ducks (mallard, pintail and teal) have been driven off the bays and onto fields or brushy creeks. It takes the puddlers about 48 hours to come out of hiding, then here comes the next storm.

“Most of the bays are a bit dangerous for boats as well with floating debris washed down by flooding streams. Calm weather and a hard frost to freeze ponds in fields and the edges of creeks will bring the puddlers down in a hurry, and I for one can’t wait.”

River fishing class

Menkal will offer another two-part Introduction to Salmon and Steelhead River Fishing course at his store, 609 W. Washington St., No. 21, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday with part two following at the same time Tuesday, Dec. 12.

Menkal, who loves to fish the rivers of the West End and knows a ton of tips, tricks and locations, offers the course for $35 per person plus tax.

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

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Sports reporter/columnist Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or at [email protected]

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