OUTDOORS: Salmon season-setting gets started Feb. 28

THESE BRIGHT, SUNNY days are perfect for chasing fish.

Catching them? That’s a different story.

Anglers fishing for blackmouth off Port Townsend in Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) haven’t been finding all that much success in the last few days.

A total of 14 anglers were skunked Wednesday, while 18 anglers brought in four kings last Sunday.

In the last available data for the Area 9 fishery, a total of 727 boats with 1,541 anglers from Feb. 3-9 kept 183 hatchery chinook, released another 307 hatchery kings and 140 wild chinook.

Through Feb. 9, 13 percent of the winter blackmouth quota had been caught by anglers.

Marine Area 5 (Sekiu) and 6 (Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca) will join the fun on March 1.

Season-setting

Information on the 2020-2021 salmon fishing seasons is starting to come to light and a statewide forecast meeting will be held Friday, Feb. 28, in Olympia.

State fishery managers will present initial 2020 salmon return forecasts at the meeting scheduled from 9:30 a.m. to noon in the Department of Social and Health Services Office Building 2 Auditorium, located at 1115 Washington St. SE.

Beginning in mid-March, fishery proposals will be posted at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/management/north-falcon, where the public can submit comments electronically.

The forecasts will be discussed at a Puget Sound recreational fisheries discussion in Sequim on March 19.

That meeting, which serves as the March meeting of the North Olympic Peninsula chapter of Puget Sound Anglers, will be held at Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake Ave., in Sequim from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

State and tribal co-managers plan to hold an informal discussion during the public North of Falcon meeting on Tuesday, March 31, in Lynnwood.

The actual negotiations, however, remain closed to the public per tribal demand.

San Juan derby

Bow’s Jason Squibb won the the Roche Harbor Salmon Classic last weekend with an 18 pound, 14 ounce hatchery blackmouth, taking home the $12,000.

The derby saw 174 fish weighed in (94 Friday and 80 Saturday) for 100 boats with 343 anglers.

The derby was part of the Northwest Fishing Derby Series, which will hit the North Olympic Peninsula March 13-15 for the 2020 Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby.

Tickets for the derby are on sale online and at area retailers.

A $10,000 first prize is awarded to the winner.

The derby itself will run Friday through Sunday, March 13-15.

A post-derby barbecue is traditionally held Sunday along with an awards ceremony at the Gardiner Boat Ramp.

Clinton’s Mark Thompson bagged the winning blackmouth in 2019, a 19.35-pounder that he caught on the derby’s first day.

Tickets are $40 at retailers and are available on the North Olympic Peninsula at Swain’s in Port Angeles; Brian’s Sporting Goods in Sequim; Longhouse Market and Deli in Blyn; Four Corners Store, the Fish ‘N’ Hole and Quimper Mercantile in Port Townsend and Olympic Equipment Rentals in Port Hadlock.

Online at www.gardinersalmonderby.org, tickets are $44 per person.

Proceeds go toward the nonprofit Gardiner Salmon Derby Association, which supports scholarships for college-bound students and community and emergency services.

Murray’s (Geoduck) Derby

Tickets are on sale for the 38th annual Geoduck (Murray) Salmon Derby on Hood Canal on March 7-8.

The blackmouth derby is $15 per angler and tickets can be purchased at the Geoduck Restaurant and Lounge along U.S. Highway 101 in Brinnon or at the Brinnon General Store.

Top prize is $1,500, with multiple other prizes up for grabs.

The derby wraps up that Sunday afternoon at the Geoduck Restaurant and Lounge along U.S. Highway 101 in Brinnon.

For more information, call the Geoduck at 360-796-4430.

Spring bear

Hunters must purchase and submit their 2020 spring black bear special hunt applications by midnight on Feb. 28.

Hunters who submit their applications are entered in a drawing in mid-March and will be notified no later than March 31.

Applicants can also check the drawing results through the WILD system by logging into their account at fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov.

To apply for a permit, hunters must purchase a special permit application and a 2020 hunting license that includes bear as a species option. Hunting licenses, bear transport tags, and bear permit applications may be purchased online at fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov, by phone at 866-246-9453 or at any license vendor in the state.

More information about spring bear hunts is available at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/special-hunts/bear.

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

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