Rain on the way — and salmon too!

Young anglers Jacobi and Jaxon are all smiles as they hold a couple Dungeness crab caught while fishing last Saturday with Gary Blasi of Full Throttle Sport Fishing. Sport crabbing, which opened Nov. 1 along the North Coast, has been excellent out of Eureka. Photo courtesy of Full Throttle Sport Fishing

Young anglers Jacobi and Jaxon are all smiles as they hold a couple Dungeness crab caught while fishing last Saturday with Gary Blasi of Full Throttle Sport Fishing. Sport crabbing, which opened Nov. 1 along the North Coast, has been excellent out of Eureka. Photo courtesy of Full Throttle Sport Fishing

Multiple storms lined up for next week

A decent amount of rain is predicted to hit the ground over the next couple days, but it may not be enough to open any of the rivers south of the Mad. The main stem Eel, South Fork and Van Duzen are all forecasted for small rises, but it’s unlikely they’ll open to fishing this weekend. To the north, the Smith and Chetco, which are both low and clear, should see enough of a rise to bring in fresh salmon from the ocean. Conditions have been tough on both rivers, but there certainly hasn’t been a lack of fish. Spots that hold fish are dwindling and getting them to bite hasn’t been that easy, which has some of the guides and sport anglers waiting for better days. If the current storm, and the next few that are lined up behind it, fall into place, better days definitely lie ahead.

Weekend forecast
According to Reginald Kennedy of Eureka’s National Weather Service, the bulk of the rain from the current storm will have fallen Wednesday night. He Said, “We should see showers through Thursday in Humboldt, and continuing into Friday in the Smith basin. Rainfall totals could reach one and a half-inches in Del Norte and up to an inch in Humboldt. After a break on Saturday, showers are forecasted for Sunday afternoon. Up to a quarter inch for the Smith and probably less in Humboldt is forecasted. Another break on Monday and into Tuesday will be followed by more rain beginning Tuesday night. Showers will last into Wednesday with up to an inch of rain possible for Del Norte and Humboldt.”

Sport crab fishing going strong
Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing and Phil Glenn, who’s running the Shellback through the end of the month, are both reporting excellent crabbing out of Eureka. On an overnight soak, they’re getting between 7 and 12 keepers per pot. According to Klassen, it’s slowed down a hair, but it’s still really good with limits coming easily. “From what I see, both sides of the entrance are fishing about the same,” Klassen added. Added Glenn, “There’s a lot of crab around, but I think they’re scattered. There’s no one real location that’s fishing better than anywhere else.”

Woodley Island sport crab trips
Reel Steel Sport Fishing, Shellback Sport Fishing, Full Throttle Sport Fishing and Northwind Charters are all booking crab trips out of Woodley Island. Trips will generally last two hours. Departure times will depend on the tides, but most often they’ll leave sometime in the morning. To book a trip with Shellback Sport Fishing, call 442-7843. Reel Steel Sport Fishing can be reached at 499-4925, Full Throttle’s reservations number is 498-7473, and to reach Northwind Charters, call 616-5328. The weekend trips fill up quick, so you’ll want to call early to reserve your spot.

Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Opens Nov. 15 in Central CA
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife will open the Central California commercial Dungeness crab season on Saturday, Nov. 15 south of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line. The season opener will be preceded by an 18-hour gear setting period when crab trap gear can be set no earlier than 6 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 14.
The 2014-15 commercial Dungeness crab season marks the second season of the Dungeness crab trap limit program. The program consists of seven tiers of trap allotments ranging from 175 to 500 traps. Dungeness crab vessel permit-holders can only fish the maximum number of traps within their respective trap tier as a means to control the maximum number of total traps fished in California waters. For more information, visit www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/invertebrate/traplimit.asp

Smith River – Rowdy Creek Hatchery update
As of Wednesday, 35 Chinook salmon have returned to the hatchery according to hatchery manager Andrew Van Scoyk. “This is a pretty typical number for this time of the year, though I thought more would have returned with the early rains we had. At this time last year, we had zero returnees, so we’re ahead of the game there,” Van Scoyk added.

The Rivers:
Other than the Smith, all North Coast rivers subjected to low flow fishing closures, including the Eel, Mad, Redwood Creek, and Van Duzen were closed as of Wednesday. Sections of rivers that are open include the main stem Eel River from the paved junction of Fulmor Road to its mouth and the main stem Mad River from the Hammond Trail Railroad Trestle to its mouth. Be sure and call the low flow closure hotline, (707) 822-3164, to determine if the river is open prior to fishing.

Chetco River
Salmon fishing has been on the slow side with a lot of dark fish showing in the holes along with a few bright ones reports Val Early of Early Fishing Guide Service. “The sea lions are up the river — a sure sign that the fish have moved out of the estuary. I’ve been mostly bobber fishing and doing a little back-bouncing too. Small plugs and side-drifting has also caught a few fish. You really have to try everything and see if some of the rolling fish will bite. We really need the rain,” Early added.

Smith River
As of Wednesday, it was low, clear and getting tough to drift according to guide Mike Coopman. He said, “There’s fish around, but they’re holding in just a few spots. It’s getting tougher to find some current, but the rain that’s coming should change that. Hopefully with the next rise, we’ll see a new batch of fish come in and move the older fish up.” The Smith is predicted to peak at just above 9-feet on Friday afternoon and then be back on the drop. http://www.cnrfc.noaa.gov/graphicalRVF.php?id=CREC1

Main Stem Eel
Predicted to nudge just above 350 cfs threshold on Friday, but will likely drop right back down. If it does open to fishing, it won’t be open long. http://www.cnrfc.noaa.gov/graphicalRVF.php?id=SCOC1

South Fork Eel
A slight rise is predicted for Thursday, but probably not enough to open. http://www.cnrfc.noaa.gov/graphicalRVF.php?id=MRNC1

Mad River
Forecasted to rise on Thursday and again on Friday, it may open to fishing on Friday. http://www.cnrfc.noaa.gov/graphicalRVF.php?id=ARCC1

Van Duzen
Not much of a rise is predicted. Unless the forecast changes, it’s not likely to open to fishing this weekend. http://www.cnrfc.noaa.gov/graphicalRVF.php?id=BRGC1

Upper Trinity
Working the Douglas City area, guide Steve Huber reports the steelhead fishing has been average, with one to three adults per trip. “The water is low and clear and steelhead are staging to move up their home creeks. We really need a good rainstorm to put the fish on the move. Fishing has been best in the mornings and late afternoons and back-trolling plugs and side drifting roe have been the top producers,” Huber added.

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

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