MATT SCHUBERT’S OUTDOORS: King salmon still the monarch of Peninsula waters, but pinks supreme

THE KINGS MAY be the thing in the saltwater salmon fishery, but it’s still awfully pink on the North Olympic Peninsula.

All across the western portion of the Peninsula, pink salmon (aka humpies) have been quite active during the last couple of weeks, especially around Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay) and 5 (Sekiu).

The former saw 1,446 anglers hook 1,321 pinks between July 25-31 while the latter had a Sunday to remember: 772 pinks caught by 382 anglers in state creel checks.

“It’s real easy [to catch pinks],” Gary Ryan of Van Riper’s Resort (360-963-2334) in Sekiu said.

“I went out with [a friend] Monday and we had three or four up to the boat and we were only out a couple of hours.”

Obviously, the Neah Bay area has been pretty humpy heavy as well.

“There’s still a whole bunch out there,” Dean Crittendon of Big Salmon Resort (360-645-2374) in Neah Bay said. “Most people, when they are running into them, they are almost right on top.

“It’s been a while since they came out in such abundance [like they have this year]. The way it’s going, as many as there are, it probably would go through August.”

Of course, nobody wants to talk too much about the pinks.

The way the king fishing has been around the Peninsula — namely, downright decent — there’s little reason to focus on the lightly regarded salmon.

Crittendon said he weighed in a 49-pound king just a few days ago, as well as a few fish in the high 30s and a 42-pounder.

It’s good timing, considering Area 3 (LaPush) and 4 (west of Tatoosh) now allow for retention of two chinook per angler a day.

“I’ve seen a few [coho], mostly I’ve seen more pinks and kings more than anything,” Crittendon said.

“All the areas are hitting consistently. Swiftsure has been doing well. A couple of 40-pounders were brought out of there last week and during this week.

“Makah Bay is doing all right right now, and people are also trying down by Umatilla, Father and Son and Spike Rock.

“[The big kings] are out there in abundance. They just got to work for them if they want to get better fish.”

Inside the Strait

Outside of a healthy pink bite, anglers have been running into their fair share of kings inside the Strait of Juan de Fuca as well.

One particularly productive spot has been Freshwater Bay, which appears to have heated up in the last few weeks.

Mike Deese of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles received word of a 33-pounder being hooked there earlier this week.

“I heard the fishing was hot out there yesterday for the kings,” Mike Deese of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles said.

“It sounds like the king fishing has been really good.”

While there wasn’t a boatload of action near Port Angeles over the weekend, there were promising reports of bait holding up around Ediz Hook.

As for Sekiu, it appears anglers are running into a virtual grab bag of salmon between the humpies, early morning kings and coho.

“We’re seeing some silvers now, quite a few pinks out there, and it’s one of the best king seasons I’ve ever seen,” Ryan of Van Riper’s said.

“I would say overall on a zero-to-10 scale, 10 being the best, it’s still right about an 8 overall.

“The kings, we’re not seeing as many as we were seeing, but we’re still seeing a fair amount in the morning, and the evenings have seen a pretty decent bite.”

Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) hasn’t produced quite as many glowing reports since its July 16 salmon opener.

That’s not to say there aren’t any fish around.

“I’m hearing last Sunday was spectacular down by Point Wilson for kings,” Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said. “I heard it was really hot out there. The guys in the boats were cleaning up.

“I’m also hearing they are getting a few small silvers out at Marrowstone Point.”

Hunting tidbits

A few notes as most of the major hunting seasons creep closer and closer.

■ Black bear season arrived with a bang this week with a few animals taken out west, according to Deese.

Of course, this is just the start of a long season that lasts all the way into mid-November and doesn’t truly heat up until late summer.

“Usually September is a good month to take a bear,” Deese said, “because their coats are starting to fill out. The later you shoot a bear, the better the coat is going to be.”

Black bear can usually be best scouted out along berry patches. Hunters can also run into the animals in clear cuts and swampy areas.

“They are usually in pretty brushy terrain a lot of times,” Deese said. “They stay pretty hidden most of the time.

“That’s why you got to be out there at daylight, evening or middle of the day . . . to catch them out in the open.”

■ Archers can shake off some rust in advance of hunting season during the Wapiti Bowmen Archery Club’s 3-D hunter warm-up this Saturday and Sunday.

All experience levels and ages are welcome to take a shot at the club’s 20-acre wooded range, located east of Port Angeles at 374 E. Arnette Road.

There will also be a five-prize raffle, door prizes and breakfast and lunch served each day.

For more information, contact Peter Joers at 360-461-9640 or Mark Jackson at 360-683-7787.

Also . . .

■ More and more reports are circulating about summer coho in the Sol Duc River.

The only run of its kind on the Peninsula, summer coho are notorious for being extremely finicking when it comes to taking gear. I guess what I’m saying is, “Good luck.”

■ The East Jefferson Chapter of Puget Sound Anglers will hold its monthly meeting Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Marina Room at Hudson Point Marina in Port Townsend.

Details on the guest speaker were unavailable.

■ Curt Reed of Waters West Fly Fishing Outfitters will demonstrate local fly patterns at the Greywolf Fly Fishing Club’s monthly meeting Wednesday night in Gardiner.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Gardiner Community Center, 980 Old Gardiner Road.

■ Waters West Fly Fishing Outfitters will host a special seminar about tube fly tying for steelhead and salmon at its Port Angeles shop, 140 W. Front St., on Monday at 1 p.m.

The seminar, led by Bruce Berry, will focus on the Pro Tubefly system, a newly developed fly tying technique that utilizes interchangeable parts to make a variety of tube flies.

To register, contact Waters West at 360-417-0937 or

■ Brian’s Sporting Goods and More will host another free two-session steelhead fishing class Aug. 9 and 16 at its Sequim shop, 542 W. Washington St.

The class will run from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. both nights.

To register, contact Brian’s Sporting Goods at 360-683-1950.

■ 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.

Youth exhibitors will receive awards and a gift packet.

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

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