After a short break due to rough seas, the red-hot halibut bite picked up right where it left off last Thursday. On Monday, a few boats went out of Eureka and fished in marginal conditions. The current was ripping and the wind was blowing, which made it nearly impossible to keep your bait close to the bottom. A few fish were caught, but nothing to write home about. On Tuesday, conditions were ideal and flatties were flying over the rails at record pace. Quite a few limits were reported, including a few of the charter boats. “There were lots of boats out on Tuesday and it sounded like most were catching,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “The majority of the boats were straight off the stacks like last week, but the better fishing seemed to be a little deeper in 53 to 55 fathoms. Herring, mackerel, salmon and tuna bellies are all consistently catching fish,” added Klassen. The ocean looks like it will remain fishable until at least Saturday when the wind and waves will begin to increase.
Pacific halibut in-season tracking
The CDFW has projected 2,658 net pounds of Pacific Halibut has been harvested through May 6. The 2018 Pacific halibut quota for the California subarea is 30,940 pounds – about 3,600 pounds less than the 2017 quota. This season’s open dates are May 1-June 15, July 1-15, Aug. 1-15 and Sept. 1-Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. The limit remains at one, with no size restrictions. No more than one line with two hooks attached can be used. To view the latest catch projection information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking
Sport salmon season set to open June 1
The sport salmon fishery will open on June 1 from the CA/OR border south to Horse Mountain (KMZ) and run through Sept. 3. The daily bag limit is two salmon of any species except Coho. The minimum size limit is 20 inches total length. There’s quite a bit of excitement surrounding the opener as birds, bait and salmon themselves are being spotted from Eureka north in the 300 foot range. The commercial fleet are reportedly catching a few, including plenty under the 26-inch size limit. For more info on the sport season, visit https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=156296&inline
Weekend marine forecast
For coastal water from Pt. St. George to Cape Mendocino out 10 nautical miles, the marine forecast looks good for the next couple days, but the wind and seas will start to build by the weekend. For Friday, the forecast is calling for winds out of the NW 5 to 10 knots with waves NW 3 feet at 5 seconds and NW 2 feet at 13 seconds. The swells are a little bigger and the wind will increase slightly beginning on Saturday. Winds will be out of the NW 5 to 15 knots and waves will be out of the NW 5 feet at 5 seconds and W 4 feet at 14 seconds. Sunday looks to be a little sloppy, with NW winds 5 to 15 knots and NW waves 6 feet at 6 seconds and W 5 feet at 12 seconds. These conditions can and will change. 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 https://www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan/
Lost Coast Fish Festival coming in June
The first annual Lost Coast Fish Festival and Halibut Derby will be held Saturday, June 9 in Shelter Cove. There will be live music all day at the Shelter Cove RV and Deli, along with oysters, food, drinks, raffles, and kids fishing games. Entry is $15 and all ages are welcome. Ages 12 and under get in free. The halibut derby will run June 1st through June 9th. The buy in is $20, and the top three finishers will win prizes. Derby signups are May 15 through May 31 at the Shelter Cove RV and Deli, Shelter Cove General Store, or the Southern Humboldt Chamber office in Garberville. Must be present on June 9th to win. For more info, contact the Southern Humboldt Chamber of Commerce at 707-923-2613.
“We fished on Saturday for a couple hours before the wind sent us home, but we were able to boat 8 lingcod and 12 rockfish along with limits of crab – so it wasn’t a complete loss,” said Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. On Sunday, we headed to the Hat and Old Man where we really had to work for them. We managed to get limits of lings and rockfish by days end. Monday and Tuesday we ran north for halibut and rockfish combos. The rock fishing wasn’t wide-open, but was still pretty good. The halibut fishing has picked up a bit and the ones putting in the time were averaging a fish per rod. We had two halibut Tuesday, along with limits of rockfish, lings as well as crabs.”
Halibut fishing has been pretty good this past week according to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters out of Trinidad. He said, “We caught a couple each trip, and I heard of others being caught as well. Most of the action was due west of the Head in roughly 240 feet of water. The rockfish bit well this week too, but that’s typical for early in the season. There’s plenty of blacks around, and quite a few lings too. Most of the boats are hanging around Flat Iron. Much like Eureka, we’re seeing some real good salmon signs out in 300 feet of water. There’s lots of birds and bait, and the commercial guys are catching a few as well,” Wilson said.
Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine reports the rockfish action has been steady, with most of the boats going south. “I haven’t heard of many boats going north, most of the action has been at the South Reef. A few guys have been trying for halibut, but the bite has been real spotty. The redtail perch bite is still wide-open, with Kellogg Beach being one of the top spots. I heard the commercial salmon guys were catching a few, so hopefully they’ll be some around when the sport season opens on June 1,” added Hegnes.
We are eager to get out salmon gear back in the water this weekend reports Andy Martin, who runs Brookings Fishing Charters. “May is generally slow to fair out of Brookings, as the peak season isn’t until late June and July,” said Martin. “But the anchovies and pelicans are already here, so the salmon can’t be too far behind. The Rogue forecast of nearly 450,000 fish, double that of the Sacramento forecast, bodes well for the Brookings fishery. We will be trolling anchovies and herring next to the bait balls for the opener. Lingcod and rockfish has been very good this week as the ocean has calmed down. Rockfish are still in shallow water feeding on crab spawn, so there is some good top-water action. We may have some wind this weekend.”
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