THOSE WHO WOULD enjoy fishing or harvesting shellfish but have yet to purchase a recreational fishing license or shellfish endorsement are in luck this weekend.
The state of Washington’s annual Free Fishing Weekend is planned Saturday and Sunday. No licenses are required.
During those two days, no license will be required to fish or gather shellfish in any waters open to fishing in the state.
Anglers will also not need a Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement, otherwise required to fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries. Nor will they need a two pole endorsement to fish with two poles in selected waters where two-pole fishing is permitted.
No vehicle access pass or Discover Pass will be required during Free Fishing Weekend to park at any of the nearly 700 water-access sites maintained by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Saturday dovetails with Washington State Park’s free day in recognition of National Get Outdoors Day. No Discover Pass is required in state parks Saturday.
A Discover Pass will be required in state parks Sunday and on Department of Natural Resources lands throughout the weekend.
There’s plenty of fish to go after this weekend. Halibut is open Saturday and anglers also can fish for lingcod and rockfish in the briny depths, while hatchery steelhead are on the move in West End rivers and chrome kokanee on the bite in one nearby lake.
Rosko at the lake
Port Angeles angler and lure designer Pete Rosko has returned for a summer of lake fishing and a little salmon fishing along the kelp line at Freshwater Bay when the season opens next month.
Rosko fished for kokanee at Lake Sutherland on Wednesday, and found conditions much improved from a trip out on the lake exactly a year ago.
“Last year, the surface water temperature was 73 degrees and the 10-inch kokanee were running the smallest in [my] 36 years of fishing [the lake],” Rosko said.
Wednesday, Rosko encountered water temperatures of 65 degrees on his fish finder and bright chrome kokanee averaging 14 inches in length.
“Traditionally, the best fishing in June is in the extreme east section of the lake,” Rosko said.
“[Wednesday] was no exception. Best results were in water depths ranging between 59- and 66- feet. Slow-drift jigging metal jigs, 4 to 6 feet off bottom, produced constant action.”
Rosko’s best-hitting jigs were ½ oz hot pink (cerise) Kandlefish and ¾ oz glow chartreuse Sonic BaitFish.
“The trick is to make sure that the jig is heavy enough to quickly reach bottom and stay near bottom,” Rosko said. “Each full turn of your spinning reel handle averages about two feet.
“Once your jig tails off, and rises from the bottom, retrieve and repeat your drop. This jigging technique consistently produces larger and more kokanee versus trolling, when done correctly.”
Rosko helped me find the fish and a little bit of calm during a gorgeous day on Lake Sutherland last September, so I know his advice is golden.
Don’t drink/drug and boat
State and local law enforcement agencies are conducting boating under the influence (BUI) emphasis patrols on waterways across Washington this summer.
The Washington State Parks Boating Program and state Department Fish and Wildlife Police and city and county marine patrol units around the state are working together to remind boaters of the risks of boating while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard’s 2015 Recreational Boating Statistics report, boating under the influence is the leading known contributing factor in recreational boating fatalities. In Washington state, alcohol and drugs were a contributing factor in almost 30 percent of boating fatalities and 18 percent of boating injuries between 2005 and 2011.
The state has seen a slight decline since strengthening the BUI law in 2013; however, alcohol and drugs were a still factor in 18 percent of the state’s boating fatalities last year.
State law allows law enforcement officers to require suspected intoxicated boaters to submit to a breath or blood test. Refusing to submit to a test is a civil infraction with a maximum fine of $2,050. The penalty for operating a boat under the influence is a gross misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000 and 364 days in jail.
Additionally, a BUI is considered a prior offense if there are later convictions for driving under the influence (DUI). The BUI law applies to all boats, including kayaks, canoes, rowboats and inflatable fishing rafts.
Child life jackets
The BoatUS Foundation has published a life jacket loaner map allowing the public to find children’s life jacket loaner locales across the country.
The map can be found at www.boatus.org/life-jacket-loaner/map.
The foundation is interested in helping families stay safe while enjoying the water.
The closest loaner spots to Port Angeles are John Wayne Marina and Sequim Bay State Park.
Let’s not have any boating tragedies, especially any that could be prevented by wearing a life jacket.
Sports reporter/columnist Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or email@example.com.