LETTER: A lament for low fish numbers

Winter chinook (blackmouth) season for sportfishermen has begun and is scheduled to continue through mid-April.

With predominantly sub-legal salmon available, fishermen willing to brave the wind and cold will sort through many “shakers” for every fish to keep.

Many of these fish are so small that trollers often won’t even know when they’re dragging a fish around.

With every “encounter” (whether lost, released or retained) counted toward the non-tribal 50 percent share, this fishery will again chalk up a good portion of the sportfishermen’s allotment for the year.

One might wonder why this fishery even exists when the big king salmon, nice weather and vacation for the kids all happen in the summertime.

I did, until I stopped to realize that this makes it appear as though sportfishermen are getting their fair share of the annual harvest without allowing a summer chinook season in East Marine Area 6 (for the 23rd consecutive year) and maybe only a week of open season in Marine Area 9 (Port Townsend-Admiralty Inlet).

Couple this with the end of all trout plants in Clallam County lakes, and kids don’t learn to fish (which could produce long-term whiners for those with the apparent goal of eventually ending all sportfishing in Washington state).

It all makes sense to me now.

Darryl Sanford,