Wind keeping salmon anglers at bay

North winds – typical for June – are flexing their muscles all along the North Coast. Since Saturday, the high pressure offshore combined with a thermal trough inland has generated some strong northerly winds and hazardous seas. And it looks like those conditions will stick around through at least Sunday. There’s been very little offshore activity, though a few boats snuck out last Saturday in tough conditions and found a pretty good salmon bite slightly north of Eureka. The salmon are definitely here, and they’re moving closer to shore likely following schools of bait. The other thing for certain is after all this wind, it will be a whole different world out there.

But just as one fishery is put on hold, another has taken off. As luck would have it, just as the ocean was getting rough, the California halibut started moving into Humboldt Bay in pretty big numbers. Sport boats, charters, and the kayakers have all gotten in on the action. And it should only get better as the bay is filling with bait and smaller tidal exchanges begin next week. The daily bag and possession limit in Humboldt Bay is three fish with a minimum size limit of 22-inches total length.

California halibut carcasses wanted
California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife would like to remind Humboldt Bay anglers to donate their California halibut carcasses to research. You can donate your carcass by giving it directly to CDFW Halibut staff who will be periodically present at Woodley Island and/or public boat launches; you can schedule a drop off at the CDFW field office, 619 2nd St; or pickup by contacting Kathryn Meyer at 707-445-5306. CDFW asks that you remove the fil­lets, but leave the skeleton and guts intact and on ice and record the date and location of capture.
Each donation will receive an entry to win a custom fishing rod at the end of the season, courtesy of Bassman Dan’s Custom Rods.

Weekend marine forecast
The ocean will still be pretty big through the weekend, but it does start to come down on Sunday. As of Wednesday afternoon, Friday’s forecast is calling for N winds 15 to 25 knots and waves NW 11 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for N winds 15 to 20 knots and waves NW 10 feet at 9 seconds. The wind and seas will start to come down on Sunday, with N winds 10 to 20 knots and waves NW 8 feet at 7 seconds forecasted. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an 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.

Fish Lake Kid’s fishing derby this Saturday
The 45th annual Kid’s Fish Lake Fishing Derby is taking place on Saturday, June 22 in Orleans. The derby starts promptly at 8 a.m. and runs until noon. It’s open to kids from Pre-K to the 8th grade. Poles and tackle will not be provided and an adult must accompany all children. Hot dogs and lemonade will be provided; adults are encouraged to bring a side dish or salad to share. For more information, visit
You can also contact LeRoy Cyr at 530-627-3262 or

The Oceans:
Tough ocean conditions since last weekend has kept the Eureka fleet tied to the dock. Prior to the blow, the salmon bite had moved to the north a couple miles where the boats were working on a new school of salmon around the 49.5 line. “The fish have moved in a little closer and they’re not as deep. And we’re starting to see a little better grade as well,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “I don’t think anyone has been out since Saturday, so it will be interesting to see how it looks out there after all of the wind. I’m sure the fish are still here, we’ll just need to find them again. Right now, it’s looking like we may be able to get back out on Sunday, but it looks marginal. The California halibut bite in the bay has really picked up as we’re starting to see a lot more bait. There’s definitely enough fish around to make a day of it. And it should get a lot better once we get through these big tide swings.”

Arcata resident Andy Peterson landed this nice 16-pound king salmon last week while fishing out of Eureka with his son Owen. Rough seas have kept most boats off the ocean this week, but conditions look to improve beginning Monday. Photo courtesy of Andy Peterson

Prior to the windy conditions, the salmon fishing was pretty good reports Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. He said, “The last day we fished salmon was Saturday, and we were able to boat limits. Most of the fish are being caught a couple miles north of Cone Rock around the 06-07 lines, and that’s where we’ll head back to once the ocean calms down. We’ve been running rockfish trips when the weather has allowed, and there’s plenty of them around. We’ve spent most of our time inside of the Turtles at Patrick’s Point where limits of black and blue rockfish are coming easily. The crabbing remains excellent and we’re also catching a few Coonstripe shrimp.”

Shelter Cove
Like everywhere else along the coast, the weather out of the Cove has been less than ideal this week reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “We spent most of the last week doing salmon and rockfish trips. The rockfish bite has been fairly consistent, but the lingcod bite has been slow. The salmon bite was pretty good up in the Canyon last Friday and Saturday, but has died off since. I did find a few fish outside the whistle on Sunday but the weather hasn’t let me get back out there since then.”

Crescent City
“Not much happening right now due to the wind and rough ocean,” said Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine “Before the wind picked up, there were a few salmon caught 13 to 14 miles out in 250 feet of water. There’s also been a few caught right out front – I think the fish are really scattered. I’ve seen a lot more bait show up this week, both on the beach and inside the harbor. We’re also seeing a lot more bird activity, hopefully they’ll be some good signs once the seas come down.”

The windy weather has kept us close to shore the past week out of Brookings reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “Bottom fishing has been good in the mornings before the wind picks up. There are plenty of fish close to port. Salmon fishing is slow with most of the fish still offshore. Coho season opens Saturday.”

The Rivers:
Lower Rogue
The Rogue Bay has started to pick up, with decent fishing Monday and Tuesday according to Martin. “A few salmon were caught over the weekend before catch rates picked up this week. Windy weather is keeping many anglers away, so pressure is still light. Fishing should continue to improve daily this month before catch rates jump up in July,” added Martin.

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