Wind should bring cooler water for salmon anglers

Petaluma resident Stevan Fontana landed a nice 71-pound Pacific halibut on Sunday off of Eureka while fishing with Capt. Matt Dallams of Northwind Charters. The Pacific halibut season closed on Wednesday, but is scheduled to re-open on Aug. 1. Photo courtesy of Northwind Charters

Petaluma resident Stevan Fontana landed a nice 71-pound Pacific halibut on Sunday off of Eureka while fishing with Capt. Matt Dallams of Northwind Charters. The Pacific halibut season closed on Wednesday, but is scheduled to re-open on Aug. 1. Photo courtesy of Northwind Charters

Boating safety class slated for August 1

The arrival of the wind on Tuesday is likely a blessing as well as a curse. Coming down from the north, it will definitely cool the ocean waters, which had reached 61 degrees just offshore of Eureka. According to Eureka’s National Weather Service, water temperatures at buoy 14 off of Point Arena have already dropped from 61 to 54 degrees in the last 36 hours. With the cold water infusion, the hope is the salmon will move inshore all along the North Coast from Eureka north to Brookings. Although the wind is needed, the timing could have been a little better. A pretty good salmon bite was discovered on Sunday near Cape Mendocino, with a couple boats scoring limits of quality salmon. On Monday, the fleet made a beeline for the same spot, and it was limit-style fishing for all. On Tuesday, most of the boats remained tied to the dock on account of the nasty forecast. A few did head south, but eventually thought better of it and turned around. Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing was the lone boat that stuck with it, making it as far as the Cape to get his clients into quick limits of rockfish before being chased back north by the wind. So now it looks like the wind will once again shuffle the deck, and where the salmon will be once the boats get back on the water is anyone’s guess.

Marine Forecast
After a beautiful weekend, ocean conditions along the North Coast deteriorated quickly on Tuesday. Heavy winds and seas are expected through Friday, with conditions slowly improving beginning on Saturday. Out 10 nautical miles from Pt. St. George to Cape Mendocino, Friday’s forecast is calling for 10 to 20 knot winds out of the north and waves to 10 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday is calling for southwest winds 5 to 10 knots and waves out of the northwest 8 feet at 10 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is looking better, with winds out of the northwest up to 5 knots and waves 6 feet at 13 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan, or you can also verify the conditions as reported by looking at the bar cam at www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/barCam/?cam=humboldtBayBar. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Pacific halibut closure
Per the new state and federal sport regulations for Pacific halibut, the season closed again on Wednesday, July 15. The season will open back up on August 1. According to the CDFW, the projected catch in net pounds through July is 13,028. The quota is set at 25,220. For more info on the in-season quota tracking, visit https://www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/pacifichalibut.asp#tracking

Boat Safety Class
The US Coast Guard Auxiliary is offering a one-day Boating Safety class on Saturday, August 1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The class will be held at the Woodley Island Marina Conference Room. For more information, contact Thom O’Connor at 707-954-4481 to pre-register. The cost is $20 per person.

Big Fish Competition
Pacific Outfitters of Eureka is hosting the 2015 Big Fish Competition for salmon, halibut & lingcod during the entire season of each species. Each entry gets a ticket towards a GoPro 4 Silver Edition ($399.99). Prizes include a $200 Gift Card for largest salmon; $200 Gift Card for largest Pacific halibut; and a $200 Gift Card for largest lingcod. All fish must be “Gilled & Gutted” before they are weighed in. If there is a tie within a species, the winners will split the gift certificate. All entries will be required to have their photo taken with their fish. If you choose not to have your photo taken, you are choosing not to participate in the competition. For more information, visit http://www.pacificoutfitters.com/2015/05/20/2015-big-fish/

The Oceans:
Eureka
Rough ocean conditions will keep most of the boats tied up until possibly Saturday, when the ocean will begin to come down. Skipper Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing, along with the rest of the fleet, were onto a real good salmon bite at the Pinnacles near Cape Mendocino on Monday. He said, “It was really good fishing, we boated 13 salmon in less than two hours, it was definitely the best bite we’ve seen in a while. And I think those fish have been there for awhile, but it’s such a long way down there, we haven’t had the time to check it out thoroughly. There was definitely some colder water there. Once the wind dies down, it will be interesting to see if those fish will still be there or if they’ve moved north.” He added, “The rockfish bite is still good and the ling action is incredible, we boated a monster on Monday weighing 44-pounds.” The halibut bite really turned on late last week according to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “They bit real well on Friday and Saturday, a lot of the boats had multiple hookups. It slowed a little on Monday and Tuesday, but we were still able to land two each day. Most of the action was from the 44 to 54-line in 250 to 350 feet of water,” Klassen added.

Trinidad
The halibut bite has been wide-open the last 10 days reports Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “The bite really turned on, with most of the action coming straight out in 300 feet of water. I heard lots of doubles and triples announced on the radio. The black rockfish action is still going, with easy limits coming over the rails. The lings are biting as well, but it’s taking a knot of drift to really get them on the bite. Salmon fishing isn’t happening yet, very few guys are fishing and not many are being caught. The crab pots have been loaded this past week, which is real encouraging for the upcoming commercial season,” Wilson added.

Crescent City
The rockfish, and especially the lingcod, are still biting anything you throw at them reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “I can’t ever remember this many lingcod around. It’s just unbelievable right now. The halibut bit pretty well this past week too, with one boat landing three on Monday. The salmon remain a no-show, hopefully the wind that’s here now will cool down the water and bring them closer to shore,” Hegnes said.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Rain fell last weekend along some of the freshly burnt slopes upriver and filled the creeks with mud, with the dirty water finding its way to the lower river on Sunday. Supposedly the river started to clear on Tuesday and should be back to fishing shape by Thursday, or Friday at the latest.

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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