Not much has changed since the August 1st opener; the salmon remain stacked just outside of the entrance to Humboldt Bay. The only real wild card the boats face on day to day basis is whether the forecast will be accurate, and will the salmon be on the north or south side of the jetty. While not every day has ended with limits of big, fat kings, it’s about as good of fishing as anywhere on the coast. And it’s been steady too. There have been a few days where the weather allowed a little more scouting, but what the boats found wasn’t nearly as consistent as what’s happening right out front. The bait is still pretty heavy inside and outside of the bay, and as long as that holds up, the salmon should stick around. Let’s hope they hang out at least until next Tuesday when the season will close for two weeks before opening again on Sept. 1.
Weekend Marine forecast
Actual conditions haven’t played out exactly like they were forecasted the last few days, so it’s getting tougher to predict what’s fishable and what’s not. Out 10 nautical miles north of the Cape, Friday’s forecast is calling for N winds to 5 knots and waves out of the N 5 feet at 9 seconds and W 2 feet at 16 seconds. Saturday is similar, with winds out of the N 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 7 feet at 9 seconds and W 2 feet at 15 seconds. The winds and seas pick back up on Sunday. Winds will be out of the N 10 to 20 knots and NW waves 9 feet at 9 seconds and W 2 feet at 14 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. 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.
California halibut thick in Humboldt Bay
Phil Glenn, who runs Bluefin Charters out of Woodley Island, reports a wide-open bite of undersized California halibut in Humboldt Bay. “There’s a few keepers around, but the almost all of the fish being caught are under 22 inches. We’ve been going through lots of bait as the bay is loaded with them,” added Glenn. The daily bag and possession limit is three fish and the minimum size limit is 22 inches total length.
Pacific Halibut closes August 15
The Pacific halibut season will close on Aug. 15 and open back up on Sept 1 and run through Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached. As of Aug 7, the CDFW has projected 14,679 net pounds have been 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. For information about the seasons and regulations, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670771-pacific-halibut-regulations
Ocean sport salmon season closes August 16
As a reminder, the sport salmon season, from the OR/CA border to Horse Mountain, will close on Tuesday, Aug. 16. The season will re-open one more time on Sept. 1 and run through Sept. 5. For a complete list of regulations, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Salmon#recreational
Report derelict crab gear
The California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project is still active and looking for help in removing old derelict crab gear. If any ocean fishermen encounter derelict crab pot buoys which you believe is old, make a note of the GPS coordinates along with a buoy description. From there you can enter the information and location at www.seadocsociety.org/report
The salmon bite around the jetties continues to be consistent according to skipper Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “On Monday, the fish bit really well and all the boats had limits. The bite was a little tougher on Tuesday, and the rough and turbulent water probably had something to do with it. They just don’t seem to bite as good when we have real big swells. There’s still lots of bait around, including sardines, anchovies and sand lance’s. The grade has been excellent this week, with lots of fish in the 20-pounde range. There hasn’t been much focus on halibut because of the weather, but Sunday was just good enough to go looking. After quickly landing five salmon, we headed offshore and found some willing biters. We were able to land three, and lost a fourth at the boat. Hopefully we’ll get some decent weather to get back out there before it closes,” Klassen added.
According to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters, the black rockfish bite turned on the past few days and limits have been coming easily. He said, “The halibut have really been snapping as well. Since the weekend, it’s been easily a fish per rod. A lot of the action has been coming in shallower than normal water — 120 feet and out as the weather hasn’t been very nice out in 300 feet of water. There isn’t much sign of salmon at the moment and not much effort either.”
Even though most of the commercial boats didn’t hang around long, the salmon are still on the bite reports Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing saying. He said, “We’re still getting them on the mooch pretty good, and have limited the boat out the last three days. We’ve also have been hooking at least one halibut per day. On Saturday we hooked 6 at once and got them all on board, which was pretty exciting. The best salmon action remains at the Hat. The ling cod fishing has been great this week, but the rockfish has been a little slow.”
According to Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, not much has been happening with the ocean being a little on the rough side. “The most exciting thing going right now is all the Thresher Sharks around. A few have been caught by guys targeting California halibut around South Beach, and some anglers have begun to target them solely. The rockfish is kind of the same old story, when the boats can get out the bite has been excellent for both lings and rockfish. I haven’t heard of any boats trying for salmon in the past week,” Hegnes said.
The report is very similar to last week for the lower Klamath. Boats working from Blue Creek down are hooking between two and four steelhead per trip. A few more fall salmon have started to enter the river, but not in any big numbers yet. The river is in good shape with morning water temperatures hovering right around 70 degrees.
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