MATT SCHUBERT’S OUTDOORS COLUMN: Giant squid may have left area

SOMEBODY CALL CAPTAIN Nemo.

We’ve got some giant squid to deal with in the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Or do we?

A massive school of Humboldt squid, some weighing up to 54 pounds, invaded the waters off Slip Point earlier this week.

They terrorized salmon gear, inked boat decks and caused a genuine ruckus on Web sites across the Pacific Northwest.

But alas, just as soon as these mysterious squid arrived, it appears they have left.

“I haven’t heard of anything today,” Donalynn Olson of Olson’s Resort (360-963-2311) in Sekiu said on Thursday. “Hopefully they just went wherever they were supposed to be.”

That certainly isn’t anywhere near Sekiu.

Almost nobody in the Clallam Bay salmon scene could recall seeing a Humboldt squid in years past. So their recent incursion upon the Strait came as quite the surprise.

“It’s so weird,” Deanna Mohr of Van Riper’s Resort (360-963-2334) in Sekiu said. “People brought a few in [Wednesday] night, but it seems like maybe they are gone. There was a lot.

“Monday they were just everywhere.”

There has been speculation that warmer water temperatures brought the squid in from the ocean. Whatever the case, it wasn’t enough to make them stick around very long.

So Marine Area 5 (Sekiu) anglers must now be content to catch only salmon since those calamari dreams have gone bye-bye.

Luckily there’s still a few fish around, including a fair amount of healthy-sized humpies.

“They are catching some nice ones, like eight or nine pounds,” Mohr said. “It’s slower than it was a week ago, but there’s good sizes for the fish.

“Usually when that happens it means it’s getting toward the end of the [pink] run.”

That would be right on schedule. The bulk of the pink run typically heads into Puget Sound after Labor Day.

After that, the focus goes toward the coho. Area 5 anglers can begin keeping wild versions of those Sept. 19.

More salt

Now is the time for tuna.

Anglers have been hooking into albacore at a steady clip the past few weeks. And while things slowed down a tad on Thursday, there’s likely more where that came from.

“It was just a wide open bite [on Tuesday],” said Randy Lato of All-Ways Fishing (360-374-2052) in Forks, whose boat brought in 36 that day.

“I can usually squeeze 40 in the boat, but they were so big, I was stuffing fish in places I’ve never stuffed before.”

There’s still more than a few coho around in Areas 3 (LaPush) and 4 (Neah Bay) as well.

In fact, about the only thing that has changed near LaPush, where anglers are still averaging a salmon per rod, is the fishing pressure.

“[Guide Jim Richeson] was mooching salmon today and they got into a hellacious bite just straight out of LaPush there in 120 feet,” Lato said. “He said they were watching the silvers hitting the bait.”

Added Michael Lawrence at Big Salmon Resort (360-645-2374) in Neah Bay, “There’s still a lot of silvers.

“The Whistle Buoy is still pretty good, but the majority of the guys are staying close fishing inside of Makah Bay by the mouth of the river.”

Areas 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca) and 9 (Admiralty Inlet) are still producing a few silvers and humpies, although the harvest numbers haven’t been spectacular.

“I did talk to a guy that fished Tuesday that got a 14- and 16-pound silver,” Bob Aunspach of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles said.

“It sounds like he was out there eight hours before he finally found them, but once he did he really got into them. That’s silver fishing here.”

That dog will hunt

This much has been confirmed: There are, in fact, elk out there to be taken.

There just haven’t been too many reports of that happening during the first few days of the archery elk season.

“A friend got one the first day, a nice 6-by-6, but that’s the only one I’ve heard about,” Bob Gooding of Olympic Sporting Goods (360-374-6330) in Forks said. “That doesn’t mean it’s the only one shot.”

One group of hunters spotted some 100 elk while scouting out the West End, according Aunspach in Port Angeles.

Aunspach ran into a couple himself while hunting the Clearwater Game Management Unit (GMU), but was never able to draw back his bow.

“Right now some of the bulls are looking for cows,” Aunspach said. “It’s just kind of starting. The first bull we are after this year was all by himself.

“I got two bulls to answer me Monday night. We got both of those to bugle the next day. That part of it was perfect. I just didn’t get a shot.”

Aunspach did hear tales of a few deer being taken during the first two weeks of its archery season. But most of those were taken by hunters on the north side of U.S. Highway 101.

The early goose hunting season began on Thursday. It is slated to go through Tuesday, with other seasons set for Oct. 17-29 and Nov. 7 through Jan. 31.

If those who hunt can approach last year’s success, then there shouldn’t be too many complaints.

Grouse hunting continues as well, with more than a few successes reported two weeks into the season.

River fishing

Rivers received a sorely-needed dousing this past week.

But given the record-low conditions that preceded it, a little more of the wet stuff is still needed.

“There are a few fish around, but it’s tough because [the rivers] just dropped back down,” Forks’ Gooding said.

“There will be fish starting to move, but honestly, it isn’t until October before the real big bunches of them come.”

That may be true, but there’s certainly gobs of summer coho in the Sol Duc.

The Sol Duc Hatchery reported 2,219 summer silvers reaching its traps in the past week.

That puts the season total at 6,309. For a little perspective, last year’s run didn’t reach that number until mid-October.

Gooding heard of some reports of chinook on the Hoh as well, “but it’s still to low to float down.”

As long as you can avoid the snagger, which PDN reporter Erik Hidle wrote about so elegantly earlier this week, there’s some coho to be had on the Big Quilcene.

According to the Quilcene National Fish Hatchery hotline (360-765-3334), approximately 2,000 adults have reached the hatchery in the last 10 days.

Harms Way

Puget Sound Anglers-North Olympic Peninsula chapter will once again help veterans hook into a few fish this year.

The organization will have Clint Muns speak about the “Harms Way Program,” which provides money for approximately 40 Iraq and Afghanistan service personnel to fish in Alaska each year, at its monthly meeting at Trinity Methodist Church in Sequim next Thursday at 6:45 p.m.

The North Olympic Peninsula chapter has assisted with contributions for airfare during the past four years the program has been in place, and will do so again. Accommodations and fishing are provided by a resort in Alaska.

All contributions to the fund will be accepted. Contributions may be made at the meeting or by sending a check to PSA-NOPC, P.O. Box 2726, Sequim WA 98382.

The meeting at Trinity Methodist, located at 100 S. Blake Ave., is open to the public.

For more information, visit www.pugetsoundanglers.org.

Also . . .

• Olympic National Park’s Staircase Road will reopen on Saturday following the completion of road work by park crews this past week.

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

Prizes are awarded for first and second place in six different categories: wilderness landscapes, hikers in action, flora and fauna, trail maintenance, offbeat outdoors and young photographers (17 and younger).

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.

• A natural science study group will meet at the Dungeness River Audubon Center, 2151 Hendrickson Road in Sequim, from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday.

The discussion group focusses on the natural world of the Peninsula. Topics include climate, rivers, geology, botany and wildlife.

For more information, contact the River Center at 360-681-4076.

• Crabbers have until Sept. 21 to report their summer catch of Dungeness crab to Fish and Wildlife either via mail or the Internet.

Failure to report by the deadline will result in a $10 fine.

Cards can be mailed to WDFW CRC Unit, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091. The Web site for reporting is located at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov.

The season remains open in Area 12 on Wednesdays through Saturdays until Jan. 2. Areas 4 and 5 are open seven days a week until Jan. 2.

• The Last Chance Salmon Derby is set for Sept. 26-27 in LaPush.

The event includes prizes for coho and chinook categories, with the first, second and third-largest fish all earning cash rewards.

There will also be prizes for the largest lingcod and bottomfish. Drawings for prizes for ticket holders will take place on the dock at the end of the event.

For more information, contact the Forks Chamber of Commerce at 360-374-2531.

• Admiralty Audubon gets back to birding in a couple of weeks with its first field trip of the season set for Sept. 26.

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. that Saturday.

To register for the trip, contact Sikes at 360-385-0307 or sikes@olympus.net.

• The Olympic Peninsula Rowing Association is offering classes for beginners and novices from Sept. 26 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.

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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