Trinity salmon best bet for weekend

Fishing the North Coast comes out every Thursday in the Times-Standard newspaper and is listed on the Eureka Chamber of Commerce’s website. For the most up to date information, find FNC on Facebook.


Marc Schmidt of Coastline Charter, shows off two of the 24 albacore tuna he boated on Monday while fishing out of Eureka. Schmidt, along with a couple friends, ran more than 57 nautical miles towards Punta Gorda where they found the warm water and plenty of hungry albacore. (Photo courtesy of Coastline Charters)

Low Flow closures on North Coast rivers begin Wednesday
If I were a betting man, I’d probably lay down a few bucks on the Trinity River being the salmon hotspot this weekend as all signs point towards this coastal gem busting wide-open. The second water release of the season, which pumped 3,400 cfs out of Trinity Lake for the better part of six days, in all likelihood signaled a large amount of king salmon to begin their annual migration from the Klamath into the Trinity. It’s no secret the number of returning kings to the Klamath was underestimated — the fishing has been off the hook for weeks now. And now, as the water releases have been cut back to normal and the tributaries and creeks are flowing again following a few inches of rain, the Trinity is primed and ready to be the top spot for big, fall king salmon.

Good start to rainy season
It’s certainly not going to bust us out of the drought, but the first real storm of the year dropped some pretty impressive rainfall totals. According to Reginald Kennedy of Eureka’s National Weather Service, the Smith River basin saw the bulk of the precipitation, with up to 3.5 inches of rain falling. “Down in Humboldt, we’ll see anywhere from 2 to 2.5 inches of rain. I don’t foresee any significant rises to our local rivers, but it should help build the water table and get the creeks running again,” Kennedy added. According to Kennedy we’ll see some on and off again showers through Friday, which could produce up to a half-inch in some locations. Saturday is calling for widely scattered showers as the system moves east, and Sunday should be dry.

Weekend marine forecast
Friday and the weekend aren’t looking great for offshore adventures. Friday, wind is forecasted out of the NW to 5 knots, with swells at 8-feet at 9 seconds. Winds will blow out of the NW both Saturday and Sunday at 5 to 15 knots. Saturday, waves are forecasted at 3-feet at 4 seconds and 9-feet at 12 seconds. Sunday is calling for waves 2-feet at 4 seconds and 6-feet at 10 seconds. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Boating safety class coming next Sat
The USCG Auxiliary has scheduled a recreational boating safety class for Saturday, Oct 4 in the Woodley Island Marina Conference Room from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The class is open to all boaters, not just the recreational fishing fleet. Persons wishing to take the class can register by calling Thom O’Connor at 707-954-4481 or email Cost of the class is $20 per person.

Tuna out of Eureka
On Monday, Marc Schmidt, of Coastline Charters took off from Eureka with a couple friends for what he thought was a scouting trip for albacore tuna. Fifty-seven miles later off of Punta Gorda, the trip quickly turned into an epic fishing adventure. The first fish came within five minutes of having the troll gear in the water, and that was followed by six-way, where they put five of them onboard. The rest of the day produced a fairly steady bite, with a couple one-hour lulls mixed in. All told, they boated 24 albies, the smallest weighing 22-pounds and the biggest tipping the scales at 38-pounds. A very excited Schmidt said, “It was a very good day considering how things have been for California albacore fishing this year and with low expectations for the day, we were very happy.”

The Oceans:

According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, not much has changed in Eureka. He said, “The halibut bite is still hit and miss. A few here and there are being caught, but not many. Hopefully we’ll get some better conditions next week so we can look around a little more. Most of the fish have been coming from 200 to 300-feet of water. Not much has changed down at the Cape, it’s easy limits of rockfish and quite a few quality lings are coming over the rail too.”

Crescent City
Haven’t heard of any halibut being caught this week, but the rockfish bite is good for the few anglers that are still fishing reports Chris Hegne’s of Englund Marine. “The ocean is going to be pretty rough the rest of the week, and the weekend isn’t looking much better,” Hegnes added.

Low Flow River Closures begin Oct. 1
North Coast rivers that are regulated by low flow closures, including the Eel River, Mad River, Mattole River, Redwood Creek, Smith River and Van Duzen River will begin angling restrictions on October 1st, except for the Mad River, which went into effect September 1st. The Department of Fish and Game will make the information available to the public by a telephone recorded message updated, as necessary, no later than 1 p.m. each Monday, Wednesday and Friday as to whether any stream will be closed to fishing. The rivers can be opened up at anytime. The low flow closure hotline for North Coast rivers is (707) 822-3164. NOTE: The main stem Eel from the South Fork to Cape Horn Dam and the Mattole River will be closed until January 1, 2015

Areas subject to low flow closures:

Mad River: The main stem Mad River from the Hammond Trail Railroad Trestle to Cowan Creek. Minimum flow: 200 cfs at the gauging station at the Highway 299 bridge.

The main stem Eel River from the paved junction of Fulmor Road with the Eel River to the South Fork Eel River. Minimum flow: 350 cfs at the gauging station near Scotia.

The South Fork of the Eel River downstream from Rattlesnake Creek and the Middle Fork Eel River downstream from the Bar Creek. Minimum flow: 340 cfs at the gauging station at Miranda.

Van Duzen River: The main stem Van Duzen River from its junction with the Eel River to the end of Golden Gate Drive near Bridgeville (approximately 4,000 feet upstream of Little Golden Gate Bridge. Minimum flow: 150 cfs at the gauging station near Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park.

Mattole River: The main stem of the Mattole River from the mouth to Honeydew Creek.

Minimum flow: 320 cfs at the gauging station at Petrolia.

Redwood Creek: The main stem of Redwood Creek from the mouth to its confluence with Bond Creek. Minimum flow: 300 cfs at the gauging station near the Highway 101 bridge.

Smith River: The main stem Smith River from the mouth of Rowdy Creek to its confluence with Patrick Creek; the South Fork Smith River from the mouth upstream approximately 1000 ft to the County Road (George Tyron) bridge and Craigs Creek to its confluence with Jones Creek; and the North Fork Smith River from the mouth to its confluence with Stony Creek. Minimum flow: 600 cfs at the Jedediah Smith State Park gauging station.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The Klamath really starting dropping into prime shape earlier in the week, but the rain could potentially change the conditions over the weekend reports Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service. He said, “The river was still pretty big, but it was starting to clear. There are still lots of fish around, maybe not as many as a few weeks ago, but the fishing is still really good. With the higher water, the fish have been flying up river. Most of the fish we’re catching are coming on the flats, where they’re traveling and resting. The fish haven’t been sitting in the holes due to all the extra current. The grade of fish is still good; we’re catching quite a few adults and roughly 4 to 5 jacks per trip. I think the weekend may be a little tougher fishing. With the rain we’re getting this week, we’ll probably see some dirty runoff in the upper Klamath where the fires are burning. The ocean is also pretty rough with big swells predicted through the weekend, making it tough for salmon to enter the mouth.”

If we don’t get too much rain, the entire Trinity should be in good shape for the weekend reports Tim Brady of Weaverville’s Trinity Outdoors. He said, “I spoke with a couple guys who were fishing around Big Bar on Tuesday and reportedly a few fish were caught and quite a few were rolling. With the river on the drop, those fish should begin to slow down and hold up in the holes. My guess is the rise moved a lot of fish into the river, and hopefully some of the larger creeks don’t get too muddy.”

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

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