Sloppy conditions hamper salmon fishing, weekend looks better

Asheena Santos of Garberville landed this nice Chinook salmon during the opening weekend of salmon season out of Eureka. Santos was fishing aboard the charter boat Reel Steel. Photo courtesy of Reel Steel Sport Fishing

Asheena Santos of Garberville landed this nice Chinook salmon during the opening weekend of salmon season out of Eureka. Santos was fishing aboard the charter boat Reel Steel. Photo courtesy of Reel Steel Sport Fishing

Good tides on the way for clammers

The handful of boats that fished the opening few days of the sport salmon season out of Eureka were limited to fishing close to home due to the strong north winds and sloppy conditions. Most of the sport fleet thought better of it, choosing to sit out the first week knowing better days lie ahead. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing was one of a handful of boats that ventured out, along with a few of the other Woodley Island charter boats including the Shellback, Full Throttle, and Northwind Charters. The action over the weekend was a little slow, with boats landing between two and four fish per trip. According to Klassen, the ocean conditions aren’t bad and appear typical for this time of the year. He said, “With all the wind we’ve had, the upwelling has really cooled the water temperatures. There was quite a bit of bait around along with some nice edges. The fish we caught were full of squid and day fish, but I’m not sure if that’s what we were seeing on the meter. When the oceans rough like it’s been, it makes it tough to run and look for fish so we’re all fishing in fairly close proximity. There’s a chance the fish could be further offshore, but we won’t know until we get some better days where the fleet can get out and explore.”

Marine forecast
After a windy start to the ocean season, the wind is finally predicted to subside slightly this weekend. Saturday’s forecast is calling for NW winds 5 to 10 knots and swells to 5 feet at 8 seconds and W 3 feet at 14 seconds. Sunday’s prediction is NW winds 5 to 15 knots and swells 6 feet at 12 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For up-to-date weather forecast, visit You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit or check out the bar cam located at

Crescent City
Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine reports the weather kept most of the boats tied up for the salmon opener. He said, “The wind was blowing pretty good, so there wasn’t much effort on salmon. I did hear that the water is pretty cold out front, which may make for a tougher bite. I think once we get some decent weather and some more boats on the water, we should be able to find some fish.” Hegnes also reports that the Redtail perch bite has been over the top at all the beaches. “We saw some big fish caught this past week.”

Clam tides
The current round of minus tides, in which none are lower than a foot, will last through the weekend. However, it’s the next set of tides, which are the lowest of the summer that has the clammers excited. They’ll begin next Friday, May 15 and go through Saturday, May 23. The lowest tides will be Sunday through Thursday, with tides ranging from -1.1 to -1.6 feet. In 2015, Little River Beach is open to razor clamming between Strawberry Creek and Moonstone Beach. In Del Norte County, the beach north of Battery Point is open to clamming. The limit is 20 clams and you must keep the first 20 dug regardless of size or broken condition. For tide information, visit

Rockfish opener May 15
The 2015 rockfish season will open next Friday to boat-based anglers within the Northern Management Area — which runs from the Oregon border south to the Cape Mendocino Area. The recreational rockfish and lingcod season will run from May 15 through October 31. The daily bag limit per person is a 10 fish combination, except only three cabezon and bocaccio are allowed per person. Cabezon have a minimum 15-inch size limit. There is no size limit for Boccaccio.

New regulations announced in March include:

  • A sub-bag limit of five black rockfish within the 10-fish rockfish, Cabazon, greenling (RCG) complex bag limit
  • An increase in the lingcod bag limit from two to three fish, 22-inch minimum.
  • Statewide closure of the California scorpionfish fishery from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31.

The depth limit remains the same as last year; fish may only be taken or possessed in less than 120 feet (20 fathoms) of water. The take and possession of bronzespotted rockfish, canary rockfish, cowcod and yelloweye rockfish will remain prohibited statewide.

Trinity/Klamath Rivers
Water releases from Lewiston Dam into the Trinity River reached their peak flow of 8,500 cfs on Wednesday and will be reduced beginning Thursday. Release rates will be reduced to 2,000 cfs over a period of 11 days. As the flows recede, several days of flows at 2,000, 1,200, and 700 cfs will follow for monitoring purposes. The summer base-flow rate of 450 cfs will begin on June 30.
Spring salmon fishing on both the Trinity and Klamath should pick up when the flows taper off and the rivers begin to clear, which should be sometime next week.

Send in your fish photos
Land a big halibut or perch lately? Or maybe your friend or relative has reeled in their first salmon. Email your fishing photo to and I’ll run them with the “Fishing the North Coast” weekly column and also post them on the digital version on 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 for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to

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