Lake Stevens’ Sam Perry, age 6, caught this 10.4-pound blackmouth chinook off Port Townsend last Friday and finished 14th overall in the Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby over the weekend. (Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby)

Lake Stevens’ Sam Perry, age 6, caught this 10.4-pound blackmouth chinook off Port Townsend last Friday and finished 14th overall in the Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby over the weekend. (Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby)

OUTDOORS: A safe respite awaits

AVOIDING CONTACT WITH others? Anglers, hunters and hikers have followed that advice for eons.

The outdoors beckons, maybe more vibrant now than ever before. Getting some time in the fresh air a safe distance away from others to recharge while also taking a break from the news of the day — which in some cases is the news of the hour — is a good idea for your mental outlook.

Nobody really enjoys a crowded fishing hole. You know the looks you’ve received when you encroach too closely on another’s “claimed” casting area or vice versa.

And these days, keeping some distance is just good advice as we collectively strive to limit our impacts on one another.

There will be bright sides to this turmoil, one popped into my social media yesterday. The water in the canals in Venice, Italy, has turned from murky and fetid to clear enough to witness minnows swimming.

It only took curbing all but the most essential services, activities and all tourism to see that result, but hey, this situation is showcasing some fundamental cracks in all manner of our global society.

“If we can think about how to prepare for climate change like a pandemic, maybe there will be a positive outcome to all of this,” Christopher Jones, lead developer of the CoolClimate Network, an applied research consortium at the University of California, Berkeley, said in an NBC News article.

“We can help prevent crises in the future if we are prepared. I think there are some big-picture lessons here that could be very useful.”

Lake anglers

Quilcene’s Ward Norden, a former fisheries biologist and owner of Snapper Tackle Co., took a jaunt over to Lake Leland on Thursday.

“Looks like a lot of people have figured out the small silver lining to the dark cloud … people discover that the virus is a good excuse to go fishing,” Norden said.

Honing those coping skills, such as the ability to be patient will help those targeting local lakes.

“I just checked the lake temperature and it has ‘climbed’ to 40 degrees in spite of the recent mornings in the mid-20s,” Norden said. “The lake hasn’t been planted yet, but the anglers at the pier are catching a few very colorful, nice trout. Most are between 14 and 16 inches — each a fine meal for two. As always in the still-low water temperature, the trout are not active yet so it takes a lot of patience.”

Dock of the bay

Sitting on the dock of the bay, or at least fishing from public piers in Port Townsend, also offers an outdoors diversion.

“Herring chunks and earthworms will get flounder with a classic ‘crappie rig’ and a 1-ounce sinker on the bottom,” Norden said.

La Push Marina closed

The Quileute Tribe followed in the footsteps of the Makah Tribe earlier this week in limiting reservation access to the general public. This includes the La Push Marina and boat launch, so be mindful of that in the coming weeks leading up to the halibut opener April 30.

Razor clam digs

Pacific County public health officials have called off razor clam digs set to begin today at ocean beaches.

“The deputy health officer has determined that this step is now necessary in Pacific County in light of the increasing scope and severity of the threat that COVID-19 poses,” according to a press release from the Pacific County Emergency Operations Center (EOC). “Although no cases are confirmed in Pacific County at this time, the increasing instances of community spread in Washington State have influenced the decision.”

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officials cancelled digs in Grays Harbor also.

The closure impacts Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis beaches.

“WDFW is responsive to the needs of local communities, and we manage razor clams in consultation with our coastal communities to ensure sustainable harvest,” said Larry Phillips, WDFW’s coastal region director.

“But, under these circumstances, we need to include more than sustainable harvest in our decision making and do what is the best for the community. We understand that the county health department is responding to a global pandemic and WDFW is cancelling these digs to support that work and keep folks healthy.

“Given the level of concern expressed in the communities, and the fact that some of the beaches open to razor clam digging fall within multiple counties, we also elected to close all currently open beaches to razor clam digging in order to provide consistency in approach,” Phillips added.

Fish and Wildlife offered these state Department of Health guidelines:

• Do not travel if you are sick, someone in your household is sick or you have conditions that put you at higher risk.

• Symptoms or not, please also practice good personal hygiene and maintain “social distancing” of at least six feet while on the beach.

• In addition, recognize that these small towns need the grocery stores to remain stocked for local residents. So please be judicious in purchasing what is needed for your time at the beach. Restaurants and bars are closed at this time, so please make sure you have brought the provisions you will need to enjoy your day.

________

Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or [email protected]dailynews.com.

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