OUTDOORS: Strait sunsets and the hunt for silvers

SPECTACULAR SUNSETS ALONG the Strait of Juan de Fuca and a switch to focusing on silver retention, this is what this week has wrought on the North Olympic Peninsula.

We’ve reached the second half of August already, the typical time when the first set of coho abandon the pell-mell Pacific Ocean and seek the relative refuge of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound.

The Neah Bay silver catch totals ballooned from a season-low 190-hatchery coho catch estimate July 29-Aug. 4 all the way to 812 hatchery silvers from Aug. 5-11.

Effort also doubled from an estimate of 341 anglers to 765 last week out west, so the number of lines in the water may have had something to do with the bump.

For those anglers willing to make the trip out of Neah Bay into Marine Area 3 (La Push), or through the Bar and out of La Push proper, a reward is possible: fishing for hatchery chinook. Through Sunday, Marine Area 3 anglers have only taken 316 of the area’s 1,100 chinook guideline.

Through the Strait, it’s primarily a pink party — the active salmon are showing up in strong numbers — including 70 counted in 27 interviews with 57 anglers at the Ediz Hook boat launch Tuesday.

Mason’s Olson’s Resort and Van Ripers’ Resort in Sekiu also had plenty of pinks earlier this week with 62 counted at Mason’s on Tuesday and 38 at Van Ripers’ on Wednesday.

These pink totals already appear higher than 2017’s low returns, but state fishery managers are still being cautious — making the decision Thursday to end pink retention in Marine Area 8-1 (Deception Pass) in order to protect returns to the Skagit River.

Archery shoot this weekend

This weekend’s Wapiti Bowmen’s Hunters Warmup 3D shoot offers a chance to hone archery skills before the fall hunting seasons begin in earnest.

The shoot will be held at the club’s archery range at 374 E. Arnette Road, Port Angeles, on Saturday and Sunday.

The event is open to the public.

Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. each day.

Fees for youth ages 12 to 17 are $8 for one day, $10 for two days and $4 or $5 for ages 6-11. Ages 5 and younger are free.

Adults are $12 for one day, $20 for both.

Lunch will be available for $5.

Camping also is available.

For more information, phone 360-582-7987.

Guides wanted on committee

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking candidates to serve on a new committee that advises the department on the commercial fishing guide industry.

This ran in Thursday’s outdoors column as well, but the importance of getting adequate North Olympic Peninsula representation on this committee can’t be stressed enough.

And there’s a time crunch, with less than two weeks remaining to apply.

Up to 12 individuals from the guiding industry will be chosen for two-year terms that begin in September. The committee may be extended beyond two years as needed.

Candidates have until Aug. 27 to apply.

Advisors on this ad-hoc committee will initially provide input on the implementation of a new monthly reporting requirement for commercial guides, said Kelly Cunningham, acting director of Fish and Wildlife’s fish program.

“Beyond that, we want to work with the guide industry to gain a better understanding of their perspective in an effort to improve opportunity,” Cunningham said.

Beginning Jan. 1, fishing guides will provide the department with information such as the date and location of each guided fishing trip, the number of anglers onboard, and the number and type of fish species caught per trip.

“We’re looking for advisors who will help us review logbook data and provide the guiding industry’s perspective on fisheries,” Cunningham said. “We’d like to establish a group that includes both part-time and full-time guides and industry representatives from the various fisheries around the state.”

Initially, the advisory group will meet monthly (beginning in September) to ensure timely implementation of the new logbook requirements next year. After the first six months, meetings will be held on a quarterly basis.

Letters of interest must include the following information:

Candidate’s name, address, telephone number, and email address.

Relevant experience and reasons for wanting to serve as a member of the advisory group.

Effectiveness in communication, including methods the candidate would use to relay information to regional constituents.

Applications are due by 5 p.m., Aug. 27, and can be emailed to Raquel Crosier at [email protected]

Written applications can also be mailed to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Attn: Raquel Crosier, 600 Capitol Way N, Olympia, WA 98501-1091.

Second chance for tags

Hunters who purchased a multi-season permit application earlier this year, but were not selected in the April drawing, are eligible to buy the unsold 2,610 deer and 116 elk multi-season tags on a first-come, first-served basis on Thursday, Aug. 22.

Elk multi-season tags will go on sale at 10 a.m. on Aug. 22, and are expected to sell out in 5 seconds or less. Multi-season deer tags will go on sale 10 minutes later at 10:10 a.m.

Hunters planning to purchase both tags must do so in two separate transactions.

Hunters who want to purchase a deer or elk multi-season tag must have purchased a 2019 deer or elk multi-season special hunt application, and also have a general season elk or deer license before buying a multi-season tag.

General season elk or deer tags must be surrendered to an authorized license dealer at the time of the multi-season purchase — no exceptions. To find a license dealer near you, visit wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/dealers.

Multi-season deer tags are $139.10, and multi-season elk tags are $182.00.

Tag costs are the same for residents and non-residents.

Multi-season tags can only be purchased at an authorized license dealer, at a regional office, or at Fish and Wildlife headquarters in Olympia.

With the high demand for multi-season elk tags, it is likely that only one in every 20 license vendors will be able to complete a transaction for elk.

If multi-season deer tags don’t sell out on Aug. 22, they will remain on sale until the tag limit is reached. Hunters who purchase a multi-season tag will not lose points in their multi-season deer or elk special hunt application categories.

Hunters with multi-season permits can hunt all three weapon choices (modern rifle, muzzleloader, archery), season permitting, until their tag is filled.

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