Frosty fishing turns up results

  • Peninsula Daily News news sources
  • Saturday, January 3, 2009 10:55am
  • Sports

Peninsula Daily News news sources

‘Tis the steel-son!

The snow stopped many people from steelheading over the past couple of weeks, but the few diehards who did venture out were well-rewarded.

Best bites in the frosty rivers have been in the afternoons, and a party of Port Angeles-Sequim anglers who braved treacherous West End roads on Monday nailed seven chrome-bright hatchery steelhead while nymphing with Glo Bugs under an indicator in the Sol Duc.

Before the latest snow, some 14 anglers checked on the Bogachiel had seven steelhead kept and one released, putting in six hours per fish.

On the Calawah (basically the lower end), five anglers had two fish kept and two released, putting in three hours per fish.

But now the rain has arrived.

The snow is melting, and the coastal rivers are rising.

But as of Thursday night, the Bogachiel, Hoh, Calawah and Sol Duc were still in good shape.

Reports filed at the Forks-based Angler’s Guide Service Web Site rated fishing in Hoh as fair, great in the Calawah and excellent in the Bogie and Sol Duc.

Click on for the latest reports. Or call Angler’s at 360-374-3148 or 800-577-8781.

Good fishing in Hoh

According to the Web site, the “Hoh is fishing good with both hatchery and wild steelhead stretched out from [Olympic National] Park boundary down to Barlows.

“The best fishing has been taking place from the Spruce Creek down to Oxbow.

“Above the Oxbow campground in the upper river the best techniques have been pulling plugs in size X-4 and T-4 Flatfish.

“The best colors have been silver, silver metallic clown, TJ Special, flame red, red dog, Dr. Death and Flounder.

“As water drops and clears, drop down to X-4 Flatfish for hatchery steelhead.”

On the Bogie, “best techniques have been pulling plugs or divers and sand shrimp or coon-stripe shrimp . . . . both shrimp and prawns have also had good success when stretched out behind a diver with a small pink corkie in front of it.

“Floats and jigs have been doing very well with colors like pink, pink/white, pink/purple , black/red and pink/peach. Both the Aero Jig marabou series and the Beau Mac beaded series have been working very well.”

The Calawah has “lots of hatchery steelhead stretched out from just above hatchery down to confluence with the Bogachiel.

“Should see a few native fish starting to show up with this higher water.”

Meanwhile, the westside Whidbey Island beaches — Fort Casey, Ebey’s Landing, Lagoon Point and Bush Point — are kicking out winter steelhead on a fairly regular basis, and “surf steelheading” may provide some good opportunities this weekend.

Fish the hour around the high-tide change.

Cast and retrieve flame or orange Spin-N-Glos with similar-colored hootchie skirts.

There has not been much activity on area lakes.

But a few hardcore anglers wintering-over at Lake Sutherland west of Port Angeles say trout fishing has been decent off the snow-piled docks between breaks in the weather, with some rainbows in the 1-pound range hitting worms and marshmallows.

Nighttime squidding is still available at City Pier in Port Angeles and off docks in Port Townsend, but jigging has not been as good as the past couple of seasons.

The ugly but tasty squid will be around, spawning, for two to three weeks yet.

Either cast and jerk with a single squid jig, or lift and drop a multi-jig rig.

Salmon fishing

Marine Catch Areas 8-1 and 8-2 [from the east side of Whidbey Island at Possession Point north into Saratoga Passage] opened Thursday for winter hatchery-marked chinook, meaning only those with a missing adipose fin may be kept.

It’s a bit of stretch for boaters out of Port Townsend and Port Ludlow, but fishing should be decent — the area has a good number of chinook that stay around in the winter.

Marine Area 9 [northern Puget Sound] opens Jan. 16 for hatchery-marked chinook.

The Discovery Bay Salmon Derby is scheduled for the Presidents Day weekend of Feb. 14-16.

The top three prizes now total $8,000 — an increase of $2,750 over 2008.

For more information, visit the derby Web site at

Bird count

Birders have one more Christmas-time count left on the Peninsula.

Port Angeles will hold its second annual count on Saturday.

Birders will look for waterfowl, woodpeckers, hawks, wrens and other birds from just east of Morse Creek to the mouth of the Elwha River, and from Ediz Hook south to Hurricane Ridge.

If you want to volunteer in the count, dust off your binoculars and phone Barb Blackie at 360-477-8028.

Hurricane Ridge snow

Mother Nature has dumped almost a foot of fresh powder on top of the snowpack at Hurricane Ridge — but can you get up there to enjoy it?

The 17-mile road to the Ridge was closed all day Wednesday and Thursday because of high winds, white-out conditions and avalanche conditions.

The base at Hurricane Ridge is now about 60 inches.

More snow is predicted on and off through Sunday.

Before you load your car with skis and snowboards (and don’t forget you’ve got to carry chains, too — and include an emergency kit with blankets and a shovel), check the 24-hour Olympic National Park Road and Weather Info Line — 360-565-3131 — to make sure the Ridge road is open.

You can also click on

As reported in Thursday’s outdoors column, the Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard School — with lessons available for children as young as 4 and for all skill levels — starts next Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 10-11.

That is, if weather permits.

And because of the bad weather, the bunny and intermediate rope tows and Poma lift still haven’t been set up.

For more information on the ski and snowboard school, download the registration form at, or phone Lori Lynn Gray at 360-452-6434.

Unless the Ridge is once again closed by stormy weather, the Visitor Center, snack bar and ski shop, with ski and snowshoe rentals, will be open today, Saturday and Sunday.

Numerous backcountry trails at the Ridge are open to cross-country skiers.

Tubing and sledding are permitted at two separate areas on the Ridge, depending upon the conditions.

Tubes, plastic sleds and saucers — heck, a Hefty bag from your trunk — also work well for sliding, but no toboggans or runner sleds are permitted.

In addition, there are 90-minute easy-to-moderate guided snowshoe walks with a ranger.

Snowshoe walks are offered at 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays and holiday Mondays — plus today.

Register at the Visitor Center information desk by 1:30 p.m..

A suggested $5 donation helps cover snowshoe repair and replacement.

Participants should be prepared for cold, snow, wind or even rain. Dress in layers so clothes can be added or removed.

Wear warm, waterproof boots and bring hats, mittens, sunscreen and sunglasses.

All but Kalaloch

As we reported Thursday, the first dig of 2009 will get under way next week on four of the five razor-clam beaches.

Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks will be open between noon and midnight Jan. 8-11, and Long Beach Jan. 9-11.

The exception is hard-luck Kalaloch Beach, jointly managed by state Fish and Wildlife and the Olympic National Park.

Kalaloch will remain closed but may open in the spring if its clam population grows to harvestable size.

Low tides: Jan. 8, minus-0.2 feet at 4:13 p.m.; Jan. 9, minus-0.8 at 5:07 p.m.; Jan. 10, minus-1.1 at 5:58 p.m.; and Jan. 11, minus-1.2 at 6:45 p.m.

Other digs are tentatively scheduled for Feb. 6-8.

Take your fishing rod to the beach, too, and try to hook some surf perch in the troughs of incoming waves.

Surf perch fishing can be fantastic during razor clam seasons.

Diggers send a lot of chum — in the form of disturbed sand crabs, clam guts and other critters — into the surf zone, and it cranks up the perch.

Duck and goose hunts

Perhaps some of the best waterfowl hunting of the fall/winter season may be available now.

Birds stressed by very cold temperatures and unusually heavy snow are prospecting for food to replenish energy supplies, and the thaw provides ponds, “sheet water” and open agricultural fields.

While there are some private-land shooting opportunities in Sequim and the Hamma Hamma area of Hood Canal, think about taking a road trip across Puget Sound.

Curran Cosgrove, state Fish and Wildlife Department technician at the Skagit Wildlife Area said there are lots of ducks around the Skagit delta, particularly on the ag fields, for those hunters able to obtain permission to trespass.

On the public hunting land of the Skagit Wildlife Area, Cosgrove said, shooting has increased since the extreme weather conditions, both on the “island segment” and the headquarters unit, just west of Conway on Fir Island.

The general, statewide, waterfowl season ends the last Sunday in January.

Doug Huddle, coordinator for the state’s Quality Snow Goose Hunt program, said the Stanwood and Skagit Quality Hunt units could improve as the weather moderates.

Larger flocks are foraging farther, he said, with snow geese seen in the Snohomish River valley near Lowell, in the Sammamish Valley, and other places unusual for snows.

Quality Hunt participants had a very poor November, Huddle said, largely because adult-dominated flocks were difficult to decoy.

Balancing that was better success for pass shooters in December, particularly on private agricultural land, on birds being forced to fly farther for forage.

For the remainder of the season, Huddle advises goose hunters to use large numbers of decoys, to spread them out well, and to align decoy heads into the wind.

Hunters should set up inside the spread of decoys, if possible, or on the lee side.

“There are days when numbers of small groups, or even singles, looking for company are in the air,” Huddle said, “and those are more attracted to decoys.”

For information on the Fir Island/Stanwood quality snow goose hunt program, phone Huddle at 360-633-5325.

This has been an outstanding year for Canada geese in the upper Columbia Basin, according to Mike Meseberg at MarDon Resort, and not so great for ducks.

“We’ve been limiting on geese for days,” Meseberg said, “and we still have some good openings left, particularly for the mid-week days.”

The resort charges $250 per person, per day, for guided goose hunts. Phone 800-416-2736 for more information.

Crabbing ends

Don’t forget, all remaining sport crabbing closes at sunset today, and winter season catch reports are due no later than Jan. 15, even if no crabs were caught.

Mail the reports to Department of Fish and Wildlife CRC Unit, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia WA 98501, or report online at

Those who report on time will be entered in a drawing for one of 10 free 2009-10 combo fishing licenses.

Failure to report, starting with the 2009 summer and winter seasons, will result in an additional $10 being tacked on the cost of new record cards for the 2010 seasons.

An option, however — starting with the 2009 seasons — allows a recreational crabber to decline to receive a winter catch card, thus helping avoid a fine for not reporting a winter catch.

Two of our parks closing?

As the PDN reported last month, the state Parks and Recreation Commission may close 13 to 15 of the 121 state parks in Washington — including two on the North Olympic Peninsula — as the state faces a projected $5.7 billion budget shortfall.

However, some of the parks could be kept open by transferring them to city or county governments or nonprofit groups.

Parks that could eventually be transferred to other owners include Bogachiel near Forks and Old Fort Townsend just outside Port Townsend, according to state parks officials.

The closure list was compiled after the commission rated all state parks for their location, scenic views, cultural resources and potential to make money.

Parks spokeswoman Virginia Painter said there are no plans to sell parks to developers or commercial interests.

The closure plan will be subject to debate in the Legislature after the session opens later this month.

Share your catch — photos welcome!

Proud of the fish you caught recently? Send us a photo!

Want your event listed in the outdoors column?

Have a fishing or hunting report, an anecdote about an outdoors experience or a tip on gear or technique, why not share it with our readers?

Send it to Matt Schubert, Peninsula Daily News Sports Department, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362; phone, 360-417-3526, fax, 417-3521; e-mail

Schubert is on vacation. He’ll be back next week.

In the meantime, we’ll be checking his e-mail for your photos and messages.


Outdoor reports appear in the Peninsula Daily News every Thursday and Friday.

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