By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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The state Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that the river will close to fishing for all species from the Sol Duc Hatchery outfall creek upstream to the concrete pump station.
Other good fishing sites on the Sol Duc remain open, but this closure will impact fishing.
“They’re shutting down a prime spot for fishing,” said Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim.
“A lot of people fish there.”
According to the state, the reason for the closure is the returns of the spring and summer chinook to the hatchery are “well below egg take needs.”
“Adult chinook are staging in the river near the hatchery and will likely enter the hatchery trap as stream flows change,” the Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a press release.
“This closure is needed to protect these chinook until broodstock needs are achieved.”
The state said this section of the Sol Duc will remain closed “until further notice.”
Big ones at Sekiu
The Sekiu salmon fishery has started big.
In 2012, the hatchery chinook catch numbers were higher than the first four days of this year’s fishery, but they weren’t as large as the fish caught since Monday’s opening.
“I haven’t seen any over 30 pounds, but there have been a lot between 25 to 30 pounds,” Chris Mohr of Van Riper’s Resort (360-963-2334) in Sekiu said.
“That’s big for hatchery fish. It’s the biggest bunch of hatchery fish I’ve ever seen.”
Coho in the way
In Neah Bay, chinook fishing has been good, but strong northwesterly winds and hungry coho are making it difficult.
“Because the coho have been crowded into the same areas where the chinook are, anglers are having a tough time getting to the chinook through the voracious coho,” Ward Norden, a fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist, said.
“In a situation like this, it is time to switch to trolling 5-inch long salmon plugs like Silver Hordes or Tomics, which will target the chinook and at least minimize hooking of the pesky coho.”
Norden also recommends fishing in the early morning.
Tuna and salmon
The weather conditions and warmer water off Washington’s Pacific Coast are good for albacore tuna fishing. They could also affect salmon fishing.
“Those north winds that we usually get during hot weather haven’t materialized yet. Very unusual,” Norden said.
“The ocean temp at the Cape Elizabeth buoy, 20 miles out from the mouth of the Quinault River, is 63.7 degrees . . . which is even more amazing.”
Norden said these conditions will bring the albacore within 10 miles of LaPush, if not closer.
Salmon also will be impacted.
The tuna and salmon don’t compete with each other, but Norden said the temperature and blue-water conditions that tuna and their pray like are not ideal for kings and silvers.
“Chinook will be either forced deep or right up in the surf line — trolling in the surf is not for the faint of heart,” Norden said.
“Coho will be forced in close, thus interfering with chinook anglers who can’t get through those hungry coho. To get by the coho, trollers will have to start using plugs instead of the usual bait or flasher-squid combo.
“The colder water inside the Strait [of Juan de Fuca] will draw a lot of coho inside that would normally not be there this time of year.”
But all of this will happen only if things remain the same.
“As always, these conditions can change overnight as the Pacific does her fickle things,” Norden said.
Norden checked the water temperature earlier this week and found it is 75 degrees at 18 inches below the surface.
“At these temps it is time to get out the bass, panfish and catfish gear,” Norden said.
“Trout will be tasteless, and the meat will be soft until waters cool in September.
“Now is especially the time to go out and get a mess of catfish for an outstanding meal.
“Catfish in our waters don’t usually get the muddy flavor in summer like elsewhere in the U.S., so this opportunity is a great evening activity for the whole family.”
This time of year at Lake Sutherland, kokanee and cutthroat fishing are usually disrupted by speed boats and jet skis.
“However, with a good electronic fish locator, a good day can still be had on Sutherland,” North Olympic Peninsula resident Pete Rosko told me.
Rosko posted a YouTube video in which he shares some Lake Sutherland fishing tips.
“Vertical jigging has consistently out-fished trolling. 1/3-ounce glow-pink Sonic BaitFish have been best for trout and the same jig in glow-chartreuse has produced excellent catches of kokanee,” Rosko said.
You can view Rosko’s video here: www.tinyurl.com/RoskoTips.
“In 29 years of fishing Lake Sutherland, this technique has consistently caught more fish than by trolling,” he said.
Puget Sound Anglers
Sam Brenkman, chief fisheries biologist for the Olympic National Park, will be the speaker at the next meeting of the North Olympic Chapter of the Puget Sound Anglers club on Thursday, July 18.
Brenkman will give an update on the current status of salmon and steelhead populations since the Elwha dam removal, and the future impact on various fisheries.
The meeting begins at 6:45 p.m. at the Trinity United Methodist Church and 100 S. Blake Ave. in Sequim.
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Outdoors columnist Lee Horton appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.