PENINSULA: `Seafood gumbo” for outdoor seekers

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A gumbo of local seafood possibilities awaits anglers and shellfishers over the next two weeks.

It begins with the first in a series of shrimp openings on Hood Canal.

The initial schedule provides four days of shrimping from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday; next Wednesday, May 23; Saturday, May 26; and Wednesday, May 30.

Once you have a boat, a shrimp pot, buoy and 400 feet of line, plus canned cat food for bait — Puss `N Boots Fisherman’s Blend and Friskies Salmon Dinner are particular favorites — actually finding catchable numbers of the big, prawn-size spot shrimp is not that hard.

There’s more of Hood Canal where you can find shrimp than where you can’t.

The daily limit is 80 shrimp per person. No shrimp gear can remain in the water after each day’s closure. A maximum of four pots may be used in each boat, and no more than one pot per person.

Read the regulation pamphlet for trap specifications, buoy information and other important specifics.

Get your 2001 fishing license before you leave home.

“The Hood Canal shrimp fishery is a very popular event that draws a lot of people together in a short period of time,” said Bruce Crawford, state Fish and Wildlife licensing manager.

“We recommend that people buy their license now to avoid the possibility of encountering long lines at license outlets in the Hood Canal area.”

You can also harvest clams and oysters on Hood Canal’s public beaches, subject to regulations in the state rules fishing pamphlet and on the Fish and Wildlife shellfish hotline (360-796-3215, press 1).

Crabbing remains closed during the month of May.

Sport shrimping in the Port Angeles Bay and Discovery Bay shrimp districts opens June 2.

Next in line is a one-day razor clam dig, tentatively scheduled for next Thursday, May 24, from 12:01 a.m. until noon at Copalis and Mocrocks beaches.

An unexpectedly low turnout at the dig earlier this month allowed state Fish and Wildlife to give clam diggers one more opening at the two beaches, provided that marine toxin tests demonstrate that the clams are safe to eat.

Test results will be available on Tuesday, and clam diggers are advised to check the shellfish hotline (360-796-3215) or the state shellfish Web site (www.wa.gov/wdfw/fish/shelfish/razorclm/levels/levels.htm) before they leave home to make sure the opening is a go.

Halibut fishing off Port Angeles, in the rest of the Strait and in Puget Sound opens today.

The lower Hoh River opened Wednesday for hatchery spring and summer chinook.

This entire report appears in today’s editions of the Peninsula Daily News, on sale throughout Clallam and Jefferson counties. Or click onto “Subscribe” to order your copy via U.S. mail.

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