Heads up for holiday anglers this weekend — halibut fishing is closed Monday and will reopen on a seven-day-a-week basis June 1 off Marine Area 5 (Sekiu) and Puget Sound (areas 6-10).
Neah Bay and La Push (North Coast) is open today and Sunday and will be open June 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24 and 29.
State halibut fishery managers said Puget Sound effort for May 15-21 was down by nearly 40 percent compared to the average for the season. In contrast, the North Coast saw a small increase in effort over the prior week.
A total of 747 anglers in Puget Sound, including Sekiu, caught 121 halibut with an average weight of 14 pounds.
A total of 75 percent of Puget Sound’s 79,031-pound quota is left for anglers.
On the North Coast, 1,012 anglers caught 739 halibut with an average weight of 13.8 pounds. A total of 80 percent of the 129,668-pound subarea quota remains.
Quilcene’s Ward Norden still makes some tackle on the side and ventured out to Neah Bay recently to deliver some lingcod jigs.
“I heard this interesting story about the transient orcas,” Norden said of the mammal-hunting orca population.
“After decimating the local sea lion population around Neah Bay — which made everyone smile — the pod went out to deep water where the tribal longliners were fishing black cod and halibut.
“The orcas gave the commercial longliners fits because they were sucking the black cod and halibut right off the hooks. What is impressive is that those hooks were in very deep water where there is little or no light and not getting hooked by Braille.
Somehow the orcas detect where the hook is with their sensitive mouths and work around it. Apparently the long liners get all their gear back just with few fish. Very clever.”
Be fire safe
Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial camping opener for the summer season. With camping comes campfires and the potential for forest fires.
Seeing Calgary, Alberta, cast in an eerie, smoky pall last week has me concerned about our smoke season starting much earlier than expected.
Fire restrictions went into effect on May 23 for all Bureau of Land Management public lands throughout Oregon and Washington.
The use of fireworks, exploding targets or metallic targets, steel component ammunition (core or jacket), tracer or incendiary devices and sky lanterns is prohibited. Fireworks and other flammables are also always banned in Olympic National Park and Forest.
Those who violate the prohibition can be fined up to $1,000 and/or receive a prison term of up to one year.