I NEVER GOT the sense that last fall’s salmon fishery on the North Olympic Peninsula side of Admiralty Inlet ever produced big-time results.
Apparently, the eastern portion did much better.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that starting this week, the daily salmon limit on Admiralty Inlet (Marine Area 9) will decrease from two fish to one fish because the catch so far has exceeded expectations.
According to the state’s preliminary estimates, anglers had kept or released 1,737 chinook in Marine Area 9 as of Feb. 24.
“Fishing got off to a fast start last fall, boosting the number of fish kept or released to date,” state fish biologist Ryan Lothrop said.
“After reviewing the catch estimates, it was clear we needed to take action to control the fishery’s impacts on stocks of concern.”
Lothrop did say that the catch numbers in adjoining areas were below expected levels.
Now is as good of a time as any for a quick review of the per-day salmon limits on the North Olympic Peninsula’s marine areas:
■ Marine Area 5 (Sekiu) — Daily limit: 1.
Area closes: April 10.
■ Marine Area 6 (Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca) — Daily limit: 2; release wild chinook.
Area closes: April 10.
■ Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) — Daily limit: 1; release wild chinook.
Area closes: April 15.
■ Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) — Daily limit: 1; release wild chinook.
Area closes: April 30.
The coastal Marine Areas (3 and 4) remain closed.
Clam seasons trimmed
The sport clam seasons have been shortened at two Jefferson County beaches.
At Point Whitney Tidelands, the season has been reduced by two weeks because of a decrease in the clam population.
The clam season starts Friday, March 15, and runs through Sunday, March 31.
The Dosewallips State Park recreational clam season starts Monday, April 1, and ends Aug. 15.
This is more than three months less than anticipated for 2013, due to an overharvest of the beach in 2012.
The oyster seasons at both beaches are unaffected by these changes.
Oysters can be harvested at Point Whitney Tidelands through June 30. At Dosewallips, oyster season is open year-round.
Razor clam digs
Speaking of clams, another round of approved razor clam digs begins today.
The four-day dig includes four beaches, but again Kalaloch is not among the participating beaches.
The best digging typically occurs an hour or two prior to low tide.
The evening low tides and participating beaches for the upcoming digs are as follows:
■ Thursday: 3:06 p.m., +0.3 feet — Twin Harbors.
■ Friday, 4:01 p.m., 0.0 feet — Twin Harbors and Long Beach.
■ Saturday, 4:50 p.m., -0.2 feet — Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks.
■ Sunday, 6:33 p.m., -0.2 feet — Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks.
■ Monday, 7:12 p.m., 0.0 feet — Twin Harbors.
No digging is allowed before noon.
Don’t forget that daylight savings time begins Sunday.
So, spring forward, my friends. If you don’t, you’ll miss an hour of prime digging.
This dig will be the final evening dig of the season because the lowest tides start occurring in the morning.
The first morning digs of 2013 are scheduled for Thursday, March 28, through Sunday, March 31, pending marine toxin tests, of course.
________Outdoors columnist Lee Horton appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at [email protected]