MATT SCHUBERT’S OUTDOORS COLUMN: Pinks perfect for Kids’ Salmon Derby in Sekiu

LEAVE THE RITALIN in the medicine cabinet.

With Humpy Madness 2011 still in full effect, little Joey and Josie should have little trouble focusing during the Lions Club Kids’ Salmon Derby in Sekiu this Saturday.

There’s simply too many pink salmon around the waters of Marine Area 5 (Sekiu) for the tiny tots to get bored.

“This is the time to have them out here fishing,” Gary Ryan of Van Riper’s Resort (360-963-2334) in Sekiu said. “With the amount of pinks that are out here, the kids will have fun.”

Indeed, creel checks continue to tout the sheer volume of the Area 5 pink fishery, with 1,131 anglers bringing 1,503 pinks to the Sekiu docks between last Friday and Sunday.

And that was during a time when chinook season was still open, meaning anglers were spending less of their time in search of pinks.

With families more than happy to hook a humpy Saturday — anything to pull Timmy away from Angry Birds — it wouldn’t be surprising to see that catch rate spike even more.

That’s not to say the derby will be all about the pinks, either.

According to Ryan, coho are finally starting to bunch up in numbers around the waters off Slip Point as well.

“They are starting to show the last couple of days,” Ryan said. “[Wednesday], I heard people talking about silvers, and [Thursday] I’m hearing a lot more about silvers. Some of the guys were saying they were right up in 8, 9, 10 pounds.

“[They are] out there just about the same place they are fishing for pinks. I think it’s just about being at the right place at the right time.

“They were right on the surface early [Wednesday], and later on they were at about 40-50 feet.”

The Kids’ Salmon Derby, organized by Clallam Bay-Sekiu Lions Club, is free of charge and open to anglers ages 5-14.

Registration begins at 5:30 a.m. at Van Riper’s and Olson’s resorts.

The weigh-in will be held at noon near the Lions Club Swings in Sekiu, where prizes and refreshments will also be handed out.

A prize smorgasbord of rods, reels, bikes and gift cards will be available, with the top legal salmon on the ladder earning first dibs (and so on down the line.)

The derby is supported by donations from individuals and businesses.

For more information, questions or to donate, call 360-963-2442.

More salt

Anglers must head outside the Strait of Juan de Fuca to score anymore kings this summer.

The best bet is probably to head toward the coast, where Area 3 (LaPush) and 4 (Neah Bay) are still pumping out a fair amount.

“The guys who are going out to Swiftsure are all catching them,” Mike Lawrence of Big Salmon Resort (360-645-2374) in Neah Bay said. “Some guys located some fish out at Blue Dot.

“I haven’t heard anything on the beaches yet. They should be there, because they are starting to trickle in the [Sooes] River right now.”

Indeed, that may very well be the case.

Chinook numbers have remained steady since the beginning of August on the coast, as has the coho and pink bites.

Don’t expect that to change this weekend.

Unfortunately, anglers haven’t been quite as successful in Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet), the only other North Olympic Peninsula fishery open to chinook retention.

Reports have been so-so much of the season off the northeastern top of the Peninsula.

That being said, Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim did run into a fair amount of activity during a recent trip to Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island.

In a little more than an hour, he said he saw four pinks and one coho brought to the beach.

Such numbers may also be possible in Area 6 (eastern Strait), which has seen a decent amount of pinks roll through in recent weeks.

“There’s definitely a few people out there playing around with the pinks,” Bob Aunspach of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles said.

“[The pinks] can be all over the place [in Area 6]. They can be deep, they can be shallow.

“Traditionally, you are probably going to find them out in deep water, but a couple of weeks ago when we got into them, we were in 60 feet of water in the big flats out by the Winter Hole.”

Down south

As slow as the summer coho run has been around the Peninsula, there’s still hope for Quilcene Bay.

The Hood Canal fishery opened up to coho retention earlier this week, and there are already scads around.

Quilcene National Fish Hatchery, which will hold its centennial celebration Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., reported nearly 500 adult coho reaching its traps as of Monday.

“I have not yet gotten any reports but I was very surprised last week when I visited the Quilcene Hatchery and found dozens of coho already in the trap,” Ward Norden of Quilcene said Thursday.

“If there are that many in the trap, there must also be a bunch in the bay.”

The bigger question is whether those fish — notorious for their lockjaw tendencies — will actually be willing to cooperate with anglers.

Anyone who’s ever attempted to fish the Big Quilcene River — legally, that is — certainly knows what I’m talking about.

Hunting notes

■ Hunters have managed to pick off a few bear during the first few weeks of black bear season on the Peninsula.

“It’s a normal season, but there’s plenty of animals for sure,” Aunspach said.

Most of the major hunting seasons are but a few weeks away, with archery deer, grouse and cougar seasons all set to begin Sept. 1.

■ The state Department of Fish and Wildlife will hold a series of “open house” public meetings next week to help shape the 2012-14 hunting seasons.

The meeting closest to the Peninsula is set for next Tuesday, Aug. 23, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Federal Way Community Center, 876 S. 333rd St.

The public can also comment on hunting season proposals via an online survey at http://bit.ly/qZ6EMZ through Sept. 20.

Final recommendations will be presented to the state Fish and Wildlife Commission for adoption next spring.

Also . . .

■ Discovery Bay denizens may want to be on the lookout for squid.

Ward Norden of Quilcene received word of anglers catching quite a few off docks in that area recently.

■ Area 6 closes to spot shrimp fishing after Sunday.

The state announced the closure after concluding the area’s recreational spot shrimp quota will soon be reached. Area 6 still remains open for non-spot shrimp until Oct. 15.

■ Rivers are dropping awfully low along the West End.

Anyone looking to hook a summer steelhead at a river like the Calawah ought to get on the water by daybreak.

Fly guys might also start looking for sea-run cutthroat trout. The closer we get to September, the better that fishery will be on Peninsula rivers.

■ Brian’s Sporting Goods and More will host a free introductory fly fishing clinic Tuesday night at its Sequim shop, located at 542 West Washington St.

The clinic will run from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., with the focus on trout fishing in rivers and lakes. To reserve a spot, call the shop at 360-683-1950.

■ Dave Croonquist and Joe Cammac, area reps on the state Sport Fishing Advisory Group, will speak at the Coastal Conservation Association-North Olympic Peninsula chapter monthly meeting Thursday night.

The two will discuss their work during the North of Falcon Process, including their effort to lengthen the winter blackmouth season.

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at Wine on the Waterfront, 115 E. Railroad Ave., in Port Angeles.

■ The Quilcene Antler Show is looking for youth hunters and elk buglers to participate in this year’s event at the Quilcene School gymnasium, Sept. 17-18.

Show organizers are asking for young hunters to bring in their mounts Sept. 16 between 3-6 p.m. or Sept. 17 between 8-11 a.m.

There will also be a new elk calling event at the show. Kids and callers can register by calling Mari Phillips at 360-765-0688.

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; email 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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