LEE HORTON’S OUTDOORS COLUMN: Salmon fishing up and down

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By Lee Horton

Peninsula Daily News

THERE’S NOT MUCH use in trying to make sense of the blackmouth fishery.

The salmon fishing was hot last weekend, but then it went cold.

“It picked up Friday and Saturday and tapered way off after that,” Bob Aunspach of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles said.

“If we could figure out the blackmouth, we would all be geniuses.

“They’re a strange breed. They don’t feed often.”

But some anglers are having success out on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

There is plenty of bait on the Strait for the blackmouth to feed on, so you could have a nice day if your timing is right.

“Some guys are trolling and others are using herring,” Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said.

The blackmouth fishery just opened last week in Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet).

Brenda Chisholm of Port Townsend reports that the season is off to a nice start.

She and her fishing companions caught a couple of blackmouth that weighed 14 and 13 pounds in just 30 minutes of fishing off Midchannel.

Salmon ladder

I like your chances to be a winner in the Port Angeles Salmon Club’s monthly derby.

With only a week left in January, only two names are on the derby ladder at Swain’s.

Lyle Newell sits in first place with an 11-pound, 6-ounce fish, and Willy McClure is second with a 10-pound, 8-ouncer.

Tickets, which can be purchased at Swain’s, are $40, and allow you to participate in the monthly derbies all year long.

First prize wins $100, second place gets $75, third gets $50 and fourth place gets $25.

Rivers need rain

The hatchery steelhead fishing remains slow due to the rivers being too low and clear.

“We need some rain, plain and simple,” Bob Gooding of Olympic Sporting Goods (360-374-6330) in Forks said.

Despite the less-than-desirable conditions, there are fish in the rivers.

“There’s nothing red hot,” Aunspach said, “but guys that are working [the rivers] hard are finding a few fish.”

Menkal said the Sol Duc and Bogachiel are probably the best rivers to find some steelhead, but how you fish is obviously important.

“Low water doesn’t bring many fish,” Menkal said.

“If you’re going to fish for steelhead, I would fish high. If it rains, you can fish the bottom.”

Menkal reminds that the Dungeness River will close next Thursday.

“You have to hunt for them, but there are fish in there. Get out there before [the state] closes it at the end of the month.”

The West End rivers, on the other hand, aren’t closing any time soon, and they should receive rain in the next few days.

Fundraiser dinner

The North Olympic Peninsula Chapter of the Puget Sound Anglers is holding its annual dinner and auction fundraiser on Friday, Feb. 22, at SunLand Golf and Country Club in Sequim.

The proceeds from this auction provide the majority of funding for the annual Olympic Peninsula Kids Fishing Program held at the Sequim water reclamation pond.

The event kicks off with a silent auction at 5 p.m., which features a wide assortment of sports merchandise and runs through the evening.

Dinner will be served from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., and will consist of the usual spaghetti dinner with red or clam sauce, garlic bread and tossed salad.

There will also be a “no host” cash bar for the purchase of spirits, wine, beer and soft drinks. Coffee and bottled water will be provided.

The main event, a live auction, is scheduled to start after dinner, at about 7 p.m.

Live auction items include fishing trips with renowned guides on Olympic Peninsula rivers for salmon and steelhead; charter boat trips for salmon, halibut and bottom fish out of Pacific Ocean ports and the Strait; and saltwater trips offered by club members departing out of Port Angeles, Sequim or Sekiu for salmon or halibut.

For more information or to confirm attendance or reservations, phone 360-461-6060.

Fly fishing class

Menkal is holding his Fly Fishing 101 class starting Tuesday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., with part two taking place the following Tuesday, Feb. 5.

Cost for the class is $25. Bring a notepad, pen or pencil and a chair.

Class attendance is limited to 12 participants.

To reserve a spot or for more formation, phone Menkal at 360-683-1950.

The classes are held at Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More at 542 W. Washington St. in Sequim.

Razor clam digs

Don’t forget this weekend’s razor clam digs, which start today at Twin Harbors and Long Beach.

Here are the dates, evening low tides and participating beaches:

■ Today: 5:44 p.m., +0.0 feet — Twin Harbors and Long Beach.

■ Saturday: 6:18 p.m., -0.2 feet — Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks.

■ Sunday: 6:50 p.m., -0.2 feet — Twin Harbors and Long Beach.

Coastal shellfish manager Dan Ayres said the best digging happens one to two hours prior to low tide. No digging will be allowed before noon.

Also, prepare for cold weather and darkness by dressing warm and bringing a lantern or high-power flashlight.

Send photos, stories

Have a photograph, a fishing or hunting report, an anecdote about an outdoors experience or a tip on gear or technique?

Send it to sports@peninsuladailynews.com or P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362.


Outdoors columnist Lee Horton appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at lhorton@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 24. 2013 5:52PM
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