OUTDOORS: Saltwater salmon fishing is booming in Port Angeles
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Especially in the Port Angeles area.
Longtime area anglers haven’t seen fishing like this for at least 30 years.
“Fishing has been hot, hot, hot,” Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said.
“It hasn’t been like this in many years.”
Fishing for saltwater hatchery salmon “has been excellent in both quantity and quality,” he added.
Mostly chinook are being caught but there are some cohos in the mix, too.
But the vast majority of the fish caught have been kings.
Menkal said he heard of a 36-pound salmon being caught, and also a 35-pound monster caught by Bob Aunspach of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles.
Aunspach chuckled when he heard the size of the fish he reportedly caught.
“I like that rumor,” he said. “I wish it was that big.”
Aunspach’s fish weighed in at 24.8 pounds, good enough for No. 2 on the current ladder of the monthly Port Angeles Fish Derby. (An update of the fish derby will be reported in the Outdoors column in Friday’s editions).
The reported bloated size of Aunspach’s salmon aside, fishing has been tremendous around Port Angeles, Aunspach said.
“The salmon season started out as good as I have ever seen it,” he said.
“It was like the 1970s and early ’80s. A lot of people were fishing, having fun and catching a lot of fish. Everyone was fishing.”
(See photo of one of those area chinook caught on Page B2).
Aunspach has been out three times — he and his fishing partner limiting quickly the first two times.
“The first time we had limited out by 6:30 [in the morning], and on July 4 we limited out by 7:50 [a.m.]. We fished for only an hour, hour and a half those two times.”
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that, well, the fishing has started to slow down a little bit.
“I heard that it had slowed down [on Tuesday],” Menkal said.
“But that report was from only one person. If you hear the same thing from two, three or more people then it’s a trend.
“The one person could have been fishing in a bad spot.”
Aunspach also has heard about a slowdown, but he blames the weather.
Oh sure, it has been beautiful summer weather out there, great for hiking and barbecues, but we’re talking about how the weather affects fishing on the saltwater.
“Fishing is definitely slowing down some because of the wind and the fog,” Aunspach said.
“Saturday was a pretty good day but then the fog showed up Sunday. And now the wind has picked up.”
Fewer anglers are out on the water fishing because of the conditions.
“The fish are still there, we just need the weather to change to get more people on the water,” Aunspach said.
Below are the numbers of the fish being caught in the Port Angeles area the past week.
■ Freshwater Bay ramp — July 3: 14 boats with 25 anglers caught 15 chinook; July 5: 20 boats with 37 anglers caught 18 chinook, four kelp greenling and two flounder; July 7: 24 boats with 41 anglers caught 10 chinook and one coho; July 8: 15 boats with 31 anglers caught 10 chinook.
■ Ediz Hook ramp — July 2: 55 boats with 112 anglers caught 95 chinook and four coho; July 3: 22 boats with 41 anglers caught 42 chinook; July 6: 55 boats with 115 anglers caught 72 chinook; July 7: 30 boats with 61 anglers caught 88 chinook and one coho; July 8: 71 boats with 157 anglers caught 94 chinook.
In other words, if you haven’t fished for ocean kings for awhile, this is the time to do it.
Years down the road, you can brag to your grandkids about the summer everyone was catching kings.
Last modified: July 11. 2012 5:57PM