MATT SCHUBERT’S OUTDOORS COLUMN: Salmon are still in the pink

ANGLERS ARE RUNNING out of time to pillage pink salmon.

No doubt the gargantuan run, which typically begins to tail off inside the Strait of Juan de Fuca by September, is not long for Marine Area 5 (Sekiu).

By that time, it will be all about the silvers.

The present, however, is still wearing pink-colored glasses.

“They are not jumping in the boat, but guys are getting them,” Gary Ryan of Van Riper’s Resort (360-963-2334) in Sekiu said.

“Let’s put it this way, it’s worthwhile to fish. You don’t hear a lot of complaining.”SClBIndeed, anglers have averaged well over a salmon per rod in Area 5 the past few weeks, with a fair amount of silvers also getting hooked.

That doesn’t seem likely to change this weekend, even with a brief wane in fishing fortunes on Thursday.

“It’s been a little slow today,” Ryan said on Thursday, “but today was the peak of the minus tides, so it’s going to start going the other way.”

Continued humpy action out west means Area 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca) anglers can expect more of the same as well.

After all, with the coho harder to come by, that fishery has turned into pink or bust.

“They’re definitely still running into some pinks,” Bob Aunspach of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles said.

“They are still finding them anywhere from in shore close to all the way out in deep water. They are still pretty scattered.”

Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) should have a few humpies swimming around as well, although anglers can also go after chinook through the end of the month.

We all know who wins anglers’ attention in that showdown of salmonids.

Coastal salmon

The coastal feeding frenzy finally slowed down this week.

What had been a prime-time coho fishery in Marine Areas 3 (LaPush) and 4 (Neah Bay) took a tiny nose dive the past couple of days.

That despite the addition of 2,500 coho to the Area 3 seasonal quota.

“It’s slowed up quite a bit,” Randy Lato of All-Ways Fishing (360-374-2052) in Forks said.

“It was just smoking-hot over the weekend . . . then [Wednesday] was severely tough. There’s fewer fish out there, that’s for sure.”

Neah Bay anglers weren’t immune to the drop off either, according to Ben Della of Big Salmon Resort (360-645-2374) in Neah Bay.

“It’s been slow the last two days,” he said, “but before that it was just red-hot for everything.”

Coho can still be caught out near the shipping lanes in front of Neah Bay, and one can work for their silvers near the Rock Pile by LaPush.

But take heed coastal anglers: The slam show is on hold for the time being.

Freshwater fish

So that’s where all the coho went.

The Quillayute and Sol Duc rivers are inundated with summer silvers, with another 521 returning to the Sol Duc Hatchery this week (932 total).

No doubt many came in from that bountiful saltwater fishery in Areas 3 and 4.

Yet with the entire Quillayute system (Bogachiel, Sol Duc, Calawah and Dickey) still low and clear, getting the fish to bite remains a challenge.

“It doesn’t mater where you go, the water is low and the fish aren’t bitting,” Bob Gooding of Olympic Sporting Goods (360-374-6330) in Forks said.

That isn’t exactly true of the glacial-fed Hoh, however, which has a fair amount of steelhead in its waters.

If the glacial run-off can clear up some, anglers could have a decent shot at hooking a couple on the lower end.

Beginning Sept. 1, anglers fishing in the Quillayute system can keep two adult salmon, plus two additional adult hatchery coho as part of the six-fish daily limit.

On the Hoh, anglers will be able to fish for salmon seven days a week as of Sept. 1.

In case you care, and surely many of you don’t, one could get into some cutthroat with a fly rod on a number of West End rivers, including the Sol Duc.

Just thought I’d throw that out there.

If you like it, you can take it. If you don’t, send it right back.

Also . . .

• Black bear season continues throughout the Peninsula, with several other seasons lying in wait.

Of course, black bear hunters have been doing a lot of waiting themselves so far this year.

“I know there are guys that are hunting them, but they are not doing as well as they usually do,” Aunspach of Swain’s General Store said.

A number of openers are set for Sept. 1, including archery deer, grouse and archery cougar seasons set to begin then.

• Crabbing season is beginning to wind down throughout much of the Peninsula.

Areas 6, 9 and 12 are set to close after Labor Day weekend ends on Sept. 7. Each is open Wednesdays through Saturdays until the season-ending holiday weekend.

Crabbers must turn in summer catch record cards by Sept. 15 regardless of whether or not they caught or fished for crab during the season.

Crabbing is open seven days a week in Areas 4 and 5 through Jan. 2.

• Recreational spot shrimpers reached their seasonal quota in Area 6 a bit early this year, leading to its closure last weekend.

The fishery will remain open for non-spot shrimp through Oct. 15. For more information, visit Fish and Wildlife’s Web site at wdfw.wa.gov.

• Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society will be taking a field trip to Ocean Shores to view migrating shorebirds the weekend of Aug. 29-30.

A group will meet by Silver King Resort in Ocean Shores at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 29. The trip is free, but lodging must be taken care of independently.

For more information, contact Bob Iddins at 360-681-2840.

• The Olympic Peninsula Rowing Association will offer 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.

There is a $60 fee for YMCA members and a $120 fee for non-members. Annual Olympic Peninsula Rowing Association membership fees ($90 for YMCA members or $180 for non-members) would also cover the cost of the classes.

• The Klahhane Club continues to take on new members for its year-round hiking club on the Peninsula.

Hikers must do four “get acquainted” hikes, meet a sponsor for membership application and complete six “qualifying” hikes within six months of applying.

Dues are $12 annually — $9 if you receive the newsletter via computer — with a one-time initiation fee of $13.

For more information, visit klahhaneclub.org.

• Olympic Raft and Kayak offers free, one-hour kayak trips on Lake Aldwell each Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Space is limited. To register, call 360-452-1443.

• Washington Trails Association, a Seattle-based trail advocacy group, is currently holding its annual Hike-a-Thon fundraiser this month.

Hikers can raise money for Washington Trails by finding sponsors for each mile hiked all month. Those who pass certain thresholds are eligible to receive prizes.

For more information on Hike-a-Thon, visit www.wta.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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