MATT SCHUBERT’S OUTDOORS COLUMN: No April fooling, new fishing license needed today

WE’VE ALL DONE it before (or at least I have).

You head out to your favorite hole in all your outdoor duds, you get to the water, and then you realize you forgot the one thing you need the most: Your fishing license.

Surely a few rigs across the state will be busting U-turns this morning.

After all, today is April 1, the start of the sport fishing/hunting new year in the Evergreen State.

That waterproof piece of paper you’ve been toting to tributaries and tarns the past 12 months now holds the same value as Monopoly money.

Anyone looking to drop a line in Washington’s pristine waters best get with the program and purchase a 2011-12 license.

Those caught fishing without one will suffer the consequences: a hefty fine and public caning (OK, so I made that last one up).

Anglers can renew their license by visiting or by calling 866-246-9453.

A list of license vendors is available online at

Getting fresh

Of course, one can always wait on that license.

The way rivers are raging out west, it might be a while before anglers get another chance to fish.

“It poured down rain like the second coming of Jesus,” Bob Gooding of Olympic Sporting Goods (360-374-6330) in Forks said. “There ain’t nothing fishable or anything close to it.

“It’s going to be through the weekend before you can fish. [The rivers] are just rolling. I’ve seen them way higher, but as things go, [it’s] not good.”

Once things do drop back in shape, there should be plenty of fish around.

The Sol Duc has been particularly good during winter steelhead season.

Now that spring chinook are starting to enter the Quillayute system as well, fishing could get even better.

“Maybe after this big water, there will be some more around,” Gooding said of the springers.

“It’s that time of year . . . where we’ll start seeing some more here and there.”

Saltwater stuff

Mother Nature hasn’t been all that kind to the saltwater set, either, as of late.

Brisk winds and wet conditions had anglers running for cover in Marine Area 5 (Sekiu), 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca) and 9 (Admiralty Inlet).

Just a week ago, the fishing had been productive out near Port Angeles, according to Bob Aunspach of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles.

That seems to have died down a bit this week, however.

“I’d say it slowed off a little bit, but that’s kind of the nature of blackmouth fishing,” Aunspach said.

“I think those fish are very active in where they move around to.

“They are feeding here one day, and they might be over there the next. If somebody doesn’t find them, we might be missing some good fishing.”

It’s hard to tell where they’re hiding around the Sequim and Port Townsend areas.

Much of the North Olympic Peninsula piscatorial crowd has flocked to the waters in and around Port Angeles of late.

That should change this Saturday and Sunday with the coming of the Discovery Bay Volunteer Fire Fighters Salmon Derby.

“April has always been a real good month for me in the past,” said Port Townsend angler Wayne Bibbins, who hasn’t been on the water the past few weeks. “I think [fishing]’s probably fair to good.”

The top fish in the two-day derby will reel in $3,000, second-place gets $1,200, third $750 and fourth $500.

There will also be other goodies up for grabs, thanks to donations from area businesses.

Fishing will be limited to waters east of Dungeness Spit and Hein Bank, including most of Area 9 toward Double Bluff and Foulweather Bluff.

The prize ceremony will be held at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Discovery Bay Store, 282322 U.S. Highway 101.

Tickets cost $30 to fish for one day or both and are available at Swain’s General Store in Port Angeles, Brian’s Sporting Goods and More in Sequim, West Side Marine in Port Townsend, Four Corners Store, Hadlock Building Supply in Port Hadlock and Discovery Bay Store.

Proceeds benefit the Discovery Bay Volunteer Fire Department.

For more information on the derby, visit

Ridge return

Those who thought they saw the last of ski season at Hurricane Ridge have another think coming.

Anyone with a pair of skis (or snowboard) and a healthy constitution can still head up the hill any day Hurricane Ridge Road is open and get five or six runs in.

Next week, they can also look forward to a few more days of operational rope tows and lifts.

Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club decided to open for at least one more weekend April 9-10; with the Poma lift and intermediate rope tow expected to be up and running.

If enough people support the bonus weekend, the club will run again April 16-17.

There is surely enough snow to make it happen, with the Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center reporting more than 140 inches at its sensor atop the Ridge.

Club member Lori Lynn Gray said plans are in the works to hold a special event April 9-10.

Look for more details on that in future outdoors columns.

Lift ticket prices will remain the same: $12 for bunny hill only, $25 for intermediate and $27 for all lifts.

Season Pass holders can ride all lifts for $10.

For information on skiing the Ridge, visit

Also . . .

■ Professional downhill mountain bike racing returns to Port Angeles’ Dry Hill with the first stop in the Pro GRT coming April 9-10.

For more information, visit

■ Dennis Wilson of Mount Vernon is scheduled to talk about fishing Elk River in British Columbia during the Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishers monthly meeting Monday.

Club member Blaine Donohue will also demonstrate how to tie his “Thunder Nymph” at the meeting, set for 7 p.m. in the Loomis Log Cabin at Port Angeles’ Lincoln Park.

■ The Port Angeles Kids Fishing Derby comes to the Lincoln Park ponds next Saturday, April 9, from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

The free annual event is open to ages 5-14.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own poles, with the biggest fish from five different age groups earning prizes.

■ Olympic Peninsula BirdFest descends upon Sequim next weekend, April 8-10.

Festival events include special field trips, presentations, a banquet, owl prowls and many other birdy activities.

For more information, visit the event website

■ The Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Show will be at the Sequim Boys and Girls Club, 400 W Fir St., on April 9-10.

The event will feature presentations by area experts and Pacific Northwest guides, door prizes, vendors and a casting contest.

Admission is $10 and provides entry into raffles for $1,500 in door prizes. Doors open at 11 a.m. on April 9 and 10 a.m. on April 10.

For more information, visit

■ Author and fly fisherman Doug Rose will give a presentation on his outdoor experiences on the Peninsula at the Port Townsend Public Library, 1220 Lawrence St., April 9 at 5 p.m.

Rose has written three books focused on fly fishing on the Peninsula, as well as hundreds of articles in magazines like Fly Fisherman, American Angler and Northwest Fly Fishing.

His fly fishing blog ( is a helpful tool for any fly fan in the area.

■ Admiralty Audubon’s Dan Waggoner will lead a birding trip though Oak Bay, Indian Island and Fort Flagler State Park on April 9.

The walk runs from 9 a.m. to noon, with a group meeting at the Haines Place Park and Ride in Port Townsend at 8:30 a.m. and Oak Bay at 9 a.m.

Pre-registration for all Admiralty walks is strongly encouraged.

To do so, contact Waggoner at 360-301-1788 or

■ The 11th annual Port Angeles Kayak Symposium returns to downtown Port Angeles on April 15-17.

The event includes numerous on-water and off-water clinics, kayak demos, a kayak race and special presentations the nights of April 15 and 16.

For more information, visit

■ The state tentatively scheduled morning razor clam digs at ocean beaches April 7-9 and April 19-23.

Long Beach and Twin Harbors are set to open April 7-9 and again April 19-23, pending marine toxin testing.

Copalis and Mocrocks are also scheduled to open April 21-23.

For more information on coastal razor clams, visit

■ Mike O’Connell, facilities manager of Glenwood Springs Salmon Hatchery on Orcas Island, will speak at the Puget Sound Anglers-East Jefferson chapter monthly meeting April 12.

O’Connell is also a member of Long Live The Kings, an organization devoted to restoring wild salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Marina Room of Hudson Point Marina, 130 Hudson St., in Port Townsend.

Send photos, stories

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

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