Judson Henry recently caught this ocean-bright hatchery coho while fishing the Sol Duc River with Mike Zavadlov of Mike Z’s Guide Service. (Photo courtesy of Mike Zavadlov)

Judson Henry recently caught this ocean-bright hatchery coho while fishing the Sol Duc River with Mike Zavadlov of Mike Z’s Guide Service. (Photo courtesy of Mike Zavadlov)

OUTDOORS: Coho biting on the Sol Duc; weekend storm likely to raise flows

Register now for Nov. 24 steelhead town hall

THE COHO CATCH on the Sol Duc River has been productive as hatchery returners head upriver to spawn.

Stormy weather conditions forecast for today through Saturday are likely to degrade river quality for a little while, but there’s less rain projected than first thought, so rivers could be fishable again soon.

Mike Zavadlov of Mike Z’s Guide Service in Forks (360-640-8109) was out with clients on the lower Sol Duc River on Thursday.

“We’ve got some hatchery cohos in the boat, and we are seeing a few roll down here,” Zavadlov said. “There’s a few kings around, still some bright kings with sea lice coming through.”

Zavadlov said most of those kings are going back in the river, at least from his boat.

“Those big hens when they come in, the meat gets a little spongy,” Zavadlov said. “They are worth more in the river [as spawning fish] than they are in the smoker, especially these later kings when they come in. I always say if they aren’t worth eating, they aren’t worth keeping.”

Zavadlov pointed anglers to waters near the Sol Duc Hatchery.

“If you want coho, up by the hatchery is the place to go after them,” Zavadlov said.

“We’ve done all right down here, but we’ve been working hard for them casting spinners and jigs and twitching. We’ve gotten three in the boat today, one on a spinner and two on jigs.”

He was enjoying the “Sol Duc green” waters, clear enough to see 8 or 9 feet of the river.

“The storm will muddy it up some, but it should start getting back in shape soon. And if there’s a good amount, steelhead should start showing up in the Bogey [Bogachiel River]; it’s just about time for that to start.”

Duck hunting

Quilcene’s Ward Norden recently launched his kayak for a duck hunt and came home empty handed — but not for a lack of trying or a lack of ducks. The tactics of some enthusiastic, if not skilled, fellow hunters put a fright into the birds and some windy weather later kicked up, sending him heading back home without the ingredients for a duck dinner.

“There are lots of ducks on the bays and Hood Canal, but I haven’t seen many northern migrants yet,” Norden said. “The ducks are primarily pintails with a good number of mallards and green wing teal mixed in. These ducks are already wise to hunting season, so decoy sets and calling has to be good.”

Report injured swans

Trumpeter swans have been sighted on farm fields in the Dungeness Valley near Sequim this month, a little earlier than normal due to cold weather in the north.

Some trumpeter and tundra swans in the state die each winter from lead poisoning after ingesting lead shot and other lead objects in areas where they feed.

Lead shot has been banned for waterfowl hunting here since 1991.

But swans can still pick up and ingest lead shot while foraging in shallow underwater areas, in fields and roosts where lead is still present. Swans are also vulnerable to collisions with powerlines.

The public can call Fish and Wildlife at 360-466-4345, ext. 266, to report swans that have died or need help.

Coastal Region talk

A Coastal Region virtual open house to discuss with state Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Kelly Susewind and Coastal Region Director Larry Phillips is planned from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

The pair will “discuss local topics, including razor clam seasons.”

Susewind will be joined by Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau Executive Director Andi Day and Long Beach Mayor Jerry Phillips to discuss how razor clams play a role in regional tourism, outdoor recreation and community culture. The event will include a short, live presentation and take written questions from the public about razor clams and other topics.

Susewind and Phillips will also share updates on a number of other local and statewide issues.

The public can watch and submit questions at zoom.us/j/93019728413.

The event will be recorded and posted to the department’s website afterward for those unable to attend.

Register now

Steelhead forecasts and declining populations will be discussed at a Nov. 24 virtual town hall hosted by Fish and Wildlife.

The event will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Registration is available at tinyurl.com/PDN-SteelheadForum.

“State and tribal fisheries managers are projecting another year of low steelhead returns along much of the Washington Coast,” said James Losee, regional program manager for the Coast and Puget Sound region. “We want to make sure we’re hearing from local anglers and steelhead enthusiasts as we begin to consider options for protecting this iconic state fish while balancing recreational angling opportunities.”

Fishery managers will consider this feedback in preparation of their work with tribal co-managers to plan future fishing opportunities.

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

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