The smoke cleared, then the fog burned off, and 77 service veterans enjoyed the treat that is summer salmon fishing on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
A total of 34 fishing boat captains volunteered to assist the Olympic chapter of Salmon for Soliders in putting on its inaugural Sekiu Summer Slammin’ Salmon event last Sunday.
“The fishing was absolutely on fire for every boat; the volunteers went crazy putting people on fish,” event co-organizer Mark Ostroot said.
“Everything was on point. We had whale shows, miles of herring bait on the surface and fish everywhere. With the regs we have, guys would get limits of salmon and then run in and get rockfish, and swells were nonexistent.”
Ostroot’s group also went home with limits of Dungeness crab to go along with salmon and rockfish.
When COVID canceled the group’s first attempt at a large veterans’ outing last summer, Ostroot said group members felt a need to make up for it this year.
“We asked ourselves, ‘How do we serve 200 veterans this year?’ and that event put us over 200, and we still have more stuff going,” Ostroot said.
“We fished every Thursday and threw in a couple of days of halibut and multiple salmon fishing days, and we all thought it was far fetched to get to 200, but we made it.”
The chapter is raising funds via GoFundMe to double the number of halibut and lingcod veterans’ fishing excursions next year at www.tinyurl.com/PDN-FishingForSoldiers.
Neah Bay and La Push
Catch estimates out of Neah Bay for the week of Aug. 9-15: 535 anglers caught 52 chinook and 364 coho (plus 210 pinks) for 0.1 chinook and 0.68 coho catch per rod.
Through Aug. 15, a total of 4,208 chinook out of the of 5,825 guideline (72 percent) have been caught, and 1,634 coho out of a 5,730 quota (29 percent) were kept.
Off La Push, 245 anglers caught nine kings and 271 coho (and 23 pinks) for a 0.04 chinook and 1.11 coho catch/per rod average.
La Push anglers have reeled in 251 chinook out of a 1,300 king guideline (19 percent) and 271 coho out of a 1,430 coho quota (19 percent).
Slow for halibut
Inclement weather in the form of some chop and heavy fog scuttled much off the off-shore halibut effort on the first day of added halibut fishing Thursday.
The north coast (Marine Areas 3 and 4) and Puget Sound (Marine Areas 5-10) are open to halibut fishing Thursday through Saturday until remaining quota is reached or Saturday, Sept. 25, whichever comes first.
The fishery in these areas will be open three days per week, Thursday through Saturday, until the remaining quota is reached or through Sept. 25, whichever comes first.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is holding virtual public meetings Aug. 23 and Oct. 18 to discuss proposed dates for the 2022 sport halibut season.
The meetings will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. each day.
At the Aug. 23 meeting, state halibut managers will review preliminary 2021 season data and work with stakeholders to develop a range of preliminary options focused on general concepts such as ways to extend the season length and maximize fishing opportunity.
For more information, visit wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ halibut.
Black bear hunting season opened up Aug. 1, but it’s a strange year in the forest with little actual sign of the ursine set.
“I haven’t said much about bear season because it is a bit of a mystery this year,” Ward Norden wrote in an email. “With the delayed berry harvest due to the late cold weather followed by the heat and drought, I have seen no bear sign whatsoever around my neighborhood where I have always seen it.
“They would be on my trail cams, too. [There have been] lots of bobcats and lions however. Recently, several of my customers and a friend have been out bear hunting on the west side of the Cascades and reported to me that there seems to be little bear sign below 2,500 feet elevation in the Cascades but lots above that elevation around a bumper huckleberry crop that is now ripening.
“This may be true in the Olympic Mountains as well, even though huckleberries are less common in our mountains.”
Norden also offers a bounty reminder for next month.
“This is a good reminder that this will be the first year in several to make a special trip in September to go out huckleberry picking for those luscious alpine huckleberries that only grow above 4,000 feet,” Norden said. “Combine that with grouse, maybe a hare and grilled king bolete mushrooms over an open fire, and it is a meal fit for a king.”
I second that alpine huckleberry recommendation. Some buddies and I got into a large patch of them at Artist Point near Mount Baker some summers ago, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a more delicious milkshake.
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or [email protected] news.com.