Get em’ while you can — Pacific halibut closes Friday


Bob Stewart of Eureka landed this 65 pound Pacific halibut last Thursday off the coast of Eureka. Pacific halibut season will come to a close after Friday as CDFW, based on the latest catch projections, has determined the 29,640 pound quota would be exceeded if the fishery isn’t shut down. Photo courtesy of Tim Klassen/Reel Steel Sport Fishing

North Coast offshore adventures will be limited to just rockfish come Saturday morning as the  California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced on Wednesday the closing of the recreational Pacific halibut fishery on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 12:01 a.m. for the remainder of the 2016 season. The quota of 29,640 pounds will be surpassed according to CDFW unless the fishery is closed based on the latest catch projections.

Beginning in 2015, CDFW committed to in-season tracking of the fishery to ensure catch amounts would not exceed the California quota. The quota amount is determined annually in January through an international process, and is largely driven by results from the annual stock assessment conducted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC).

Throughout the season, CDFW field staff sampled public launch ramps and charter boat landings to monitor catches of Pacific halibut along with other marine sport fish. CDFW conferred with NMFS and IPHC on a weekly basis to review projected catch amounts and determine when the quota would be attained using this information. For current information about the Pacific halibut fishery, science or management, visit

Young Anglers Tournament this Sunday
The Trinidad Pier Youth Fishing Tourney will take place on Sunday, Sept 25 from 1 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The free event is open to all children ages 6 to 15. Prizes will be awarded in each category and fishing gear and bait will be provided. An adult must accompany children. Hot dogs and refreshments will be served following the event. Catch and release is encouraged and no fishing license is required. Look for the sign up table on the Trinidad Pier. For more information, contact Ken Jones at

Weekend marine forecast
After a few days of sloppy weather, the ocean looks to be lying down just in time for the weekend. Friday, the last day of the Pacific halibut season, looks plenty fishable with winds out of the NE 5 to 10 knots and NW swells 2 feet at 4 seconds and NW 5 feet at 14 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for winds 5 to 10 knots and NW swells 3 feet at 6 seconds and NW 7 feet at 12 seconds. Sunday the winds will be from the N 5 to 10 knots, with swells 4 feet at 7 seconds and NW 4 feet at 12 seconds. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Klamath/Trinity quota updates
According to Sara Borok, Environmental Scientist on the Klamath River Project, the remaining quotas on the Upper Klamath and Trinity Rivers should remain open until sometime in October. “We haven’t had a lot of fish up river yet, so the effort has been fairly small. We should be able to go at least through the first week in Oct. for the Upper Klamath, and maybe longer. On the Trinity side, looking at the numbers, we’ll probably be able to keep it open to retention until late Oct. The mouth has been closing up regularly, but we should have some bigger tides now that will hopefully keep it open for good,” Borok added. Just a reminder, the lower Klamath quota for adult Chinook salmon has been met from the Hwy. 96 Bridge downriver to the ocean. The section is open to fishing, but salmon larger than 22 inches must be released.

The Oceans:
With salmon done and halibut closing after Friday, it’s just a rockfish show out of Eureka until the end of October. The weather wasn’t great earlier this week, so there hasn’t been much happening. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing ran a few halibut trips last weekend and reported a pretty decent bite. “There were some halibut caught over the weekend, but not everyone caught fish. The rockfish bite at the Cape remains phenomenal when you can get down there,” Klassen added.

Shelter Cove
Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing reports the rockfish are still biting, but the salmon action has slowed. He said, “I just did a couple rock fish trips this week. We fished off Bear Harbor and the fishing was great, we had limits before noon both days. I only heard of one salmon caught this past week and it was caught by a kayaker.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The mouth was plugged up over the weekend, but its open now and more fish are moving in reports guide Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service. “It opened up on Monday night, and there’s definitely more fish in the system now. Overall, boats are averaging about five to six hook-up on kings per day. There’s also quite a few adult steelhead around as well as half-pounders,” Coopman added.

We’re starting to see a few more fish push into the area reports Tim Brady of Weaverville’s Trinity Outdoors. He said, “I talked to some folks in the Del Loma area and they saw both salmon and steelhead moving through, so hopefully things are going to get going up here. The regulars are here and fishing, but I haven’t heard many reports as of yet.”

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