LEE HORTON'S OUTDOORS: Silver salmon, pink salmon are joining the party

By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News outdoors columnist

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PINKS AND SILVERS are now the main saltwater draw for anglers on the North Olympic Peninsula.

And after a month of being shy, the silvers are finally making their presence known in the Pacific Ocean and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

“There's plenty of pinks and plenty of silvers,” Bob Aunspach of Swain's General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles said of the Strait.

Maybe the coho were just being polite, allowing the kings to own the stage in July and early August, and letting the punk pinks make their every-other-year invasion.

But, now, it's silver time.

“Big silvers are starting to move in; they're averaging about 8 or 9 pounds,” Joey Lawrence of Big Salmon Resort (360-645-2374) in Neah Bay said the northern coast.

“A few kings are still moving around. The pinks seem to be thinning out.”

“The hot spots are still Swiftsure, Table Top and Umatilla. And on the Strait side, in 500 feet of water, they're catching some nice silvers.”

Aunspach said the pinks are currently in a lull, but he thinks they have one more charge left in them before disappearing until 2015.

“There's not near as many as their have been, but we've already had two big runs, and I think we'll get another big batch,” he said.

Another fishing opportunity became available in Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) late last week.

The area from the Hood Canal Bridge to an imaginary line between Foulweather Bluff to Olele Point will be open to coho and humpy fishing through Saturday, Aug. 31.

The daily limit is two salmon, plus two additional pink salmon. Chinook and chum cannot be retained.

Only a little more than a week remains, but this opening is worth a try.

“That opening . . . is a wonderful opportunity for sports anglers to intercept a few of the coho headed to Hood Canal hatcheries before they are swept up in the massive commercial fisheries of Hood Canal south of the bridge,” Ward Norden, a fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist, said.

“One really nice thing about it is that there are a couple good boat launches right there — one at Salisbury Point County Park in Kitsap County on the east side of the bridge, and one on the west side of the bridge, which I think is on state park property.”

Small-boat opportunities

Norden said Olele Point to the Hood Canal Bridge can be a good fishing spot for small-boat anglers, though not quite as good as the recently opened Quilcene Bay in Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal).

“The Quilcene Bay fishery is a bit better for kayakers, canoeists, and row boaters at all tides because currents are light there, while the areas around Hood Canal bridge have strong currents,” Norden said.

“Paddlers can launch at the public swimming beach, and paddle out to the row of pilings about 1/3 mile south of the beach. The drop off where the fish are hopefully holding is about 50 yards off those old pilings.

“Some anglers do quite well as bay waters cool just casting spinners or gold spoons after tying off to those pilings.”

Quilcene Bay and Dabob Bay opened to coho fishing just last week, and appears to be off to a nice start.

“Every time I have been down to the swimming beach in Quilcene on the Bay, I have seen boat anglers fishing that drop off and getting their landing net out for a coho,” Norden said.

“Must be good.”

Only coho can be retained in Quilcene Bay, and the daily limit is four.

Salmon ladder

Roy Scott is still atop the Port Angeles Salmon Club's monthly salmon derby ladder at Swain's General Store with a 40-pound, 14-ounce fish.

Unless a state-record coho or pink is caught, Scott will stay on top through the rest of the month.

Shannon O'Sullivan is in second place with a king that weighed 34.11 pounds.

Kui Solomon has taken over third place with a 33.08-pound chinook, and Tim Allison is in fourth place with 25.06-pounder.

Crab slowing

Crabbing still hasn't taken off in Port Angeles, and is slowing down near Sequim.

“Lots of soft-shell crabs are being caught, and you've got to pitch those back in the water,” Aunspach said of Port Angeles' struggles.

Brian Menkal of Brian's Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said crabs are still being harvested near Sequim, but not as many crabbers are taking their limits and they're having to work harder for what they get.

But Menkal said there are still some crabs to be harvested.

“Watch the weather, if the wind's not blowing, put your pots in the water,” he said.

River fishing class

Menkal is teaching his two-part river salmon and steelhead fishing class starting Tuesday, Aug. 27, and concluding the following Tuesday, Sept. 3.

Both sessions start at 6 p.m. and end at 8:30 p.m.

The classes start with the basics of salmon and steelhead river fishing, and transitions into the intermediate-level knowledge.

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

Class attendance is limited to 20 participants. To reserve a spot or for more information, phone Menkal at 360-683-1950.

The classes are held at Brian's Sporting Goods and More at 609 W. Washington St. in Sequim.

Learn to row clinic

The Olympic Peninsula Rowing Association has one learn-to-row summer clinic remaining.

The clinic, open to youth ages 12 and older, starts Monday and runs through Friday. It starts at 9:30 a.m., and ends at 11:30 a.m.

Participants will be taught rowing technique by Rodrigo Rodrigues, a world-class rowing coach, with help from assistant coaches Holly Stevens and Tarah Erickson, both college rowers at the Division 1 level.

The cost for one week is $50.

For more information, or to reserve a spot in one of the clinics, contact John Halberg at 360-460-6525 or at halberg@olypen.com.

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: August 22. 2013 9:31PM
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