TODAY MARKS SALMON season eve for saltwater anglers along much of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Puget Sound and south of Ayock Point in Hood Canal.
Barring a last-minute political breakdown, state lawmakers will pass along a budget for Gov. Jay Inslee to sign and avert a partial state government shutdown.
Inslee’s signature is all that keeps salmon anglers from heading out in the early hours Saturday morning to spots like the caves near Sekiu, the kelp line along Freshwater Bay and a variety of fishing holes off of Ediz Hook.
Marine Area 5 (Sekiu)
Sekiu is open for all species except chum and wild kings and coho through Aug. 15 or earlier if the chinook guideline is attained.
Anglers can keep chinook 22 inches or long while there’s no size restriction on other salmon species.
The daily limit is two combined.
From Aug. 16-31, Sekiu will be open for hatchery coho fishing with no minimum size.
Marine Area 6 (East Strait of Juan de Fuca)
Port Angeles anglers can keep two fish combined while releasing chum, wild coho and wild kings.
Hatchery kings must be 22 inches in length for retention west of a true north/south line through the No. 2 buoy immediately east of Ediz Hook.
On the east side of the buoy, anglers have to release all chinook, chum and wild coho. Anglers can keep a daily limit of two salmon combined, plus two sockeye.
This season will run from Saturday through Aug. 15.
Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet)
Anglers have to wait until July 16 to fish for salmon off Port Townsend and in nearby waters.
Chinook must be a minimum 22 inches in length, while there’s no size limit for other species. The same two-fish (combined) limit applies. Anglers must release chum, wild coho and wild kings.
This fishery is scheduled to run through Aug. 15, but the guideline for catches and encounters is usually surpassed quickly.
From Aug. 16 to Sept. 4, anglers can fish only from shore, floating devices of any kind are prohibited. All chinook, chum and wild coho must be released.
Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal)
The state rules pamphlet is incorrect, anglers are allowed to keep four hatchery chinook with a minimum size of 20 inches per day south of Ayock Point beginning Saturday and continuing through Sept. 30.
Ayock Point is located north of Lilliwaup.
The rules pamphlet stated anglers could keep four salmon, two of them hatchery chinook.
Anglers are required to release chum and wild chinook. Anglers may fish with two poles with a Two-Pole Endorsement.
All waters within channels created by exposed tidelands are closed to salmon fishing at the Skokomish River mouth.
Crabbing also opens
Dungeness and red rock crab seasons also open Saturday off Port Angeles, Sequim Bay and Port Townsend.
Crabbing already is open off the Pacific Coast, Sekiu and Hood Canal.
The daily limit throughout Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6 1/4 inches. Crabbers may catch six red rock crab of either sex per day, provided those crab measure at least 5 inches across.
Lakes warming up
Water temperatures are on the rise in North Olympic Peninsula lakes and have nearly hit the 70-degree mark in many locations, the sign to shut things down for awhile.
A little more than a week after a bowline accident nearly severed a thumb and required a helicopter trip to Harborview in Seattle, Port Angeles angler and lure designer Pete Rosko was back at it, fishing Lake Sutherland on Tuesday.
Rosko sent me a picture of the aftermath. Wow. Rosko loves to fish, pure and simple, to come back so quickly.
“Kokanee fishing continues to be excellent at Lake Sutherland if you are in the right location,” he said.
“That location continues to be the northeast end. The dense concentration of kokanee, for the past four weeks, is now more fragmented. Jigging continues to be the best technique for good numbers of kokanee when done right.
“The east shoreline holds the best opportunity for success where active biters are in 78 to 79 feet of water.”
Rosko reminds anglers to jig straight down within 2 to 3 feet of bottom.
“Once your line tails off, retrieve your line and repeat the jig drop. Pink/glow white Sonic BaitFish, and cerise Kandlefish, are top producers. Surface water temperature has risen from 62 to 67 degrees. Still good until it hits the 70s.”
Leland crowded, warm
Quilcene’s Ward Norden, a former fisheries biologist and owner of Snapper Tackle Company, is shocked by the size of the crowds fishing Lake Leland in Jefferson County.
“Lake Leland County Park and pier remain a circus of crowds,” Norden said.
“I don’t think I have ever seen a Westside bank access quite as busy as Lake Leland. Amazing! Water is almost too warm for trout fishing now as surface temps are in the 70s after warm days.”
Coalition selling shirts
The Olympic Peninsula Salmon &Halibut Coalition is holding a T-shirt sale fundraiser to raise proceeds for travel expenses for trips to upcoming halibut meetings as members continue to press for a longer, safer halibut fishing season.
The shirts will be $20, available in sizes medium through XXXL, and can be purchased in Port Angeles at Lovell’s Roadrunner 76 and Jerry’s Bait and Tackle.
Coalition member Norm Metzler said the group met with State Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, and State Reps. Steve Tharinger and Mike Chapman last Sunday and had a fruitful discussion with the politicians.
“I came away with the sense that the reason we got the longer halibut season this year, the nine days, is the pressure being put on Olympia by our group and other anglers,” Metzler said.
Sports reporter/columnist Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]