Will they or won’t they?
Pink salmon. Humpies. The odd-year everyman’s salmon. Will they show up in local saltwater this year in numbers even close to the hordes we’ve become used to seeing?
The consensus among knowledgeable persons in the sportfishing industry is that they won’t. Those folks say we should be knee-deep in pinks by now.
Sure, a few have been caught at different places, but most of the indicators are against us on this one. Catch reports from Sekiu and other spots on the Strait should be showing huge schools of humpies coming our direction and a per-person average of a fish or even two per person.
Not even close.
Ediz Hook ramp at Port Angeles, 20 anglers with zero; Olson’s Resort at Sekiu, 109 fishermen with 14 pinks over the weekend. Sad.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s forecast was for a small run this summer. Area 9 is closed to fishing from a boat, and the limited shore activity has not been a very accurate indication of what’s out there, but anglers chasing chinook in Area 10 (it closed Wednesday) were seeing little surface action from shallow-running pinks.
It’s not looking very good, but some are wary of saying we’ve seen the pink run and it’s underwhelming. Perhaps it’s a little too soon to write it off completely. But if things haven’t popped by this weekend, say goodbye.
“Our chinook were late this year, maybe that will hold true for humpies too,” said Gary Krein, Everett charter owner/operator. “Monday, down in Area 10, we hooked three or four pinks.”
Tom Sakamoto at Three Rivers Marine and Tackle said the Snohomish (the only one of our local rivers open to pinks) has been producing a few, and that a guide boat on Monday took six below Highway 9. The river above Highway 9 opened Wednesday to three fish daily, but be careful — if you go downstream past the Highway 529 bridge, you’re in Marine Area 8-2, which is closed to salmon.
Sakamoto said the standard technique for humpies on the Snohomish is to cast pink jigs — 3/8- or 1/2-ounce sizes — either anchoring above surfacing fish and working the jig down to them or casting and drifting. Either way, hone in on surface activity.
Picnic Point didn’t show much over the weekend; the Tulalip Bubble is putting out the occasional chinook — 36 anglers with one king Monday; Fort Casey, six with no fish; Hoodsport shore, one with no fish; Marrowstone beach, 19 with no fish; the Possession Point Bait Company (the “Bait Box”), three with no fish; and Possession Point State Park, four with no fish.
Point No Point was the best of the beach bunch, producing 16 coho and one pink for 71 anglers Saturday. Popular West Beach, near Deception Pass, closed Tuesday.
Mike Chamberlain at Ted’s Sport Center in Lynnwood said the Edmonds Pier is open and putting out some decent chinook fishing. There were a couple of 15-fish days recently, Chamberlain said, and you can keep hatchery or wild fish.
Chamberlain listed a selection of the most popular casting lures for beach and pier fishermen, as follows: Point Wilson Darts in 1½ to 2½-ounce weights; Mega Baits; Gibbs 2-ounce Minnows; Luhr Jensen Crippled Herring, in green glow or pearl, and in general, the color combinations silver/black, pearl/white, green, or chartreuse/pearl.
State record blue shark
An angler fishing for albacore 57 miles off Westport established the Washington record for a sport-caught blue shark. Zachary Jackson of Show Low, Arizona, caught the 27.6-pound, 55-inch shark on July 30, using anchovies. This was the first blue shark submitted for a state record in Washington.
Jackson makes the trip to Washington to fish for albacore about every other year, and said Westport is “one of the more consistent places to catch albacore on the West Coast.”
Wendy Beeghley, coastal salmon manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, said blue sharks are relatively common in offshore waters and are often hooked by albacore (and occasionally, salmon), anglers. Beeghley said blues can grow to 7 or 8 feet in length, but are not particularly aggressive.
Cathy Sawin at Westport Charters, said their charter skippers will not bring a shark aboard, electing instead to cut the angler’s line.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is soliciting public comment through Sept. 7 on a draft plan for future management of the North Cascades elk herd, the northernmost herd in Western Washington. The draft plan can be found on the WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01916.
Wildlife managers also will host a public meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. on Aug. 29 at the Sedro-Woolley Community Center.
Written comment can be submitted online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RDCSVVM or mailed to North Cascades Elk Herd Plan, Wildlife Program, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, P.O. Box 43200, Olympia, Wash., 98504.
The Nooksack herd is spread over a large area of Skagit and Whatcom counties. Since the last herd management plan was adopted in 2002, the population of the herd — the smallest the state manages — has rebounded from just a few hundred animals to more than 1,200.
But a growing elk population also comes with increased potential for elk/human interactions and conflict. The new draft plan includes several strategies to address those concerns.
The key goals of the proposed plan include:
— Minimizing elk damage on private property and elk-vehicle collisions along a stretch of Highway 20.
— Offering sustainable hunting opportunities, including an increase of at least 100 square miles available for hunting on private and public lands.
— Coordinating with Point Elliott Treaty Tribes on herd management and setting hunting seasons.
— Increasing elk viewing and photography opportunities.