OUTDOORS: Fishing hot, crabbing not
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It doesn’t matter where you throw your line in, well, except that one place where the fish just aren’t hanging out at that moment, the fish are there.
They’re in big numbers in the saltwater from LaPush and Neah Bay down past Sekiu and into the Port Angeles area, and the fishing still is good in the freshwater rivers on the West End.
The ocean chinook are still in great numbers, and now the coho are starting to move in, much earlier than normal.
It’s also a good weekend for hiking, but keep in mind there’s still lots of snow in the higher elevations — and Bob Gooding in Forks has a little warning about hiking there — but we’ll get back to that later.
Crabbing, meanwhile, has been hit and miss.
Ocean fishing for chinook started out like gangbusters, more like the good old days of 30 years ago than recent history, according to longtime area anglers.
And the kings are still going strong as the coho try to muscle in on the action. But right now it’s a poor show of muscle because these silvers are puny, which is normal for this time of year.
It’s like Rowan Atkinson trying to muscle in on Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“I have heard that the coho have moved into Port Angeles down from the Strait,” Brian Menkal of Brian’s Sporting Goods and More (360-683-1950) in Sequim said.
“They are on the move.”
The coho have been in the Sekiu area in big numbers, and are beginning to make their presence known in the waters off Port Angeles.
Anglers are catching some silvers accidently but they are really keying on the kings, Bob Aunspach of Swain’s General Store (360-452-2357) in Port Angeles said.
“There’s a few coho, but they are really early for us,” Aunspach said.
“They are probably 3 to 4 pounds at best. They usually get big mid-August.”
So Rowan, you need to keep pumping that iron for at least another month.
For more on the chinook bonanza in the Port Angeles area, read the Outdoors column on Page B1 in Thursday’s editions.
PA fish derby
Aunspach remains in second on the monthly Port Angeles Fish Derby ladder almost midway through the month.
Aunspach’s catch of a king 24.8 pounds currently is runner-up to Jeffrey Delia’s 30.2-pound monster.
In third place is Larry Breitbach, who caught a fish weighing 23.13 pounds, while Jim Merriwether is in fourth place at 23.8 pounds.
For more information on how to participate in the monthly fish derby, call Swain’s at 360-452-2357.
Neah Bay kings
Chinook still are in great numbers in the ocean off LaPush and Neah Bay.
“We’re getting early morning bites [for kings] at 4:30 at Green Can,” Stephen Jimmicum of Big Salmon Resort (360-645-2374) in Neah Bay said.
“Swiftsure is doing pretty steady, too.”
The kings are good size, Jimmicum said.
“They are 12 to 30 pounds, and the silvers are getting a little thicker, too. We have fish right out front, and the weather’s been pretty fair.”
The kings have been a little harder to find in the LaPush area.
“Ocean fishing has been decent but they have been going out a long way to get them [in LaPush],” Bob Gooding of Olympic Sporting Goods (360-374-6330) in Forks said.
“They have been fishing pretty deep.”
Now don’t forget about those steelhead and some freshwater chinook playing around in those West End rivers.
“The rivers are getting lower [because of the dry weather] but there’s still steelies in them,” Menkal said.
“The water level is down but if you use light lines and small gear you will do fine.”
Overall, though, the river levels aren’t bad because of snow melt from the higher elevations, Gooding added.
“The rivers are going down but they are starting to get melt from up above. The snow melt is keeping them decent.”
Fishing for steelhead in all the rivers is good, Gooding said.
He recommends the Bogachiel, Sol Duc and Calawah right now.
“The Bogachiel has been pretty good,” Gooding said.
And the Sol Duc seems to be always good for fishing.
The Sol Duc has sockeye, steelies and a few springer kings right now, Gooding added.
Menkal also has heard of freshwater anglers having success on both the Sol Duc and Bogachiel rivers.
“They are getting mainly steelies but there are some springers in the Sol Duc,” Menkal said.
What a glorious weekend for hiking.
There are hundreds of trails criss-crossing the North Olympic Peninsula, rated all the way from easy and short to only the most experienced should apply.
Gooding said someone told him Tuesday that he was going hiking in the mountains.
That hike didn’t last long.
“He called me and said there was still 4 to 5 feet of snow where he was trying to hike,” Gooding said.
“You don’t want to go up there when the snow is covering the trails. Twenty years ago some people went hiking up there, and they’re still there.”
Area crabbers have been, well, excuse the pun, crabby of late.
That’s because crabbing hasn’t been going the way of fishing right now.
While anglers are beating back the kings, crabbers have had to work hard at catching their quota.
But that’s the way it normally goes for crabbing, Aunspach said.
“With crabbing, you might have a good day, but then you have a couple of bad days,” he said.
Menkal said he also is getting the same bleak news from crabbers.
“Crabbing has been slow,” he said. “But some guys have been getting plenty of crab.”
Menkal advises potential crabbers to follow where all the red-and-white buoys are. That’s where the crabbers-in-know are doing their thing.
“It’s easy to tell where everybody is at,” he said.
Ever the philosopher, Aunspach says, “You keep putting your time in.
“You get a bunch of males one time [only males are legal to catch], then you get nothing the next time.
“That’s the way of crabbing.”
On that note, this will be a great weekend to get out there and do something in the outdoors.
Just stay away from those snow-covered trails.
Last modified: July 12. 2012 5:57PM