OUTDOORS: Be mindful of May's tidal swings

Puget Sound anglers at 13-percent of halibut quota

HALIBUT ANGLERS ARE chock a block full of locales to target the flatfish now that Neah Bay and La Push, plus Westport and other coastal areas, join the already open Puget Sound.

Remaining halibut dates in May for Neah Bay and La Push include today, Saturday, Thursday, May 10-11, 16-18, 24-26 and 30-31.

June dates are 1-2, 6-9, 13-16, 20-23 and 27-30.

Some of the May dates, particularly the Thursday through May 11 opening, coincide with some massive tidal differences, including morning low tides lower than -2 feet on those dates. Tides will play a role again for the May 24-26 openings with negative tides in the morning and high tides after midnight.

Experts all say the same thing: increased tidal movement will move more bait around, and what goes after that bait with ambush hunting tactics? Halibut and other bottomfish.

Puget Sound update

Estimates on halibut catch for the final two weeks of April have been released.

Puget Sound, including Marine Area 5: From April 17-23, 1,077 anglers caught 171 halibut for a total of 2,380.9 pounds, and from April 24-30, 798 anglers caught 173 halibut for a total of 2,751.7 pounds.

Total cumulative catch for April is 10,458.4 pounds or 12.8 percent of the quota.

Anderson Lake closed

Elevated levels of the potent nerve toxin anatoxin-a were detected in a water sample taken from Anderson Lake in Anderson Lake State Park near Chimacum on April 22.

Test results were received Monday and the toxin level is 90 times higher than the state’s recreational criteria.

A bloom of toxin-producing cyanobacteria was found in the lake on April 1, but toxin levels stayed below the recreational criteria until last week.

Exposure to anatoxin-a can result in illness and death in people and animals when ingested, even in tiny amounts.

State Parks has posted “Danger — Keep Out of Lake” signs at access points to the park alerting visitors of the hazard. Water-based recreational activities such as fishing, boating and swimming are prohibited until the bloom dissipates and the toxin levels decline. Anderson Lake State Park remains open for other recreational activities such as horseback riding, hiking, biking and birdwatching.

Cougar comments

Public comments on proposed changes to cougar hunting seasons may be submitted electronically, by phone or by mail through June 21, or in person during a public hearing at the state Fish and Wildlife Commission’s June meeting in Vancouver.

If adopted, the proposed rule would set the state’s cougar hunting season from Sept. 1 to March 31, set a cap of 13 percent of each population management unit (PMU) using a specific statewide density, and include all known human-caused cougar mortalities to determine when to close a PMU during the season.

Additionally, in PMUs that reach the 13 percent cap prior to the cougar hunting season starting on Sept. 1, the cap would be increased to 20 percent of the population to provide hunting opportunity in those PMUs.

The public may submit comments online, via email, by calling 1-855-925-2801 and entering project code 1261; or by mailing Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife ATTN: Wildlife Program, P.O. Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504. June 21 is the deadline to submit comments through any of these methods.

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