This steelhead in spawning colors was caught on a diver and shrimp set up on the Sol Duc River by an angler known as “HairDew” during a fishing outing with Jerry Wright of Jerry’s Bait & Tackle. (Jerry’s Bait and Tackle)

This steelhead in spawning colors was caught on a diver and shrimp set up on the Sol Duc River by an angler known as “HairDew” during a fishing outing with Jerry Wright of Jerry’s Bait & Tackle. (Jerry’s Bait and Tackle)

OUTDOORS: Heat bubble passes, cool water off Pacific Coast

Could help improve coho and king fishing the next few years

A little over a month ago, this column discussed a disturbing rise in temperatures discovered in the Pacific Ocean off the West Coast.

Quilcene’s Ward Norden, a former fisheries biologist and now a mostly retired tackle maker, uses NOAA’s Coral Bleaching website’s Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly section, which tracks the present and near-term future and the global anomaly archives, which go back 20-plus years.

The fear was this suddenly appearing heating bubble could threaten future salmon returns and it was real enough to put a scare into an area resort owner who also watches those indicators for hints of what may come down the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

“I told him not to worry since the ocean can reverse these mysterious events as quickly as they form,” Norden said. “I only get concerned for future salmon runs if they are in place for more than three weeks.”

Norden packed up for an annual shooting event he attends in Nevada, just in time for a change in conditions.

“ … Poseidon did completely reverse field when the mysterious heat bubble disappeared as quickly as it appeared,” Norden said. “As of later last week, the ocean off our coast all the way to Northern California had become dramatically colder than normal with a huge upwelling event.

Potentially great

Norden said if the conditions remain similar, this is “great news for next year’s coho returns, as well as chinook returners in 2025 and 2026.”

“Even the Strait of Juan de Fuca is getting the effects of upwelling, creating more good news if this upwelling lasts a couple more weeks.

Whale watchers should even get excited if this upwelling attracts the giant plankton feeders like fin whales and maybe even a blue whale or two as far inland as Port Townsend.

But Norden also warns not to get too excited yet because the ocean can reverse field again in a heartbeat.

Shrimp news

Enough spot shrimp quota remains for an added opening in the Discovery Bay Shrimp District. Shrimping will be open today from 8 a.m. to noon only.

The recreational catch in Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) has exceeded preseason expectations, and to stay within quota, the final announced opening on Wednesday is canceled. The next planned opening Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. will be the final opening for spot shrimp in Hood Canal this year.

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