OUTDOORS: Coming rains could push coho along

A WEEKEND FORECAST full of rain is a bummer for anglers in the short term, but could provide the push needed to move the bigger runs of coho through the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

It’s certainly good news in the short term for West End rivers, drawn down after the spring and summer.

The best bet for coho on the Strait will always be Sekiu — and it produced last Sunday with state creel reports showing 179 hatchery coho were caught by 165 anglers in 63 interviews.

Anglers also caught two hatchery kings — despite king season having wrapped in August. Study up on those fish identification charts before you make a mistake out there.

Sequim angler Dave Croonquist passed along a handful of fishing reports from fellow Puget Sound Anglers members.

One angler fished Sekiu last Sunday.

“We hit at least two dozen fish. Maybe six or eight came to the boat the rest came loose. Of the fish to the boat, four or five humpies say 1- pound or so apiece, a couple little silvers, and only one silver about 6-or-7-pound. Lots of hits, but [they all seemed to] come loose before the boat.

Mark-selective impacts

Food for thought here for state fish biologists from an angler who spent four days fishing for silvers off Sekiu.

“The trip was productive and wonderful by most measures, but I have come away absolutely convinced that the mark-selective fishery increases mortality among those populations it is purported to protect.”

Plenty of coho hit the group’s lines…but that could be the problem.

“We ‘encountered’ (i.e. caught) somewhere between 25 to 30 fish of which only eight were legal to retain. Of the 20 or so that we released, a half-dozen or more had sustained apparently mortal injuries — profuse bleeding, hooked through the eye, jaw parts torn out, etc.”

They weren’t the only group wading through the wilds.

“This was not unique to us, as the disproportionate rate of encounters with unclipped fish was confirmed over and over via VHF chatter and casual conversations at the cleaning station. If we and others had been allowed to retain unclipped fish, we would have limited and stopped fishing much earlier, and an untold number of prime fish would not have been wasted.”

Port Angeles reports

Slow going off Port Angeles recently, but some groups fishing Tuesday had success around the Port Angeles Buoy.

“One group [caught] three fish from the rock pile to the PA buoy on a north-south run. The other group got two fish [on] about the same troll. Both groups got a few wild, but overall said it was pretty slow.

“John Beath reported that he fished from Garbage Dump west and landed six wild fish, no keepers. He used his new eZ Spoon behind a flasher and a small green hootchie at 65 to 77 feet. They wanted green today.

Boats that fished 30-feet deep at the Port Angeles buoy did best on keepers according to anglers he spoke with at the dock.”

Bioluminescence talk

Jamestown S’Klallam tribe environmental biologist Neil Harrington will speak at Saturday’s Learn By Light of Moon Speaker Series.

The talk will be held at 7 p.m. at the Dungeness River Audubon Center’s outdoor ampitheater, 2151 W. Hendrickson Road.

Harrington will present “Bioluminescence: Who needs the light of the moon when you can make your own?”

The event is free and held rain or shine; in case of inclement weather, the presentation will be moved to the nature center.

Bench seating will be available, but attendees are encouraged to bring a lawn chair.

For more information, call the center at 360-681-4076 or email to [email protected]

Razor clam talk

Dan Ayres, a coastal shellfish manager with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, will speak at Thursday’s meeting of the North Olympic Peninsula Chapter of Puget Sound Anglers.

The club meets at Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake Ave. in Sequim.

Ayres is the state’s razor clam guru and will speak on razor clam biology, population sampling methods and the current population status.

The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. for viewing the raffle prizes and fish stories.

The main speaker starts shortly after 7 p.m., followed by a short break.

A short club business meeting follows the break.

This month, Dan Witczak, will make a short presentation on an effective coho fishing technique, followed by raffles.

A $75 drawing for members in attendance will be held.

Refreshments will be served and the public is welcome.

Football picks

I ran out of room designing today’s sports section, so I will put my prep football picks here.

Sequm over Forks, Port Townsend tops Kingston, North Thurston takes down Port Angeles, Tenino over Chimacum and Quilcene over Crescent.

Last Week: 5-1.

Season to date: 5-1.

________

Sports reporter/columnist Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]

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