Anglers taking advantage of calm seas

Five year-old Graham Gaser is all smiles after catching his limit of king salmon while fishing with his father Chad on a recent trip out of Eureka. Photo courtesy of Chad Gaser

Calm ocean waters continue to provide ample opportunities for saltwater anglers. The Eureka salmon action has been fairly consistent for a couple weeks now, with the majority of the fish holding in a four-mile section south of the entrance. While the quantity may have dipped a little, the quality has gotten much better. We’re finally starting to see some nice kings in the 20-pound class. Rockfish has been another good option, especially with the flat water making it an easy run to Cape Mendocino for the Eureka boats. On the halibut front, the current finally slowed down enough to drift effectively. There was reportedly a decent bite happening on Monday, with Matt Dallam of Northwind Charters boating two nice keepers. Quite a few are also being caught in Trinidad. And finally, not only is the ocean flat, it’s also warming up. The warm tuna water is roughly 50 miles straight off of Eureka and Trinidad. One boat ran out of Eureka roughly 72 miles on Tuesday, but couldn’t locate any fish. Another boat ran 50 miles out of Shelter Cove to 59-degree water where they found huge bait balls – but no tuna. It should be just a matter of time before the first tuna hits the deck however. If you plan on targeting multiple species this weekend, be advised the more restrictive gear and depth restrictions apply. 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
Conditions for the weekend are looking plenty fishable as the winds will shift back to the north, blowing 5 to 10 knots through the weekend. Friday’s forecast is calling for W swells 4 feet at 7 seconds. On Saturday, waves will be out of the NW 3 feet at 4 seconds and W 2 feet at 11 seconds. On Sunday, waves will be out of the NW 3 feet at 6 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. 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.

Shelter Cover salmon derby and fish festival
The Shelter Cove Fishing Preservation Incorporated will be holding their 2nd annual Fish Festival at the Shelter Cove Lighthouse on Saturday July 13. There will also be a salmon derby on July 12 and 13, ending at 4 p.m. Entry is $20 and there will be a grand prize for the biggest fish. On Saturday afternoon there will beer from Gyppo Ale Mill, a fish dinner, kid’s games, raffles, and live music. A $35 donation for entry will be charged for dinner and music. Oysters and desserts will be available for purchase. Come out and support your local fishing community. For more event details, visit https://www.facebook.com/scfpinc/

Crescent City kayak fishing tournament coming July 20
The Pelican Bay Athletics Organizations will be holding their 1st annual Crescent City Kayak Fishing Tournament on Saturday July 20. A pre-event captains meeting will be held at Englund Marine on July 19th at 3:30pm. The tournament will begin at the Groin, off Anchor Way on Whalers Island, one half hour before sunrise. Anglers can turn in tournament fish until 2:00 p.m. and a fish fry/potluck will follow at 5:30 p.m. at the Florence Keller Park. For more details and a complete list of rules, visit http://pacificoutfitters.com/pbao-kayak-fishing-tournament-crescent-city-july-20th-2019.

Pacific Halibut quota update
The CDFW has projected 7,424 net pounds of Pacific Halibut has been harvested through June 30. In 2019, the Pacific halibut allocation for California is 39,000 pounds. To view the latest catch projection information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

Risa Waddell of Fortuna took advantage of Saturday’s free fishing day and caught her first lingcod. The 10-pound ling was caught on the ocean side of the south jetty.
Photo courtesy of Robert Waddell

The Oceans:
Eureka
The salmon bite out of Eureka isn’t red-hot, but it’s been fairly consistent. “The fish are still to the south of the entrance,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “The best fishing has been between the 46 and 42-lines in 60 to 120 feet of water. They’ve been in that general area for awhile now. The grade has improved, fish are averaging 10 pounds with quite a few bigger fish now being caught. The halibut bite picked up the last couple days as the current has finally slowed down. Prior to this week it was just about unfishable.” The rockfish bite at Cape Mendocino has been wide-open reports Skipper Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. “The weather has been great, and the fishing equally as good,” said Sepulveda. On Tuesday we put in limits of lingcod that were all between 10 and 15 pounds. The rockfish bite was incredible, you had to beat them off with a stick. We’ve also been targeting Pacific halibut and we’re getting a couple chances each day. We went one for two on Tuesday and landed two on Monday, including a 78-pounder.”

Trinidad
According to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters, the halibut bit really well this week with lots of limits reported. “Most of the halibut are being caught straight out in 200 feet of water. There’s been a good little patch of salmon off the reef near Flat Iron, that area seems to be holding some bait. From Patrick’s Point south there’s no shortage of small kings in 200 feet of water. They’re really deep, we’re getting em’ at 150 feet otw. The rockfish bite is still really good, especially for the blacks. A few more lingcod are showing up as well,” Wilson added.

Jason Gellman of Garberville landed this nice king while fishing out of Shelter Cove On Tuesday. Courtesy of Jason Gellman

Shelter Cove
The salmon bite is still a slow pick reports Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “Those that are putting in the time have been doing ok, but you really have to work at it,” said Mitchell.  “Most of the action has been right at the whistle. I did salmon, rockfish, and crab combos all last week and we averaged half limits on all three. We’ve been targeting rockfish at the Hat and also Rogers Break. The weather has been rough, but it got a lot nicer on Tuesday and the next few days look pretty good,” said Mitchell.

Crescent City
According to Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, a few salmon are being caught, but not many. He said, “Out near South Reef is where most are being caught, but it’s just one here and there. There are also some silvers in the same general area. The rockfish bite is good, but not great. Limits have been tough to come by. The big tides didn’t help, and now the dirty water has moved in and we’re not seeing much bait,” added Hegnes.

Brookings
Ocean salmon has been fair out of Brookings, with kings and hatchery silvers reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “We have been averaging a keeper per rod, and three or four shakers a rod, for lots of action,” said Martin. “The kings are 5 to 8 miles out, while Coho are also in closer. We got into a few salmon while bottom fishing over the weekend. Lingcod fishing has slowed, but easy limits of rockfish are common place.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The weekend saw quite a few fresh springers caught by boats sitting on the anchor upriver. It has slowed since, with lots of boats putting up zeros. The estuary fishery has yet to take off, but should soon as the water drops and warms.

Lower Rogue
The Rogue Bay remains slow according to Martin. “Only a few fish a day are being caught. The water temperate is back above 70 degrees, so hopefully the fish will begin to hold up on the bay,” 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

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).

Plenty of angling options for the holiday weekend

On one of the most popular holidays for boats targeting ocean salmon, it looks like the North Coast will be blessed with favorable offshore conditions. Inland anglers who are considering making the long trek to Humboldt to enjoy our beautiful, coastal weather and to fish for salmon will want to pay close attention to the tides. Very large tidal exchanges are predicted through the holiday weekend, which could create hazardous bar crossing situations. Once safely outside, you can expect to find plenty of hungry kings. It’s been solid fishing for close to 10 days now, with the best bite taking place south of the entrance off of Table Bluff. Rockfish at the Cape as well as Pacific halibut should all be within reach for the weekend. If you’re more comfortable inshore, the California halibut inside Humboldt Bay are really snapping. Sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers are now open to salmon fishing, and there’s plenty of redtail perch to be had at all the beaches. If you’re looking to wet a line this long holiday weekend, the North Coast has no shortage of opportunities.

Weekend Marine Forecast
According to National Weather Service, light to moderate winds are in the forecast through the rest of the week and weekend. Thursday through Sunday, NW winds are predicted at 5 to 10 knots with N swells 4 feet at 5 seconds and SW 2 to 3 feet at 16 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. 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.

Potentially dangerous bar crossing
With large tidal exchanges in effect through the weekend, there could be potential early morning hazardous Humboldt bar conditions. High tides will be over seven feet and will drop to minus tides. With a large volume of water flowing out of the bay and running into 5-foot swells, you’ll want to error on the side of caution — even if it means waiting until the out-flowing water from the bay has slowed, which usually occurs within 30 to 45 minutes prior to the tide bottoming out. If you’re planning on hitting the bar at daylight in the next few days, check the conditions first. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit https://www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan/. For the latest tide and current predictions, visit https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/noaatidepredictions.html?id=9418767

Low tides — Thurs. July 4 (-1.87 at 7:51 a.m.), Fri. July 5 (-1.72 at 8:37 a.m.)
Sat. July 6 (-1.35 at 9:24 a.m.), Sun. (-0.81 at 10:12 a.m.)

Boat ramp etiquette
With the holiday weekend approaching, the local boat ramps at lakes, rivers and bays will likely see an influx of traffic. While it can be a frustrating experience at times, it could go a lot smoother if people would follow some very simple, common sense rules at the ramp.

When arriving at the launch parking lot:

  • Remove all tie-downs except the winch hook attached to the bow, and disconnect the trailer wiring plug.
  • Make sure the drain plug is in, batteries are charged, fuel levels are good and boat lights work.
  • Load all gear, including fishing gear and coolers.
  • Attach stout lines to bow and stern cleats.

When you’re ready to back the boat down the ramp:

  • Back the trailer into the water until the vessel is in sufficient water depth to lower the drive unit.
  • Start the engine and let it idle for a few moments to prevent stalling.
  • Remove the trailer winch hook from the boat’s bow eye.
  • Finish backing the boat down the ramp, lower the drive unit and slowly back off the trailer and head to the courtesy dock (if available) to wait for the tow vehicle driver.

When you’re back at the ramp:

  • Tie up at the courtesy dock (if available) and drop off the tow vehicle driver.
  • Avoid blocking the ramp for boats entering or exiting the water.
  • Important note: The tow vehicle’s place in line determines the order boats will be retrieved, not where a boat is tied to a launch dock.
  • As the trailer is backed down the ramp, the boater should leave the dock and slowly motor to the trailer. Or guide with bow line.
  • The boater can slowly drive onto the trailer, or the tow vehicle driver can winch the boat on the trailer.
  • Raise the motor’s lower unit so it won’t scrape the ramp.
  • Head for an open area of the parking lot before unloading any gear, removing the drain plug, plugging in trailer lights and attaching tie-down straps.

With space limited on our boat ramps, being as efficient and quick as possible will help save a lot of grief and raised tempers. If you see people who need assistance, help out. Be conscious and courteous of others.

July 6 is statewide free fishing day
On Saturday July 6, people may fish California’s waters without a sport fishing license. All regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect. On Free Fishing Days, every angler must have the appropriate report card if they are fishing for steelhead, sturgeon, spiny lobster, or salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity River Systems. For more information visit, https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2019/06/24/july-6-is-free-fishing-day-in-california/

The Oceans:
Eureka
“The oceans been flat, there’s lots of boats out, and the salmon fishing has turned on,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “Salmon fishing this week was a lot like the old days with most boats, both private and charters, scoring limits.  Almost all of the action this week has been to the south between the 42 and 45 lines. We’re basically getting about halfway to the whistle, making a left turn, and putting out the gear. The fish have been in shallow, between 80 and 100 feet and they’re averaging a solid 10 pounds. Some bigger fish in the teen are starting to show up as well. The bay entrance is loaded with bait, and there were a couple kings caught there this week. I’d expect that bite to really turn on at some point,” said Klassen.

Nine year-old Ryder Gregory is all smiles after catching his limit of king salmon over the weekend with Heidi Musick. The Chico residents enjoyed a beautiful day on the water and caught plenty of salmon while fishing aboard the Wind Rose out of Trinidad. Photo courtesy of Curt Wilson/Wind Rose Charters

Trinidad
The salmon bite was really good over the weekend according to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “The action was best between Eureka and Trinidad, from the 50 to the 57 line in 25 fathoms. There wasn’t a lot of sign, but the fish were there. The rockfish bite is still good, with lots of blacks and blues around. I’ve been spending most of my time around Patrick’s Point due to the weather being a little nicer. I haven’t heard much regarding halibut, but I know some of the regulars are catching a few. There hasn’t been much effort though. Crabbing remains outstanding, we’re sending home limits for all the passengers each trip,” Wilson added.

Shelter Cove
The salmon bite has finally picked up, but has been a little inconsistent reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “The fish are spread out from the Banks to the whistle. We’re seeing mostly smaller fish, but there are a few nice ones mixed in. I ran some rockfish and salmon combo trips over the weekend and boated limits of salmon, rockfish, crab and half limits of lings. On Monday the salmon bite slowed for us and we only landed three. The last couple days were spent fishing the Banks and the whistle for salmon.

Crescent City
According to Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, a few salmon are being caught, but it’s not red-hot. “Most of the fish are being caught out near the South Reef in 200 to 300 feet of water, and we’re starting to see a little more effort. The Pacific halibut are still biting, we had a 92-pounder come in this week. The rockfish has been a little spotty the last couple days, likely due to the minus tides,” added Hegnes.

Brookings
There are plenty of salmon off of Brookings, but the majority are short kings or wild Coho reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “Charters are sorting through a lot of fish and getting a keeper per rod. In Oregon, the minimum size for kings is 24 inches, and many of the shakers are just an inch short. They will be keeper size in about a week. A few halibut also are being caught.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The spring season opened on Monday and the reports weren’t great. There’s quite a bit of moss coming down the river, which makes it tough to fish on the anchor. Reportedly, only a couple were caught upriver on Monday and trollers in the estuary didn’t have much luck either. The water temperature in the estuary is still a little cold, so the fish aren’t holding. That should change now that the spring flow releases have ended on the Trinity. Look for water levels to drop and the temps to increase.

Lower Rogue
According to Martin, the Rogue Bay has yet to yield a consistent bite. “On Sunday a dozen boats caught a dozen kings. On Monday it was dead. It is still a little early, so the bay should take off any time. Peak season isn’t until the end of July and August,” 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

Saltwater season back in full swing

Colby Black from Houston, TX holds a king salmon landed on Wednesday while fishing out of Eureka. Salmon fishing picked up on Wednesday, with bigger fish moving in on the beach both north and south of the entrance to Humboldt Bay. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Shellback Sport Fishing

After sitting on the sidelines watching the wind blow for more than a week, it finally relented, allowing our saltwater fishing season to resume. Salmon, rockfish, and halibut were all attainable the last couple days. And that should be the case through the weekend as the weather looks to remain fishable. Early in the week, the salmon bite was decent despite the influx of cold water. “The most striking development following a windy week was the frigid water that moved in, ranging from 47 to 51 degrees,” said skipper Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. “I don’t recall ever seeing temperature in the 40s this time of year, or ever really. But the salmon bit surprisingly well.” And they bit even better on Wednesday. According to Sepulveda, some bigger fish are moving in on the beach. “A few miles either north or south of the entrance in 80 to 150 feet of water produced on Wednesday. We put in six limits before 11:00 a.m. and the fish were all 10 to 20 pounds,” added Sepulveda. Calm seas also made for a smooth ride south to Cape Mendocino, where anglers enjoyed lights out lingcod and rockfish action. No new news there. With all the salmon excitement, Pacific halibut fishing took a backseat this week. That probably won’t last for long as anglers will soon get their fill of salmon and will look towards filling the freezer with white meat. The weather looks good for the next few days, and there’s plenty of room left in the quota. As of June 16, 6,032 net pounds have been harvested toward the 39,000-pound quota.

Important reminder:
When fishing for halibut, rockfish and salmon, 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.

Weekend Marine Forecast
Light winds and small seas are expected through Friday as low pressure off the Oregon coast gradually fills and moves northward. Northerly winds will increase slightly over the weekend. As of Thursdayafternoon, Friday’s forecast is calling for N winds up to 10 knots and waves NW 3 feet at 8 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for N winds 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 3 feet at 4 seconds. Sunday’s forecast will be similar, with N winds 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 4 feet at 5 seconds forecasted. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. 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.

July 6 is statewide free fishing day
On Saturday July 6, people may fish California’s waters without a sport fishing license. All regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect. On Free Fishing Days, every angler must have the appropriate report card if they are fishing for steelhead, sturgeon, spiny lobster, or salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity River Systems. For more information visit, https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2019/06/24/july-6-is-free-fishing-day-in-california/

The Oceans:
Eureka
Monday out of Eureka started slow, with a small fleet of boats looking around for salmon in marginal seas. With not much happening where they left them biting, Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing pointed the bow west and didn’t stop until he ran across some really good signs in 300 feet of water. The fishing was good, and the rest of fleet soon joined the party. Limits were had by just about all, but the fish were on the small side. On Tuesday, the fleet got a little bigger and fish showed up at a couple of the usual locations – Table Bluff to the South and the dumpsite northwest of the entrance. Better fishing, and a better grade of fish, transpired at Table Bluff. Having that information, the majority of the boats made the turn south on Wednesday and again found some pretty good fishing between the 45 and 40 lines. Not only are the fish moving into shallower water, they are getting bigger as well. Taking advantage of the nice weather, quite a few boats ran all the way south for rockfish at the Cape. “The lingcod bite was fantastic, and we were just a couple rockfish short of limits for everyone on Tuesday,” said Klassen. “We even managed to catch a 50-pound halibut, which was a nice little bonus.”

Trinidad
“We were finally able to get back on the water on Monday, and the salmon are still here,” said Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “We ran north up to Patrick’s Point and found a pretty good bite. However, everything changed on Tuesday as the fish had moved south five to 10 miles. Some of the boats did well from straight out down to the Mad River fishing in 100 to 200 feet of water. The grade of fish is also picking up. On Wednesday, the south wind came up pretty good and cut our rockfish trip short. We were able to boat a few lings near Reading Rock before we were forced in. The rockfish bite has been good everywhere, with plenty of blacks and blues to fill your 10-fish limit. There has been a handful of halibut caught this week, but there hasn’t been a whole lot of effort,” Wilson added.

Shelter Cove
Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing spent most last week running rockfish trips due to the ocean conditions. “The weather was pretty bad for most of last week but the rockfish bit pretty good at the Old Man,” said Mitchell “The lingcod bite has been much tougher and they’re really making you work for them. The salmon bite has been getting better every day and boats are starting to get limits inside the Old Man. The grade seems to be getting better as well with lots of fish over 10-pounds. The weather looks really good this week so we should see some better salmon scores.”

Crescent City
According to Leonard Carter of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, Pacific halibut has been the big story the last couple days. “Monday and Tuesday were really good; 14 halibut came in on Tuesday alone. They’re all coming from the backside of the South Reef. There’s been a few salmon caught out deep, but not many are trying. I heard that there’s mostly silvers out front. The rock fishing has been excellent at all the usual spots, and the lings are biting too,” Carter said.

Brookings
“Anglers fishing out of Brookings found good numbers of hatchery Coho and a few kings this week as ocean conditions settled down and boats could get offshore,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “The best fishing is still five to 10 miles offshore. Big numbers of kings have still not arrived, but Coho are plentiful with lots of wild fish and enough hatchery silvers to get a keeper or more a rod. Calm weather is expected into the weekend.”

Dave Miller of Shady Cove, Ore., and Mike Phillips of Gig Harbor, Wash., holds a king and hatchery coho salmon caught June 26 while fishing out of Brookings with Capt. Rye Phillips of Brookings Fishing Charters. They were trolling anchovies with Big Al’s Fish Flash flashers. Photo courtesy of Rye Phillips/Brookings Fishing Charters.

The Rivers:
Lower Rogue
According to Martin, the Rogue Bay remains slow, but fish are being caught. “The water is starting to warm again, which should begin to hold fish again in the bay,” 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

Wind keeping salmon anglers at bay

North winds – typical for June – are flexing their muscles all along the North Coast. Since Saturday, the high pressure offshore combined with a thermal trough inland has generated some strong northerly winds and hazardous seas. And it looks like those conditions will stick around through at least Sunday. There’s been very little offshore activity, though a few boats snuck out last Saturday in tough conditions and found a pretty good salmon bite slightly north of Eureka. The salmon are definitely here, and they’re moving closer to shore likely following schools of bait. The other thing for certain is after all this wind, it will be a whole different world out there.

But just as one fishery is put on hold, another has taken off. As luck would have it, just as the ocean was getting rough, the California halibut started moving into Humboldt Bay in pretty big numbers. Sport boats, charters, and the kayakers have all gotten in on the action. And it should only get better as the bay is filling with bait and smaller tidal exchanges begin next week. The daily bag and possession limit in Humboldt Bay is three fish with a minimum size limit of 22-inches total length.

California halibut carcasses wanted
California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife would like to remind Humboldt Bay anglers to donate their California halibut carcasses to research. You can donate your carcass by giving it directly to CDFW Halibut staff who will be periodically present at Woodley Island and/or public boat launches; you can schedule a drop off at the CDFW field office, 619 2nd St; or pickup by contacting Kathryn Meyer at 707-445-5306. CDFW asks that you remove the fil­lets, but leave the skeleton and guts intact and on ice and record the date and location of capture.
Each donation will receive an entry to win a custom fishing rod at the end of the season, courtesy of Bassman Dan’s Custom Rods.

Weekend marine forecast
The ocean will still be pretty big through the weekend, but it does start to come down on Sunday. As of Wednesday afternoon, Friday’s forecast is calling for N winds 15 to 25 knots and waves NW 11 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for N winds 15 to 20 knots and waves NW 10 feet at 9 seconds. The wind and seas will start to come down on Sunday, with N winds 10 to 20 knots and waves NW 8 feet at 7 seconds forecasted. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. 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.

Fish Lake Kid’s fishing derby this Saturday
The 45th annual Kid’s Fish Lake Fishing Derby is taking place on Saturday, June 22 in Orleans. The derby starts promptly at 8 a.m. and runs until noon. It’s open to kids from Pre-K to the 8th grade. Poles and tackle will not be provided and an adult must accompany all children. Hot dogs and lemonade will be provided; adults are encouraged to bring a side dish or salad to share. For more information, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/srnf/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD638443.
You can also contact LeRoy Cyr at 530-627-3262 or leroy.cyr@usda.gov

The Oceans:
Eureka
Tough ocean conditions since last weekend has kept the Eureka fleet tied to the dock. Prior to the blow, the salmon bite had moved to the north a couple miles where the boats were working on a new school of salmon around the 49.5 line. “The fish have moved in a little closer and they’re not as deep. And we’re starting to see a little better grade as well,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “I don’t think anyone has been out since Saturday, so it will be interesting to see how it looks out there after all of the wind. I’m sure the fish are still here, we’ll just need to find them again. Right now, it’s looking like we may be able to get back out on Sunday, but it looks marginal. The California halibut bite in the bay has really picked up as we’re starting to see a lot more bait. There’s definitely enough fish around to make a day of it. And it should get a lot better once we get through these big tide swings.”

Arcata resident Andy Peterson landed this nice 16-pound king salmon last week while fishing out of Eureka with his son Owen. Rough seas have kept most boats off the ocean this week, but conditions look to improve beginning Monday. Photo courtesy of Andy Peterson

Trinidad
Prior to the windy conditions, the salmon fishing was pretty good reports Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. He said, “The last day we fished salmon was Saturday, and we were able to boat limits. Most of the fish are being caught a couple miles north of Cone Rock around the 06-07 lines, and that’s where we’ll head back to once the ocean calms down. We’ve been running rockfish trips when the weather has allowed, and there’s plenty of them around. We’ve spent most of our time inside of the Turtles at Patrick’s Point where limits of black and blue rockfish are coming easily. The crabbing remains excellent and we’re also catching a few Coonstripe shrimp.”

Shelter Cove
Like everywhere else along the coast, the weather out of the Cove has been less than ideal this week reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “We spent most of the last week doing salmon and rockfish trips. The rockfish bite has been fairly consistent, but the lingcod bite has been slow. The salmon bite was pretty good up in the Canyon last Friday and Saturday, but has died off since. I did find a few fish outside the whistle on Sunday but the weather hasn’t let me get back out there since then.”

Crescent City
“Not much happening right now due to the wind and rough ocean,” said Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine “Before the wind picked up, there were a few salmon caught 13 to 14 miles out in 250 feet of water. There’s also been a few caught right out front – I think the fish are really scattered. I’ve seen a lot more bait show up this week, both on the beach and inside the harbor. We’re also seeing a lot more bird activity, hopefully they’ll be some good signs once the seas come down.”

Brookings
The windy weather has kept us close to shore the past week out of Brookings reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “Bottom fishing has been good in the mornings before the wind picks up. There are plenty of fish close to port. Salmon fishing is slow with most of the fish still offshore. Coho season opens Saturday.”

The Rivers:
Lower Rogue
The Rogue Bay has started to pick up, with decent fishing Monday and Tuesday according to Martin. “A few salmon were caught over the weekend before catch rates picked up this week. Windy weather is keeping many anglers away, so pressure is still light. Fishing should continue to improve daily this month before catch rates jump up in July,” 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 bite heating up out of Eureka, Trinidad

Fishing out of Trinidad last Sunday aboard the Shellback, Hudson Buhr from Lincoln Nebraska was pretty fired up over his first ever king salmon. An hour later he landed a second one to round out his limit. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Shellback Sport Fishing

The temperature isn’t the only thing heating up on the North Coast. The salmon bite out of Eureka and Trinidad sizzled this week. Tuesday was good, but it went wide-open on Wednesday. The Eureka charters had full limits by 10 a.m. and the Trinidad boats did equally as well, if not better. And for the first time since the season opened, a decent bite developed out of Brookings. Some of the credit should go to the weather. The ocean has been like a lake since Tuesday, putting more boats on the water and allowing anglers to venture out to new areas. And what they found was our little slice of heaven is holding a lot of salmon. But typical of June, the north winds are set to return. Seas are expected to come up starting Friday and winds 15 to 20 knots are expected to stick around through at least Monday. While the weather may not cooperate, we can all sleep a little sounder knowing the salmon are here and better days are coming.

Weekend marine forecast
Beginning Friday, the seas will begin to build through the weekend and into next week. On Friday, N winds are predicted at 5 to 15 knots and NW waves 7 feet at 7 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for NW winds to 15 knots and NW swells 8 feet at 8 seconds. The winds will increase slightly on Sunday and swells will be from the NW 9 feet at 8 seconds and W 2 feet at 13 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. 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.

Emergency regulations to allow the take of Klamath/Trinity springers
In a notice dated June 7, the CA Fish and Game Commission is proposing emergency regulations amending the closure to the Klamath River basin spring Chinook fishing regulations from the Feb 2019 emergency action to allow limited fishing opportunity on the Upper Klamath-Trinity Spring Chinook salmon. The Commission anticipates it will submit the rulemaking to the Office of Administrative Law between June 14 and June 18. Any interested person may present statements, arguments or contentions, in writing, submitted via U.S. mail or e-mail, relevant to the proposed emergency regulatory action. Written comments submitted via U.S. mail or e-mail must be received at OAL within five days after the Commission submits the emergency regulations to OAL for review. For more information and how to comment, visit https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=169712&inline.

If the proposed emergency regulation is adopted by the OAL, fishing will be allowed in the following areas on July 1. The daily bag limit will be one and the possession limit will be two.

  • The Lower Klamath, from the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth
  • The Trinity downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat
  • The Trinity downstream of the Highway 299 Bridge at Cedar Flat to the Denny Road Bridge in Hawkins Bar
  • The Trinity from Denny Road Bridge in Hawkins Bar to the mouth of the South Fork
  • New River main stem downstream of the confluence of the East Fork to the confluence with the Trinity River

Under these emergency regulations, these areas will open to fishing on July 1 and remain open until their regularly scheduled spring season closes. After which, fall regulations will apply.

The Klamath from Iron Gate to Weitchpec will be closed to salmon fishing through Aug. 14. The Trinity from the mouth of the South Fork to the confluence with the Klamath will remain closed to salmon fishing through Aug. 31.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Limits have been the rule this week for the Eureka salmon fleet. “There’s lots of salmon, and they’re spread out,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “The last few days the fish have been between the 46 and 50-lines in 35 to 50 fathoms. The fish are finally starting to come closer to the surface as we’re catching a few on Deep Sixes. The grade hasn’t changed much since the beginning, most are running five to 10 pounds with the occasional fish in the teens. Conditions are starting to look really good right out front. More bait is beginning to show up, it shouldn’t be long before the fish move in closer. We ran to the Cape on Monday in some decent swells, and the fishing was tougher than usual. The water was really dirty on the inside making it tough to catch the blacks. The fishing was definitely better in deeper water,” Klassen said.

Trinidad
With big swells and bad tides looming out of Eureka, Skipper Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing, temporarily moved his operations to Trinidad. “The salmon bite was really good in Eureka, but big swells and tidal exchange made the Humboldt Bar a no go for the weekend,” said Sepulveda. “I brought Shellback to Trinidad to keep us fishing. By Monday the weather had settled and the salmon fishing got easy for everyone. Quick limits were the norm for the fleet and we had plenty of time to make the run to Reading Rock for limits of lingcod and amazing rockfish. The positive from all this wind is the water rolled over and is loaded with bait from 35 to 60 fathoms. Our fish on Tuesday were stuffed with krill, squid and sardines and the meter was lit up everywhere we went.”

Shelter Cove
“Due to the rough conditions, we stayed close to port most of last week and enjoyed some really good rock fishing,” said Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “We spent most of our time fishing around the Old Man and got limits of rockfish and lings every day we fished. We even had a bonus 56-pound halibut on Monday. Tuesday, we ran to Gorda for rockfish and halibut. We ended up with three halibut to 68 pounds, limits of blacks, and half-limits of lings. The salmon bite remains very slow, but there is some more bait starting to show so hopefully they’ll be here soon.”

Crescent City
“A few salmon have been caught this week, but there isn’t much in the way of effort,” said Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine “Most of the salmon were caught straight out, but it was only a handful. I did hear of one 20-pounder landed. With the flat ocean conditions, quite a few boats have been targeting halibut outside of the South Reef. We weighed in an 82 and 60 pounder this week. The rockfish bite is wide-open, and there biting at all the spots. Some nice lings coming over the rails too, we weighed in a 29.5 pounder on Wednesday.”

Brookings
Windy weather has kept most Brookings boats from chasing salmon, but conditions are much better the middle of this week reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “There are giant bait balls just outside of the harbor, and 50-degree water temperatures, so salmon fishing should improve anytime. Last week we encountered big numbers of shakers and Coho salmon, but not many keeper kings. Bottom fishing has been good.”

The Rivers:
Lower Rogue “A few salmon were caught in the Rogue Bay early last week as water temperatures hit 70 degrees, forcing fish to hold up in the cooler water along the jetties,” said Martin. “The water temperature dropped to 60 degrees over the weekend, and there was a fair bite upriver. It was back to 68 degrees Tuesday, so the bay could take off again later this week.”

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

Solid salmon opener out of Eureka

Seven year-old Carlie Moore, along with her dad Conan, had a great day together salmon fishing out of Eureka on Monday. The sport salmon season opened on Saturday from the CA/OR border to Horse Mtn. and will run through Sept. 2. Photo courtesy of Reel Steel Sport Fishing

“In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Had Benjamin Franklin lived on the North Coast, he may have edited his famous quote to include king salmon out of Eureka. The season is only a few days old, but Eureka once again looks like the place to be if you want to consistently catch kings. Saturday’s opener was blown out, but Marc Schmidt of Coastline Charters headed out on Sunday afternoon to test the waters as the ocean was lying down. They quickly put in limits and had a fish on within minutes of putting lines in the water. That obviously got everyone’s blood going for Monday. And the salmon didn’t disappoint. They were chewing up baits from the get go, and it was limit-style fishing for the fleet. Tuesday was even better, with most of the charters limited and headed in by 10 a.m. Fishing was tougher on Wednesday, with the boats having to scatter looking for schools. We’re just at the beginning of a long season, but the stars are in line and hinting that we’re in for a great king salmon season. I can say with utmost certainty that Eureka will be one of the top ports on the West Coast for salmon catching.

Weekend marine forecast
After Thursday, the seas are forecasted to build through the weekend and into next week. North and northwest winds blowing 10 to 20 knots are predicted through at least Monday. On Friday, NW waves will be 8 feet at 8 seconds and NW 2 feet at 14 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for NW swells 9 feet at 9 seconds and W 2 feet at 11 seconds. Sunday’s prediction is NW swells 7 feet at 8 seconds and W 2 feet at 11 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. 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.

California halibut carcasses wanted
California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife is looking for Humboldt Bay anglers to donate their California halibut carcasses to research. You can donate your carcass by giving it directly to CDFW Halibut staff who will be periodically present at Woodley Island and/or public boat launches; you can schedule a drop off at the CDFW field office, 619 2nd St; or pickup by contacting Kathryn Meyer at 707-445-5306. CDFW asks that you remove the fil­lets, but leave the skeleton and guts intact and on ice and record the date and location of capture.

Each donation will receive an entry to win a custom fishing rod at the end of the season, courtesy of Bassman Dan’s Custom Rods.

California Halibut can be found a from Baja, Mexico to Washington State, but are most common south of Point Reyes. In warm years, we tend to see a lot more Halibut in the Humboldt area, which may become more common in the future. Help us learn more about how quickly they grow, when and if they reproduce here, what they are eating, among other questions important for managing the fi­shery.

Pacific Halibut quota update
The CDFW has projected 4,756 net pounds of Pacific Halibut has been harvested through May 19. In 2019, the Pacific halibut allocation for California is 39,000 pounds. To view the latest catch projection information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

Canary rockfish, black rockfish and lingcod bag limit increases effective June 1
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced increases to the recreational canary rockfish, black rockfish and lingcod daily limits. Within the statewide Rockfish Cabezon Greenlings Complex daily bag limit of 10 fish, the sub-bag limit for canary rockfish will increase from two to three fish, and the sub-bag limit for black rockfish will increase from three to four fish. The daily bag limit for lingcod will increase from one to two fish for areas south of 40°10’ N. lat (Mendocino Management Area), returning the statewide bag limit for lingcod to two fish. Within the Northern Management Area, which runs from the CA/OR border to Cape Mendocino, the lingcod bag limit will remain at two fish. Changes are effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 1, 2019. For more information regarding groundfish regulations, management and fish identification tools, please visit the https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Groundfish-Summary

Fish for free this weekend in Oregon
Oregon will be having a Free Fishing Weekend on June 1 and 2. On those two days, no license, tag or endorsement is required to fish, crab or clam anywhere in Oregon. This applies only to waters already open to fishing, crabbing or clamming. All other regulations, such as bag limits, still apply. For more information, visit https://myodfw.com/articles/2019-free-fishing-days-and-events.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Monday and Tuesday were really good for salmon out of Eureka reports Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “There seems to be quite a few fish around, but they’re spread out,” said Klassen. “The best bite has been between the 47 and 53 out in 38 to 40 fathoms. The fish are really deep, from 180 to 200 feet on the wire. There’s some activity on the inside, but most of the birds and bait have been in deeper water. The salmon are a better grade than last year, with most averaging right around eight to 10 pounds. There’s some shakers around as well as silvers.”

Trinidad
“The salmon aren’t everywhere, but we’re getting a good steady pick of them,” said Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “We haven’t seen a lot of birds or large masses of bait this week. The fish we’re catching have been in 30 to 40 fathoms and the they’re on the bottom. The rockfish continues to be wide-open, there’s black rockfish just about everywhere. We haven’t seen many lings as of yet though. The sport crabbing is still good, the pots have been stuffed with big males.”

Shelter Cove
The salmon bite has been very slow according to Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “There was a decent bite on Sunday with at least one boat getting limits and there were two fish caught that were in the mid-twenties. Other than that, most boats have been lucky to see one fish for a day’s effort. There’s been quite a bit of bait right out front and down inside the Old Man, so hopefully they’ll find it soon. Rock fishing has been good around the Hat. We got a 67-pound halibut while rock fishing down there on Monday. It’s looking like it will be windy the rest of the week and possibly longer.”

Crescent City
There were a few salmon caught over the weekend, but not many reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “There wasn’t a lot of effort, and the ocean wasn’t that nice. I had heard the water looked good about 10 miles out, but the boats this weekend couldn’t get out that far. Conditions really changed on Wednesday afternoon. One of the commercial boats coming in said there was tons of life – birds, bait, whales, sea lions – about four miles offshore in 26-27 fathoms of water. It looked really fishy. The rockfish bite is red hot right now, boats are really doing well at the Big Reef. Plenty of lingcod around too.”

Brookings
Although a few salmon are being caught out of Brookings, fishing is still slow, which is usual for late May reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “Peak season tends to be two to three weeks after it peaks in Eureka, so the strong start there is encouraging. Some kings are being caught five miles offshore from Brookings in 300 feet of water, fishing 90 feet down. There also are Coho already being caught, but they cannot be kept until June 22.”

Lower Rogue
The Rogue got a fresh batch of springers last week according to Martin. “Beginning June 1, wild salmon can be kept on the Rogue. Still early for good bay fishing on the Rogue,” 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

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