Coastal saltwater season set to take off

Fishing the NC photo 4_26

Charlie Arce of Smith River and Mike Van Camp of Brookings hold a pair of lingcod caught over the weekend while fishing with Capt. Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. Pacific halibut and rockfish season will open along the North Coast next Tuesday, May 1. Photo courtesy of Andy Martin/Brookings Fishing Charters

Next Tuesday marks day one of our ocean sport fishing season on the North Coast as both rockfish and halibut will finally open, bringing with it tons of excitement, optimism and relief. Following a year in which we had a limited abalone season and total closures of both salmon and razor clams, we could all use a little saltwater therapy. As anglers take to the ocean next Tuesday — weather and conditions permitting – the hope is all the bad news will slowly fade into the horizon, leaving only happy thoughts of big lings and barn door-sized halibut.

May 1 openers:

Pacific Halibut: The 2018 Pacific halibut fishery will have four open periods, May 1-June 15, July 1-15, August 1-15 and Sept. 1-Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. The quota allotment for 2018 will be 30,940 pounds. CDFW will again monitor catches of Pacific halibut during the season and provide catch projection updates on the CDFW Pacific halibut webpage, The limit remains at one, with no size restrictions. No more than one line with two hooks attached can be used.

Rockfish: Changes made prior to the 2017 season will carry over into 2018 for the Northern Management Area, which runs from the Oregon border to Cape Mendocino. The season for boat-based anglers will again run from May 1 through Oct. 31 within 180 feet and Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 with no depth restrictions. In 2018, the one big change is the sub-bag limit for canary rockfish will increase from one fish to two within the RCG daily bag limit of 10 fish, effective Saturday, April 14, 2018 statewide.

Summary of regulations: The daily bag limit per person is a 10-fish combination. Exceptions include three Cabezon, two Canary, and three black rockfish allowed per person as part of their 10-fish bag limit. Cabezon have a minimum 15-inch size limit and Kelp and/or rock greenlings must be 12-inches. The daily bag limit of Lingcod is two per person and they must be 22-inches in length. The take and possession of Cowcod, Bronzespotted rockfish, and Yelloweye rockfish will remain prohibited statewide. Petrale sole and Starry flounder can be retained year- round at all depths with no size limit. For more information about recreational groundfish regulations within the northern mgt. area, please call the hotline at 831-649-2801 or visit

Marine forecast
It’s a little far out to predict what Tuesday will bring, but if Monday’s forecast is any indication, we may see some long faces hanging around the boat launches. Monday’s forecast is calling for NW winds 20 to 30 knots with waves out of the NW 10 feet at 5 seconds and NW 4 feet at 12 seconds. These conditions will most likely change before next Tuesday. For an up-to-date marine forecast, visit

Tuesday, May 1 tides – Humboldt Bay
For anglers who aren’t aware, extreme caution should always be used when crossing the bar. The combination of large swells and outgoing morning tides could make for a dangerous bar crossing. On Tuesday, 7.4 ft. of water will be flowing out down to an -0.7. This could make for a dangerous bar crossing if the swells are large. If you’re planning on hitting the bar at daylight, always check the conditions first. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit or check out the bar cam located at

Tuesday May 1 (High: 1:22 a.m. (7.4 ft.) and 2:33 p.m. (5.9 ft.) (Low: 7:48 a.m. (-0.7) and 7:38 p.m. (2.1 ft.)

Trinidad launch ready to go
The Trinidad launch will be open on Tuesday and ready to launch boats if the weather allows. The moorings are all in for the season. Hours of business will be 6:15 a.m. to 5 p.m., weather depending. For more info, call 707-677-3625.

Big Halibut Contest
Don’t forget, Eureka’s Englund Marine will be holding its BIG FISH Halibut Contest this again year. The annual event runs from May 1 to October 31, 2018. There is no entry fee and you can enter as many fish as you’d like. Fish do not need to be gutted and gilled. Prizes will be awarded to the top three fish. A complete list of rules and regulations are available at Englund Marine, 2 Commercial St., Eureka, 707-444-9266.

Perch’n on the Peninsula coming Saturday
The Samoa Peninsula Fire District will be hosting their 9th Annual Perch’n on the Peninsula Surfperch Fishing Tournament and Fish Fry Fundraiser this Saturday, April 28.

The fishing tournament begins at sunrise with the check-in deadline at 2:00 p.m., prize presentations will begin at 3:00 p.m. with the fish fry beginning at noon. 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

Brookings rockfish update
“Bottom fishing has been very good out of Brookings, with easy limits of rockfish and limits of lingcod on most days, said Andy Martin, who runs Brookings Fishing Charters. “A strong drift of more than 1.5 knots made the lingcod bite tougher on Tuesday. Good conditions are in the forecast all week.”

The Rivers:
Main Stem Eel
The main stem Eel is green and fishable, but is still a little on the big side. As of Wednesday, it was running at just over 4,500 cfs on the Scotia gauge. It should be in really good shape by the weekend and into early next week.

Lower Rogue
Spring salmon fishing has improved on the Rogue, which is also getting crowded on the lower end reported Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. He said, “Guides are averaging a fish per boat, with a little more than half hatchery fish. Flows remain good. The bite was late in the day last week, but switched over to the morning with this week’s tides.”

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