Epic tuna bite off coast of Eureka


Photo Caption: Kayla from Roseville, CA had her hands full landing this 25-pound Chinook on Tuesday while fishing with John Klar’s Guide Service on the Klamath River. 

Fishing the North Coast
Kenny Priest/For the Times-Standard
Published 9/5/2013

Free fishing day this Saturday

Calm seas and 60-degree water — the two ideal conditions that make any fanatical tuna angler go nuts — or call in sick to work. North Coast fishermen had been targeting salmon all summer, but now, tuna has become the new holy grail and catch of the day. For the last couple of weeks, conditions have provided a few opportunities for boats willing to run 50 to 60 miles out, but Wednesday, with warm water inching closer towards shore, seemed to be THE day. The word was out!

Close to 30 boats launched out of Eureka area and made the trek out to the spot where the boats left them biting days prior. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport fishing was part of the fleet and reported the bite was pretty unbelievable. According to Klassen, they ended up 43 miles out on the 46-line and found lots of fish on the surface as well as “jumpers” where the water temps were in the mid-60s. “We probably caught about a third of our fish on live bait, caught a few on the troll and a few on dead bait. They were biting everything we threw at them. The fish were big too — all of our fish were in the 20-pound class,” Klassen added. Though I didn’t get any totals for the day, I’m assuming when Klassen says they “plugged the boat”, they got all they needed.

Marine forecast

It doesn’t appear Mother Nature will be too kind to the salmon anglers looking to get on the water for the final weekend of salmon season. Out 10 nautical miles, Friday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the north 10 to 20 knots and waves NW 9 feet at 9 seconds. Saturday is calling for north winds 5 to 15 knots and waves NW 8 feet at 8 seconds. Sunday is looking very similar with north winds 10 to 20 knots and waves NW to 8 feet at 9 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For up-to-date weather forecast, visit http://www.weather.gov/eureka. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

 Klamath River salmon

The Labor Day weekend saw a huge push of salmon enter the river according to Sara Borok, an Environmental Scientist on the Klamath River. “As of Monday, 7,030 adult Chinook have been harvested out of the lower river quota of 20,003. Of those, 6,561 were harvested at the mouth. Because we don’t anticipate hitting the basin quota of 40,006 the mouth will not close,” Borok added. With the water temperatures again on the rise, the DFW is encouraging anglers to catch their three adult salmon and not catch and release attempting to harvest a jack to fill their limits.

Free Fishing Day on Saturday

This Saturday, September 7 is the second of California’s two 2013 Free Fishing Days, when people can try their hand at fishing without having to buy a sport fishing license. All fishing regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect. For more information on Free Fishing Days, please visit www.dfg.ca.gov/licensing/fishing/freefishdays.html

Rockfish and Halibut seasons

Though sport salmon season closes on September 8, both rockfish and Pacific Halibut seasons are open until October 31 in the Northern Management Zone.

The Oceans:


The finish line is in sight for the ocean sport salmon season, and may not end up quite like it started. For the better part of four months, we’ve had great weather and phenomenal fishing. If the rough seas don’t materialize for the weekend, you’ll more than likely find the fleet working south off Centerville beach anywhere from the 32 to the 37-line. That’s where Captains Gary Blasi of Full Throttle Sport Fishing, Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, and Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing have been doing there time. Limits, or close to it have been the norm since the weekend, and the fish have been a real nice grade. The boats have been working in tight from 100 feet of water out to 190 and all the fish have been coming right off the bottom. The area has been one of the few spots holding cold water, but that may change this weekend as the warm water is once again pushing right into the beach.


Phil Pritting of Eureka’s Englund Marine reports the salmon has slowed and not many are still trying. ‘I did see one of the charter boats come in on Tuesday with a bunch of salmon, so I know there’s still some around. The halibut fishing has been pretty good for the guys willing to put in some time. Best action has been off of Patrick’s Point in 270 to 310 feet of water. The rockfish bite has also been decent, but now and then they just won’t bite,” Pritting said.

Crescent City

Warm water has pushed the salmon far and deep reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “I heard of a few caught, but they were out in deep water by guys targeting halibut. The water was 64 degrees to the beach on Wednesday, which is good for the tuna fishermen, but not salmon. The halibut bite is still going strong, we weighed a 98-pounder on Sunday that was caught near the South Reef,” Hegnes added.

The Rivers:

Lower Klamath

Not many adult salmon are making their way upriver reports Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service. “The mouth is full of fish and could bust wide-open open any time, but as of today, we are only seeing a few make their way upriver. We are seeing a good amount of steelhead however, both half-pounders and adults,” Coopman added. Alan Borges of Alan’s Guide Service has also been working the Klamath and reports the fishing over the last week has been up and down. “Some days we are catching quite a few, with the majority being half-pounders and adult steelhead with a nice king in the mix here and there. It seems like the fish are coming in spurts and water temps still need to drop a little more for things to really take off. It’s keeping the kings from really pushing in the mouth in good numbers,” Borges added.

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

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