2019 CA Recreational Ocean Salmon Regulations

OR/CA Border to Horse Mountain (KMZ)

May 25 – September 2

  • Open seven days per week
  • Minimum size limit: 20 inches total length
  • Klamath Control Zone* (KCZ) closed in August
  • Additional closures around mouth of Klamath, Smith & Eel rivers

Horse Mountain to Point Arena (Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg)

April 13 – 30 and May 18 – Oct 31

  • Open seven days per week
  • Minimum size limit: 20 inches total length

Point Arena to Pigeon Point (San Francisco)

April 13 – 30 and May 18 – Oct 31

  • Open seven days per week
  • Minimum size limit: 24 inches total length through April 30
  • 20 inches thereafter

Pigeon Point to U.S./Mexico Border (Monterey and South)

April 6 – August 28

  • Open seven days per week
  • Minimum size limit: 24 inches total length

General Sport Regulations

  • Daily bag limit: 2 salmon of any species except Coho.
  • Possession limit: No more than two daily bag limits may be possessed when on land. On a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit.
  • 2019 Sport Ocean Salmon Season Flyer (PDF)

*Klamath Control Zone: The ocean area at the Klamath River mouth bounded on the north by 41°38’48” N. lat. (approximately 6 nautical miles north of the Klamath River mouth); on the west, by 124°23’00” W. long. (approximately 12 nautical miles off shore); and on the south, by 41°26’48” N. lat. (approximately 6 nautical miles south of the Klamath River mouth).

The wait is over — salmon season opens Saturday

The North Coast sport salmon season opens on Saturday, and it looks to be littered with unknowns. First and foremost, will boats be able to get out? The marine forecast is getting worse by the day. Saturday’s forecast is calling for 10 to 20 knot winds and waves 9 feet at 9 seconds. That’s big-boat weather for sure. For the boats that do make it out, where do you start? Conditions have been horrible for over a week now, so there’s no insight on where the feed is.  Typically, commercial crabbers or shrimpers would be coming back to port with information on where they’ve seen some good water, rafts of birds, and screens loaded with bait. Or even where they’ve seen salmon on the surface. Doesn’t look like we’ll have that luxury for the opener. The upside is the season will be long one, and there will be plenty of fishable days on the horizon. There should be plenty of salmon too. According to the PFMC, 274,222 Klamath adult salmon are swimming in the ocean along with another 379,632 Sacramento fall Chinook.

General sport salmon regulations:
Our 2019 ocean sport salmon season runs from May 25 through September 2 and is open from the OR/CA border south to Horse Mountain, (Klamath Management Zone). Fishing is allowed seven days per week for all salmon except Coho, two fish per day and a minimum size limit of 20 inches total length for Chinook. The possession is no more than two daily bag limits in possession while on land. On a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit. No salmon punch card is required for ocean salmon fishing. For complete ocean salmon regulations, please visit the Ocean Salmon webpage at https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Salmon or call the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline (707) 576-3429.

Weekend Marine Forecast
The marine forecast has been jumping all over the place. As of Wednesday, conditions for Saturday’s salmon opener look a little bumpy. Winds will be out of the NW on Saturday blowing 10 to 20 knots and waves NW 9 feet at 9 seconds. The wind will start to come down on Sunday, coming out of the W at 5 knots with NW waves 6 feet at 8 seconds and SW 2 feet at 16 seconds. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or https://www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

Big Salmon Contest
Eureka’s Englund Marine will be holding its BIG FISH Salmon Contest again this year. The annual event runs from May 25 to September 2. There is no entry fee and you can enter as many fish as you’d like. Salmon need to be gutted and gilled. Prizes will be awarded to the top three fish. A complete list of rules and regulations are available at Englund Marine, 2 Commercial St., Eureka, 707-444-9266.

Klamath/Trinity Rivers 2019 salmon season set
With an above average return of fall-run kings to the Klamath and Trinity rivers, anglers are looking at a generous quota that could last well into September. During their meeting last Thursday, the California Fish and Game Commission adopted bag and possession limits for the Klamath Basin based on a quota of 7,637 fall-run adults. On the Klamath, the fall season begins on Aug. 15 and closes Dec. 31. The fall season begins on the Trinity Sept. 1 and closes Dec. 31.

The daily bag limit will be two Chinook salmon, no more than one of which may be greater than 22 inches, and a possession limit of six, of which only three may be greater than 22 inches. On the Lower Klamath, from the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth, 3,818 adults will be allowed for sport harvest. The section above the 96 bridge at Weitchpec to 3,500 feet downstream of the Iron Gate Dam will get 1,298 adults.

The Spit Area (within 100 yards of the channel through the sand spit formed at the Klamath River mouth) will close when 15 percent of the total Klamath River Basin quota is taken downstream of the Highway 101 bridge. In 2019, 1,145 adults can be harvested below the 101 bridge before the closure at the mouth is implemented. The rest of the area below Highway 101 (estuary) will remain open to recreational fishing.

Important Reminder: Spring-run Chinook salmon fishing regulations will run from July 1 through Aug. 14 with a bag limit reduced to one salmon per day, with two in possession. The take of salmon is prohibited on the Klamath River from Iron Gate Dam downstream to Weitchpec from Jan. 1 through Aug. 14.

On the Trinity side, which will be open to fall-run Chinook salmon fishing Sept. 1 and run through Dec. 31, the quota is set at 2,520 adults. The quota will be split evenly; 1,260 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat and 1,260 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar to the confluence with the Klamath. The main stem downstream of the Highway 299 Bridge at Cedar Flat to the Denny Road Bridge in Hawkins Bar is closed to all fishing September 1 through December 31. The main stem downstream of the Highway 299 Bridge at Cedar Flat to the Denny Road Bridge in Hawkins Bar is closed to all fishing September 1 through December 31. The Trinity will be open to spring-run Chinook salmon fishing from July 1 through Aug. 31 and the bag limit will be reduced to one salmon per day, with two in possession. The take of salmon is prohibited from the confluence of the South Fork Trinity River downstream to the confluence of the Klamath River from Jan. 1 through Aug. 31.

Once these quotas have been met, no Chinook salmon greater than 22 inches in length may be retained (anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon under 22 inches in length). The 2019-2020 sport seasons, dates, locations, bag limits and gear restrictions will be published in the 2019-2020 Sport Fishing Regulations Supplement, which will be posted on the CDFW website in May. Additional season information can be found on CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage or by calling CDFW’s ocean salmon hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the Klamath-Trinity River hotline at (800) 564-6479. All anglers on the Trinity and Klamath rivers must have Salmon Harvest Cards in their possession when fishing for salmon.

The Oceans:
Eureka
“The Eureka fleet hasn’t been offshore since last Tuesday,” said Skipper Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “Prior to the wind, there was some good signs straight out in 240 to 300 feet of water. Some really good edges, lots of birds and bait. That’s where we’ll likely start looking on Saturday. The wind is predicted to lay down on Sunday and Monday, so we should get a few days on the water to locate the fish.” said Klassen.

Trinidad
The last time we were offshore the current was ripping, so we don’t really have a starting point for salmon reports Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters out of Trinidad. He said, “What we’ll probably do is head to deeper water above Patrick’s Point and tack back and see what we can find,” added Wilson.
The Trinidad launch will be running this weekend from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Weather depending, they will be open through the season every day except Mondays. They are planning on being open on Memorial Day, May 27. They can be reached at 677-3625.

Shelter Cove
Like the rest of the North Coast, there hasn’t been much offshore activity out of the Cove due to rough seas. Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing ran a salmon charter on Monday, and was unable to locate any kings. “We landed five silvers before switching over to rockfish,” said Mitchell. “Jared Morris was fishing for salmon as well and had a couple shakers. I haven’t heard of any legal kings being caught since it opened back up. The weather doesn’t look good the rest of the week, but we should be back on the water by the weekend.”

Crescent City
The ocean has been too rough to get out this week reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “Like everywhere else, the wind has been howling here. I haven’t seen many boats going out. And if they went out, it wasn’t for long. The best report we have this week is the crabbing is going really good right on the beach.”

Brookings
The ocean has been too rough the past week to fish out of Brookings, but is expected to settle down for the weekend according to Andy Martin, of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “Salmon season opens Saturday, but the expected 8-foot swell will probably limit success. The best salmon season early in the season typically takes place three to eight miles offshore, fishing 100 feet down over 300 feet of water. Muddy water coming out of the Chetco will make a run to at least Bird Island necessary for productive bottom fishing this week.”

River openings
Sections of the main Eel (South Fork to Cape Horn Dam), South Fork Eel (South Fork Eel River from mouth to Rattlesnake Creek) Van Duzen, Mad, Little River, Mattole and Smith will re-open on Saturday, May 25th. On most rivers, only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. For a complete list of river openings and regulations visit http://www.eregulations.com/california/fishing/freshwater/

John and Sheila Breslin of Sacramento landed a nice pair of hatchery spring-run kings while fishing the lower Rogue River on Monday. Salmon fishing has been slow on the Rogue, but the rain and higher flows should bring in some new fish.
Photo courtesy of Steve Huber’s Guide Service

The Rivers:
Lower Rogue
“Springer fishing has been slow on the lower Rogue, although this week’s rain should pull in some late fish,” said Martin. “Fishing pressure has been light, but typically gets busy on Memorial Day Weekend. The water is too high for effective bay trolling.” 

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Chetco fall kings on the decline

Fall Chinook salmon returning to the Chetco are on the decline, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is proposing some pretty drastic cutbacks. In a press release issued on Monday, the ODFW is proposing temporary harvest limits and closures for coastal wild fall chinook fisheries due to low escapement in 2018 and poor forecasts for this year. Preseason forecasts show fewer than 1,300 wild spawning Chinook will return to the Chetco, which is below the minimum needed to keep the population from declining further. ODFW is proposing a closure on the Chetco upstream of mile 2.2 at least until November and reduce the limit from one a day and five a year to one a day and no more than two a year. The closed section of the Chetco would open only after significant rains would allow the salmon to migrate freely upstream. ODFW is also looking at curtailing the extremely popular “Bubble” fishery at the mouths of the Chetco and Elk Rivers. These fisheries only occur when there’s an abundance of excess kings for anglers to harvest. These proposals are temporary, one-year reductions put in place to lessen the number of chinook anglers keep and increase the number that spawn in the fall. No changes are proposed for the Rogue or Umpqua rivers.

Paul Bocher of Reedsport landed this hefty fall Chinook salmon while fishing the Chetco “Bubble” fishery in 2018. The ODFW is proposing a one-year temporary closure to the fishery in 2019 due to extremely low preseason forecasts of returning wild kings to the Chetco this fall. Photo courtesy of Andy Martin/ Brookings Fishing Charters.

The public is invited to give input on the temporary proposals at meetings hosted in North Bend, Port Orford and Brookings. Proposed temporary regulation changes provide angling opportunity while cutting back harvest and increasing spawning escapement of wild fall chinook. Public input helps to balance the two objectives and help fishery managers should additional regulations be needed during the season. The meeting in Brookings will be held June 5 from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the Brookings, Chetco Community Public Library, 405 Alder Street. For more information, visit https://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2019/05_May/051319.asp

Shelter Cove sport salmon season set to reopen Saturday
The sport salmon fishery will reopen this Saturday, May 18 from Horse Mountain, which includes Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg, south to Pigeon Point. The season will run through Oct. 31. The season from Pigeon Point to the US/Mexico border has remained open, but will close on Aug. 28. The area from the CA/OR border to Horse Mtn., which includes Del Norte and Humboldt Counties, will open on May 25 and run through Sept. 2. For more info on the sport salmon season, visit https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2019/05/07/recreational-ocean-salmon-seasons-opening-in-may/

Abalone Management meeting scheduled for May 22
This is the first public project team meeting held regarding managing the red abalone fishery. Discussions will include management strategies and managed/restricted access fishery options. The meeting will be held in Santa Rosa at the Justice Joseph A. Rattigan Building, Room 410 50 D St (at First St.), from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. A call-in option will be available in “listen-only” mode. For more information , visit http://www.opc.ca.gov/2019/05/red-abalone-management-strategies-integration/?fbclid=IwAR2YevqeaotgnBKwxuXjLqbd41S8Gg3z-V_3mpJbqjUcuKz-6cDpILPKjyw.

Pacific halibut quota update
The CDFW has projected 3,944 net pounds of Pacific Halibut has been harvested through May 12. To view the latest catch projection information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

Weekend marine forecast
For coastal waters from Pt. St. George to Cape Mendocino out 10 nautical miles, the marine forecast doesn’t look very fishable this weekend. Friday, the forecast is calling for winds out of the S 5 to 10 knots with waves W 6 feet at 8 seconds and SW 2 feet at 15 seconds. The swells are a little bigger and the wind will increase slightly beginning on Saturday. Winds will be out of the S 5 to 15 knots and waves will be out of the W 6 feet at 7 seconds and NW 4 feet at 13 seconds. Sunday doesn’t look good at all, with W winds 5 to 10 knots and W waves 11 feet at 13 seconds. These conditions can and will change. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or https://www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Changing ocean conditions and a little unsettled weather almost always leads to an inconsistent bite. And that’s what the boats fishing out of Eureka are facing according to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “The boats fishing for halibut are having tough time finding a consistent area that’s holding fish,” said Klassen. “You find a few one day, and you head to the same location the next day and everything has changed. That’s really been the case since the opener. There are some around however, and boats are catching a few each day. The best bite has been straight out on the 48-line to 250 to 300 feet, but boats are covering a lot of ground hitting spots from the 44 to the 54 line. The rockfish action has been good at the Cape, but not quite as good as it can be. Boats are still getting limits of rockfish and lingcod and there’s a real good variety. We’ve been getting 10 to 12 different species each trip. The ocean doesn’t look very good for the next few days, it could be early next week before we get back out.”

Shelter Cove
Shelter Cove is producing quality limits of rockfish and a few halibut as well. Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing has been bouncing around targeting both species with some good success. He said, “We fished rockfish and lingcod at the Hat on Wednesday with a light load. It was very slow but we got our limits by days end. Thursday we fished Rodgers Break for rockfish and lings and had limits by noon of a really good grade. We fished Gorda for rockfish Friday and ended up just shy of limits when the wind forced us in. On Saturday and Tuesday, we fished Gorda for rockfish/halibut combos. We got two nice halibut and limits of rockfish Saturday and three halibut and a few dozen rockfish on Tuesday.”

Katherine Moore with a nice Pacific halibut landed with the help of Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing.

Salmon season will re-open on Saturday and according to Mitchell, there aren’t any consistent areas holding bait right now. “We’ll probably have to go look around on Saturday. The canyon looked good last week, but not so much the last couple days. The Whistle is always a good place to start.”

Trinidad
Halibut fishing has been pretty good this past week according to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters out of Trinidad. He said, “There isn’t a ton of effort, but a few are being caught. There was a 65-pounder caught on Tuesday. Most of the boats are going straight out in 200 to 300 feet of water. The rockfish bite has been wide-open. Flat Iron has been loaded with black rockfish and there’s been a solid lingcod bite at Wedding Rock. There’s lots of shorts in the mix, which is good for the future. There’s some really promising signs for salmon as well just south in 20 to 40 fathoms,” Wilson added.

Crescent City
Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine reports the water has finally cleared up and the rockfish are biting. “I fished the Sisters on Sunday and it was really good. We found some good quality blacks and there were quite a few lings around as well. There hasn’t been much effort for halibut, one of the charters had three last week and that’s all I’ve heard of,” added Hegnes.

Brookings
The ocean out of Brookings has been exceptional for rockfish, with large fish splashing at the surface eating crab spawn reports Martin. He said, “The topwater action has been wide open near Bird Island and Twin Rocks. The lingcod fishing also is good, although this weekend’s forecast looks windy. A few halibut also are being caught.”

Lower Rogue River
“The Rogue River has been slow for springers, with just a handful of fish a day being caught out of all the boats,” said Martin. “This week’s rain could draw in more fish.”

Trinity flows on the rise again
Flows from Lewiston Dam to the Trinity River are increasing for a second spring peak flow. The first peak flow in April was delayed due to an oil leak at the Trinity Power Plant. Water that was held back is now scheduled to be released as part of the second peak.

As of Wednesday May 15, released flows were at 2,600 cfs and were slated to increase every couple of hours until it reaches 9,000 cfs on Saturday, May 18. A slow decrease will follow. For up-to-date flows, visit
http://www.trrp.net/restoration/flows/current/

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Up and down week for halibut anglers

Joshua Auckland landed this nice Pacific halibut last Thursday while fishing out of Eureka. The Pacific halibut bite has been off and on this week, mostly due to changing ocean conditions. The marine forecast for the coming weekend is looking favorable for saltwater anglers. Photo courtesy of Joshua Auckland

Up and down would best describe the Pacific halibut season after a full week on the water. Last Wednesday’s opener was slow overall, but improved on Thursday and Friday. Saturday was the day to be there, with plenty of boats getting into nice size halibut. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing was one such boat, hauling in an impressive 6-fish limit. “Most of the action has been around the 50-line in 300 feet of water,” said Klassen. “There was lots of bait around and the water color was good. Sunday the water was back to clear blue, but we managed to land a couple. Overall, I’d say most boats are averaging two to three per trip.” Through Sunday, 2,436 pounds have been harvested towards our 39,000-pound quota. For in-season tracking, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/pacific-halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking.
Sloppy ocean conditions have kept most of the Eureka boats from heading south to the Cape for rockfish. On Tuesday, one private boat made the run and found plenty of willing biters, including some jumbo-size blacks. No surprise there. With the weekend marine forecast looking favorable, I would venture to say plenty of boats will head that direction.

Important reminder:
When fishing for halibut and rockfish, the more restrictive gear and depth restrictions apply. When targeting rockfish, cabezon, greenling and lingcod, or once any of these species are aboard and in possession, anglers are limited to fishing in waters shallower than 180 feet when fishing for other species. If you’re targeting both halibut and rockfish, you’ll want to get your halibut first.

Weekend marine forecast
For coastal waters from Pt. St. George to Cape Mendocino out 10 nautical miles, the marine forecast is looking great for the weekend. For Friday, the forecast is calling for winds out of the NW to 5 knots with waves NW 5 feet at 8 seconds. The swells will decrease slightly beginning on Saturday. Winds will be out of the W to 5 knots and waves will be out of the NW 3 feet at 6 seconds and W 2 feet at 12 seconds. Sunday is looking better, with NW winds up to 5 knots and NW waves 2 feet at 9 seconds. These conditions can and will change. For up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or https://www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

Brookings
“Fishing for lingcod was wide open late last week out of Brookings, with limits for most boats, before windy weather returned over the weekend,” said Andy Martin, who runs Brookings Fishing Charters. “Good weather is in the forecast this weekend. Rockfish have moved close to shore eating crab spawn, fueling a good topwater bite. Sport crabbing is good close to Brookings, with several keepers per pot on a half-day soak.”

Crescent City
Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine reports the rockfish bite was tough this week as the water is really dirty. “The ocean hasn’t been very nice since the opener, and the offshore winds have everything turned up. The water is dirty all the way out to 180 feet. Hopefully once the wind dies down and changes direction, the water will clear up. I haven’t heard of any halibut being caught as of yet, but the sport crabbing is going strong,” Hegnes added.

Shelter Cove
Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing spent the last few days fishing north in the Gorda and Rogers Break area for halibut and rockfish. “The halibut bite was very slow up there and we only landed one for the two days we tried,” said Mitchell. “The rockfish bite and grade were excellent, but the lingcod didn’t bite very well. Last Thursday I fished the Old Man for rockfish and we had limits for the boat by 10 a.m. We’ve been pulling crab gear every trip as well and are getting limits most days.”

Fish and Game Commission meeting on May 16
The California Fish and Game Commission will meet on Thursday, May 16 in Sacramento at 10 a.m. to adopt and discuss changes to the upcoming Klamath River sport fishing season. The PFMC recommended 7,899 adult salmon be allocated for recreational fishing for the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. At the previous Commission meeting, the CDFW suggested a three-fish bag limit, with no more than two adults. The recommendation for possession limit was 9 salmon, no more than 6 adults. The tribal allocation is 32,405, split between the Yurok and Hoopa tribes. Members of the public may participate in the teleconference at the CDFW Conference Room, 50 Ericson Court in Arcata. The meeting will be live-streamed at http://www.cal-span.org, for listening purposes only. If you’re interested in the Klamath River fall salmon fishery, you’ll want your voice to be heard. Also on the agenda is the adoption of proposed changes to the Central Valley sport fishing salmon regulations. For more info, visit
https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=168061&inline

Ruth Lake Bass tournament coming June 1
Fortuna Fire Department CO-2’s will be holding the annual “Paul Jadro Memorial Bass Tournament” on Saturday, June 1. Blast off will be at 5:45 a.m. or at first safe light, by draw. The one-day tournament event offers a first prize award of up to $1,000 with payout to 1 in 3 in addition to door prizes, and sponsor products. The entry fee is $120 per team with a big fish buy in option of $10. The tournament is catch and release and all competitors must fish from boats that are required to have operational live-wells on board. Life jackets are required. Check in at the Marina on Friday May 31 at 4:30-6 p.m. or Saturday 4-5 a.m. For more information, contact Lon Winburn at 707-725-5021 or 7707-25-7880. Or visit http://fortunafire.com/bass-tournament/. Free boat inspections will be held at Reynolds R V Repair, 988 Hwy. 36. Inspections are by appointment only, call 707-725-3426.

Lower Rogue River
The Rogue has slowed for springers, although fish are still moving through reports Martin. “Usually there is a lull sometime in early May before the action picks up again. The river is down to 5,000 cfs at Agness, a good flow for springers. The water temperature is already up to 62 degrees,” added Martin.

Send in your fish photos
Land a big halibut, lingcod or perch lately? Or maybe your friend or relative has reeled in their first fish. Email your fishing photo to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com and I’ll run them with the “Fishing the North Coast” weekly column and also post them on fishingthenorthcoast.com. Just include the name of the person in the photo, where and when it was taken and any other details you’d like to share.

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Slow start for Pacific halibut anglers

Cloverdale resident Fred Kramer, right, landed one of the seasons first Pacific halibut on Wednesday while fishing out of Eureka with skipper Marc Schmidt, pictured left. The Pacific halibut season will run from May 1 through the end of Oct., or until the 39,000 pound-quota is met, whichever is earlier. Photo courtesy of Marc Schmidt/Coastline Charters

Day one of the 2019 Pacific halibut season is in the books, and the reports from Wednesday’s opener weren’t quite as good as expected. A few of the Eureka charter boats made the run straight out, fishing between the 51 and 47 lines, hoping to land on a bunch of hungry halibut that haven’t seen a bait in six months. For the majority of the boats, that didn’t happen. It did however, happen for Marc Schmidt of Coastline Charters. He and his crew had the hot hand and boated three flatties. And those fish came in less than ideal conditions. According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, the water was really brown, and probably could have used a little more current. “I didn’t feel like there were a lot of fish around. It seemed like there were a few pockets of fish, and if you drifted over one, you might get an opportunity,” added Klassen. Conditions look good for the weekend and that should put more boats on the water, which should help locate the fish. Eureka wasn’t the only port that had a tough halibut opener. Reports coming from Shelter Cove, Trinidad, and Crescent City were all the same. Tough fishing. On the other hand, the rockfish bite out of these three locations was spectacular.

Ruth Lake kids fishing derby
The Ruth Lake Community Service District will host a Kids All-American Fishing Derby on Saturday, May 18 for kids up to 15 years old. The derby runs from 8 a.m. until noon at the Ruth Lake Marina. All children must be accompanied with an adult, and don’t forget to bring a fishing pole. There will be a hot dog feed at noon, and all the kids will receive prizes. For more information, call Cindy Lofthouse at 574-6332 or visit the Ruth Lake Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ruthlakeca/

Sport-Harvested Mussels quarantined
In a press release issued on April 29, The California Department of Public Health announced the annual quarantine of sport-harvested mussels gathered along the California coast. The quarantine begins May 1 and applies to all species of mussels that are recreationally harvested along the California coast, including all bays and estuaries. The quarantine is in place to protect the public against poisoning that can lead to serious illness, including coma and death. 

In addition to this annual quarantine, consumers are urged not to eat recreationally harvested razor clams from Humboldt and Del Norte counties due to continued high levels of domoic acid. To read the entire press release, visit https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/OPA/Pages/NR19-009.aspx

Weekend marine forecast
As of Wednesday, the weekend forecast for coastal waters out 10 nautical miles is looking much better for halibut and rockfish anglers. Saturday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the north 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 4 feet at 11 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is looking similar with winds out of the northwest 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 5 feet at 11 seconds. These conditions can and will change. For up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or https://www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

The Oceans:
Shelter Cove
Salmon fishing has been fairly slow this week reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “On Monday we had one bite and one fish. I don’t think any boats went out on Tuesday, but a couple kayakers did catch some salmon. Wednesday’s rockfish opener was great, we had good limits of rockfish, lings and crabs while fishing the Roger’s Break area. I didn’t hear of any halibut being caught.

The salmon season is temporarily closed beginning on May 1 from Horse Mountain, which includes Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg, south to San Francisco. The season will reopen on May 18 and run through Oct. 31.

Trinidad
The rockfish opener out of Trinidad sounded like it was good for those who launched off the beach. The kayak anglers put up some respectable numbers of rockfish and lingcod according to reports. Reportedly, the bigger boats fishing for halibut came up empty.

Crescent City
Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine reports the rockfish season got off to a fast start on Wednesday. He said, “Most of the boats headed to the South Reef and picked up easy limits of rockfish and lingcod. We weighed in a 30-pound ling today, which is great for this early in the season. I didn’t hear of any halibut being caught as of yet,” Hegnes added.

Brookings rockfish update
Windy weather has led to tough fishing out of Brookings the past week,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Winds have been up to 35 knots, making fishing difficult. Calmer weather is expected the rest of the week, although wind is still in the forecast. Pelicans have already arrived at the mouth of the Chetco, and baitfish are here, which should improve chances at salmon when the season opens at the end of the month.”

Redtails bite is wide-open
The redtail bite has been wide-open all up and down the North Coast. I’ve been hearing reports of limits coming from the usual spots: Samoa, Centerville, Dry and Stone Lagoons, Gold Bluff, and the south spit. Redtail Perch have a minimum size limit of 10.5 inches and a daily bag and possession limit of 10. A reminder that Bucksport Sporting Goods is holding a surf perch contest that will run through Sept. Entry is free, but limited to in-store registration only. Bucksport is located at 3650 Broadway St, in Eureka.

Trinity flows reduced due to oil leak
An oil leak at the Trinity Power Plant has temporarily curtailed the high spring flows coming down the Trinity River. The potential leak was reported Monday afternoon, and the federal Bureau of Reclamation took immediate action to locate, stop and confine the leak, said Christie Kalkowski, public affairs officer for the Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Regional Office. Flows were reduced to further assist in assessing the leak Tuesday afternoon, as well as to address operational issues at the powerplant, Kalkowski said. Flows will be reduced to 3,500 cfs while Reclamation assesses the situation and makes repairs. The powerplant was temporarily shut down on Wednesday.

For more information, visit http://www.trinityjournal.com/news/local/article_804f1040-6c51-11e9-8303-cff9868ed5fe.html

The Rivers:
Main Stem Eel
The main stem Eel is green, but it’s still a little big according to Fred Grundman of Rio Dell’s Grundmans Sporting Goods. “The water is staying pretty high and the visibility isn’t improving much. I’ve seen a few boats around, but haven’t heard of any fish caught,” added Grundman. As of Wednesday, it was hanging around 6,000 cfs on the Scotia gauge. It’s forecasted to drop to 5,000 cfs by early next week.

Lower Rogue
Spring salmon fishing was good on the Rogue late last week, but slowed after the weekend reports Martin. “Conditions are still good on the Rogue, although navigating out of the harbor to jet upriver is tougher than normal, with lots of sand bars and sediment build up from winter storms,” said Martin.

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Recreational saltwater season set to begin

Next Wednesday kicks off another ocean sport fishing season on the North Coast as both rockfish and Pacific halibut are set to commence. And with a lengthy salmon season only a month away, we’ll be going full bore before you know it. Without abalone or razor clams to fill in the gaps, it will feel good to be back on the salt. As boats hit the open ocean next Wednesday — weather and conditions permitting — all the fish politics and talk of closures will fade, replaced with images of big lings and drag-peeling halibut. At least that’s the hope.

May 1 openers:
Pacific Halibut: The 2019 Pacific halibut fishery is slated to open May 1, but there is still some uncertainty regarding the open and closure periods. An online survey was circulated in February to help CDFW with angler preferences for open fishing dates during the upcoming season, and will be used to develop recommended season dates that will be provided to the National Marine Fisheries Service. A decision on the season’s dates should be coming any day. In 2018, the fishery was open May 1-June 15, July 1-15, Aug. 1-15, and Sept. 1-21.

The one thing we do know is the Pacific halibut allocation for California will be set for the next four years at 39,000 pounds, which is approximately 8,000 net pounds greater than our 2018 quota.

CDFW will again monitor catches of Pacific halibut during the season and provide catch projection updates on the CDFW Pacific halibut webpage, https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking. The limit remains at one, with no size restrictions. No more than one line with two hooks attached can be used.

Rockfish season dates
The season for boat-based anglers will run from May 1 through Oct. 31 within 180 feet and Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 with no depth restrictions. The Northern Management Area runs from the CA/OR border to the 40°10′ N. latitude (near Cape Mendocino). The Mendocino Management Area runs south of the 40°10′ N. latitude to Point Arena.

Rockfish regulation changes: Just like the Pacific halibut, there remains some uncertainty with rockfish daily bag limit regulations for the Northern Management Area as well as the Mendocino Management Area. Back in March, the PFMC adopted the CDFW recommendations for an increase in one more black rockfish (4 total) and one more Canary (3 total) in the both the Northern Mgmt. and Mendocino Areas. This should go into effect sometime in June. In the Mendocino Mgmt. Area, they also reduced the Lingcod daily bag limit to one. Now there’s the unofficial word that the Lingcod bag limit has been restored back to two. These changes should also be official in June or earlier.

Summary of current regulations, Northern Mgmt. Area: As it’s written in the current regulations, the daily bag limit per person is a 10-fish combination. Exceptions include three Cabezon, three black rockfish and two Canary allowed per person as part of their 10-fish bag limit. Cabezon have a minimum 15-inch size limit and Kelp and/or rock greenlings must be 12-inches. The daily bag limit of Lingcod is two per person and they must be 22-inches in length. The take and possession of Cowcod, Bronzespotted rockfish, and Yelloweye rockfish will remain prohibited statewide. Petrale sole and Starry flounder can be retained year-round at all depths with no size limit. Current regulations in the Mendocino Mgmt. Area are identical to the Northern Mgmt. Area, except for Lingcod. As its currently written, it’s one fish per person, 22 inches.

For more information about recreational groundfish regulations, please call the hotline at 831-649-2801 or visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Groundfish-Summary#north. You can also email AskMarine@wildlife.ca.gov, or call your nearest CDFW office for the latest information.

Important reminder:
When fishing for halibut, rockfish and salmon (Shelter Cove), or any combination of the three, the more restrictive gear and depth restrictions apply. When targeting salmon, or once salmon are aboard and in possession, anglers are limited to using barbless hooks (barbless circle hooks if fishing south of Horse Mountain) when fishing for other species.

When targeting rockfish, cabezon, greenling and lingcod, or once any of these species are aboard and in possession, anglers are limited to fishing in waters shallower than 180 feet when fishing for other species.

Marine forecast
It’s a little too early to predict what Wednesday will bring. For an up-to-date marine forecast, visit http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/ or https://www.windy.com

Wednesday, May 1 tides – Humboldt Bay
For anglers who aren’t aware, extreme caution should always be used when crossing the bar. If you’re planning on hitting the bar at daylight, always check the conditions first. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit https://www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan/. Wednesday May 1 (High: 10.27 a.m. (5.2 ft.) and 10:54 p.m. (6.1 ft.) (Low: 4:31 a.m. (1.4) and 4:28 p.m. (1.0 ft.)

Trinidad launch ready to go
The Trinidad launch should be open on Wednesday, but it will depend on the ocean conditions if they’ll be launching. The Gift and Tackle shop will be open beginning on Sunday, April 28. Best to call ahead at 707-677-3625 if you’re planning on launching on Wednesday.

Big Halibut Contest
Eureka’s Englund Marine will be holding its BIG FISH Halibut Contest again this year. The annual event runs from May 1 to October 31, 2019. There is no entry fee and you can enter as many fish as you’d like. Fish do not need to be gutted and gilled. Prizes will be awarded to the top three fish. A complete list of rules and regulations are available at Englund Marine, 2 Commercial St., Eureka, 707-444-9266.

Shelter Cove report
“With all the wind, there hasn’t been much effort,” said Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “I haven’t been on the water the last few days, but it sounds like the boats that are getting out before the wind are catching a few around the whistle. It’s been about a fish per rod,” added Mitchell. More wind is in the forecast for the weekend, forecasted to be out of the NW at 10 to 20 knots.

Maureen Morris of Reno holds a rockfish and cabezon she caught April 22 while fishing aboard the Miss Brooke of Brookings Fishing Charters. The rockfish season opened Jan. 1 in Oregon, and is slated to open May 1 from the CA/OR border south to Point Arena. Photo courtesy of Andy Martin/Brookings Fishing Charters

Brookings rockfish update
Bottom fishing has been good the past week out of Brookings, when the weather has allowed boats to get out according to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Fish have moved in closer to shore as the rivers recede from flooding earlier in the month. Crabbing has also improved right outside of the harbor. Windy weather is expected this week,” added Martin.

Increased flows coming down the Trinity
The Trinity River flows will begin to increase on Monday, April 29 as releases from Lewiston Dam rise to hit a spring-high flow of 10,900 cfs after a determination that this is an “wet” year for the basin. Residents near or recreating on the river can expect levels to increase and should take appropriate safety precautions. Landowners are advised to clear personal items from the floodplain prior to the releases. A daily schedule of flow releases is available at http://www.trrp.net/restore/flows/current/

The Rivers:
Main Stem Eel
The main stem Eel is green, but is still a little on the big side. As of Wednesday, it was running at just over 7,500 cfs on the Scotia gauge. Snowmelt will keep the flows above 6,000 cfs through weekend. Once it gets below, 5,000, it should be fishable.

Lower Rogue
Fishing for spring salmon on the Rogue has been the best it has so far this season the past few days reports Martin. He said, “Many guides are getting a fish or two a day, and some have boated up to half a dozen. The river is still a little high and dirty, but is dropping into prime shape. The lower river is fishing best. Plenty of hatchery springers are being caught.

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Ocean king season to begin on May 25

Klamath and Trinity Rivers will open July 1 for springers

After absorbing a full closure of our ocean salmon fishery in 2017, it appears the salmon stocks are getting stronger by the year. And with numbers trending up, the North Coast was given a lengthy season in 2019. After being behind closed doors for a week, the PFMC emerged on Tuesday and set the seasons for the West Coast for both recreational and commercial salmon fishermen.

Within the California KMZ, which runs from the CA/OR border south to Horse Mountain, the season will run from May 25 straight through September 2. Fishing will be allowed seven days per week for all salmon except Coho, two fish per day and a minimum size limit of 20 inches total length for Chinook.

According to the PFMC, 274,222 Klamath adult salmon are swimming in the ocean, providing for a hefty quota for fall salmon on the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. Though still awaiting approval from the F&G Commission, the sport in-river quota will be 7,636 adults divided between the two rivers, compared to 3,490 in 2018.

With a robust 379,632 Sacramento fall Chinook said to be swimming in the ocean, the seasons to our south will have a much longer season than last year. The area from Horse Mountain south to Point Arena, which includes Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg, will open on April 13 and run through April 30, then reopen May 18 and run through Oct 31. The San Francisco area will have the same season opening and closing dates. Fishing will be allowed seven days per week for all salmon except Coho, two fish per day and a minimum size limit of 20 (24 inches in SF) total length for Chinook. To the north in the Brookings area (Oregon KMZ), the season will open on May 25 and run through Sept. 2. Fishing will be allowed seven days per week for all salmon except Coho, two fish per day and a minimum size limit of 24 inches total length for Chinook. From Cape Falcon to the OR/CA border, a mark-selective Coho fishery will run from June 22 through the earlier of Aug. 25, or 90,0000 marked Coho quota. Fishing is allowed seven days per week. All Coho must be fin clipped and a minimum of 16 inches. For more information, visit
https://www.pcouncil.org/2019/04/58742/council-adopts-2019-west-coast-salmon-seasons/

Klamath/Trinity river update
Along with ocean salmon seasons being set on Tuesday, the PFMC also allocated 7,636 adult Chinook for the Klamath Basin quota. At Wednesday’s F&G Commission meeting, CDFW recommended a three-fish bag limit, with no more than two adults. The recommendation for possession limit was 9 salmon, no more than 6 adults.

Also adopted at the F&G Commission meeting was the emergency regulation opening the Klamath and Trinity Rivers to the take of spring salmon. This fishery was closed on an emergency basis on Feb. 22 following the Commission’s acceptance of the petition to list Upper Klamath-Trinity River spring Chinook salmon as endangered. Wednesday’s unanimous vote will open both rivers to fishing for spring salmon beginning on July 1. The Klamath will be open to the take of salmon downstream of the highway 96 bridge at Weithcpec. The main stem Trinity will be open to the take of salmon downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the mouth of the South Fork. The bag limit will be reduced to one salmon per day, with two in possession. The fall regulations will begin Aug. 15 on the Klamath and Sept.1 on the Trinity. Both the Klamath Basin quota and the re-opening of the spring salmon season are recommendations at this point. Final adoption will come at the F&G Commission teleconference meeting on May 16.


Jerry Gess of Carlotta  holds a nice limit of kings caught over the weekend out of Shelter Cove. The recreational salmon season opened April 13 at Shelter Cove, and will open on May 25 from Eureka to Crescent City. Photo courtesy of Jared Morris/C’Mon Sport Fishing

Shelter Cove report
“The salmon bite was really good during last Saturday’s opener,” said Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “Most boats had limits before 11a.m. Fish were running seven to 12-pounds, with a lot of shakers in the mix as well. Sunday was a little slower and most boats averaged a half to one fish per rod. There isn’t a ton of bait around, but no one really went looking too far either. All the action was right at the whistle buoy on both Saturday and Sunday. Overall it looks like we’re off to a really good start. There’s plenty of shakers to keep you busy in between the keepers.”

Brookings ocean update
The ocean out of Brookings has been slow for rockfish and lingcod because of the muddy water from the flooding earlier in the month reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Even the charter boats had multiple skunked days late last week,” said Martin. “The weather looks good for the end of this week, with light winds and smaller swells, so boats will be able to get to deeper water and away from the river runoff.”

“Wet” year designation for Trinity River
The official water year designation for the Trinity River in 2019 is “Wet” as determined by the April 1st reservoir inflow forecast of 1,595,000 acre feet, which allows for releases to the river of 701,000 acre feet according to the Trinity River Restoration Program. The recommended flows increased beginning April 17, and will peak at 9,850 cfs. The next pulse will begin on April 29 and will peak at 10,100 cfs on April 30. The Trinity Management Council (TMC) flow release hydrograph recommendation is awaiting approval by the U.S. Department of Interior. For more information, visit http://www.trrp.net/restoration/flows/current/

HASA fundraiser coming April 27
HASA will be holding their annual fundraiser and social event at the Arcata Community Center on Saturday, April 27 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. In 2019, they’re focusing on creating a social event, with less emphasis on some of the fundraising activities. There will still be lots of great door prizes and silent auction items, but the simpler format will allow more time for socializing and telling fish stories. The food will once again be provided by Ramones Bakery and Catering. Tickets, which are $25 for adults and $10 for kids under 12, are available at the following locations: Englund Marine, Bucksport Sporting Goods, and Pacific Outfitters. For more info, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/2753296234711122/

Eel River steelhead returns
As of April 10, a total of 288 steelhead have entered the Van Arsdale fish count station according to Scott L Harris, an associate Biologist with the Northern Region. Making up that total is 78 males, 116 females, and 94 unknowns. The Chinook count stands at 95. For more information, visit https://eelriver.org/the-eel-river/fish-count/

The Rivers
Main Stem Eel
As of Wednesday, the main Eel was running at 11,000 cfs on the Scotia gauge and holding steady. It remains high and off color, but is starting to come around. Depending on snowmelt, it could be fishable in a week to 10 days.

Lower Rogue
The Rogue is just coming back into shape for springers after cresting at nearly 100,000 cfs a week ago according to Martin. “A few hatchery springers have been caught this week, even with the high, muddy water. Conditions should improve towards the weekend,” added Martin.

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Salmon season opens Saturday at the Cove

It’s finally getting to be that time of the year again as the North Coast recreational salmon season will kick-off this Saturday from Horse Mtn. south to Point Arena, which includes the Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg areas. Large numbers of salmon, 274,222 Klamath and 379,632 Sacramento are said to be swimming in the ocean, which brings with it loads of optimism. Encouraged by the number of salmon in the sea, the PFMC has provided a lengthy recreational season in 2019. The three season alternatives for Fort Bragg and Shelter Cove, which all have the season opening on April 13, are currently being reviewed by the PFMC at their meeting in Rohnert Park. The season closing dates will either be Oct. 31 or the season will close May 31 and reopen June 22 and run through Sept. 30. All three scenarios are the same, two fish per day, seven days a week, Chinook only, 20-inch minimum size.

Here locally, from the CA/OR border to Horse Mtn., our season is slated to open on May 25. The three alternatives have the season closing on Sept. 8th, 4th, or 2nd. In the San Francisco area, the three alternatives are the same as Shelter Cove, with one exception. The minimum size limit is 24 inches through the end of May, then 20 inches thereafter for each of the alternatives. The Monterey area, from Pigeon Point to the U.S./Mexico border, opened on April 6. Reportedly, there’s a lot of salmon around Monterey Bay, especially in the Moss Landing area, and plenty of limits were had by both charters and private boats over the weekend.

The 2019 recreational salmon season opens this Saturday from Horse Mt. down to Point Arena, which includes Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg. Pictured is Riley Skillman from Mesa, AZ with a nice Shelter Cove king salmon from last season.
Photo courtesy of Jake Mitchell/Sea Hawk Sport Fishing

Shelter Cove outlook
“The weather for this weekend’s opener is looking halfway decent for a change,” said Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “It doesn’t look like we have any big tides or abnormally large swells to deal with. Although there hasn’t been much traffic on the water lately, the reports I’ve been getting sound very encouraging. There seems to be a fair amount of bait around and couple different people have told me they’ve seen salmon on a few different occasions. I expect it to be a good year with all the small fish we saw last year, but we’ll have a better idea after this weekend.” According to Mitchell, the launch fee will be $35 and they’ll probably be just one tractor for the weekend. The launch will run from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. For launch information, call 707-223-1600.

As of Friday, winds were predicted out of the NW at 10 to 20 knots with gusts to 30. Waves will be out of the NW 6 feet at 8 seconds and NW 9 feet at 16 seconds. On Sunday, NW winds at 10 to 15 knots are forecasted. Waves will be out of the NW 6 feet at 7 seconds and NW 8 feet at 15 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit https://marine.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lon=-124.06173706054685&lat=40.02130468739708#.XK5FXOhKiUk

Brookings ocean update
The Chetco, which is closed for the season, reached its highest levels since the flood event of 2012 reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “Some homes on the lower river flooded. The high water has made the Chetco Bar rough, keeping boaters from crossing onto the ocean to fish for lingcod and rockfish. We ran trips through Thursday, with good success for lingcod and rockfish, before the big storm hit. We are hoping to run Thursday through the weekend. There is a lot of muddy water close to the harbor, but clarity looks good from Harris Beach north.”

RMI Outdoors fishing contest
RMI Outdoors of Eureka will be holding their first Screamin’ Reels fishing contest beginning on May 1 and running through Sept. 2. There are three categories: ocean salmon, Pacific halibut, and lingcod. You can enter up to five fish per day, but only two ocean salmon, two lings, and one Pacific halibut per day. An RMI Outdoors associate will weigh your catch, fill out an entry form, and take your picture for the brag wall. All salmon must be gutted and gilled; anglers must have a valid 2019 fishing license; Fish and Wildlife regulations apply. Each angler that brings in a fish has a chance to win a $100 RMI Gift Card. Visit http://rmioutdoorseureka.com/whats-going/screamin-reels-fishing-contest for more information.

Ruth Lake Bass tourney coming April 27
The Southern Trinity Volunteer Fire Department is hosting its 13th annual Ruth Lake Bass Tournament on Saturday, April 27. Blast off begins at 6:00 a.m. Entry fees are due April 26. Entries are $150 per team (includes Big Fish). First Place is $1,500 and second place is $1,000. Big Fish will win $100. One in five payback based on full slate of 40 boats. This is a catch and release tournament; live wells and life jackets are required. Check in is Friday at Journey’s End at 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. or Saturday at 4:45 a.m. at the Marina parking lot. HBMWD is requiring that all boats be inspected for Quagga and Zebra mussels before launching. For more information, call RLCSD at 707-574-6332. For more info on the tournament, contact Doug Dinsmore at (707) 499-8485.

The Rivers:
As a reminder, the South Fork Eel, Van Duzen, Mattole, Mad, Redwood Creek, and the Chetco all closed to fishing on March 31.

Rogue
The big storm over the weekend brought all fishing to a halt on the Southern Oregon Coast according to Martin. “The Rogue hit 90,000 cfs at Agness and was over 100,000 cfs at Gold Beach,” said Martin. “It was down to 63,000 cfs on Tuesday evening, but with Lost Creek Lake now full and big releases from the dam, the lower river could be unfishable for several days. There was a fair bite in the lower river for springers before the storm. Now big numbers of salmon may blast upriver while anglers wait for lower flows.”

Smith
The Smith topped out at just over monitor stage on Monday, and has been on a steep decent ever since. It was right around 14 feet on the Jed Smith gauge on Wednesday, and should fish by the weekend.

Eel (main stem)
After getting hit hard earlier this week, flows were dropping quickly and were right around 30,000 cfs as of Wednesday. As has been the case all season, a couple weeks of dry weather is needed before it’s even close to fishable.

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Perch’n on the Peninsula slated for Saturday

The Samoa Peninsula Fire District will be hosting their 10th Annual Perch’n on the Peninsula Surfperch Fishing Tournament and Fish Fry Fundraiser this Saturday, April 6 at the Peninsula Elementary School (located across the street from the Samoa Cookhouse). This is a fun filled family-oriented fishing event that benefits the Samoa Peninsula Fire District Volunteer Organization. Adult fishing tournament entry is $20 and junior fishing tournament entry (Under 16) is only $10. Fishing tournament entry includes admission to the fish fry fundraiser. If you don’t like to fish and just want to have fun, come out and enjoy the delicious fish fry along with fresh Humboldt Bay oysters. Admission into the Fish Fry Fundraiser is only $10 for adults and $5 for juniors, children 6 and under get in free. Lunch begins at 12 p.m. and weigh-ins end at 2 p.m. Prizes and raffle announcements start at 3 p.m.

Raffle tickets will be available where you could win prizes and fishing charter trips from companies in our local community. There will also be games for kids and adults to play where they can try and win more raffle tickets.

Tournament day registration is available at the Peninsula Elementary School in Samoa beginning at 6 a.m. or your entries can be purchased at Pacific Outfitters, Englund Marine, Shafer’s Ace Hardware in Eureka, or LIVE2DIVE in Fairhaven. For more information, call (707) 443-9042 or visit www.samoafire.org. Event organizers would like to remind anglers to be safe and cautious around hazardous sea conditions.

Upcoming meetings
The PFMC and its advisory bodies will meet April 9‐16 in Rohnert Park to address issues related to groundfish, salmon, coastal pelagic species (CPS), Pacific halibut, and administrative matters. The meeting will be held at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Sonoma Wine Country, and will also be streamed live on the internet. One of the key agenda items is to adopt final management measures for 2019 ocean salmon fisheries. Also on the agenda is the 2019 Klamath River Basin quotas of adult Klamath River fall Chinook. For more info, visit https://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/FinalEntirePackagel_MtgNotice_A4Agenda_QR_032119.pdf

The Trinity River Restoration Program will host a public information meeting to present the 2019 spring restoration flow releases from Lewiston Dam and gravel augmentation plans for the Trinity River. The public meeting will be held in Weaverville on Thursday, April 11, from 6 – 7:30 p.m., TRRP Office, 1313 S. Main Street. For more info, visit https://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=65383

The California Fish and Game Commission will meet on Wednesday, April 17 in Santa Monica at 8:30 a.m. to adopt and discuss changes to the upcoming sport fishing seasons. The meeting will be live streamed at http://www.cal-span.org, for listening purposes only. If you’re interested in the Klamath River spring and fall salmon fisheries, you’ll want to listen in. On the agenda is discussion of proposed changes to the Klamath River Basin fall sport fishing. Also on the agenda is consideration of authorizing the take of Upper Klamath-Trinity river spring Chinook salmon. For more info, visit https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=166184&inline

Brookings ocean update
“After a few weeks of slow fishing, the ocean out of Brookings was very good over the weekend for lingcod and rockfish,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Recreational crabbing also re-opened last week out of Brookings. Lots of smaller lingcod are in shallow spawning and preparing to spawn. The six-pack charters got easy limits and many private boaters also limited between Bird Island and House Rock.”

The Beaches
When the ocean’s been calm, the Redtail perch action has been excellent along the beaches. There are some spots that are typically better than others, but you can catch them just about anywhere this time of the year. Conditions don’t look good for the weekend, with swells in the 9 to 13-foot range along with lots of south wind. A couple of good spots to get away from the rough seas are inside Humboldt Bay at the mouth of the Elk River (Stinky Beach) and King Salmon Beach.

The Rivers:
As a reminder, the South Fork Eel, Van Duzen, Mattole, Mad, Redwood Creek, and the Chetco all closed to fishing on March 31.

Chetco/Rogue
The Chetco closed for the season on Sunday with just a few boats fishing reports Martin. “There were still some downrunners in the upper river, but very few bright fish. Overall, steelhead season was good on the Chetco, especially the second half of the season. Large numbers of downrunners in late February and March indicates a very high spawner escapement. There also have been big numbers of smolts, another indication of good things to come,” said Martin.

Spring salmon fishing is slow to fair on the Rogue, but a few fish are being caught according to Martin. He said, “April is generally the best month for hatchery fish. Anchovies and spinner blades are working best. The river rose significantly Tuesday because of releases from Lost Creek Dam.”

Main Stem Eel
As we’ve been repeating all season, the main stem Eel just needs a couple more weeks of dry weather and it will be fishable. The two weeks of dry weather has yet to come to fruition, and the Eel remains high and off color. With more rain coming this weekend, we’ll be right back to square one. Flows are predicted to hit 27,000 cfs on Saturday morning. The wait continues.

Smith River
Not many fishing reports are coming out of the Smith, most anglers have moved on for the season. The river is in great shape, but that looks to change with the storms that will begin to hit the coast on Friday. The river will be on the rise over the weekend, hitting 48,000 cfs on Monday afternoon. These high flows should put the downers on the move and the fishing could be decent by next week. The Smith will remain open to fishing through April.

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Steelhead season ending on a wet note

It doesn’t appear the rainy weather will come to an end any time soon, but unfortunately, the winter steelhead season will. Enough rain has fallen over the past week to keep the majority of the coastal rivers high and off color, essentially washing away the last week of steelhead season. As of Wednesday, the only green water available was to the North on the Smith and Chetco. And it looks like those are the only two rivers that will fish prior to the season closing after Sunday. But as one season comes to a close, more will soon open. As the calendar nears April, it’s time to change gears and look towards the next angling opportunity. The rockfish and Pacific halibut openers are right around the corner, and ocean salmon season will open in Shelter Cove mid-April. It’s also time thing about all the spring salmon on the Klamath (hopefully) and the lower Rogue river. There’s redtails to be had from all the local beaches, and the lagoons are full of trout. It’s been a wet and wild steelhead season, but I for one am ready for the next adventure. And a little sunshine wouldn’t hurt either.

Steelhead rivers openings/closures
The main stem of the Smith will remain open through the end of April from its mouth to the confluence with the Middle and South Forks. The Middle fork will also remain open through April from its mouth to Patrick’s Creek. The South Fork is open through April as well, from its mouth upstream approximately 1,000 feet to the County Road (George Tryon) bridge and Craigs Creek to Jones Creek. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used from the fourth Saturday in May through Aug. 31. Only barbless hooks may be used from Sept. 1 through Apr. 30. The bag limit remains the same, two hatchery steelhead per day.

The main stem Eel, from its mouth to the South Fork is open to fishing all year. From the mouth to Fulmor Road, only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used from April 1 through the Friday preceding the fourth Saturday in May. Only barbless hooks may be used from fourth Saturday in May through Mar. 31. From Fulmor Road to the South Fork, it’s open from April 1 through September 30. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. Only barbless hooks may be used from Oct. 1 through Mar. 31.

Sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers are open to fishing, but are subject to in-season changes. For more information, visit https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=165631&inline. The following rivers will close to fishing after March 31: The South Fork Eel, Van Duzen, Mattole, Mad, Redwood Creek, and the Chetco.

Shelter Cove crab feed
The Shelter Cove Fishing Preservation will be holding a crab feed fundraiser on April 13 at the Gyppo Ale Mill Brewery, 1661 Upper Pacific Dr. in Shelter Cove. Tickets are $65 and can be purchased at the general store or from Jake Mitchell. The event starts at 6 p.m. and live music will be provided by Steve Mitchell & Ray Bevatori. Money raised will be going towards startup costs and to the purchase of a new tractor. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/scfpinc

HASA fundraiser coming April 27
HASA will be holding their annual fundraiser and social event at the Arcata Community Center on April 27. In 2019, they’re focusing on creating a social event, with less emphasis on some of the fundraising activities. There will still be lots of great door prizes and silent auction items, but the simpler format will allow more time for socializing and telling fish stories. The food will once again be provided by Ramones Bakery and Catering. Tickets are available at the following locations: Englund Marine, Bucksport Sporting Goods, and Pacific Outfitters. For more info, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/2753296234711122/.

Brookings ocean update
“Ocean fishing out of Brookings was tough last week with a strong drift from big tides and a mixed swell,” said Andy Martin with Brookings Fishing Charters. “We were able to limit on rockfish daily with a few lingcod mixed in. The ocean has been rough so far this week, but the weekend forecast is looking good.”

Bob Pimmentel of Santa Clara holds one of several steelhead he caught over the weekend fishing the Chetco River with guide Andy Martin. Steelhead season will close on most of the coastal rivers, including the Chetco, on Sunday March 31. Photo courtesy of Andy Martin/Wild Rivers Fishing.

The Rivers:
Chetco/Rogue
According to Martin, the Chetco has fished well for so late in the season. “Steelhead fishing closes Sunday evening. The guides still fishing are getting three to six steelhead a day, with a few bright fish mixed in. The plug bite was especially good over the weekend,” added Martin.
Hatchery steelhead are still showing up on the lower Rogue, but it has slowed reports Martin. He said, “A mix of hatchery and wild spring salmon are being caught, and fishing for springers will improve in April, especially once water temperatures rise above 50 degrees.”

Smith River
If you haven’t got your fill of steelhead, the Smith could be a good choice for the weekend. Pressure has been extremely light, and flows are looking good for the weekend. Wednesday’s rain is forecasted to push the river up to 11 feet, which should get the downers on the move and will likely bring in some new fish.

Eel River (main stem)
The main stem is predicted to rise back up to 36,000 cfs on Friday, and should drop quickly through the weekend. By Monday it will be back down to 15,000 cfs, which means will need a solid 10 days of dry weather before it gets close to fishable.

Eel River (South Fork)
As of Wednesday, flows were 3,000 cfs on the Miranda gauge and rising. It’s predicted to peak at 8,500 cfs early Friday morning. It’s not likely to drop into fishing shape, even in the upper reaches, by the time is closes on Sunday evening.

Van Duzen
On the rise as of Wednesday and predicted to hit 9,200 cfs by Thursday morning. It’s safe to say the Duzen is done for the season.

Mad River
The Mad is also likely done for the season as it remains high and muddy. Flows are predicted to be right around 4,200 cfs on Saturday, which will keep it off color.

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com