LEE HORTON'S OUTDOORS: 'Going in the woods' contaminating Big Quilcene River

By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily news

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UM, NO, THAT isn't a brown trout in the Big Quilcene River.

Apparently, there's a big problem on the Big Quil — anglers are acting like little kids.

Maribeth Crandell from the Jefferson County Water Quality Division sent wrote press release about this problem.

“In September 2011, commercial shellfish operations were temporarily closed in Quilcene Bay,” Crandell wrote.

“The report from the state Department of Health stated, 'The closure is due to human waste from salmon fishers along the Big Quilcene River.'”

Come on, anglers.

The mouth of the Big Quilcene River is a popular spot for commercial oyster harvesters.

Oysters, not surprisingly, need clean water.

Since the closure two years ago, the Jefferson County Water Quality Division has worked to curb this problem by providing toilets at nearby Riverside Park and posting signs that show where the nearest restrooms are located.

“Still, fishers and neighbors report seeing others 'going' in the woods, near the water, and even washing themselves off in the river,” Crandell said.

“Toilet paper has been left on the ground, in the trees, by the road and within a few yards of the Sanicans [portable toilets].

“They say, 'You are what you eat.' You have to wonder if these fishermen are missing the connection between the fish they're catching for dinner and the river where they're choosing to defecate.”

Everything washes downstream, so this “human waste” can contaminate the shellfish beds in Quilcene Bay.

This can hurt the economy and affect the jobs of our fellow humans.

There are also health risks, even if you don't eat the shellfish or drink the water.

“Even if you're not eating shellfish or drinking the water, exposure to sewage or contaminated water can lead to hepatitis, diarrhea, dysentery and other gastrointestinal maladies,” Crandell said.

“All it takes is a cut in the skin for these pathogens to enter [the body], and with the close proximity of flying fish hooks, that's not far-fetched.”

Getting caught with your pants down will cost you more than a fishing license. Even winning a salmon derby might not cover the cost.

Crandell points out that Revised Code of Washington (RCW) states that improper disposal of potentially dangerous materials, which includes human waste, is a Class 1 civil infraction, which carries a $1,025 fine.

Jefferson County Public Health asks anglers and neighbors to report violators by calling the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at 877-933-9847 or text messaging TIP to 411.

Fishing reports

As was discussed in Thursday's column, this weekend should be great for fishing.

The weather forecast predicts that the warm weather will continue, and there are silvers in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Here are a few other ideas:

■ Ward Norden, a fishing tackle wholesaler and former fishery biologist, checked in with a report from this column's favorite lake.

“Lake Leland bank fishers are doing well on perch and a few bass and catfish, but the water is still quite warm, 69-70 degrees and rising this week, so trout fishing won't improve until the water temps drop at least 6 degrees,” Norden said.

■ Brenda and Wayne Chisholm took a break from fishing Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) to catch Tuna in the Pacific Ocean, along with Terry Snider of Sequim.

“We went on our annual tuna trip and caught 215 [tuna] in eight hours — 40 miles out of Westport [Marine Area 2],” Brenda Chisholm said.

Norden has also been hyping the albacore fishing on the coast recently.

Olympic Bike Adventure

The Olympic Bike Adventure, held by Port Angeles Parks and Recreation and the Sequim Sunrise Rotary Group, is Sunday.

This fun, fully supported family bike ride features three different ride lengths: 10-, 25- and 60-mile routes.

Riders will travel along the Olympic Discovery Trail through valleys and a long the shoreline.

There also will be a stop at the Boys and Girls Club in Sequim for lunch.

The ride begins at 8 a.m. at the Gateway Pavilion, or 11 a.m. from Robin Hill Park for the shorter route.

Registration is $50, or $25 for riders 12 and younger. The fee includes lunch and an event T-shirt.

For more information or to register, phone Dan at 360-417-4557.

Register online at www.olympicbikeadventure.com.

Early mushrooms

Norden went into the hills above Quilcene last weekend, and it took him only a few minutes to harvest a bunch of large chanterelle mushrooms.

The size of these mushrooms in early September could have significance to more than just mushroom hunters.

“This is way too early for large chanterelles like these,” Norden said.

“Winter is coming early this year.”

Fishing classes

With the coho starting to make their run up the West End rivers, this is a great time to expand your fishing knowledge.

There are a few classes slated to help you do just that.

■ Curt Reed of Waters West in Port Angeles is holding a freshwater trout clinic on Saturday.

The class will examine different water types, teach the techniques for those water types and discuss tackle, flies and seasons.

The clinic will take place on the rivers in the Forks area.

The cost is $75.

To sign up, stop by Waters West (140 W. Front St.), phone 360-417-0937 or email info@waterswest.com.

■ Brian Menkal of Brian's Sporting Goods and More in Sequim will begin another round of his two-part river salmon and steelhead class on Tuesday, Sept. 17.

Part two will be Tuesday, Sept. 24.

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

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.

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.


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

Last modified: September 12. 2013 11:35PM
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