Pacific Halibut Continue to Chew Up Baits

Red Bluff resident Juan Nava landed a giant Pacific halibut while fishing out of Trinidad Monday aboard the Wind Rose. The big fish taped out at 58-inches and was estimated to weigh in the 90-pound range. Photo courtesy of Curt Wilson/Wind Rose Charters

The halibut bite over the weekend picked up right where it left off, with anglers pulling em’ over the rails at breakneck speeds. Boats were back on the water Saturday following last week’s windy conditions. And the Pacific halibut were ready and willing to take any bait sent their way. It’s been a while since we’ve seen fishing this good, and there’s a good chance it may come to an early end. With an entire month left before salmon season opens, which will command much of the attention, there’s a good chance the 38,740 net pound quota will be gobbled sometime in July. So, if you haven’t yet to get in on the action, you better make it quick. This fishery won’t last long. Through June 28, CDFW projected 18,143 pounds had been caught. But those numbers will be sure to skyrocket after the wide-open bite the last few days. To view the latest catch projection information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

Weekend marine forecast
After a nice stretch of calm seas, it looks like the wind will return starting Wednesday. As of Tuesday afternoon, Friday’s forecast is calling for northwest winds at 5 to 15 knots and waves northwest 6 feet at six seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for northwest winds at 5 to 10 knots and waves northwest 5 feet at seven seconds. The winds will decrease Sunday, coming from the northwest up to 5 knots. Waves will be from the  north 3 feet at seven seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or 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 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

July 2 is statewide free fishing day
On Saturday July 2, 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, www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Fishing/Free-Fishing-Days

Razor Clam fishery in Crescent City reopens
In a press release issued last Friday, The CDFW Director has re-opened the recreational razor clam fishery in Del Norte County following a recommendation from state health agencies that the consumption of razor clams in the area no longer poses a significant threat for domoic acid exposure. The razor clam fishery in Del Norte County was re-opened in April 2021 after a five-year closure due to high domoic acid concentrations that persisted in the razor clam population, but was then closed again in December due to public health hazard. Pseudo-nitzschia, a naturally occurring single-celled marine alga, produces the potent neurotoxin domoic acid under certain ocean conditions.

During the closure, state health agencies have continued to assess domoic acid levels in razor clams. Two separate clam collections from Crescent Beach, Crescent City this month taken more than a week apart all had domoic acid concentrations below the federal action level of greater than or equal to 20 parts per million.

Domoic acid poisoning in humans may occur within minutes to hours after consumption of affected seafood and can result in signs and symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to permanent loss of short-term memory (Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning), coma or death. There is no way to prepare clams that will remove the toxin. Cooking and freezing have no effect.

Health agencies continue to monitor domoic acid in razor clams in Del Norte and Humboldt counties, which are both now open to razor clam harvest.

CDFW reminds clammers that the daily bag limit for razor clams is 20 and the first 20 clams dug must be retained regardless of size or condition. The razor clam fishery is open south of Battery Point, Crescent City (Del Norte County) during even-numbered years. Each person is required to keep a separate container for their clams and is not allowed to commingle their take with another person when digging and transporting clams to shore. For more information on any fishery closure or health advisories, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/health-advisories.

To get the latest information on current fishing season closures related to domoic acid, please call CDFW’s Domoic Acid Fishery Closure Information Line at (831) 649-2883.

For the latest consumption warnings, please call the California Department of Public Health’s Biotoxin Information Line at (510) 412-4643 or toll-free at (800) 553-4133.

The Oceans:
Eureka

Halibut is still the focus out of Eureka, and the fishing is really good even though it slowed down on Tuesday reports Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “Not everyone is getting limits every day, it’s about being in the right place at the right time,” said Klassen. “If those line up, you’ll do well. The bite has moved slightly north, with most of the fish coming between the 48 and 54 lines. The fish are a little bigger now, with most falling in the 20-to-50-pound range. The good news is the black cod seemed to have vanished, which allows you to get the bait to the bottom. It looks like we’re in for windy conditions Wednesday through Friday.”

Trinidad
According to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters, the Pacific halibut bite out of Trinidad is about as good as it gets. “I think roughly 30 boats launched Sunday and I heard just about all the boats caught halibut,” said Wilson. “Most of the action is happening straight out and 265 feet seems to be the magic number. The rockfish bite remains wide-open, with the area between Cone and Turtle Rock being one of the better spots at the moment. The lingcod bite has been excellent, as well, with limits coming quickly most days. The crab bite seems to be dependent on the weather, but the customers are still going home with a few each trip.”

Shelter Cove
“Salmon fishing remains very slow at the Cove with only a few being caught each day,” said Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “The rockfish bite is consistently good and we’re getting easy limits. The ling cod have been a little tougher to come by. The Hat, Ranch House and Rogers Break are all producing solid action.”

Crescent City
“The ocean has been nice the last few days and the rockfish bite has been excellent,” said Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “California halibut have finally shown up with a few being caught daily off of South Beach by kayaks trolling anchovies and guys fishing off the rocks. The minus tides are producing excellent clamming conditions for the just reopened razor clam fishery. There’s lot of limits being reported, and good tides will stick around through the fourth. A few Pacific halibut are being caught at the South Reef along with plenty of Petrale Sole.”

Brookings
“After a fairly slow start to the ocean salmon season a week ago out of Brookings, catch rates soared on Sunday and Monday as charter boats zeroed in on schools of kings and coho around 4 miles offshore,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Charters averaged a keeper and a half per rod on Monday, with lots of wild coho and shaker kings released. Private boaters also are getting in on the action. The coho are near the surface, while the kings are 80 to 120 feet down in 250 feet of water. Anchovies are out-fishing artificial lures. Fishing for salmon close to shore remained slow. Lingcod and rockfish action has been good, while halibut fishing is slow to fair.”

Lower Rogue
According to Martin, a few salmon a day are being caught on the Rogue Bay, but the ocean is currently the best bet for kings. “Hot weather inland, however, will warm water temperatures on the Rogue and force early fall kings to hold up in the bay. The water temperature at Agness was 68.5 degrees on Monday, up from 59 degrees a week ago. When it reaches 70, the action on the bay typically heats up.”

Salmon season opens July 1 on parts of Klamath and Trinity Rivers
The spring Chinook salmon fishery on the lower Klamath River (downstream of the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec) and Trinity River (upstream of the confluence of the South Fork Trinity River) opens Friday, July 1, and will run through Aug. 14 on the Klamath River and through Aug. 31 on the Trinity River. The daily bag limit has been set to one Chinook salmon (no size restrictions), and the possession limit set at two Chinook salmon.

Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Windy Conditions Slow Pacific Halibut Bite

Fortuna resident Craig Smith landed a nice Pacific halibut last Wednesday while fishing aboard the Reel Steel out of Eureka. Prior to the wind picking up over the weekend, the halibut fishing was red-hot out of Eureka and Trinidad. Photo courtesy of Craig Smith

Halibut continues to be the focal point out of both Eureka and Trinidad after another week of sizzling action. Eureka charter and sport boats fishing a few miles on each side of the entrance in 250 to 300 feet of water reported quick limits. The Trinidad boats have done equally as good straight out of the harbor. And it’s looking like the only thing that will slow down the onslaught is if you can’t get to the fishing grounds. And that’s exactly what happened when the wind picked up Sunday. But that could be a blessing in disguise. The 38,740-pound quota has the potential to get chewed up quickly with the fleet consistently putting halibut in the box. Best case scenario would be for the quota to last at least through July when the salmon season opens back up Aug. 1. And the way our weather pattern is shaping up, the wind may just see to it. Through June 19, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has projected 8,771 pounds have been caught. To track the quota, visit https://wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking.

Weekend marine forecast
Gusty conditions will be prevalent throughout the week, but should improve by the weekend. As of Tuesday afternoon, Friday’s forecast is calling for north winds 5 to 15 knots and waves north 10 feet at nine seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for northwest winds up to 5 knots and waves northwest 6 feet at eight seconds. The winds will decrease Sunday, coming from the southwest up to 5 knots. Waves will be northwest 4 feet at eight seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or www.windy.com. You can also call the National Weather Service at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

Freshwater Lagoon trout plants
According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website, Freshwater Lagoon has been planted with trout almost weekly since early May. Reportedly, the fishing has been excellent this month for keeper-sized rainbows. Freshwater is open to fishing year-round and the limit is 5 trout per day and 10 in possession. For more information, visit www.nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FishPlants or call (530) 225-2146.

Fish Lake Kid’s fishing derby this Saturday
The 46th annual Kid’s Fish Lake Fishing Derby is taking place this Saturday, June 25 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. The Orleans Rod and Gun Club, Six Rivers National Forest, Coast Central Credit Union, CA Deer Assoc., RMI Outdoors, AmeriCorps Watershed Stewards, and Our River Community host the event. For more information, contact Eric Fieberg at orleansrodandgun@gmail.com or 707-951-4453.

The Oceans:
Eureka
The boats left the Pacific halibut biting Saturday after being chased off the water due to the forecast of high winds and rough seas. And those conditions will continue through at least Thursday. According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, the Pacific halibut bite is still really good. “The fish are a little better grade this year, we’re seeing a lot of them in the 30-to-50-pound range,” said Klassen. “Boats are still having to deal with black cod, but if you can keep a bait on the bottom, your chances of catching a halibut are good. Cape Mendocino is providing excellent rockfish action as usual. There’s lots of variety, you can catch 8 to 10 different species on any given day. The ling cod bite isn’t as wide-open, but you can get limits if you put in the time.”

Trinidad
Rough water kept the charter boats close to port the last few days, but conditions should improve towards the end of the week. Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters reports the Pacific halibut bite is still raging. “Limits are pretty much the norm, with most coming straight out in roughly 250 feet of water,” said Wilson. “The rockfish bite continues to be really good, with lots of black rockfish being caught. The ling bite has also picked back up. The crabbing slowed down over the weekend.” added Wilson. Dungeness crab season using hoop nets and crab snares is open through July 30.

Shelter Cove
“Salmon fishing is still very slow with only a handful caught this week,” said Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “There isn’t much bait around and the water is clear blue in every direction. The rockfish bite is consistently good with limits the norm. The Hat and Ranch House are two of the better spots. I only heard of a couple halibut caught this week.”

Crescent City
“When the boats can get out, which hasn’t been the case the last few days, there are Pacific halibut to be had,” said Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “Most boats are fishing the South Reef in roughly 250 feet of water. Quite a few were caught last week, with fish all the way to 40 pounds. The rockfish action is still red-hot, with easy limits coming to those who put in the time. And you don’t need to go far, especially if it’s rough. There’s plenty of good spots outside the harbor going towards Castle Rock. A few more California halibut were caught this week. Some of the guys trolling South Beach who know what they’re doing are catching a few.”

Brookings
“The ocean salmon season opened on Saturday out of Brookings, with anglers allowed to keep two hatchery coho a day,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Wild or hatchery kings may be kept as part of the two-fish bag limit beginning this Saturday. Charters averaged a keeper coho per rod over the weekend and released numerous wild coho and kings. Plenty of bait in close has anglers excited about the king opener. Fishing has been good for lingcod and rockfish on calm weather days.

Lower Rogue
A few salmon are being caught daily in the Rogue Bay, with fishing also decent upriver reports Martin. “Hot weather inland this week should boost water temperatures in the bay and improve estuary trolling. Dredge operations are under way in the Rogue Bay.”

Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Klamath/Trinity Rivers 2022 Salmon Season Set

Montana resident Sue McCormack with a fall-run Klamath salmon from a recent season. Photo courtesy Kenny Priest/Fishing the North Coast Guide Service

With the number of ocean kings destined for the Klamath River trending upwards, Klamath/Trinity river anglers will have a few more fall Chinook salmon to harvest this fall. During last month’s meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission adopted bag and possession limits for the Klamath Basin based on a quota of 2,119 fall-run adults.On the Klamath, the fall season begins Aug. 15 and closes Dec. 31. The fall season on the Trinity begins Sept. 1 and closes Dec. 31.

On the Lower Klamath, from the State Route 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth, 1,060 adults will be allowed for sport harvest. The section above the State Route 96 bridge at Weitchpec to 3,500 feet downstream of the Iron Gate Dam will get 360 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 U.S. Highway 101 bridge. In 2022, 318 adults can be harvested below the bridge before the closure at the mouth is implemented. The rest of the area below U.S. Highway 101 (estuary) will remain open to recreational fishing.

On the Trinity side, the quota is set at 699 adults. The quota will be split almost evenly; 350 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the State Route  299 West bridge at Cedar Flat and 349 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar to the confluence with the Klamath.

The daily bag limit will be two Chinook salmon, no more than one of which may be greater than 23 inches, and a possession limit of six, of which only three may be greater than 23 inches. Once these quotas have been met, no Chinook salmon greater than 23 inches in length may be retained (anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon less than or equal to 23 inches in length).

Klamath/Trinity spring salmon fishery
The spring Chinook salmon fishery on the lower Klamath River (downstream of the State Route 96 bridge at Weitchpec) and Trinity River (upstream of the confluence of the South Fork Trinity River) will open July 1 and will run through Aug. 14 on the Klamath River and through Aug. 31 on the Trinity River. The daily bag limit has been set to one Chinook salmon (no size restrictions), and the possession limit is set at two Chinook salmon.

All anglers on the Trinity and Klamath rivers must have Salmon Harvest cards in their possession when fishing for salmon.

Weekend marine forecast
Fishable conditions are in the forecast at least through Saturday. Friday, winds will be from the southt up to 5 knots with west waves 6 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for north winds 5 to 10 knots and west swells 6 feet at 10 seconds and south 2 feet at 15 seconds. On Sunday, northwest winds will begin to increase and predicted to blow 15 to 20 knots. Waves will be from the north 6 feet at six seconds and northwest 2 feet at 15 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or www.windy.com. You can also call the National Weather Service at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

Pacific halibut quota update
The CDFW has projected 5,473 net pounds of Pacific halibut have been harvested through June. 12. In 2022, the Pacific halibut allocation for California is 38,740 pounds. The Pacific halibut fishery will run through November 15, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. To view the latest catch projection information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/pacific-halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

Minus tides this week
Minus tides that began last Sunday will continue through Monday. These are some of the lowest tides of the year and could create a dangerous Humboldt Bay bar crossing. Local boat ramps will also be affected. Thursday June 16: Low: 8:09 a.m. (-2.3 feet); Friday June 17: Low: 9:00 a.m. (-2.0 feet); Saturday June 18: Low: 9:50 a.m. (-1.5 feet); Sunday June 19: Low: 10:41 a.m. (-.9 feet)

The Oceans:
Eureka
Boats have been off the water since Saturday due rough water. According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, the Pacific halibut fishing was good prior to the latest blow. “Boats were still working in the same 9- or 10-mile area, from the 42 to 51-line,” said Klassen. “The biggest issue remains the number of black cod that you have to deal with. There doesn’t seem to be any shortage of halibut.”

Trinidad
According to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters, the halibut bite is still good out of Trinidad. “We had one tough day last week when we didn’t get limits, but it’s been good since,” said Wilson. “The best bite is still straight out of the harbor in 250 to 300 feet. The rockfish bite is red-hot, we’re catching lots of black and blue rockfish. The ling bite has tapered off a little. The crabbing is really good and the crabs are an excellent quality right now.”

Shelter Cove
“Rock fishing has been really good this week, but the salmon are nowhere to be found,” said Jake Mitchell, of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “Some silvers showed up, so hopefully the kings are behind them. The Hat and Ranch House are two of the better spots for rockfish. When we can get north to Rogers Break, there’s plenty of halibut to be had. We were able to put in limits on Saturday. Salmon fishing out of Fort Bragg has been wide-open since late last week.”

Crescent City
It’s been quiet the last few days due to rough ocean conditions, reports Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “It looks like we’ll see some calmer water the next few days. When the boats can get out, the rockfish bite continues to produce some good numbers. Either one of the reefs and the Sisters have been good. The big news of the week is a couple California halibut were caught off the rocks at South Beach. Hopefully we’ll start to see them show up in better numbers.”

Brookings
Ocean salmon season opens June 18 out of Brookings for hatchery coho. Anglers can begin keeping wild or hatchery kings, along with the hatchery silvers, June 25. According to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters, there’s lots of bait near the harbor and anglers are anticipating good fishing. “Limits of rockfish and a few lingcod are being caught, but Pacific halibut action is still slow,” said Martin. “Sport crabbing has improved.”

Lower Rogue
According to Martin, the first few salmon of the season are being caught by trollers in the Rogue Bay. “Warmer weather this week in the Rogue Valley could make fishing even better, as late spring kings are quickly moving through the estuary and blasting upriver. Typically, an early start to the bay fishery indicates an above-average run.”

Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com.

Pacific Halibut Takes Center Stage

Joey Winkler, of Stockton, landed a nice Pacific Saturday while fishing out of Trinidad. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Green Water Fishing Adventures

With the closing of the first part of our salmon season, offshore anglers now have their sights set on Pacific halibut. And since Monday, there’s been a slew of them coming over the rails for both the Eureka and Trinidad fleets. The Eureka boats have had a little tougher go on account of the abundance of black cod lurking on the halibut grounds. In some spots it’s tough to get a bait to the bottom without it being eaten or mangled by the hungry cod. But when you find that spot where your baits can hit the bottom unmolested, it’s been game on. Trinidad has been producing limits for the charters and private boats since salmon season closed. Most of the fish are coming straight out of the harbor in 250 to 300 feet of water. No monsters have been reported yet, with the average size right around 20 to 30 pounds. With fishable water in the forecast through at least Saturday, now’s the time to get in on the action.

Weekend marine forecast
Ocean conditions look plenty fishable through Saturday. Friday, winds will be from the west to 5 knots with west waves 6 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for west winds 5 to 10 knots and west swells 5 feet at 10 seconds. On Sunday, north winds will begin to increase and predicted to blow up to 15 knots. Waves will be from the northwest 6 feet at six seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or www.windy.com. You can also call the National Weather Service at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

The Oceans:

Deaundray Robinson with a nice Pacific halibut caught Monday while fishing out of Eureka. Photo courtesy of Gary Blasi/Full Throttle Sport Fishing.

Eureka
Following a blustery and rainy weekend, boats were back on the water Monday in search of halibut. According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, there’s a wide area of fish outside of Eureka. “Halibut have been caught from the 42 line north to the 51 line,” said Klassen. “There seems to be a lot of fish out there but the black cod are still making it difficult to keep your bait. If you can find an area free of cod that has halibut, you’ll do well. The rockfish bite at Cape Mendocino is producing as expected. There’s plenty of variety right now — on our last trip we boated 12 different varieties.”

Trinidad
According to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters, the halibut bite is wide-open for the guys who are putting in the time. “Most of the fish are coming straight out of the harbor in 250 to 300 feet,” said Wilson. “There have been quite a few limits caught the last few days. The rockfish bite is still good, and we’re seeing more lings this year than in years past. The crabbing has been excellent, we’ve moved our rings in shallow and we’re seeing lots of quality keepers.” Trinidad Harbor and the Seascape Pier are hosting a big fish (salmon and halibut) and photo contest starting June 1. Sign-ups are at the bait shop and are free.

Shelter Cove
“The salmon fishing was pretty slow last week, with the best boats averaging a half a fish per angler,” said Jake Mitchell, of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “Most of the effort has been around the buoys. Rock fishing remains great with easy limits but lingcod have been a little more difficult to find. We, along with a few other boats, took advantage of the flat weather the last couple of days and ran to Gorda and Rogers Break for rockfish and halibut. The halibut fishing has been really good.

Crescent City
A few Pacific halibut have been caught but there aren’t a lot of boats trying, reports Britt Carson, of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “The few halibut caught have come from the South Reef in 220 to 240 feet of water. The rockfish action is steady, with limits coming fairly easy. There are quite a few lingcod around as well. The California halibut haven’t shown up in big numbers yet. There is some effort but I think the water is still a little cold.”

Brookings
While anglers wait for the June 18 salmon opener out of Brookings, they have been targeting rockfish and lingcod with good success, reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “High water from last weekend’s rain turned the Chetco muddy and slowed ocean fishing close to the mouth, making the Bird Island and Twins Rocks area the best bet,” said Martin. “Halibut fishing is slow, but a few fish a day are being brought in.” 

Lower Rogue
According to Martin, the Rogue is between runs, with spring salmon almost over and fall kings still several weeks away. “With high flows, bay trolling won’t begin anytime soon. Fishing has improved in the Shady Cove and Gold Hill areas of the upper Rogue.”

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

Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Eureka Boats Leave the Salmon Biting

Eureka resident Peter LaVallee with a nice king caught Tuesday. The ocean sport salmon season in the KMZ closed after Tuesday, but will reopen Aug. 1. Photo courtesy of Tim Klassen, Reel Steel Sport Fishing

Last Friday and Saturday produced some of the best ocean sport salmon fishing we’ve seen in years — or maybe ever. It was nearly impossible not to get limits if you were anywhere near the right spot. And then the winds blew in and the seas turned rough, keeping the fleet tied up Sunday and Monday. Ocean conditions were much improved Tuesday, the last day of salmon season until Aug. 1., and the small fleet made the run to the last known location of a large school of kings, hoping for the magic to strike again. And it did. The fish weren’t in that exact location but they didn’t go far. After a little scouting and the schools located, it was whack and stack. What a way to end the first half. So now with salmon closed for a couple months, the focus will be squarely on the white meat variety: Pacific halibut and rockfish. 

Weekend marine forecast
Ocean conditions look excellent through the work week before the wind picks Saturday. Friday’s forecast calls for winds out of the southwest up to 5 knots and waves west 4 feet at 11 seconds and southwest 2 feet at 18 seconds. Saturday is looking a little rougher, with south winds 10 to 20 knots and waves south 5 feet at five seconds and southwest 2 feet at 17 seconds. Sunday looks a little better, with southwest winds 5 to 10 knots and west waves 5 feet at eight seconds and southwest 2 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 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 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

Ruth Lake Bass tournament this Saturday
Fortuna Fire Department CO-2’s will be holding the annual “Paul Jadro Memorial Bass Tournament” on Saturday, June 4. 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 $140 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 June 3 at 4:30-6 p.m. or Saturday 4-5 a.m. For more information, contact Cody Waddell at 707-496-1717.

Fish for free this weekend in Oregon
Oregon will be having a Free Fishing Weekend June 4 and 5. 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. Visit www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2022/05_May/052622b.asp

Trinidad Big Fish and Photo Contest
Trinidad Harbor and the Seascape Pier are hosting a big fish (salmon and halibut) and photo contest starting June 1. Sign-ups are at the bait shop and are free. Fish must be caught by boats launched or moored at Trinidad Harbor. Halibut and/or salmon must be weighed and photographed by Harbor crew members. The contest ends when the 2022 quota is met. The Best Fish Photo can include lingcod, rockfish, salmon, halibut, and albacore. Send your photos to fishtrinidad22@gmail.com. Prizes include items from Redwood Coast Spreader Bars and Migration Clothing.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Boats looking for salmon got back on the water Tuesday after a couple days off due to rough seas and wind. The salmon were in roughly the same spot as when they left them biting Saturday. It was limit-style fishing for the fleet  that wanted another shot prior to the salmon season closing until Aug. 1. There were some Pacific halibut caught last Friday while conditions were ideal. Not many have ventured to the Cape but, with salmon closed, that will likely change. Ocean conditions look good through at least Friday.

Alex Fulton of Salyer with a nice king caught Friday out of Eureka with Andy Peterson.
Photo courtesy of Kenny Priest

Trinidad
The salmon bite was good over the holiday weekend out of Trinidad. According to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters, there was a good bite on the 00 line in 240 feet of water on Friday. He said, “Some halibut were also caught, with most coming straight out in 250 to 275 feet of water. The rockfish bite remains excellent and the ling cod have showed up in good numbers. The crabbing is good, with limits or close to it for the boats fishing rings/nets.” Salmon season will close after May 31 and open again Aug. 1.

Shelter Cove
According to Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport fishing, the salmon fishing has slowed down a little bit with boats getting about a fish and a half per rod. “There hasn’t been any concentration of fish,” said Mitchell. “Boats are getting them from the whistle to the Hat. You don’t have to go far for rockfish, it has been pretty good just south of the whistle to the Old Man.” Salmon season will run through July 4, reopening on July 22 and running through Sept. 5.

Crescent City
According to reports, the salmon bite went belly up on Tuesday after having consistent bite for the entire month of May. The water temperatures could have slowed it down, it was a chilly 48 degrees Tuesday. The rockfish bite remains excellent and there were some big lings to 30 pounds caught prior to the wind picking up. There have only been a few Pacific halibut caught but there should be much more effort now that salmon season has closed until Aug. 1.

Brookings
Lingcod and rockfish action has been good out of Brookings, while just a few Pacific halibut are being caught, reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “Catch rates for halibut improve in June and peak in July and August. Anchovies have arrived in the Port of Brookings and are thick outside the harbor, a good sign for the June 18 coho salmon and June 25 king salmon openers out of Brookings. The later-than-normal ocean salmon openers in Brookings coincide with what is typically the peak season. May and early June are closed on the Oregon side to reduce harvest of salmon bound for the Klamath River.”

Lower Rogue
Wild salmon can be kept on the Rogue River beginning June 1 according to Martin. “Although this year’s springer run has been much better than recent seasons, most of the spring kings have already moved through. High flows and cool water will allow late-arriving fish to blast through, keeping the summer bay fishery from heating up for several more weeks. Springers are now being caught in the upper river near Shady Cove.”

Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com.

Eureka Boats Back on the Salmon after Break in the Wind

Darla Lewis, of Eureka, caught this beautiful king salmon Monday aboard the Shellback. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Shellback Sport Fishing

After sitting on the sidelines for four days, the weather finally cooperated Monday and the Eureka boats were back on the water looking for kings. Salmon have been easy to come by this brief season and Monday proved no different. Quick limits were reported by the handful of boats. “The best bite was straight out front in 280 feet of water,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, who had full limits by 9:30 a.m. “The water was clear and the fish were coming shallow, right around 60 feet. There’s still some krill in the area as well as sardines. The fish are a decent size, with most around 24 inches and up with the occasional bigger one in the high teens.”

Offshore conditions are looking decent through Saturday for the holiday weekend but be aware of the minus tides that will begin Saturday. Sunday and Monday are the most dangerous as nearly 8 feet of water will be leaving the bay down to a minus 1-foot low when boats will be heading through the jaws.

Weekend marine forecast
After Wednesday, the north winds will begin to subside and the first part of the weekend is looking fishable. Friday, winds will be out of the west 5 to 10 knots and west waves 4 feet at nine seconds. Saturday is looking a little rougher with west winds 5 to 10 knots and west waves 7 feet at 10 seconds. Sunday, the wind will pick up and come out of the north 10 to 15 knots with west waves 9 feet at 10 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or 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 office at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

Ruth Lake Bass tournament coming June 4
Fortuna Fire Department CO-2’s will be holding the annual “Paul Jadro Memorial Bass Tournament” on Saturday, June 4. 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 $140 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 June 3 at 4:30-6 p.m. or Saturday 4-5 a.m. For more information, contact Cody Waddell at 707-496-1717.

The beaches
The wind this weekend will make the beaches tough for anglers looking for redtail perch. The mouth of Elk River or King Salmon are two of the better options at the moment to get out of the wind. Fishing along the ocean beaches remains slow. The California halibut have yet to show in big numbers. A few have been caught near Fairhaven. That fishery should start to pick up soon.

The Oceans:
Eureka
It’s kind of been the same story on the salmon, 200 to 300 feet of water straight out front of Eureka, reports Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. “Sardines and krill are holding the salmon in the area,” said Sepulveda. “Most mornings they start out shallow, 40 feet on the wire and biting deep sixes. As the day goes on, they head to the bottom. If you still need fish at noon, 200 feet on the wire is the ticket. We’ve had limits every day we fished them. Some days they come fast, others we’ve had to work at it a little. But they always seem to come.” The Pacific halibut bite has been a little challenging due to the hordes of small trash fish, reports Sepulveda. “There’s definitely still some nice fish to be caught though for those willing to put in the time.”

Trinidad
The rockfish bite in Trinidad continues to be excellent and you don’t need to travel far. Capt. Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters reports a red-hot bite right out front of Trinidad. “We’ve been staying close, right in front of Flat Iron and finding all the black rockfish we need,” said Wilson. “The crabbing is really good and they’re in great shape.” Ocean conditions look fishable for the week out of Trinidad, especially if you’re looking to fish half days.

Crescent City
The salmon bite continues to sizzle out of Crescent City, reports Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “Just about all the boats that went out Tuesday came back with limits. Most are starting around the red can towards South Reef and the Sisters. The fish are still shallow and watermelon Apexes and Cut Plugs are two of the top baits. The rockfish is still excellent, too, with both reefs and the Sisters producing limits of rockfish and lings. There hasn’t been much effort on Pacific halibut but that will likely change once salmon closes after next Tuesday.

Brookings
Lingcod and rockfish action was good last week and over the weekend out of Brookings, despite windy weather, reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Big schools of fish are just outside the harbor, feeding on anchovies and herring near Chetco Point and the entrance buoys,” said Martin. “Wind chop has limited the opportunity to venture offshore for halibut, but calmer conditions are expected later this week. Salmon season opens June 18 for hatchery coho and June 25 for kings.”

Joshua Randall, 10, of Klamath Falls, Ore., holds a vermilion and canary rockfish he caught May 18 while fishing with his father, Derrick, aboard the Miss Brooke of Brookings Fishing Charters.

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 28. On most rivers, only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. For a complete list of river openings and regulations visit http://www.nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=190456&inline

Lower Rogue
According to Martin, spring salmon continue to make their way up the Rogue River, and are being caught all the way up to Shady Cove. “Fishing has been fair on the lower river, as the run begins to taper off, but overall fishing has been above average this season. The Chetco opened to trout fishing on Sunday, with decent success for sea-run cutthroat in the upper tidewater on small spinners.”

Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Windy Conditions Slow Wide-Open Salmon Bite

Sixteen-year-old Owen Peterson landed a nice king salmon Sunday while fishing out of Eureka with his father Andy. Photo courtesy of Andy Peterson

If you love to salmon fish and have yet to hit the ocean, you are seriously missing out. The number of fish swimming offshore of Eureka, and the entire North Coast for that matter, is impressive. It’s been at least 10 years since we’ve seen fishing this good so you’ll want to take advantage while the fish are here and the season is open. As of now, it’s looking like the only thing that will slow the action is the weather. Rough water kept the fleet tied up Tuesday and Thursday and Friday aren’t looking good either. And just a reminder, the first leg of the ocean salmon season in the KMZ will close after May 31. It will reopen on Aug. 1. So, if you haven’t gotten in on the action, you’ll want too soon. For more information on the ocean sport salmon season, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Salmon#recreational.

Marine Forecast
Winds will diminish Wednesday before strengthening Thursday and Friday as high pressure builds in. Gale force gusts will be likely across the outer waters Thursday evening through Friday. As of Tuesday, Friday’s forecast is calling for north winds 15 to 25 knots with waves north 11 feet at ten seconds. Saturday, the winds will be out of the north 10 to 20 knots and waves will be out of the northwest 8 feet at eight seconds. Sunday, winds will be out of the north 10 to 15 knots with waves out of the north 6 feet at seven seconds and westerly 2 feet at 12 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or 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 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

Kids free fishing derby this weekend
On Saturday, May 21 all kids age 4 to 15 are invited to the Carrville Dredger Pond for the 48th annual Trinity Lake Lions Fish Derby. The pond is located five miles north of the Trinity Center. Registration is from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and the fishing derby will last until 11:00 a.m. Free fishing tackle will be provided to the first 100 kids registered. Kids must bring their own fishing poles and only bait will be allowed. Prizes will be awarded in many categories along with a grand prize.  Free hot dogs, chips, and drinks for everyone. For more information, call Pete at 530-598-2877.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Salmon fishing was wide-open over the weekend. According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, there’s a very large area of fish. “From the 46 to 50 lines in 240 to 300 feet of water, the area is full of salmon,” said Klassen. “It didn’t really seem to matter where you tried, there were fish all over. There were a bunch of sardines out there Monday, so if you found those schools the salmon came pretty easily. This is some of the best salmon fishing I’ve seen in quite a few years. The rockfish bite at Cape Mendocino is excellent, but we’ve only been able to get down there once. There have been some Pacific halibut caught, but the abundance of black cod is making it tough. You’re having to go through lots of bait to get to where the halibut are. The good news is the halibut are there.”

Trinidad
“We’re off to a good start to our ocean season,” said Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “The rockfish bite has been good right out front near Flat Iron. We’re catching mostly black rockfish, but we’ve got a few lings too. There hasn’t been much salmon effort yet, but a few have been caught to the north in 40 fathoms off of Patrick’s Point. The crabbing has been decent, we’re catching a few each trip.”

Shelter Cove
The weather has kept most of the boats off the water the last few days, reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “Over the weekend, the salmon fishing was pretty good with most boats getting limits,” said Mitchell. “Most of the effort has been right at the whistle buoy. The rockfish bite has been excellent as well. We’ve had good success in the Roger’s Break area boating quick limits of rockfish and lingcod to 30-pounds.”

Crescent City
Prior to the wind coming up, salmon limits continued to be the norm out of Crescent City. Straight out in 180 feet seemed to be a good starting point, but there’s a pretty big area of fish all the way to the Sisters. Most of the fish are coming shallow at 50 feet or less. There were some nice ones caught over the weekend, including one that weighed 27.5 pounds. The rockfish bite continues to be excellent. The Sisters and the South Reef are a couple popular locations along with the Point St. George Lighthouse.

Brookings
A few halibut are being caught out of Brookings but rough weather has limited the days when boats can get offshore, reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Lingcod and rockfish action has been good,” said Martin. “With hot salmon fishing out of Crescent City, Brookings anglers are optimistic about the June 18 opener on the Oregon side of the border.”

Lower Rogue
According to Martin, spring salmon fishing remains good on the lower Rogue as the best run in years continues. “Guides are still getting two to four fish a day anchoring near the old mill and at Elephant Rock. Wild fish may be kept beginning June 1. With high flows on the river, bay trolling won’t begin anytime soon. The Chetco opens to fishing May 22, with tossing spinners the best bet for sea-run cutthroat trout.” 

Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Salmon Plentiful Off the North Coast

Fresno resident Jerry Urzua landed a nice king Friday while fishing out of Shelter Cove. Photo courtesy of Jake Mitchell/Sea Hawk Sport Fishing

After sitting on the sidelines for nearly a week due to terrible ocean conditions, the Eureka fleet was finally back on the water Tuesday. And the salmon were waiting. Early reports indicate there’s a large area full of fish right out front of Eureka and most of the boats that ventured out scored limits. And it sounds like there are salmon up and down the coast. When the Shelter Cove boats have been able to launch, the salmon fishing has been lights out. The big surprise so far has been Crescent City. Limit-style fishing has been the norm since the opener, which hasn’t been the case in quite a few years. Though we’re only 10 days into the season, it’s already looking like we’re in for a good one.

Weekend marine forecast
Southerly winds will increase on Thursday ahead of an approach low pressure t rough, but the ocean should remain fishable. Friday, south winds will be 5 to 10 knots with west waves 6 feet at nine seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for southwest winds to 5 knots with westerly waves 5 feet at nine seconds. Sunday’s prediction is looking similar, with northwest winds 5 to 10 knots with westerly swells 6 feet at 10 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or www.windy.com. You can also call the National Weather Service at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

Kids free fishing derby coming May 21
On Saturday, May 21 2022 all kids age 4 to 15 are invited to the Carrville Dredger Pond for the 48th annual Trinity Lake Lions Fish Derby. The pond is located five miles north of the Trinity Center. Registration is from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and the fishing derby will last until 11:00 a.m. Free fishing tackle will be provided to the first 100 kids registered. Kids must bring their own fishing poles and only bait will be allowed. Prizes will be awarded in many categories along with a grand prize.  Free hot dogs, chips, and drinks for everyone. For more information, call Pete at 530-598-2877.

The beach/jetties
The wind has made the beaches tough for anglers looking for redtail perch. When the ocean is rough, the mouth of the Elk River or King Salmon are two of the better options to get out of the wind. Both can produce quality perch action. The north jetty has been closed due to construction, and the wind has slowed the action at the south. A few black rockfish are being caught along with the occasional keeper lingcod. Half-ounce jig heads with four to five inch swimbaits have been a solid producer.

The Oceans:
Eureka
After a week of rough weather, the seas finally calmed down and the boats were back on the water Tuesday. And the salmon were there and in a biting mood. According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, there was a pretty large area of fish. “Most of the boats did well between the 44 and 49-lines from 200 to 250 feet of water,” said Klassen. “There were some birds and bait, but not a ton. There were some whales in the area however. The fish were averaging about 8 pounds but some bigger fish were caught.”

Trinidad
Not much in the way of effort or fish reports out of Trinidad due to the ocean conditions. Just a reminder, the launch will be in service and launching boats at 6 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Thursday through Monday. They will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Cost to launch is $45. Call 677-3625 for more information.

Shelter Cove
Ocean conditions have improved this week, which should put some more boats on the water. Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing ventured out in rough conditions last week and reports a pretty good salmon bite. “We were the only boat out on Friday in very sloppy conditions but managed to get boat limits of salmon to 15-pounds,” said Mitchell. “The rock fishing has been really good so far, with the lings being a little tougher to come by. Most of our effort has been around the Old Man.”

Crescent City
Abundant salmon limits were reported by the fleet Tuesday and Wednesday. Boats fishing near buoy 2 had the most action but there’s a wide area of fish all the way to the Sisters. Most of the fish are coming shallow, under 50-feet on the wire. Anchovies, SpinFish and Cut Plugs are all catching fish. The rockfish bite has been excellent as well with the South Reef and Sisters being a couple of the top spots.

Brookings
Rough weather sidelined the Brookings fleet most of last week, but conditions look good this week, reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “With high water in the Chetco, the best fishing will be north of Chetco Point. No halibut have been reported yet but smaller swells the middle of this week will allow boats to get to the more productive areas. Ocean salmon season opens June 18 out of Brookings.”

Lower Rogue
“Spring salmon fishing continues to be good on the lower Rogue River, even with the high, muddy water over the weekend,” said Martin. “Lots of hatchery springers are being caught by anglers fishing anchovies and spinner blades from anchored boats or Brad’s plug cut lures of 3.5 MagLips from shore. Conditions should be prime this week as the river drops.”

Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Weather Slows Eureka King Opener

Arcata resident Larry Biggs landed a nice one Sunday while fishing the king salmon opener out of Eureka. Photo courtesy of Tim Klassen/Reel Steel Sport Fishing

With no advance scouting, the dozen or so Eureka boats struggled to find schools of salmon during Sunday’s opener. In a typical year, we’ll see rockfish and Pacific halibut open a few weeks prior to salmon, giving anglers some clues on where the bait is stockpiled and where the birds are spending their time. But this year, there was no time on the water prior to the opener, and the boats were at somewhat of a disadvantage. The weather also played a role. Swells were too large for boats to travel far and look for fish. Despite all that, anglers caught some salmon. The few charters who ventured out all caught a few. This is really encouraging to see fish here this early in the season. Once the weather cooperates, it should be game on.

Weekend marine forecast
Ocean conditions don’t look great for the rest of the week and weekend. As of Wednesday afternoon, Friday’s forecast is calling for south winds 15 to 20 knots and waves southwest 7 feet at seven seconds and west 8 feet at 15 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for northwest winds at 5 to 10 knots and west waves 11 feet at 12 seconds. Sunday looks slightly worse, with 10 to 15 knot winds coming out of the west and west waves 11 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 www.windy.com. You can also call the National Weather Service at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

Sport-Harvested Mussels quarantined
In a press release issued on April 26, The California Department of Public Health announced the annual quarantine of sport-harvested mussels gathered along the California coast. The quarantine began 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. The quarantine is designed to prevent paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and domoic acid poisoning, also known as amnesic shellfish poisoning, in people who might otherwise consume sport-harvested mussels. Both of these syndromes are from naturally occurring toxins produced by certain phytoplankton consumed by shellfish, including mussels and clams. Cooking does not destroy the toxins. Commercially harvested shellfish are not included in the annual quarantine because all commercial harvesters in California are certified by CDPH and subject to strict testing requirements to ensure that all oysters, clams, and mussels entering the marketplace are safe. Visit www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/OPA/Pages/SN22-002.aspx for more information.

The Oceans:
Eureka

The weather did not do any favors for the boats that fished Sunday’s opener. The 9-foot swells kept the fleet close and didn’t allow for much looking around. “Most of the fish were straight out in 150 to 220 feet of water roughly a mile north and south of the entrance,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “But they were definitely spread out, no real schools. We didn’t see any edges, rips or color changes, which is what we’re looking for. The fish that were caught were full of crab larvae and krill. Ocean conditions don’t look great this week for halibut or rockfish, but we may be able to troll for salmon.”

Trinidad
Salmon, rockfish and Pacific halibut all opened Sunday. Reportedly, seven boats launched but caught no salmon. There were a few Pacific halibut landed, however. The Trinidad launch will be in service and launching boats at 6 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Thursday through Monday. It will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Cost to launch is $45.

Shelter Cove
The saltwater opener was good, according to Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “The rockfish bit really well at the Hat on Sunday and around the whistle on Monday,” said Mitchell. “There were some salmon caught on Sunday around the bell buoy, with boats averaging a little less than a fish per rod. It was pretty rough on Monday and only four boats launched. I heard of four salmon caught.”

Crescent City
Crescent City was definitely the hot spot for salmon on the opener. Sport and charter boats reported quite a few limits, with most of the action straight out front just south of the second buoy. The fish were shallow, with most coming at 50 feet. Reportedly, more than 40 salmon were counted by Fish and Wildlife staff. Only a couple boats braved the conditions on Monday and again boated limits. The rockfish opener was also successful, with limits coming fairly easily. The ling bite was reportedly a little tougher.

Brookings
Pacific halibut season opened Sunday out of Brookings with fairly large swell and a strong wind drift, reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Fishing was slow,” said Martin. “Lingcod fishing remains good along the near-shore reefs from Chetco Point to House Rock. Lings to 30 pounds were caught last week. Salmon won’t open until June 28 out of Brookings. Bottom fish anglers continue to encounter large numbers of kings in close, a promising sign for next month.”

The Rivers
Main Stem Eel

The main stem is in perfect shape, running at 3,200 cfs as of Wednesday at Scotia. There are some steelhead around, mostly downers. The main stem Eel to the South Fork is open all year. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used through Sept. 30.

Lower Rogue
The lower Rogue River continues to experience its best spring chinook run in at least 15 years reports Martin. “Hatchery and wild springers are being caught by boaters on anchor as well as plunkers fishing Spin-N-Glos from the gravel bars at Huntley Park and Lobster Creek. Only hatchery springers may be kept. Wild salmon can be kept beginning June 1.”

Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Super Sunday Awaits Saltwater Anglers

Hank Mautz, of Redding, holds a canary rockfish and a lingcod taken last year near Cape Mendocino. The 2022 rockfish Pacific halibut and salmon seasons all open on Sunday, May 1. Photo courtesy of Tim Klassen/Reel Steel Sport Fishing

The Super Bowl of saltwater sport fishing will take place this Sunday on the North Coast as salmon, rockfish and Pacific halibut are all set to open. It’s pretty rare for the big three to all open on the same day, and there’s a ton of excitement around the docks. And it’s looking like the key marine factors are lining up. The water temperatures off Eureka are right around 51 to 52 degrees, perfect for salmon. The recent north winds have spurred the ocean upwelling, kicking the food chain into high gear. The tide will bottom out when most boats are heading out, making for an easier bar crossing. And as of Wednesday, for 10 miles offshore, winds will be out of the northwest 5 to 10 knots with waves 7 feet at 11 seconds (will likely change). All that’s left to do now is find the fish.

May 1 openers:

Salmon: Our 2022 ocean sport salmon season will open this Sunday and run through May 31. The season will open back up Aug. 1 and run through Sept. 5. It will be open from the Oregon-California border south to the 40°10’ line (near Cape Mendocino), (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. The possession limit 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. The sport season from the 40°10’ line to Point Arena, which includes Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg, will also open May 1 and run through July 4. It will reopen July 22 and run through Sept. 5. For complete ocean salmon regulations, please visit the Ocean Salmon webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Salmon or call the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at 576-3429.

Pacific Halibut: The 2022 Pacific halibut season will run from May 1 to Nov. 15, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. The 2022 quota for the California sport fishery is 38,740 pounds — approximately the same as the 2021 quota. CDFW will monitor catches of Pacific halibut during the season and provide catch projection updates on the CDFW Pacific halibut webpage, 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: The boat-based rockfish season in the Northern Management Area, which runs from the California-Oregon border to the 40°10′ North latitude (near Cape Mendocino), will run through Oct. 31 within 180 feet. From Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, rockfish may be taken at any depth.

New sport rockfish regulations for 2022
In December of 2021, CDFW announced multiple changes to the sport rockfish regulations starting in 2022. Changes to the sub-bag limits within the 10-fish daily Rockfish, Cabezon, Greenling (RCG) complex bag and possession limit include:

The daily bag limit of lingcod remains at two per person and they must be 22 inches in length. The take and possession of cowcod, bronzespotted rockfish and yelloweye rockfish is prohibited statewide. Petrale sole and starry flounder can be retained year-round at all depths with no size limit. For more information about recreational groundfish regulations within the northern management area, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Groundfish-Summary#north.

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.

Humboldt Bay tide
Sunday May 1: High: 12:22 a.m. (6.9 feet), Low: 7:04 a.m. (-0.7 feet) and High 1:36 p.m. (5.4 feet), Low 6:47 p.m. (2.2 feet)

Trinidad launch ready to go
The Trinidad launch will be in service and launching boats beginning Sunday, May 1 at 6 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Cost to launch is $45. Call 677-3625 for more information.

Brookings ocean update
“Calmer ocean conditions allowed anglers to get out of Brookings over the weekend,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Rock fishing has been good, while lingcod action has been fair because of bigger swells. Calmer weather is expected later this week. Sunday’s halibut opener out of Brookings should be good, with light winds and a smaller swell expected. Most halibut are caught in 180 to 220 feet straight out from the harbor. Salmon season won’t open until June 18 out of Brookings.”

The Rivers
Main Stem Eel

The main stem is dropping back into shape, flowing at 5,800 cubic feet per second as of Wednesday at Scotia. It should be fishable by the weekend. The main stem Eel to the South Fork is open all year. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used through Sept. 30.

Smith
The Smith River from its mouth to the confluence of the Middle and South Forks; Middle Fork Smith River from mouth to Patrick Creek; South Fork Smith River from the mouth upstream approximately 1,000 feet to the County Road (George Tryon) bridge and Craigs Creek to Jones Creek, will close after Saturday, April 30.

Lower Rogue
Spring salmon fishing has kicked into high gear on the lower Rogue River, with guides getting two to four kings a day reports Martin. “About half of the springers being caught are hatchery fish,” said Martin. “It’s been the best springer fishing in several years. Good flows this week should continue to pull in new salmon from the ocean. Anchovies and spinner blades have been the best bait.”

Kenny Priest (he/him) operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com.