OUTDOORS: Wind puts damper on Peninsula fisheries

HOLD ONTO YOUR comb-overs.

Blustery weather battered the North Olympic Peninsula this week.

It’s been the kind of stuff that could coax even the most seaworthy of legs to toss up yesterday’s couscous.

Bald spots have suffered, as have the area’s winter blackmouth fisheries, according to Bob Aunspach at Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles.

“[The recent bluster] kind of took everybody off the water the last two days of March and first couple days of April,” Aunspach said.

“It’s been rough, so not a lot is happening. Hopefully it will settle out and they’ll get a few last fish before [the season closes].”

Donalynn Olson at Olson’s Resort (360-963-2311) in Sekiu said there hasn’t been much action out her way either.

“I don’t have enough fishermen here, so it’s hard to make a report,” she said. “We’ve had a few blackmouth fisherman, but not very many.

“They actually did well in about 120 feet of water straight out in front of the Caves. When the water is good, the fishing seems to be pretty good.”

Marine Areas 5 (Sekiu) and 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca) close to blackmouth fishing after April 10, while Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) closes after April 15.

Halibut kicks off on April 23 in Areas 6 and 9.

Lingcod season is already underway in Area 3 (LaPush) and set to begin on April 16 in Area 4 (Neah Bay).

Anglers have pulled in some decent-sized lings on the coast . . . as long they can get out, Fish and Wildlife ocean port sampler Eric Crust said in a news release.

Some might be waiting for the Neah Bay opener, according to Crust.

“Neah Bay is historically a good fishery for lings,” said Crust. “If the weather cooperates, we should see some excellent fishing there again this year.”

River fishing

With rivers on the rise, more and more steelies continue to stack up in several West End rivers.

Bob Gooding of Olympic Sporting Goods (360-374-6330) in Forks even dared to omit the caveat, “but it’s nothing to write home about,” from his report this week.

“It’s not been bad at all,” he said. “The rivers came up because of that rain [Wednesday] night, but I bet they are turned around or flattened out by now.”

Anglers continue to encounter steelhead for the most part, but there have been a few tales of spring chinook action bandied about as well, Gooding said.

“I’ve heard of five or six being caught, it isn’t a bunch,” he said. “It’s just the start of [the springer run], but it always gets people excited to hear about it, because they are great fish.

“They fight like the dickens and they eat like your grandma’s best apple pie.”

The Sol Duc and Quillayute are the only two rivers open for spring fishing right now.

The steelhead retention fishery closes at the end of the day April 15 on the Hoh, but will remain open through April 30 on the Quillayute River system (Bogachiel, Dickey, Sol Duc and Calawah).

Anglers should make sure to purchase a new state fishing license before heading out.

The 2008-09 license year came to an end on Tuesday.

Land-o-lakes

The statewide lowland lakes opener is only a few weeks away.

With temperatures expected to rise this weekend (emphasis on expected), this could be the time to warm up for the big day.

Among the lakes open year-round on the Peninsula are Teal, Gibbs and Ludlow in Jefferson County and Sutherland and Wentworth in Clallam County.

Both Teal (two miles south of Port Ludlow) and Leland (just north of Quilcene) recently received numerous rainbow trout plants, meaning each should be packed with loads of not-so-bright fish looking for something to eat.

State biologists dumped a total of 560 Eells Springs Hatchery rainbow trout into Teal on Wednesday, including 60 fish averaging 3.4 pounds apiece.

Leland received 5,075 rainbows total from Eells Springs, including 25 of the 3.4-pound trout and 50 weighing about 1.4 pounds each.

Several other lakes have already received trout plants, but those will not open until April 25.

Blinded by science

Here’s to the proliferation of the scientific method.

The Fort Worden Conference Center in Port Townsend will be the site of a few hypotheses next weekend when it hosts a citizen science workshop on April 10-11.

Those interested in joining marine educators, scientists, resource managers and other more plebeian citizens have until the end of the day to register for the event.

The workshop will open the evening of April 10 with a keynote speech by Cornell University’s Bruce Lowenstein.

Saturday will include presentations and discussion on engaging citizens, providing high-quality data, optimal scientist-citizen partnerships, and lots more.

Food will be provided along with a process for travel reimbursement.

To register, visit www.coseeolc.org home page and look for the link to “Citizen Science Workshop.”

For more information, contact Susan Bullerdick at [email protected] or 206-838-3916.

Also . . .

• Another set of razor clam digs has been tentatively scheduled for a couple of coastal beaches (Long Beach and Twin Harbors) on April 10-12.

Twin Harbors is set to open all three days to morning digging, while Long Beach would open on April 11-12.

The openings are pending marine toxin tests.

• The Grey Wolf Fly Fishing Club will present the film “Red Gold” at its monthly meeting at the Gardiner Community Center, 980 Old Gardiner Road, on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The documentary explores conflicts between southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay sockeye run and pebble mines in the region.

• Flotilla 42, Coast Guard Auxiliary will offer a boating safety class at the Group Port Angeles Base on Ediz Hook on April 24-25.

The cost is $25 per person or $35 for two people if they share a book.

Students receive a boater’s education card, required for anyone 25-years-old or younger, upon completion of the course.

Pre-registration is required and can be done by contacting the Public Education Officer at 360-681-4671.

• The Washington Coast Cleanup is set for Saturday, April 18, along a majority of the state’s coastline. For more information or to sign up, visit www.coastsavers.org.

• The ninth annual Port Angeles Kayak Symposium, which includes numerous clinics, speakers and vendors, returns to the city harbor the weekend of April 17-19.

For more information, visit www.raftandkayak.com.

• Port Angeles’ annual Kids Fishing Derby will return to the Lincoln Park Ponds on Saturday, April 18. The free derby is for children ages 5-14.

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, 360-417-3521; 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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