LEE HORTON’S OUTDOORS: Saltwater salmon season taking a break

By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News

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THE FOG FINALLY lifted over the weekend.

Just in time for the saltwater salmon season to end.

Over five months of chinook, pinks and coho, today is the last day for salmon fishing in Marine Areas 5 (Sekiu) and 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca).

While the town of Sekiu will probably close up shop until February when the salmon fishery reopens for a few months, anglers will have a chance to catch blackmouth starting Sunday, Dec. 1.

Or they don’t have to wait. Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) opens to hatchery chinook fishing Friday.

Fishing for wild and hatchery coho also remains open in Area 9 through Saturday, Nov. 30.

And don’t forget the Hood Canal salmon fishery. Up to four salmon can be harvested (only two can be chinook) in Marine Area 12 through Dec. 31.

I guess the saltwater salmon season never completely ends on the North Olympic Peninsula, but these are the months that it slows down considerably.

Watch sockeye

The public is invited to a celebration of salmon at the Ozette Ranger Station Saturday from 1 p.m to 4 p.m.

This free event includes scheduled tours to Umbrella Creek to watch sockeye returning to spawn.

Those who attend also can meet local scientists and people involved in sockeye recover, touch pelts and the skulls of predators and learn about the historic and cultural significance of the salmon of Lake Ozette.

Tip: Bring your rain gear, camera, and if you have them, a pair of binoculars.

Here’s how to get to the Ozette Ranger Station from the east: From U.S. Highway 101, get on State Road 112. About 2.5 miles beyond Sekiu, turn left onto the Hoko-Ozette Road. Follow this road for about 20 miles to the ranger station.

Easy enough.

Before you go, you should know that there are limited facilities due to the winter season.

Dr. Nancy Messmer of Sekiu has uploaded a few videos on YouTube that show some sockeye in the creek. View one of them here: www.tinyurl.com/pdnSockeye.

More razor clam digs

The clams are safe to eat, so the state Department of Fish and Wildlife have approved an eight-day evening razor clam dig that begins Friday.

Looking ahead, another dig is tentatively scheduled for Friday, Nov. 15, to Wednesday, Nov. 20.

Dan Ayres, state coastal shellfish manager, said in a press release that this could be one of the season’s best digs.

“This might be the best low-tide series we’ll have the entire season,” he said.

“Digging conditions and strong clam numbers combine to suggest diggers should do very well, weather depending.”

The schedule for the upcoming dig and evening low tides is:

■ Friday: 5:52 p.m.; 0.1 feet; Twin Harbors and Mocrocks.

■ Saturday: 6:36 p.m.; -0.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks.

■ Sunday: 6:16 p.m.; -1.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks.

■ Monday: 6:59 p.m.; -1.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks.

■ Tuesday: 7:45 p.m.; -1.3 feet; Long Beach and Twin Harbors.

■ Wednesday: 8:33 p.m.; -1.2 feet; Twin Harbors.

■ Nov. 7, Thursday: 9:24 p.m.; -1.2 feet; Twin Harbors.

■ Nov. 8, Friday: 10:19 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Twin Harbors.

Ayres said the best results typically occur one to two hours before low tide, and that digging is not allowed at any beach before noon.

“Getting to the beach early should allow diggers to harvest clams before darkness sets in, at least based on low-tide times for the first four or five days of the dig,” he said.

“But being prepared for darkness is a good idea. Always bring a lantern, which is much more effective for spotting clams than the direct beam of a flashlight.”


Sports Editor Lee Horton appears here Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at lhorton@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 30. 2013 6:17PM
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