MATT SCHUBERT’S OUTDOORS COLUMN: Port Angeles-area fishing super hot right now


Spring break doesn’t have to be about benders, bathing suits and extended bathroom breaks.

The way blackmouth fishing is going out by Port Angeles these days, horde-inspired hedonism can take a back seat.

We’ve got salmon to smoke. Take that other stuff where it belongs . . . Pullman.

“There have been some big fish out there,” Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said.

“A customer brought in a fish that was 27½ pounds off Freshwater [Bay] on Saturday. The same morning [someone] brought in a 20-pound fish.

SDLqMost of the guys in Sequim are going toward Port Angeles. That seems to be where all the fun stuff is happening.”

Indeed, blackmouth fishing couldn’t be much better around the Port Angeles area.

The weather is cooperating, anglers are getting limits and fish are tipping the scales well into double-digit territory.

As Bob Gooding of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles said, “It was a good week of fishing out there.

“One day this week literally almost every boat limited out. They’ve been catching them on the Humps. They are catching them in the Winter Hole [and] still catching them off the Flats.

“One of the days it was right up by the end of [Ediz] Hook [that produced a big day of fishing].”

In the last week alone, Aunspach has seen three blackmouth weighing 16-plus pounds added to the Port Angeles Salmon Club’s monthly salmon derby ladder.

Derek Madison of Port Angeles brought in a 22- pound, 10-ounce beauty, and Del Singer, also of Port Angeles, had an 18-pound, 8-ounce monster.

The former was actually a hatchery fish, while the latter was a native.

“There’s been lots of double-digit fish being caught,” Aunspach said.

Things aren’t quite so hot outside of the central Strait of Juan de Fuca.

While Freshwater Bay did produce that 27-pounder, according to Menkal, it hasn’t been quite as productive.

The Sekiu area has been quiet as well, but that’s mostly because there haven’t been many anglers out that way, to Donalynn Olson of Olson’s Resort (360-963-2311) in Sekiu said.

“I had a local boat go out and they got fish, so I think the fish are there. We just haven’t had any play on them,” she said.

Menkal also heard a few good words about some fish coming out of Mid Channel in Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet), but “the hotter numbers have been out at PA.”

Powder weekend

The last weekend of organized winter sports activities atop Hurricane Ridge promises to be a good one.

Strapless Weekend, set for Saturday and Sunday, will give powder peeps a chance to try their hand at the fledgling sport of snowskating.

And those who simply want to cut up some big snow can do just that, as each of the lifts (including the Poma) are set to operate for the final time this season Saturday and Sunday.

“As of [Wednesday], there was a few inches of fresh powder with a nice pack under it,” Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club member Erik Hogenson said.

“There is still a ton of leftovers from the last big snow. The ride this weekend will be one of the best this year.”

Mountain manager Craig Hofer put the finishing touches on the Hurricane Ridge Terrain Park for this weekend’s special two-day event.

Four competitions are scheduled: The North By Northwest Masters of Snowskating Freeride on Saturday (10 a.m.), the Snowskate Park Jam on Saturday (1 p.m.), the Snowskate Powder Downhill on Sunday (10 a.m.) and Almost Legendary Snowskate Baked Slalom on Sunday (1 p.m.)

Some are of the racing variety, while others emphasize tricks and creativity.

A total of $1,000 in cash will be up for grabs — with several sponsored riders competing — as well as other prizes.

Competition is open to anyone interested.

There will also be free demos for newbies to try out on the binder-free boards.

The entry fee is $20 for two days and $15 for one.

Road status and current conditions for Hurricane Ridge Road are available by phoning the park’s recorded information line at 360-565-3131 or by visiting

For information on lift rates, visit

Rivers return

The time has come to hit the Hoh.

After several dry days on the Peninsula, the glacial fed river should be dropping into decent shape for the weekend.

That’s just in time to take a shot at the annual run of bruising winter steelhead that tend to occupy its waters this time of year.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a bad time to check out the Sol Duc either. That and the Bogachiel have been pretty steady producers when the conditions have been good out west.

“One guy had two fish in the low to mid 20s [while fishing the Sol Duc this week],” Aunspach said.

“It’s been really, really good for the guys who are continuing to fish.”

A few spring chinook are popping up in the lower Quillayute River as well.

It’s only a matter of time before some of those start bending rods on the Sol Duc.

Tales of some bright hatchery steelhead making waves near the Bogey are also floating around.

Possible early summer runs? That would be awfully early.

Bow knows

The Wapiti Bowmen weren’t satisfied with just one 3-D archery shoot, so they’re going to have two.

Expect a flurry of fletch activity with the Rainshadow 3-D and Safari shoot coming to club’s east Port Angeles range, 374 E. Arnette Road, on Saturday and Sunday.

It will be the Bowmen’s second such event this month, giving the public another chance to experience all their club has to offer.

The tournament consists of 28 safari targets and 22 full-size 3-D animals — one from the Cretaceous period (yes, a dinosaur) — set at marked distances along a trail meandering through the club’s 20-acre wooded range.

The range will open at 7:30 a.m. each day, with registration coming to a close at 2 p.m. Awards will be given for all age groups from youth to seniors.

Adult Fees are $12 for one day and $20 for both. Breakfast will be served for a nominal fee.

For more information on the event, or the Wapiti Bowmen, contact Jameson Hawn at 425-478-0587 or send an email to

Also . . .

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

For more information, visit

■ Olympic Peninsula BirdFest comes to Sequim in a couple of weeks (April 8 through 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 and 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

■ River fishing guide and PDN columnist Pat Neal will host a class on Fishing the Olympic Peninsula at Peninsula College on April 4 and 11.

The two-day class will meet at 6 p.m. on successive Monday nights in Room M125 on the Port Angeles campus, 1502 E. Lauridsen Boulevard.

Classes will focus on freshwater and estuary fishing for salmon, trout and steelhead.

Students will learn the rich history of fishing in the area and methods to catch fish with your own gear.

For more information on the class, contact Neal at 360-477-3973 or visit his blog at

■ Puget Sound Anglers will hold the first All PSA Salmon Derby based out of Point Hudson Marina in Port Townsend on April 9.

The derby will include waters in Marine Area 6 and 9, with fishing open until 4 p.m. for fin-clipped chinook. Tickets cost $20, with all funds paid out as prizes (first place gets 40 percent).

Tickets can be purchased by PSA members and guests only. Funds must be mailed in by April 4.

North Olympic Peninsula Chapter members should contact Mike Schmidt for more information at 360-460-0331. East Jefferson Chapter members can contact Jerry Johnson at 360-379-2855.

■ Washington Trails Association will gather an all-day work party at Peabody Creek Trail inside Olympic National Park on Tuesday.

Volunteers must pre-register 48 hours in advance. To pre-register, contact Washington Trails at 206-625-1367 or visit

■ Deer and elk hunters have until next Thursday to enter their names in a drawing for a 2011 multiple-season permit.

Winners of the drawing will be eligible to purchase a special tag, allowing them to participate in archery, muzzleloader and modern-firearm general hunting seasons for deer or elk in 2011.

Hunters may purchase a multiple-season permit application at an authorized license dealer, or by calling 866-246-9453.

For more information, visit, or call the licensing department at 360-902-2464.

■ 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., on 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 must read for any angler in the area.

■ We’re a little less than three weeks away from the 11th annual Port Angeles Kayak Symposium in 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

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


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

More in Sports

Most Read