This is truly a great summer to be a salmon angler on the North Olympic Peninsula.
From the Pacific Ocean through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and down Admiralty Inlet and the Hood Canal, salmon are providing just about anybody on the saltwater a great day.
Limits are common and some anglers are finding super action right off the shore.
In Port Angeles, the catch has picked up with pinks dominating most anglers’ two-salmon limits.
“Just fish the rips,” said Don Frizzell at Port Angeles Marine Supply (360-452-3277).
Frizzell said hatchery coho — the only coho that may be kept in Marine Area 6 as well as Areas 3, 4 and 5 — are less plentiful but can still be found.
“Guys are getting them,” Frizzell said. “It’s going to be a good year.”
Try herring or green and white hoochies. Chinook and chum must be released in Marine Areas 5 and 6.
Sekiu bank fishing
To the west, bank anglers are still finding action on the beach between Sekiu and Middle Point.
“It seems like it is better this year,” Donalynn Olson at Olson’s Resort in Sekiu said of the shore fishing. “We seem to have more bait in close.”
Try Buzz Bombs, which are also catching pinks and coho at Point Wilson on the Admiralty Inlet side.
“It’s been fun,” Olson said. “We had a good day (Wednesday) and it has been beautiful on the water … perfectly flat.”
Olson, who can be reached at 360-963-2311, reported a 13-pound coho caught Wednesday by a boat angler about a mile straight out of Sekiu.
That’s a great size for a silver, many of which are now starting to develop hooked noses as they prepare for river entry.
Olson said as many as 30 people a day are fishing from the shore but that most people are still going out in boats.
“It’s good or better,” added Herb Rempel at Silver King Resort, east of Pillar Point (360-963-2950). “They’re still catching a lot of nice silvers and a lot of nice humpies.”
On the coast, charter boats out of Neah Bay are still limiting every day.
“There’s a lot of nice fish coming in,” said Jeff Shuffelen at Big Salmon Resort (800-959-2374). “We just had a bunch of guys come in who can’t believe how big the silvers are right now.”
Shuffelen said the coho are averaging 8-9 pounds and about four in 10 are marked.
Kings, pinks and clipped coho can all be taken out of Neah Bay and LaPush.
As of last Sunday, LaPush had caught 321 chinook of 1,000 allowed and 1,776 coho of 5,350 allowed, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Neah Bay had caught 1,104 chinook of 1,700 allowed and 9,854 coho of 23,400 allowed as of the same day, the WDFW said.
Shuffelen, meanwhile, reported a 47-pound king caught earlier this week as the biggest out of Big Salmon this summer.
That chinook was picked up at Blue Dot by the charter boat Satin Doll.
Back at Point Wilson, Ray Elend at Fish-N-Hole Tackle Shop in Port Townsend (360-385-7031), said the point is providing action on pinks and coho.
“This past week it has been steadily good fishing,” Elend said.
Native and hatchery coho may be kept in Admiralty Inlet (Area 9) and the Hood Canal (Area 12).
If you fish Point Wilson and want to keep unclipped coho, make sure to cast on the southeast side.
In Hood Canal, pinks are still stacked off the Hoodsport Hatchery, according to Drew Burkhard at the facility.
Burkhard said more than 26,000 pinks have already returned this season, matching the record run of 1993.
“We’re going to surpass that for sure,” Burkhard said.
Despite some reports that the humpies are starting to lose their vigor, Burkhard said the fish are still in good shape and just need to be bled and refrigerated immediately.
The chinook run hasn’t yet reached the hatchery but should arrive by the end of the month.
Hood Canal is currently open south of Ayock Point and the daily salmon limit in the hatchery zone is four. All chum must be released until Oct. 15 and no more than two chinook greater than 24 inches may be kept.
Chum and chinook must both be released in Admiralty Inlet, where the daily limit is two salmon.
Summer steelhead fishing is picking up on the Bogachiel, Calawah, Sol Duc and Lyre rivers.
Anglers are taking 8-12 pound hatchery steelies from all four. Wild steelhead must be released on the Bogachiel, Calawah, Sol Duc and other rivers of the Quillayute System until December.
The Sol Duc is also giving up hatchery coho. Wild adult coho and wild adult chinook must be released there and in the rest of the Quillayute System until the end of the month.
“There’s a bunch of new silvers in the Sol Duc,” said Bob Gooding at Olympic Sporting Goods in Forks (360-374-6330).
Meanwhile, Bill Freymond, WDFW district biologist, reminds anglers that fishing is closed on portions of the Dungeness and Lower Graywolf to protect depleted stocks of spring/summer chinook and pink salmon.
Survey teams have reported anglers fishing illegally on both rivers.
The Dungeness is closed from the river mouth to Gold Creek until Oct. 16, while the Graywolf is closed year-round from the mouth to the bridge, located approximately one mile upstream.
Gooding said the black bear season, which opened Aug. 1, is off to a great start.
“It’s been very good,” he said. “I’ve heard of several.
“Everybody is seeing them and shooting them.”
Gooding recommended the Clearwater and Sol Duc Game Management Units.
Hunters are also reminded that Sunday is the deadline to purchase raffle tickets for a chance to participate in special-permit, big game hunts.
Winning tickets will be drawn Monday at 1 p.m.
One winner will be chosen for each of the following hunts: buck deer, bull elk, moose and bighorn sheep.
Tickets are $5 for all hunts except for bighorn sheep, which cost $10. They can be purchased at all WDFW offices, online at www.wa.gov/wdfw, or by phone at 866-246-9453.
Haffner bags marlin
Nick Haffner will enter Port Angeles High School this fall with one heck of a fish story.
Haffner, 14, caught two blue marlin while on a fishing trip with his family in Kona, Hawaii, in July.
Haffner started the day by catching a 265-pound, 8½-foot marlin that took an hour and 45 minutes to boat.
Later he hooked a 573-pound, 14-foot marlin. The second fish, despite being larger, took less time to land as the captain backed the boat toward the fish.
“I almost fell asleep after the first one,” Haffner said, noting it sapped his strength.
Nonetheless, he still found the will to bag the super-sized marlin, which he is having mounted.
Olympics in a day
Quinn Mitchell, Eric Beus and Larry Smith hiked from the North Fork Quinault trailhead to the Whiskey Bend trailhead in one day last week.
Mitchell graduated from Sequim High School in June. She was a Running Start student and Peninsula College’s Associate Student Council president last school year.
She will begin attending the University of Washington this fall.
Beus is also a former Peninsula College student and will attend Linfield College in Oregon beginning this fall.
Smith is a math professor at Peninsula College.
The hike totaled 44 miles and took the group 17 hours.
The trio started at 4 a.m. last Thursday and reached the Whiskey Bend trailhead at 11 p.m. with head lamps glowing.
“It actually went really well,” Mitchell said. “The last six or seven miles were just hard because it was dark.”
Mitchell said it rained for about 75 percent of the hike.
“It was absolutely incredible,” Mitchell said. “I’ll probably do it again.
“Maybe not next year. I’ll give myself enough time to forget how much my feet hurt.”Darrick Meneken is a sports and outdoor columnist and writer for the Peninsula Daily News. He can be reached at 360-417-3526, or e-mail [email protected]