AFTER A SHORT hiatus from another banner summer recreational crab harvest, most areas of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca will soon reopen for the winter crab season.
Winter crab openings were approved by fishery managers after summer catch assessments by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife indicated more crabs are available for harvest, said state shellfish manager Rich Childers.
Two North Olympic Peninsula areas will open to crabbing today, Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) and the portion of Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) north of the Hood Canal Bridge to a line from Foulweather Bluff to Olele point.
Other North Olympic Peninsula marine areas will open to sport crabbing Saturday, Oct. 15.
This includes marine areas 4 (Neah Bay east of the Tatoosh-Bonilla line), 5 (Sekiu), 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca) and the remainder of 9 (Admiralty Inlet).
In each area, recreational crabbing will be allowed seven days a week through Dec. 31.
Because the Marine Area 9 borders are a bit confusing, the state passed along a link to maps and descriptions of the two portions of Marine Area 9 at tinyurl.com/PDN-Crab9.
I’ve watched enough episodes of “Rugged Justice,” the Animal Planet show that follows Fish and Wildlife Police around, to know that crabbers/anglers/hunters do not want to be found fishing or hunting in closed waters/lands, so take note if you are setting pots in that portion of Marine Area 9.
The daily catch limit in Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6 ¼ inches. In addition, fishers may catch six red rock crab of either sex per day, provided those crab measure at least 5 inches across.
All Dungeness crab caught in the late-season fishery must be recorded on winter catch cards, which are valid through Dec. 31. Winter cards — free to those with crab endorsements — are available at license vendors across the state.
Winter catch reports are due to Fish and Wildlife by Feb. 1, 2017.
For more information on catch record cards, visit tinyurl.com/PDN-CRCCrab.
Deer opener next Saturday
Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim is probably going to be rained out of his planned fishing trip with Peninsula Daily News wilderness gossip columnist Pat Neal.
But he’s excited for next Saturday’s modern firearm deer opener.
“The deer population seems pretty healthy,” Menkal said.
“I’m not seeing hardly anything with a hair-loss problem.”
Apparently Menkal hasn’t seen my thinning dome recently.
Menkal is actually referring to Hair-loss Syndrome, a condition in black-tailed deer caused by a heavy infestation with a Eurasian louse.
When black-tailed deer become infested, they tend to develop a severe allergic reaction to the lice, which causes irritation of the skin and excessive grooming by the deer. Eventually, this excessive grooming leads to hair loss, leaving yellow or white patches along the sides.
Menkal said a relatively dry September hurt archery deer hunters.
“Bow hunters were hampered due to dry weather. They had a hard time sneaking in,” he said.
The rain forecast this weekend and early next week should help those armed with rifles next Saturday.
“That should dampen the woods up pretty good,” Menkal said.
He had a note of caution for hunters looking for deer near Slab Camp south of Sequim.
“There’s some logging up by Slab Camp,” Menkal said.
“There’s lots of trucks going in and out, so I’d take caution up there. Safety first with where you are shooting, and keep your eye on the road when driving. You know a lot of hunters are driving with one eye out the window for any sign, and you don’t want to get out of your lane and into the path of a loaded log truck. There might be an issue there.”
Menkal will offer another two-part “Introduction to Salmon and Steelhead River Fishing” course at his store at 609 W. Washington St., No. 21 in Sequim, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday with part two following at the same time Tuesday, Oct. 18.
Menkal, who loves to fish the rivers of the West End and the North Olympic Peninsula and knows a ton of tips, tricks and locations, offers the course for $35 per person.
To reserve a space, phone 360-683-1950.
One last kokanee bite
Port Angeles angler and lure designer Pete Rosko thinks he misjudged the kokanee spawn at Lake Sutherland.
He suggests getting out on the lake by the end of this week or the bite may vanish.
“Last week I mentioned jigging the buoy line on the left side as the lake is viewed from the public ramp,” Rosko said. More specifically [Monday], the hot bite was about 50 yards beyond the first buoy and inside the buoy line.
“The 40-45 foot depths there were loaded with kokanee. Jigging glow-orange Sonic BaitFish near bottom produced multiple doubleheaders.”
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]