My proclamation last week stating the “good ole’ days of wide-open salmon fishing out of Eureka were back” seemed rather outlandish as I was putting pen to paper. But after another week of lights-out salmon fishing, that doesn’t look like much of a stretch now. The ocean finally flattened out last Friday, and the king bite busted wide-open. Charters, as well as the sport boats, have all been flying limit flags by early morning. Most of the action has taken place nice and close to home, just north of the entrance in 120 to 150 feet of water. The opener saw the ocean teeming with krill, but they have since been replaced by huge balls of anchovies, sardines, and squid. The ocean has warmed slightly the past couple days, but the north wind that is expected to blow for the next few days will likely squash that trend. For now, the fishing is a good as it gets, and the only roadblock is the vast amount of crab gear that’s covering a good portion of the fishing grounds.
Weekend marine forecast
Wind is in the forecast for the next several days, and the ocean looks to be marginal at best. Saturday and Sunday’s forecasts are calling for winds out of the north 10 to 20 knots, with waves NW 7 feet at 8 seconds. The Memorial Day forecast is looking similar, with winds out of the north 10 to 20 knots and waves NW 8 feet at 8 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For up-to-date weather forecast, visit http://www.weather.gov/eureka/. 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 www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan or check out the bar cam located at http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/barCam/?cam=humboldtBayBar.
Ocean sport salmon season closes May 31
As a reminder, the sport salmon season, from the OR/CA border to Horse Mountain, will close on May 31. The season will re-open again on June 16 and run until June 30. For the complete list of regulations, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Salmon#recreational
Halibut season re-opens June 1
As part of the new state and federal sport regulations for the Pacific halibut fishery off of California, the Pacific halibut season will re-open June 1 and will remain open through June 15. During the first session of the season, which went from May 1 to 15th, CDFW projected 4,011 net pounds were harvested towards a quota of 29,640 pounds. For up-to-date harvest tracking information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-2016-in-season-tracking
PFMC Halibut meeting coming up
The Pacific Fishery Management Council will be meeting June 23-28 PFMC regarding Scoping of Pacific Halibut Catch Share Plan Allocation Changes. In order to let the PFMC and the state of California know how import a much more fair Catch Share Plan is to us, HASA is advising the public to send written comments. There are two submission deadlines; the first one is on Thursday, May 26 for inclusion in their initial briefing package, and the second one is on June 14 for inclusion in their final briefing package. Comments and letters can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Crab fishery opens statewide
The final piece of closed ocean waters (between a line extending due west from 40° 46.15′ N latitude, the west end of the north jetty at the entrance of Humboldt Bay and north to the southern boundary line at 41° 17.6’ N latitude of the Reading Rock State Marine Conservation Area near Redwood Creek), opened up to sport Dungeness crab fishing last Thursday. The commercial soak period began on May 23 at 8:01 and they pulled the first pots at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, May 26.
Pacific Outfitters Big Fish competition
Pacific Outfitters of Eureka is once again holding its annual Big Fish Competition for Salmon, Halibut & Lingcod. The contest is open to anyone; you don’t need to be local to win. Entries will be accepted at the Eureka and Ukiah locations. Enter any legal size Salmon, Halibut & Lingcod – there’s no limit on the number of entries. Salmon entries will be weighed. All salmon entries must be gilled and gutted. Lingcod and Halibut entries will be measured – entries do not have to be gilled and gutted. Winners will be announced in each category at the end of the 2016 season. There will be first, second and third place prizes for each category. All entries will be required to have their photo taken with their fish. For more information, visit: www.pacificoutfitters.com/2016/05/03/2016-big-fish-contest/#sthash.zvu7nupy.dpuf
The salmon bite is wide-open off the coast of Eureka according to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “Most of the action has been coming between the 47 and 52 lines in 120 to 150 feet of water, said Klassen “The fish have moved up in the water column the last few days, we’ve been doing well fishing at 40 feet. There’s lots of bait around, along with tons of crab gear. You really need to keep an eye out in order to avoid getting hung up.” Though almost all of the fishing effort has been on salmon, Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing opted for some new scenery and took a ride south on Tuesday to the Cape looking for rockfish. And they were there, and biting. He said, “The rock fishing was phenomenal. Even though we had to move a few times, the box of fish we ended with was incredible. The grade of fish was the best I’ve seen. We had some really giant Vermilions and some big Coppers as well. The ling cod bite started slow, but once we found em’ they came over the rail pretty quickly,” added Sepulveda.
Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing reports the salmon bite remains very slow at the Cove, but the lingcod bite has been phenomenal. He said, “The lings are biting like crazy, but when we’ve stayed close to the Cove, we’ve had to work hard for the snappers. The last few days I’ve been running north to Rogers Break and the rockfish and ling bite has been on fire. On Saturday we hooked over 70 lings and came home with a good mixed bag of snappers.”
There were a few salmon caught earlier this week reports Leonard Carter of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “The last three days, a few boats have been making the 10 to 12 mile run to the backside of the South Reef, which seems to be the spot for now. The fish are coming pretty deep on the downriggers. The rockfish action has been good per usual when the boats have gotten out. The wind started to blow pretty good on Wednesday, so it might be a few days before boats are able to get back out,” Carter said.
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