OUTDOORS: Tough choice — Bosworth’s autobiography or this column

THE HAND HATH been forced.

For whatever reason, the editors of the PDN found it necessary to publish a letter to the editor concerning yours truly and my perceived “grit” during a recent Port Angeles City League basketball game.

And no, I did not bribe my brother to write that under an assumed name. One shudders to think how desperate the letters situation was for this to happen.

Isn’t there some sort of fluoride debate that needs to be examined? What about Frugals finally joining the 21st century and accepting credit cards? Isn’t that worth a celebratory note of some sort?

Come to think of it, when’s the last time we published an opinion on the dreaded dead bear controversy of 2008?

As for my shabby performance (I scored four points) in a 25-point loss before the 15 or so in attendance (all of whom were either playing or officiating) at Stevens Middle School?

That might be the biggest waste of paper and ink since Brian Bosworth’s autobiography was published in the late 1980s.

Of course, my weekly columns run a close second.

Steelhead

After weeks of dry conditions and sunshine, the West End finally got a much-needed shot of rain.

It could still use a little more according to Bob Gooding at Olympic Sporting Goods (360-374-6330) in Forks.

“They all came up a little, not a ton,” he said. “I think we got an inch-and-a-half of rain over the last couple of days, enough to move them but nothing spectacular.

“Fishing is getting marginally better. Not sure you’d want to raise any big flags or anything.”

Anglers have been scoring a few fish on the Hoh, where a majority of the pressure has been, as well as the Bogachiel.

And those who had rafts did just fine on the Sol Duc as well. The latter was running at a paltry half a board before the rain hit. That’s the sort of height one might expect in August, not February.

The rain brought the Duc up to five boards by Wednesday, but it might drop quickly if some more precipitation doesn’t return.

“By the weekend the Hoh is probably going to be the place again,” Gooding said, adding that the river got a little colored up this week.

“It should be fine. It’s blue skies, sunshine and cold [on Thursday], so it’s going to drop pretty quickly.”

Blackmouth

Those looking to head to Brinnon for the Geoduck Derby will have to find another reason.

The annual fishfest was given the ax by Geoduck Restaurant and Tavern owner Sue Perley, who has been sick the last few months and will be unable to host the event.

There should be plenty of other options, however, for saltwater anglers this weekend.

That includes Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) to the north.

Wayne Bibbins of Down Home Charters (360-643-1960) in Port Townsend said fishing has been fair to good of late, and there’s a chance things could get better.

“I’d say with this rain we got earlier this week it’s kind of changed a bit of the bait pattern,” he said. “So I’m pretty optimistic that the rest of this year the fishery is going to build and get better and better. “[Rain] changes the persisting feeding pattern, it tends to shift a little bit.

“So whereas the fishing has been really good in the San Juan Islands [this winter], it could change and be really good off [Area 8 or 9].”

A change would certainly do some good for anglers in Area 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca).

As Mark Ahrndt at Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles tells it, things have been a bit slow in the middle of the Strait (or should I say Straits like the locals do?).

“If the locals have been going out, it’s one or two bites, and if they are lucky they will get a fish,” he said.

“There hasn’t been a lot of bait. When the water was nice and the guys were out there we had a lot of northeasterly type wind. And the fish can be there but for whatever reason they are not on the bite.”

That being said, there have been some nice fish brought to the docks. That includes Port Angeles native Jeff Reynolds’ 20-pounder, which sits atop the Port Angeles Salmon Club’s monthly salmon derby ladder.

In second place is Jack Dunlap, who brought in a 14-pound, eight-ounce blackmouth.

Another option for anglers: the pristine waters of Marine Area 5 (Sekiu).

“Actually we’ve had some good fishing,” Donalynn Olson at Olson’s Resort (360-963-2311) in Sekiu said. “The last time we had a few fishermen we did good . . . probably seven to 11 pounds was the average. We had fish last night and it was good.”

Let it snow

Mother Nature took her sweet time, but Hurricane Ridge finally got a fresh dumping of powder this week (more than 24 inches).

That should make for some downright decent skiing conditions on Saturday and Sunday, although don’t hold your breath on the Poma lift.

Mountain manager Craig Hofer said the north face of the Ridge will likely need another two feet, or perhaps even more, before he can get to work.

“But I bet you it will be a good weekend,” Hofer said. “There will be some fresh snow. I think it’s going to look really good. I’m kind of anxious to get up there and see what it looks like.”

Both rope tows remain open. Single-day lift tickets cost $20 for the intermediate and bunny lifts, and $18 for a half day. All-day and half-day bunny lift tickets are $10.

Skis are available for rent at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. Snowboards can be rented from North by Northwest Surf Co., 902 S. Lincoln St. in Port Angeles.

Snowshoeing, tubing and sledding (weather permitting) and cross country skiing are also available at the Ridge.

Free ranger-led snowshoe hikes, lasting about 90 minutes, are offered on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Since space is limited, participants are encouraged to register at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center information desk 30 minutes beforehand.

Hurricane Ridge Road is open today through Sunday, weather permitting, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

All drivers are required to have tire chains on their tires or in their cars. Always check road and weather conditions before your trip by calling the park’s 24-hour road conditions hot line at 360-565-3131.

Information on weather conditions at the Ridge is also available at www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/hurricane-ridge-current-conditions.htm.

Ski/snowboard classes

In case you missed Thursday’s column, which would be a real tragedy, the Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club is offering one-day learn to ski or snowboard classes the next three Saturdays.

Classes will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. each day. The cost is $50 per person each day and includes an all-day lift ticket, two hours of group instruction and your choice of ski or snowboard rentals.

Spaces for a class can be purchased in advance at Angeles Electric, 524 E. First St. in Port Angeles. For more information, call 360-461-3633 or 360-461-1764

Dosewallips clams

Clammers can get an early start at Dosewallips State Park this year with the season opening a month earlier this Sunday.

While the tides might not be too great to begin with, shellfish hounds can certainly head out to the Hood Canal beach the evenings of March 5-8, when a series of minus tides should expose a fair amount of clams.

The tides are as follows — March 5: -0.51 feet at 5:51 p.m.; March 6: -0.66 feet at 7 p.m.; March 7: -0.70 feet at 8:01 p.m.; and March 8: -0.50 feet at 9: 55 p.m.

The season is scheduled to run through Oct. 31.

Also . . .

• Well-known Peninsula author and fly fishing guide Doug Rose will be signing his new book “Fly fishing guide to the Olympics” at Waters West in Port Angeles on Saturday, March 7, from noon to 5 p.m.

• The state Fish and Wildlife Commission will take public input for the final time on a proposed three-year package of hunting seasons and rules during its March 6-7 meeting in Ellensburg.

Details on all proposed rules are available on Fish and Wildlife’s Web site at http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/game/seasonsetting/index.htm#recommendations.

Public input on fish and wildlife issues is welcome at several scheduled times during the meeting. A preliminary meeting agenda is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings/2009/03/agenda_mar0609.html.

• Deer and elk hunters have until Feb. 28 to enter their name in a drawing for a 2009 multiple-season permit.

Fish and Wildlife will randomly draw names for 1,500 multiple-season deer permits and 500 multiple-season elk permits in April. Winners will be eligible to purchase a multiple-season permit allowing them to participate in archery, muzzleloader and modern-firearm general hunting seasons for deer or elk in 2009.

For more information, visit Fish and Wildlife’s Web site at http://wdfw.wa.gov/, or call the licensing department at 360-902-2464.

• Waters West Fly Fishing Outfitters will host free fly-tying seminars at its shop in Port Angeles at 140 West Front St., on March 7 and 21. For more information, contact Waters West at 360-417-0937.

• Prospective West End hunters can attend a set of Hunter Education classes March 9, 11, 16, 18 and 21 at the West End Sportsmen’s Club.

Classes will run from 6-9 p.m. for the first four dates. The March 21 class, which involves a field test, begins at 8 a.m. Students must pre-register and can do so by calling 360-374-5718.

• Washington State Council Federation of Fly Fishers President Carl Johnson will speak at the Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishers monthly meeting on Monday at 7 p.m. at the Loomis Log Cabin in Port Angeles’ Lincoln Park.

• The state Department of Natural Resources announced the reopening of Sadie Creek Trail, located about 20 miles west of Port Angeles, this week. The trail was closed to allow for timber harvest in 2008.

Call us, photos welcome!

Want your event listed in the outdoors column?

Have a fishing or hunting report, an anecdote about an outdoors experience or a tip on gear or technique, why not share it with our readers?

Send it to me, Matt Schubert, Sports Department, Peninsula Daily News, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362; phone, 360-417-3526, fax, 417-3521; e-mail [email protected]

__________

Matt Schubert is the outdoors columnist for the Peninsula Daily News. His column appears on Thursdays and Fridays.

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