Game (back) on! Salmon opener slated for June 1

Fishing the NC_4_12 photo

Salmon, as well as smiling faces, will both be returning to the North Coast come June. The PFMC on Tuesday announced our recreational ocean salmon season will run from June 1 through Sept. 3 in Eureka, Trinidad, and Crescent City. In 2017, the entire season was shut down due to low salmon numbers. Photo courtesy of Coastline Charters

After suffering through a complete shutdown of our salmon season in 2017 within the KMZ, one thing is for certain – absence truly does make the heart grow fonder. Halibut and rockfish are fun, but salmon is king in Eureka – always has been, always will be. And not being able to fish for them last year really stung. Needless to say, there were a lot of nervous anglers waiting while the different agencies poured through data last month trying to determine what our ocean salmon season would look like in 2018 – or if we’d even have one.

In all my years living here, I can’t recall such anticipation and excitement revolving around the recreational salmon opener. What was once just a mere formality, has taken on the feel of a lottery. While the PFMC were holed up in Portland this week crunching the final numbers and doing their best to divide the salmon numbers across the entire state, local anglers held their collective breath. When it was all said and done on Tuesday, the outcome was just what we wanted to hear. The North Coast will have a salmon season, and a lengthy one at that.

Encouraged by a recovering Klamath River fall Chinook stock, the PFMC adopted a very generous season for the California KMZ, which runs from the CA/OR border south to Horse Mountain. The season will run from June 1 straight through September 3. Fishing will be allowed seven days per week for all salmon except Coho, two fish per day and a minimum size limit of 20 inches total length for Chinook. According to the PFMC, 359,200 Klamath adult salmon are swimming in the ocean, opening the door for fall salmon seasons on the Klamath and Trinity Rivers as well. Though still awaiting approval from the F&G Commission, the sport in-river quota will be 3,490 adults divided between the two rivers.

With only 229,432 Sacramento fall Chinook said to be swimming in the ocean, the seasons to our south were a little more restricted this year. The area from Horse Mountain south to Point Arena, which includes Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg, will open on June 17 and run through Oct 31. The San Francisco area will have the same season opening and closing dates. To the north in the Brookings area (Oregon KMZ), the season will open on May 19 and run through Aug. 26. Fishing will be allowed seven days per week for all salmon except Coho, two fish per day and a minimum size limit of 24 inches total length for Chinook. For more information on the recreational fishing seasons, visit

Fish and Game Commission meeting today
The California Fish and Game Commission will meet on Thursday, April 12 in Sacramento at 3 p.m. to adopt and discuss changes to the upcoming Klamath River sport fishing season. The PFMC recommended 3,490 adult salmon be allocated for recreational fishing for the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. The tribal allocation is 18,122, split between the Yurok and Hoopa tribes. Members of the public may participate in the teleconference at the CDFW Conference Room, 50 Ericson Court in Arcata. The meeting will be live streamed at, for listening purposes only. If you’re interested in the Klamath River fall salmon fishery, you’ll want your voice to be heard. Also on the agenda is the adoption of proposed changes to the Central Valley salmon sport fishing regulations. The full agenda can be viewed here:

Limit increases for Canary rockfish
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced on Tuesday a statewide increase to the recreational canary rockfish daily limit within the Rockfish, Cabezon and Greenling (RCG) bag limit. The sub-bag limit for canary rockfish will increase from one fish to two fish within the RCG daily bag limit of 10 fish, effective Saturday, April 14, 2018. Limited retention of canary rockfish in California’s recreational fishery began last year as a result of the stock being declared rebuilt. Because retention of canary rockfish had been prohibited in recreational fisheries off California for more than a decade, a one fish daily sub-bag limit was implemented as a matter of precaution. Catches were monitored weekly to ensure harvest limits were not exceeded. Pursuant to California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 27.20(e), CDFW has the authority to make in-season modifications to the recreational fishery, including adjustments to bag and sub-bag limits. For more information, visit

HASA dinner Saturday night
The annual HASA fundraiser dinner will be held this Saturday, April 14, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Arcata Community Center, 321 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway in Arcata. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children under 12. Food will be provided by Ramone’s and some great items will be auctioned and raffled off. Each ticket will get you a HASA annual 2018 membership as well as entry into the door prize. Tickets are available from the following Eureka merchants until Thursday: Pacific Outfitters, Englund Marine, Bucksport Sporting Goods, Sportsmen’s Warehouse, and W&W RV & Sporting Goods. For more information, email or visit

Perch’n on the Peninsula coming April 28
The Samoa Peninsula Fire District will be hosting their 9th Annual Perch’n on the Peninsula Surfperch Fishing Tournament and Fish Fry Fundraiser on Saturday, April 28, 2018. The fish fry fundraiser is open to the public and admission is only $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for juniors. Children 6 and under get in free. Adult fishing tournament entry is $20.00 and junior entry (under 16) is $10.00. Tournament day registration is available at the Peninsula Elementary School in Samoa beginning at 6 a.m. or your entries can be purchased at Mad River Tackle in Arcata, Pacific Outfitters, Englund Marine, or Shafer’s Ace Hardware in Eureka. For more information, call (707) 443-9042 or visit

Eel River steelhead returns
As of April 9, a total of 169 steelhead have entered the Van Arsdale fish count station according to Scott L Harris, an associate Biologist with the Northern Region. Making up that total is 74 males, 85 females, and 10 unknowns. The Chinook count stands at 232. According to Harris, the ladder was shut down Friday evening in anticipation of Scott Dam spilling. For more information, visit

The Rivers
Main Stem Eel
As of Wednesday, the main Eel was running at 16,300 cfs on the Scotia gauge and holding due to the rain this week. It remains high and dirty, and will need a couple weeks of dry weather to clear.

Lower Rogue
The Rogue has dropped into prime shape for springers with 5,000 cfs flowing at the Agness gauge according to Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. “The water temperature hit 53 degrees on Tuesday, sparking the best bite so far this season with nearly a dozen keepers reported in the Elephant Rock area.”

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