Slow start for Pacific halibut anglers

Cloverdale resident Fred Kramer, right, landed one of the seasons first Pacific halibut on Wednesday while fishing out of Eureka with skipper Marc Schmidt, pictured left. The Pacific halibut season will run from May 1 through the end of Oct., or until the 39,000 pound-quota is met, whichever is earlier. Photo courtesy of Marc Schmidt/Coastline Charters

Day one of the 2019 Pacific halibut season is in the books, and the reports from Wednesday’s opener weren’t quite as good as expected. A few of the Eureka charter boats made the run straight out, fishing between the 51 and 47 lines, hoping to land on a bunch of hungry halibut that haven’t seen a bait in six months. For the majority of the boats, that didn’t happen. It did however, happen for Marc Schmidt of Coastline Charters. He and his crew had the hot hand and boated three flatties. And those fish came in less than ideal conditions. According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, the water was really brown, and probably could have used a little more current. “I didn’t feel like there were a lot of fish around. It seemed like there were a few pockets of fish, and if you drifted over one, you might get an opportunity,” added Klassen. Conditions look good for the weekend and that should put more boats on the water, which should help locate the fish. Eureka wasn’t the only port that had a tough halibut opener. Reports coming from Shelter Cove, Trinidad, and Crescent City were all the same. Tough fishing. On the other hand, the rockfish bite out of these three locations was spectacular.

Ruth Lake kids fishing derby
The Ruth Lake Community Service District will host a Kids All-American Fishing Derby on Saturday, May 18 for kids up to 15 years old. The derby runs from 8 a.m. until noon at the Ruth Lake Marina. All children must be accompanied with an adult, and don’t forget to bring a fishing pole. There will be a hot dog feed at noon, and all the kids will receive prizes. For more information, call Cindy Lofthouse at 574-6332 or visit the Ruth Lake Facebook page at

Sport-Harvested Mussels quarantined
In a press release issued on April 29, The California Department of Public Health announced the annual quarantine of sport-harvested mussels gathered along the California coast. The quarantine begins May 1 and applies to all species of mussels that are recreationally harvested along the California coast, including all bays and estuaries. The quarantine is in place to protect the public against poisoning that can lead to serious illness, including coma and death. 

In addition to this annual quarantine, consumers are urged not to eat recreationally harvested razor clams from Humboldt and Del Norte counties due to continued high levels of domoic acid. To read the entire press release, visit

Weekend marine forecast
As of Wednesday, the weekend forecast for coastal waters out 10 nautical miles is looking much better for halibut and rockfish anglers. Saturday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the north 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 4 feet at 11 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is looking similar with winds out of the northwest 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 5 feet at 11 seconds. These conditions can and will change. For up-to-date weather forecast, visit or 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.

The Oceans:
Shelter Cove
Salmon fishing has been fairly slow this week reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “On Monday we had one bite and one fish. I don’t think any boats went out on Tuesday, but a couple kayakers did catch some salmon. Wednesday’s rockfish opener was great, we had good limits of rockfish, lings and crabs while fishing the Roger’s Break area. I didn’t hear of any halibut being caught.

The salmon season is temporarily closed beginning on May 1 from Horse Mountain, which includes Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg, south to San Francisco. The season will reopen on May 18 and run through Oct. 31.

The rockfish opener out of Trinidad sounded like it was good for those who launched off the beach. The kayak anglers put up some respectable numbers of rockfish and lingcod according to reports. Reportedly, the bigger boats fishing for halibut came up empty.

Crescent City
Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine reports the rockfish season got off to a fast start on Wednesday. He said, “Most of the boats headed to the South Reef and picked up easy limits of rockfish and lingcod. We weighed in a 30-pound ling today, which is great for this early in the season. I didn’t hear of any halibut being caught as of yet,” Hegnes added.

Brookings rockfish update
Windy weather has led to tough fishing out of Brookings the past week,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Winds have been up to 35 knots, making fishing difficult. Calmer weather is expected the rest of the week, although wind is still in the forecast. Pelicans have already arrived at the mouth of the Chetco, and baitfish are here, which should improve chances at salmon when the season opens at the end of the month.”

Redtails bite is wide-open
The redtail bite has been wide-open all up and down the North Coast. I’ve been hearing reports of limits coming from the usual spots: Samoa, Centerville, Dry and Stone Lagoons, Gold Bluff, and the south spit. Redtail Perch have a minimum size limit of 10.5 inches and a daily bag and possession limit of 10. A reminder that Bucksport Sporting Goods is holding a surf perch contest that will run through Sept. Entry is free, but limited to in-store registration only. Bucksport is located at 3650 Broadway St, in Eureka.

Trinity flows reduced due to oil leak
An oil leak at the Trinity Power Plant has temporarily curtailed the high spring flows coming down the Trinity River. The potential leak was reported Monday afternoon, and the federal Bureau of Reclamation took immediate action to locate, stop and confine the leak, said Christie Kalkowski, public affairs officer for the Bureau of Reclamation, Mid-Pacific Regional Office. Flows were reduced to further assist in assessing the leak Tuesday afternoon, as well as to address operational issues at the powerplant, Kalkowski said. Flows will be reduced to 3,500 cfs while Reclamation assesses the situation and makes repairs. The powerplant was temporarily shut down on Wednesday.

For more information, visit

The Rivers:
Main Stem Eel
The main stem Eel is green, but it’s still a little big according to Fred Grundman of Rio Dell’s Grundmans Sporting Goods. “The water is staying pretty high and the visibility isn’t improving much. I’ve seen a few boats around, but haven’t heard of any fish caught,” added Grundman. As of Wednesday, it was hanging around 6,000 cfs on the Scotia gauge. It’s forecasted to drop to 5,000 cfs by early next week.

Lower Rogue
Spring salmon fishing was good on the Rogue late last week, but slowed after the weekend reports Martin. “Conditions are still good on the Rogue, although navigating out of the harbor to jet upriver is tougher than normal, with lots of sand bars and sediment build up from winter storms,” said Martin.

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