MATT SCHUBERT’S OUTDOORS COLUMN: Free admission to Olympic National Park Saturday

THAT SOCIALIST OBAMA is at it again.

Another round of free handouts is coming down the pike.

But this isn’t your typical corporate bailout. Oh no, that wouldn’t be sinister enough.

Instead, it appears our dear president is trying to win over the common man with a bribe, albeit a meager one.

And yes, I’m talking about Olympic National Park’s decision to waive entrance fees in honor of National Public Lands Day (see story on Page C3) on Saturday.

Personally, this particular outdoors columnist is outraged. Just think of the thousands of dollars falling by the wayside. Money this country desperately needs.

How America can stand for such leftist policies is beyond me.

Free entry to a national park combined with numerous ranger-guided programs at a handful of locations, which is also free? This sort of government enabling cannot be tolerated.

First comes free entry into Olympic National Park, next comes mind control chips in our children’s brains.

Wait . . . what’s that you say? This is an annual occurrence, one that even the Bush administration supported?

Uh, never mind.

Last Chance

Anglers get one more chance at a cash grab this weekend.

That’s because the opening of the Marine Area 3 (LaPush) bubble fishery will once again be accompanied by the Last Chance Salmon Derby on Saturday and Sunday.

If things don’t break from tradition, it should be a challenging endeavor for all involved, according to Randy Lato of All-Ways Fishing (360-374-2052) in Forks.

“It’s a tough fishery,” he said. “They are terminal fish. You open them up and their stomachs are just shrunk right up to nothing.

“You’ve got to irritate them to get any action. But when you get one it’s usually a nice one.”

The late-season fishery targeting coho and chinook returning to the Quillayute River system will remain open through Oct. 11.

Derby participants, however, only get the first two days to bring in a prize-winner.

For more information, see “Best Bets” on Page B3.

Strait salmon

Get your kisses while you can.

The summer romance that has been the Marine Area 5 (Sekiu) salmon fishery is just about finished. Luckily, anglers aren’t dealing with some cold fish.

“I wish I could have gone out this [Thursday] morning,” Gary Ryan of Van Riper’s Resort (360-963-2334) in Sekiu said.

“It’s been fabulous all day . . . 13-, 14- [and] 15-pound silvers all day long.”

It wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to call the late September wild coho fishery in Area 5 a success.

Anglers brought in more than one coho per rod after it opened on Saturday. And despite a couple of blustery days earlier this week, things haven’t tailed off much . . . if at all.

A few Humboldt squid are still being caught as well, but it’s the coho who are ruling the day right now.

“There’s a lot of mid-teen fish,” Ryan said. “Excellent fish . . . still got sea lice on them, so they are coming out of the ocean.

“The guys say if you get in 450 [feet of water] you’re not doing too good. It’s that area between 450 and 550 that has been good.”

Silvers have been showing up in good numbers to the east as well, according to Bob Aunspach of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles.

“They are catching lots of fish right here,” Aunspach said. “They are catching coho up into the mid-teens, fishing that four mile buoy [near Port Angeles] and then down off Freshwater Bay. They are even catching a few pinks.”

Area 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca) anglers can’t hold onto the wild ones like they can in Area 5.

They’ll have to keep busy with the hatchery fish until Oct. 1, when the fishery opens to salmon retention of all kinds.

Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) remains open to wild and hatchery coho retention, although success stories have been hard to come by.

Rainy day fishery

Assume the position river anglers.

Drop to your knees, hold your hands together, look up to the sky and repeat after me, “We need rain.”

Because until divine providence kicks in, the fall salmon season on the Peninsula will have to wait.

As Sol Duc Hatchery technician Brian Russell said on Thursday, the Sol Duc “is looking like a creek” right now.

The same can be said of most rivers out west that share the same name as female sex trade workers (Hoh).

The Quilcene, which is only getting a small trickle of salmon these days, is on the low side as well. So if you’re looking to hook a salmon, it’s probably best just to wait.

There’s fish around the Sol Duc Hatchery, but they’re uglier than a Steve Buscemi-Janet Reno love-child.

“We’re getting 20 or 30 summer coho a night coming into the trap, but they are really dark,” Russell said. “They are all in spawning condition right now.

“There’s no food quality fish in this area.”

Once we get a good shot of rain, maybe even two, anglers can expect a prime-time coho run. That’s assuming the returns mirror the sort of bulk anglers saw in the ocean this summer.

Until then, fly anglers could always go after some sea-run cutthroat in a number of rivers, including the Sol Duc, Calawah and Bogachiel.

One could also hit the Elwha on Thursday when it opens to coho fishing.

Although a little wet stuff wouldn’t hurt those fisheries either.

Hunt for October

The archers had they turn.

Now it’s time to hand things over to the muzzleloaders.

Muzzleloaders can take aim at both deer and cougar beginning this Saturday, the former in the Pysht, Sol Duc, Goodman, Clearwater and Coyle GMUs (Game Management Units) only.

Elk will come under fire the following Saturday in the Dickey, Pysht and Sol Duc GMUs.

There hasn’t been too much chatter from the archers targeting deer (the season ends today), but the archery elk season did pay some dividends.

“I know there was a few [deer] taken, but I didn’t hear a lot about it,” Aunspach said. “There were definitely a few elk shot during archery season, some really nice ones.

“It was probably an average season, but it wasn’t above average.”

No doubt the dry conditions played a factor in some hunters’ struggles.

Aunspach himself was unable to get a shot off on a bull elk during a three-day trek through the Clearwater GMU last weekend.

“It was a tougher hunt than last year, considerably tougher than last season for whatever reason,” Aunspach said of the archery elk hunt.

“We saw some [animals]. They just weren’t as talkative as normal. The elk might get a little more talkative as we get into October, so maybe that will be of benefit to the muzzleloaders.”

The early muzzleloader season for deer lasts through Oct. 4, while muzzleloaders can go after elk Oct. 3-9.

Bear season continues throughout the Peninsula, as does grouse hunting.

Also . . .

• The 10th annual Dungeness River Festival comes to Railroad Bridge Park, 2151 Hendrickson Road, in Sequim this weekend.

The event runs today through Sunday and includes various nature exhibits, bird walks, river walks and artistic displays.

Activities are scheduled for 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. all three days. There will also be a Birds of Prey presentation by the Northwest Raptor Center at Sequim High School tonight at 7.

For more information, see the story on Page C1 of today’s PDN.

• The public will get a chance to review Fish and Wildlife’s new sportfishing rule proposals, effective 2010-12, at a series of meetings during the next few weeks, including one held at Peninsula College, 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., in Port Angeles, on Oct. 6 at 6:30 p.m.

Comments can be submitted at the meeting or by mail to Fish and Wildlife Rules Coordinator Lori Preuss at preuslmp@dfw.wa.gov or 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA, 98501.

Numerous rule changes are being proposed for the three-year period and can be viewed at Fish and Wildlife’s Web site (http://wdfw.wa.gov).

• As was reported in Thursday’s outdoors column, National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife biologists will hold a public meeting concerning Kalaloch Beach razor clams at 7 p.m. on Oct. 11 in the state Department of Natural Resources conference room at 411 Tillicum Lane in Forks.

Officials will discuss Kalaloch clam populations at the meeting, as well as the upcoming digging seasons. The beach will be open to digging this fall for the first time in two years.

• The Peninsula Rifle and Pistol Club will host a First Step pistol and revolver familiarization class at its headquarters, 2604 W. 18th St. in Port Angeles, on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Howard Blair, a former Coast Guard Chief Gunners Mate, will give recent gun purchasers a chance to learn safe firearm use and operation

Space is limited, so pre-registration is encouraged. To do so, contact Blair at 360-457-3813 or 6blairbears@q.com.

• Washington Trails Association is accepting submissions for its seventh annual Northwest Exposure Photo Contest through Oct. 16.

Entries can be mailed to: Northwest Exposure Photo Contest, Washington Trails Association; 2019 Third Ave., Suite 100; Seattle, WA 98121.

For more information, visit www.wta.org.

• The Olympic Peninsula Rowing Association is offering classes for beginners and novices Saturday through Oct. 24 through the Clallam County Family YMCA.

The beginner class will meet each Saturday from 10-11:30 a.m., while intermediate rowers will meet from 8:30-10 a.m.

For more information, contact Tim Tucker at tim@ccfymca.org.

• Admiralty Audubon will hold its first field trip of the fall this Saturday.

Ron Sikes will lead a trip to Kah Tai Lagoon Nature Park and Point Hudson from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. To register for the trip, contact Sikes at 360-385-0307 or sikes@olympus.net.

Call us, photos welcome!

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 me, Matt Schubert, Sports Department, Peninsula Daily News, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362; phone, 360-417-3526; fax, 360-417-3521; e-mail matt.schubert@peninsuladailynews.com.

__________

Matt Schubert is the outdoors columnist for the Peninsula Daily News. His column appears on Thursdays and Fridays.

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