John Beath Halibut angler John Beath, operator of SquidPro Charters, caught this halibut while fishing off Port Angeles with some buddies on opening day of halibut season Thursday.

John Beath Halibut angler John Beath, operator of SquidPro Charters, caught this halibut while fishing off Port Angeles with some buddies on opening day of halibut season Thursday.

OUTDOORS: Opening day halibut anglers find flatfish

Windy weather keeps effort down

BLUSTERY WINDS KEPT some anglers from fishing on opening day of halibut season — and it’s a net positive that anglers didn’t feel pressured to head out due to how the season is scheduled.

There will be plenty of better weather days to target the flatfish going forward this spring and likely into the summer based on previous seasons.

But many anglers did hit the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Thursday.

John Beath of Sequim, a noted halibut angler and operator of SquidPro Charters (360-808-0029), headed out from Port Angeles and found success.

“The water conditions were supposed to be really good this morning, but it was blowing up so bad out in the deeper spots that we came in and went into 71 feet of water and anchored up,” Beach said.

Beath reeled in a halibut perfectly sized for table fare on a later bite.

“We got ’em on a Fat Squid and a herring,” Beath said.

Beath said he had heard of five other successful hookups from other opening-day anglers by 2:20 p.m. Thursday.

Beath said they saw some bait balls in the Strait and he expects herring and some crab to show up in the halibut’s stomach when gutted and filleted.

And with the windy weather, fears of backups at Port Angeles area boat launches, especially Ediz Hook, weren’t realized, at least on opening day.

“The funny thing is, a lot of people were scared off when they saw it was blowing 20 knots at Smith Island and going pretty good out in the middle [of the Strait],” Beath said. “And there was hardly anyone at the Port Angeles Boat Haven. We checked the webcam and even at John Wayne Marina there was only five boats by 7 a.m.”

As a reminder, halibut is open seven days a week through June 30 in Marine Areas 5-10. If quota remains after June 30, the season will reopen seven days a week in August and September.

La Push and Neah Bay will open May 2 and continue on a weekend schedule through May and June for ocean-going halibut anglers.

Kids’ Fishing Derby

The Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishers are sponsoring a Kids’ Fishing Derby at the Lincoln Park ponds from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

Kids from 5 to 14 years old can fish using conventional spin gear with bait and lures. The Kiwanis, Les Schwab, Re/Max Realty and Swain’s General Store are all supporting the event.

The Kiwanis Club will be at the Loomis Cabin serving hot dogs. There will be first- , second- and third-place prizes in five age divisions for the biggest fish caught, which will be awarded immediately after the derby ends at 10:30 a.m.

Prizes include quality fishing outfits, rods, accessories and tackle boxes. Fishing starts at 8 a.m. and measuring begins at 8:30 a.m.

Razor clam digs set

Razor clam digging will run Monday through April 14 on morning tides at coastal beaches.

On all open beaches, the daily limit is 15 clams per person. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container, and all diggers must keep the first 15 clams they dig, regardless of size or condition, to prevent waste.

All diggers 15 or older must have an applicable fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach.

For license information, visit https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/login-redirect.

•  Monday: 6:44 a.m.; -0.5 feet; Mocrocks.

•  Tuesday: 7:29 am.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Mocrocks.

•  Wednesday: 8:14 a.m.; -1.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis.

•  Thursday: 9 a.m., -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis.

•  April 12: 9:48 a.m., -1.1 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks.

•  April 13: 10:40 a.m., -0.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks (digging extended until 1 p.m.).

•  April 14: 11:38 a.m., 0.1 feet; Long Beach, Copalis (digging extended until 1 p.m.).

Tentative digs are planned April 23-29 and May 6-12.

For more information on razor clams, visit https://tinyurl.com/PDN-RazorClams24.

________

Sports reporter/columnist Michael Carman can be contacted at sports@ peninsulanews.us.

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