Salmon bite heating up out of Eureka, Trinidad

Fishing out of Trinidad last Sunday aboard the Shellback, Hudson Buhr from Lincoln Nebraska was pretty fired up over his first ever king salmon. An hour later he landed a second one to round out his limit. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Shellback Sport Fishing

The temperature isn’t the only thing heating up on the North Coast. The salmon bite out of Eureka and Trinidad sizzled this week. Tuesday was good, but it went wide-open on Wednesday. The Eureka charters had full limits by 10 a.m. and the Trinidad boats did equally as well, if not better. And for the first time since the season opened, a decent bite developed out of Brookings. Some of the credit should go to the weather. The ocean has been like a lake since Tuesday, putting more boats on the water and allowing anglers to venture out to new areas. And what they found was our little slice of heaven is holding a lot of salmon. But typical of June, the north winds are set to return. Seas are expected to come up starting Friday and winds 15 to 20 knots are expected to stick around through at least Monday. While the weather may not cooperate, we can all sleep a little sounder knowing the salmon are here and better days are coming.

Weekend marine forecast
Beginning Friday, the seas will begin to build through the weekend and into next week. On Friday, N winds are predicted at 5 to 15 knots and NW waves 7 feet at 7 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for NW winds to 15 knots and NW swells 8 feet at 8 seconds. The winds will increase slightly on Sunday and swells will be from the NW 9 feet at 8 seconds and W 2 feet at 13 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or https://www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

Emergency regulations to allow the take of Klamath/Trinity springers
In a notice dated June 7, the CA Fish and Game Commission is proposing emergency regulations amending the closure to the Klamath River basin spring Chinook fishing regulations from the Feb 2019 emergency action to allow limited fishing opportunity on the Upper Klamath-Trinity Spring Chinook salmon. The Commission anticipates it will submit the rulemaking to the Office of Administrative Law between June 14 and June 18. Any interested person may present statements, arguments or contentions, in writing, submitted via U.S. mail or e-mail, relevant to the proposed emergency regulatory action. Written comments submitted via U.S. mail or e-mail must be received at OAL within five days after the Commission submits the emergency regulations to OAL for review. For more information and how to comment, visit https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=169712&inline.

If the proposed emergency regulation is adopted by the OAL, fishing will be allowed in the following areas on July 1. The daily bag limit will be one and the possession limit will be two.

  • The Lower Klamath, from the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth
  • The Trinity downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat
  • The Trinity downstream of the Highway 299 Bridge at Cedar Flat to the Denny Road Bridge in Hawkins Bar
  • The Trinity from Denny Road Bridge in Hawkins Bar to the mouth of the South Fork
  • New River main stem downstream of the confluence of the East Fork to the confluence with the Trinity River

Under these emergency regulations, these areas will open to fishing on July 1 and remain open until their regularly scheduled spring season closes. After which, fall regulations will apply.

The Klamath from Iron Gate to Weitchpec will be closed to salmon fishing through Aug. 14. The Trinity from the mouth of the South Fork to the confluence with the Klamath will remain closed to salmon fishing through Aug. 31.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Limits have been the rule this week for the Eureka salmon fleet. “There’s lots of salmon, and they’re spread out,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “The last few days the fish have been between the 46 and 50-lines in 35 to 50 fathoms. The fish are finally starting to come closer to the surface as we’re catching a few on Deep Sixes. The grade hasn’t changed much since the beginning, most are running five to 10 pounds with the occasional fish in the teens. Conditions are starting to look really good right out front. More bait is beginning to show up, it shouldn’t be long before the fish move in closer. We ran to the Cape on Monday in some decent swells, and the fishing was tougher than usual. The water was really dirty on the inside making it tough to catch the blacks. The fishing was definitely better in deeper water,” Klassen said.

Trinidad
With big swells and bad tides looming out of Eureka, Skipper Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing, temporarily moved his operations to Trinidad. “The salmon bite was really good in Eureka, but big swells and tidal exchange made the Humboldt Bar a no go for the weekend,” said Sepulveda. “I brought Shellback to Trinidad to keep us fishing. By Monday the weather had settled and the salmon fishing got easy for everyone. Quick limits were the norm for the fleet and we had plenty of time to make the run to Reading Rock for limits of lingcod and amazing rockfish. The positive from all this wind is the water rolled over and is loaded with bait from 35 to 60 fathoms. Our fish on Tuesday were stuffed with krill, squid and sardines and the meter was lit up everywhere we went.”

Shelter Cove
“Due to the rough conditions, we stayed close to port most of last week and enjoyed some really good rock fishing,” said Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “We spent most of our time fishing around the Old Man and got limits of rockfish and lings every day we fished. We even had a bonus 56-pound halibut on Monday. Tuesday, we ran to Gorda for rockfish and halibut. We ended up with three halibut to 68 pounds, limits of blacks, and half-limits of lings. The salmon bite remains very slow, but there is some more bait starting to show so hopefully they’ll be here soon.”

Crescent City
“A few salmon have been caught this week, but there isn’t much in the way of effort,” said Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine “Most of the salmon were caught straight out, but it was only a handful. I did hear of one 20-pounder landed. With the flat ocean conditions, quite a few boats have been targeting halibut outside of the South Reef. We weighed in an 82 and 60 pounder this week. The rockfish bite is wide-open, and there biting at all the spots. Some nice lings coming over the rails too, we weighed in a 29.5 pounder on Wednesday.”

Brookings
Windy weather has kept most Brookings boats from chasing salmon, but conditions are much better the middle of this week reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “There are giant bait balls just outside of the harbor, and 50-degree water temperatures, so salmon fishing should improve anytime. Last week we encountered big numbers of shakers and Coho salmon, but not many keeper kings. Bottom fishing has been good.”

The Rivers:
Lower Rogue “A few salmon were caught in the Rogue Bay early last week as water temperatures hit 70 degrees, forcing fish to hold up in the cooler water along the jetties,” said Martin. “The water temperature dropped to 60 degrees over the weekend, and there was a fair bite upriver. It was back to 68 degrees Tuesday, so the bay could take off again later this week.”

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com