Eureka boats finding red-hot rockfish bite

FNC 10_9 photo
Patricia Stockel of Eureka, pictured right, along with skipper Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing landed this whopper Vermilion rockfish on Monday while fishing near Cape Mendocino. The North Coast rockfish season, as well as Pacific Halibut, both come to a close at the end of October. Photo courtesy of Reel Steel Sport Fishing

Fresh kings still entering the Klamath

This week’s lake-like ocean conditions prompted more than a few boats to target late-season rockfish near Cape Mendocino as well as halibut off the coast of Eureka. While the Halibut bite has been spotty at best, the rockfish and lingcod action remains nothing short of stellar. Every boat that’s made the trek south reported limits of fat rockfish, along with limits of lingcod. The halibut bite on the other hand, remains a little tougher. There were lots of skunks reported, and a few boats were lucky enough to land a couple — a true hit and miss report. If you’re planning a trip offshore this weekend, be sure and check the marine forecast prior to leaving as both Saturday and Sunday are looking a little on the rough side. Both rockfish and halibut seasons will come to an end on October 31.

Rain coming next week
Looks like we’re stuck with dry conditions through the weekend, but changes are on the way early next week. According to Reginald Kennedy of Eureka’s National Weather Service, we’ll see some rain begin to fall on Monday afternoon and it should last into the evening. “We could see up to a quarter-inch on Monday, then we’ll dry out on Tuesday. More rain is predicted for Wednesday as a series of systems roll through the area. We should see rain off and on through Saturday the 18th. It looks like we could get anywhere from two to three inches of rain over the four-day period,” Kennedy added.

Weekend marine forecast
As of Wednesday afternoon, the weekend offshore forecast does not look good. Friday’s forecast is calling for N winds 5 to 10 knots with waves W 4-feet at 12 seconds. It starts to get a little ugly on Saturday, with N winds 5 to 15 knots and waves NW 5-feet at 8-seconds and W 8-feet at 17 seconds. Sunday looks similar with N winds 5 to 15 knots and waves NW 5-feet at 8 seconds and W 9-feet at 16 seconds. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit You can verify the conditions as reported, by looking at the bar cam at You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Tuna out of Eureka
With a flat ocean since the weekend, a handful of boats have been targeting tuna out of Eureka. Marc Schmidt of Coastline Charters ran 56 miles on Saturday and boated 16 large tuna, with the biggest tipping the scales at 36-pounds. A few boats ran on Monday as well, but the results weren’t quite as good. The high boat landed eight, while some of the other boats came back wit 4 or less. More boats made the run on Wednesday, but I didn’t hear any scores.

The Oceans:
Skippers Gary Blasi of Full Throttle Sport fishing and Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing both have been running trips to the Cape this past week, taking advantage of the calm ocean. Both report a lingcod bite that is completely off the hook. According to Klassen, they come into the shallows this time of the year to spawn. He said, “We’re catching lots of 22 to 24 inchers that I believe are real aggressive males that are sitting on beds. We’ve had a few really good spawning years, and I think we’re seeing the results this year. The halibut bite remains slow, with less than a fish per trip average. “They must be somewhere we haven’t looked yet,” Klassen added. The inshore warm water may have something to do with it added Blasi. “If it’s not affecting the halibut directly, it may be affecting what they’re feeding on this time of year.”

Crescent City
Leonard Carter of Crescent City’s Englund Marine reports the rockfish bite has been good the last few days. He said, “The ocean has been flat, and the few boats that are going out are coming back with limits. There aren’t many people still trying.”

Port of Brookings Harbor – Chetco Bubble Season
Cindy Jones O’Reilly of Sporthaven Marina (541) 469-3301 reports the bubble season at the mouth of the Chetco is still going strong, with lots of fish still coming in. She said, “I heard the fishing was excellent on Tuesday, but had slowed down as of Wednesday afternoon. The leader in the Chetco Hawg Derby as of Wednesday is still the 38.8-pound king caught last week. The bubble season will wrap up Sunday, October 12. For more information, visit

The Rivers:
Smith River
A few salmon are being caught at the mouth on Kastmasters and Cleo’s according to Carter.

Lower Klamath
There’s still fresh adult kings coming into the lower Klamath, but there aren’t many jacks around reports Alan Borges of Alan’s Guide Service. He said, “The last few days the fishing has been real good as we’re still seeing brand new fish come in. It’s obviously slowed down since the peak of the season, but we’re still hooking upwards of 20 fish per trip. We’ve seen a few Coho around, and there’s some steelhead being caught as well. The river is in great shape, the release from the upper Klamath brought down a little moss, but it’s not bad at all. The water temperature is a cool 63 degrees.”

Middle Trinity
There’s quite a few salmon hanging around below the North Fork reports Tim Brady of Weaverville’s Trinity Outdoors. He said, “The fish are holding all the way down to the Del Loma area right now. The fishing isn’t red-hot, but the guys who know what they’re doing are catching one or two per trip. Panther Martin’s and Blue Fox’s have been the top producers.” Brady also added the smolts have been released from the hatchery and are working their way down, which will make it tough to fish bait. “I haven’t heard any good steelhead reports lately, but that certainly doesn’t mean they’re not around.”

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