LEE HORTON’S OUTDOORS COLUMN: Halibut taking off

By Lee Horton

Peninsula Daily News

HALIBUT FISHING IS in full effect this weekend.

After two weekends of exclusivity, both the northern Pacific Coast and Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca are open to the fishery.

Joey Lawrence of Big Salmon Resort (360-645-2374) said Thursday that Neah Bay isn’t nearly as busy as it was for the coastal opener last weekend.

“We were the only game in town [last week],” he said.

“With Port Angeles being open, [anglers] seem to have split it up.”

Lawrence reports Neah Bay had a solid opener last week.

Thursday was especially productive for anglers, but Saturday was hampered by weather.

Down the coast, in Marine Area 2 (Westport, Ocean Shores), the Sunday-and-Tuesday halibut fishery that opened May 5 has been so good that it is set to close early.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Thursday that Marine Area 2 quota is projected to have been caught by the end of Sunday.

That early closure doesn’t have much to do with the LaPush and Neah Bay fisheries, which technically end Saturday, but it could be an indication that the two areas will not be granted additional fishing days by the state.

Unless, that is, the fishing is bad in Marine Areas 3 (LaPush) and 4 (Neah Bay) this weekend, or so many people are fishing near Sequim, Port Angeles and Port Townsend that a large amount of fish are left on the Northern Coast.

Don’t forget that the salmon fishery is open today and Saturday to go along with Saturday’s halibut fishing.

Lawrence reports the chinook fishing, which is being offered for the first time in years, wasn’t as hot as the halibut fishing.

Lawrence did say that a few anglers caught some good kings around Waadah Island.

Strait halibut

Meanwhile, the Eastern Strait halibut fishery returned from its one-week hiatus this week, and is open through Sunday.

The reopener has a lot to live up to after the monumental opening to the season two weeks ago.

If the weather forecast remains true, the conditions should be conducive to good fishing.

There shouldn’t be much wind, so anglers should be able to keep their bait near the bottom of the Strait.

Looking ahead, the Port Angeles Salmon Club’s annual halibut derby will be held next weekend.

The halibut fishery in Marine Area 6 (Port Angeles, Sequim) and 9 (Admiralty Inlet) will be open an extra day — through Sunday, May 25 — due to the Memorial Day holiday.

However, it will not be open on Memorial Day itself, a change from previous years.

Spot shrimp

The Hood Canal and Discovery Bay spot shrimp seasons have only two days left: Saturday and Wednesday.

The state reports that most of the Puget Sound has experienced a 30 percent participation increase over last year, so it is unlikely days will be added to the season.

Meanwhile, Marine Areas 4, 5 and 6 still have several months remaining.

Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said recreational fishers have found success lately in Sequim Bay.

The trick has been to drop pots in deeper water.

Shallow water hasn’t been providing much catch, but deep water has been producing limits. So much so that some shrimpers even have to put some prawns back.

Kids fishing day

Saturday will be kids fishing day at the Sequim water reclamation pond and demonstration park, located just north of Carrie Blake Park on Blake Avenue.

The event, put on by the North Olympic Chapter of the Puget Sound Anglers, state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Sequim Public Works Department, lasts from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Fishing will be free for kids 14 years and younger, and the pond has been stocked with 1,500 trout — some weighing as much as five pounds.

There also will be a special pool for toddlers that contains a separate stock of trout.

Participants can bring their own pole and bait or borrow a rod from the club’s stock.

Kids also can learn how to clean fish by watching club members clean and ice the fish they catch.

As an added bonus, the pond will be stocked with another 1,000 fish during the weeks following the kids fishing day, so kids can fish throughout the summer.

Streamkeepers training

Streamkeepers, Clallam County’s volunteer stream monitoring program, is seeking new volunteers to help collect stream health data, perform data entry and analysis, and conduct education and outreach.

New volunteers will join existing stream teams in performing quarterly stream monitoring and other stewardship activities on streams throughout the county, or may volunteer to provide other kinds of program support, both outdoors and indoors.

Streamkeepers’ annual training begins next month and consists of an introductory evening session Tuesday, June 11, and two full-day classes, including both indoor and outdoor instruction, on Saturdays yet to be announced.

No previous experience or special equipment required, but volunteers should bring boots or waders if they have them.

Participants of all ages are invited to volunteer.

To participate, phone Ed Chadd at 360-417-2281 or email streamkeepers@co.clallam.wa.us.

Streamkeepers’ website is at www.clallam.net/streamkeepers.

Fundraiser banquet

The North Olympic Peninsula Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association will hold a fund raising banquet Thursday, June 13, at 5 p.m. at the John Wayne Marina.

Tickets are $65 per person or $120 per couple, and include a one-year membership to the Coastal Conservation Association and a dinner catered by Mike McQuay of Port Angeles’ Kokopelli Grill.

There will be live and silent auctions.

The Coastal Conservation Association is a grassroots organization of fishermen dedicated to the restoration of wild salmon and steelhead runs.

For more information, phone John Albiso at 360-928-1073 or nop@ccapnw.org for tickets.

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.

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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 lhorton@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 16. 2013 5:47PM
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