Improved conditions should help Shelter Cove salmon opener

2014 Perch’n on the Peninsula Surfperch Fishing Tournament winner Tyler Vaughn with his Tournament Record Redtail surfperch that measured 16.6 inches. This year’s tournament is taking place April 18. Photo courtesy of Samoa Peninsula Fire District

2014 Perch’n on the Peninsula Surfperch Fishing Tournament winner Tyler Vaughn with his Tournament Record Redtail surfperch that measured 16.6 inches. This year’s tournament is taking place April 18. Photo courtesy of Samoa Peninsula Fire District

As has been the case for the past few years, the North Coast is once again looking at another phenomenal salmon season — at least on paper. We should find out just how many fish are around come Saturday morning, that is if the weather cooperates.

The recreational salmon season will open from Horse Mountain south to the U.S. – Mexico border this Saturday, April 4. The Pacific Fisheries Management Council has forecasted 652,000 Sacramento River salmon to be swimming in the ocean along with another 423,000 Klamath River salmon — over a million in all. That’s the good news. The bad news is the ocean may not be fishable out of Shelter Cove or Fort Bragg over the weekend. As of Wednesday, winds were forecasted to blow from 10 to 20 knots on Saturday with NW waves 4 feet at 7 seconds and 9 feet at 14 seconds. Sunday is looking slightly better with a W wind predicted at 5 to 10 knots. Waves will be out of the NW 8 feet at 11 seconds. Visit http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lon=-123.82128&lat=39.44792 for an up-to-date marine forecast.

The launch at Shelter Cove will have one tractor running over the weekend according to Pat O’ Shea, who’s running the launch service this year. Only expecting a few boats out on the opener, launching will begin at 8:00 a.m. and he’d like to have everyone back in the harbor no later than 5 p.m. The cost is $30 for boats under 20 feet and $40 for boats over 20 feet.
The daily bag limit will remain at two Chinook salmon, but as of last year, the salmon possession limit is two daily bag limits in possession when on land; however, when on a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit. The minimum size limit is 20 inches total length between Horse Mountain and Point Arena, except for the third alternative. This recommends a 20-inch size limit through April 30, then 24 inches thereafter. For areas south of Point Arena, the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length.

The season south of Horse Mountain will extend through a couple dates in November. The various alternatives can be found at www.pcouncil.org and will be finalized at the PFMC meeting in Rohnert Park, CA on April 10-16.

The sport opener for water above Horse Mountain – the KMZ – will be determined at the same meeting. Currently, three options are on the table for Humbug Mountain (OR) to Horse Mountain (which includes Humboldt County).

  1. May 1 to Sept. 7, two fish per day, seven days a week, 20-inch minimum size.
  2. May 9 to Sept. 7, two fish per day, seven days a week, 20-inch minimum size.
  3. May 22 to Sept. 7, two fish per day, seven days a week, 24-inch minimum size.

All options would be for all salmon except Coho, with fishing allowed seven days per week.

Perch’n on the Peninsula coming April 18
The Samoa Peninsula Fire District will be hosting their 6th Annual Perch’n on the Peninsula Surfperch Fishing Tournament and Fish Fry Fundraiser on April 18, 2015.

The fishing tournament begins at sunrise with the check-in deadline at 2:00 p.m., prize presentations will begin at 2:30 p.m. with the fish fry beginning at High Noon. The fish fry fundraiser is open to the public and admission is only $10.00 for Adults and $5.00 for Juniors. Children 6 and under get in free. Adult fishing tournament entry is $20.00 and Junior entry (under 16) is $10.00. Your fishing tournament entry includes admission to the fish fry fundraiser and one door prize entry.

Tournament day registration is available at the Peninsula Elementary School in Samoa beginning at 6 a.m. or you can pre-register at Mad River Bait, Tackle in Arcata, Pacific Outfitters, Englund Marine, or RMI Outdoors in Eureka.

Fishing tournament prizes include guided fishing trips and gear donated by Sweet Trinity Guide Service, Northwind Charters, Patricks Point Charters, Wind Rose Charters, Steve Huber Guide Service, Coastline Charters, Pacific Outfitters and RMI Outdoors. For more information, contact Dom at (707) 273-1087 or visit http://www.samoafire.org/#!blank/c1757.

Freshwater Lagoon trout plants
According to the CDFW website, weekly trout plants are scheduled for Freshwater Lagoon through April 12. For more information, visit http://www.nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FishPlants or call (530) 225-2146.

Steelhead river closures
Except for the main stem of the Eel, Trinity, Klamath and the Smith, all other coastal rivers, including the Chetco, closed to fishing on March 31. The main stem Eel, from Fulmor Road to the South Fork, will remain open until September 30. Only artificial lures can be used, no bait. The Smith River, from its mouth to the confluence of the Middle and South Forks, will be open through April 30. Barbless hooks are required and bait is legal. The Klamath and Trinity rivers are open year-round. For up-to-date regulations, be sure to pick up the 2014-2015 supplement or visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Regulations.

The Rivers:
Main Stem Eel
The recent rain added a little color back to the main stem, but it is back to low and clear conditions. As of Wednesday, it was running at 1,400 cfs on the Scotia gauge. A few boats were out last weekend and averaged between three to five fish.

Smith River
The Smith is also back to low and clear, flowing at 2,000 cfs on the Jed Smith gauge as of Wednesday. Very few boats are still trying, but there should be plenty of spawned-out fish making their way down as well as some fresh ones around.

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

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and http://www.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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