State Department of Fish and Wildlife Blaine’s Cole Abshere set a new state record for channel catfish when he reeled in this 37.7-pounder on Lake Terrell in Whatcom County.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife Blaine’s Cole Abshere set a new state record for channel catfish when he reeled in this 37.7-pounder on Lake Terrell in Whatcom County.

OUTDOORS: Point No Point Ramp dispute could be harbinger; state record catfish caught

Fly Fishers meet Monday in Port Angeles

STUCK IN NEUTRAL for years, a coalition of recreational angling advocates are attempting to make the fully funded and designed Point No Point boat launch move forward.

Point No Point is located in Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) and the property formerly housed a resort, which was closed and sold to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife in 1996.

The resort’s old boat launch was closed due to safety concerns in 2002 and the department added a new restroom and parking lot in anticipation of adding a single lane 30-foot wide, 120-foot long concrete boat launch in 2003.

That anticipation continues to present day.

Treaty objection

Objections raised by the Suquamish Tribe have delayed necessary permits from the Army Corps of Engineers for in-water construction.

Tribal concerns focus on the harm the ramp could cause to fish habitat and more believably — increased competition between recreational and tribal commercial and subsistence fishing outfits.

“We have been promoting completion of a single-lane boat launch in North Kitsap at Point No Point,” Mark Larson, part of group of angling organizations that includes The Coastal Conservation Association, The Northwest Marine Trade Association, Puget Sound Anglers, Kitsap Public Parks Advocates and more.

“The property is public, and owned by WDFW, but the final permit needed for completion of the ramp has been sitting on a desk at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since 2013. We are demanding the Corps immediately process and approve the permit, and not allow any further delays.”

The situation took a turn in 2014 when Fish and Wildlife allowed the tribe to utilize nearby Salsbury Point Park near the Hood Canal Bridge as a launch for tribal commercial fishing operations, increasing traffic at an already busy launch.

In 2016, it appeared that a deal had been struck for Fish and Wildlife to pay the tribe to offset future financial losses and boost a tribal net pen fish program.

The tribe responded in a 2018 letter to Fish and Wildlife Region 6 Director Larry Phillips.

“Additional boats in the area [from the launch] will affect Tribal fishing by impeding Tribal fishers’ ability to maneuver and safely manage fishing gear.”

The tribe objected to any non-treaty commercial operations at the proposed site and said that they preferred the funding be used for a new ramp at Salsbury, or at Shine or Port Ludlow in Jefferson County.

The state presented its argument in a letter to the Corps of Engineers,

“…that claim implies that the Tribe has exclusive rights to the surface waters within their U&A. WDFW believes the Tribe’s off-reservation treaty fishing rights must be exercised in common with all other state citizens. The public has the right to recreate and fish over the state’s navigable waters.”

Fish and Wildlife’s response contained a reference to the 1855 Treaty of Point No Point.

Article 4 of the treaty states: “The right of taking fish at usual and accustomed grounds and stations is further secured to said Indians, in common with all citizens of the United States.”

“We feel the Corps is hesitant to issue the permit because of the tribal appeal objection that may arise,” Larson said. “I think the state is bracing for repercussions from this if they move forward. The [federal] government is responsible for upholding treaty rights and this could create a court issue.”

Or it will continue to lie dormant on the Corps of Engineers’ collective desk.

For more information, visit pointnopointramp.com.

Fly Fishers meet

Greg Sisson will offer details of lake fishing in Eastern Washington at Monday’s meeting of the Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishers.

The club normally meets the first Monday of each month at the Campfire USA Clubhouse in Webster Park, 619 E. Fourth St., at 6 p.m. Labor Day delays the September meeting.

Sisson is outings director for the Edmonds-based Olympic Fly Fishers group.

He will present the lakes as if anglers were taking a fishing trip and plans to cover trips to fish at Omak, Winthrop, the Columbia and Chopaka Lake in Okanogan County.

Sisson will offer photos, flies, techniques and tips for fishing these lakes.

He’ll wrap the presentation with a fly-tying demonstration of one of his favorite flies — the AP Emerger, a soft hackle fly.

Kokanee bite

This report is a week old, I forgot to include it in last week’s column.

“What a difference 2 1/2 months make at Lake Sutherland,” Port Angeles angler and lure designer Pete Rosko said. “Ryan Rodgers, a world-renowned molecular scientist from Florida State University, asked me to take him kokanee fishing at Lake Sutherland.

“I’m glad he did because it renewed my faith in the future of Lake Sutherland. Without ever before fishing for kokanee, Rodgers hooked over 20 kokanee in a short morning of fishing. He was jigging 3/4-ounce orange Kandlefish half way down in 80-to-83 feet of water.

“The north side of the east arm of the lake was the best location by far. We were the only fishing boat on the lake.”

Catfish record

Blaine’s Cole Abshere recently caught a new state record channel catfish while fishing with his grandfather on Lake Terrell near Ferndale in Whatcom County.

The record fish weighed in at 37.7 pounds and measured 42 inches.

Abshere caught the big cat while spin fishing with bait on 8-pound line.

“You could go all fancy with gear, but what worked for me was a simple pole and a nightcrawler,” said Abshere.

It was Abshere’s first time fishing for catfish.

The new record exceeded the previous channel catfish record by 1.50 pounds. That record was held by Ross Kincaid with a fish that was caught in I-82 Pond No. 6 near Yakima on Sept. 6, 1999.

The permit for a new boat launch at Point No Point in Marine Area 9 was filed six years ago with the Army Corps of Engineers. Due to an objection by the Suquamish Tribe, the project, has stalled.

The permit for a new boat launch at Point No Point in Marine Area 9 was filed six years ago with the Army Corps of Engineers. Due to an objection by the Suquamish Tribe, the project, has stalled.

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