Saltwater season back in full swing

Colby Black from Houston, TX holds a king salmon landed on Wednesday while fishing out of Eureka. Salmon fishing picked up on Wednesday, with bigger fish moving in on the beach both north and south of the entrance to Humboldt Bay. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Shellback Sport Fishing

After sitting on the sidelines watching the wind blow for more than a week, it finally relented, allowing our saltwater fishing season to resume. Salmon, rockfish, and halibut were all attainable the last couple days. And that should be the case through the weekend as the weather looks to remain fishable. Early in the week, the salmon bite was decent despite the influx of cold water. “The most striking development following a windy week was the frigid water that moved in, ranging from 47 to 51 degrees,” said skipper Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. “I don’t recall ever seeing temperature in the 40s this time of year, or ever really. But the salmon bit surprisingly well.” And they bit even better on Wednesday. According to Sepulveda, some bigger fish are moving in on the beach. “A few miles either north or south of the entrance in 80 to 150 feet of water produced on Wednesday. We put in six limits before 11:00 a.m. and the fish were all 10 to 20 pounds,” added Sepulveda. Calm seas also made for a smooth ride south to Cape Mendocino, where anglers enjoyed lights out lingcod and rockfish action. No new news there. With all the salmon excitement, Pacific halibut fishing took a backseat this week. That probably won’t last for long as anglers will soon get their fill of salmon and will look towards filling the freezer with white meat. The weather looks good for the next few days, and there’s plenty of room left in the quota. As of June 16, 6,032 net pounds have been harvested toward the 39,000-pound quota.

Important reminder:
When fishing for halibut, rockfish and salmon, or any combination of the three, the more restrictive gear and depth restrictions apply. When targeting salmon, or once salmon are aboard and in possession, anglers are limited to using barbless hooks (barbless circle hooks if fishing south of Horse Mountain) when fishing for other species.

When targeting rockfish, cabezon, greenling and lingcod, or once any of these species are aboard and in possession, anglers are limited to fishing in waters shallower than 180 feet when fishing for other species.

Weekend Marine Forecast
Light winds and small seas are expected through Friday as low pressure off the Oregon coast gradually fills and moves northward. Northerly winds will increase slightly over the weekend. As of Thursdayafternoon, Friday’s forecast is calling for N winds up to 10 knots and waves NW 3 feet at 8 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for N winds 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 3 feet at 4 seconds. Sunday’s forecast will be similar, with N winds 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 4 feet at 5 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.

July 6 is statewide free fishing day
On Saturday July 6, people may fish California’s waters without a sport fishing license. All regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect. On Free Fishing Days, every angler must have the appropriate report card if they are fishing for steelhead, sturgeon, spiny lobster, or salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity River Systems. For more information visit,

The Oceans:
Monday out of Eureka started slow, with a small fleet of boats looking around for salmon in marginal seas. With not much happening where they left them biting, Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing pointed the bow west and didn’t stop until he ran across some really good signs in 300 feet of water. The fishing was good, and the rest of fleet soon joined the party. Limits were had by just about all, but the fish were on the small side. On Tuesday, the fleet got a little bigger and fish showed up at a couple of the usual locations – Table Bluff to the South and the dumpsite northwest of the entrance. Better fishing, and a better grade of fish, transpired at Table Bluff. Having that information, the majority of the boats made the turn south on Wednesday and again found some pretty good fishing between the 45 and 40 lines. Not only are the fish moving into shallower water, they are getting bigger as well. Taking advantage of the nice weather, quite a few boats ran all the way south for rockfish at the Cape. “The lingcod bite was fantastic, and we were just a couple rockfish short of limits for everyone on Tuesday,” said Klassen. “We even managed to catch a 50-pound halibut, which was a nice little bonus.”

“We were finally able to get back on the water on Monday, and the salmon are still here,” said Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “We ran north up to Patrick’s Point and found a pretty good bite. However, everything changed on Tuesday as the fish had moved south five to 10 miles. Some of the boats did well from straight out down to the Mad River fishing in 100 to 200 feet of water. The grade of fish is also picking up. On Wednesday, the south wind came up pretty good and cut our rockfish trip short. We were able to boat a few lings near Reading Rock before we were forced in. The rockfish bite has been good everywhere, with plenty of blacks and blues to fill your 10-fish limit. There has been a handful of halibut caught this week, but there hasn’t been a whole lot of effort,” Wilson added.

Shelter Cove
Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing spent most last week running rockfish trips due to the ocean conditions. “The weather was pretty bad for most of last week but the rockfish bit pretty good at the Old Man,” said Mitchell “The lingcod bite has been much tougher and they’re really making you work for them. The salmon bite has been getting better every day and boats are starting to get limits inside the Old Man. The grade seems to be getting better as well with lots of fish over 10-pounds. The weather looks really good this week so we should see some better salmon scores.”

Crescent City
According to Leonard Carter of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, Pacific halibut has been the big story the last couple days. “Monday and Tuesday were really good; 14 halibut came in on Tuesday alone. They’re all coming from the backside of the South Reef. There’s been a few salmon caught out deep, but not many are trying. I heard that there’s mostly silvers out front. The rock fishing has been excellent at all the usual spots, and the lings are biting too,” Carter said.

“Anglers fishing out of Brookings found good numbers of hatchery Coho and a few kings this week as ocean conditions settled down and boats could get offshore,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “The best fishing is still five to 10 miles offshore. Big numbers of kings have still not arrived, but Coho are plentiful with lots of wild fish and enough hatchery silvers to get a keeper or more a rod. Calm weather is expected into the weekend.”

Dave Miller of Shady Cove, Ore., and Mike Phillips of Gig Harbor, Wash., holds a king and hatchery coho salmon caught June 26 while fishing out of Brookings with Capt. Rye Phillips of Brookings Fishing Charters. They were trolling anchovies with Big Al’s Fish Flash flashers. Photo courtesy of Rye Phillips/Brookings Fishing Charters.

The Rivers:
Lower Rogue
According to Martin, the Rogue Bay remains slow, but fish are being caught. “The water is starting to warm again, which should begin to hold fish again in the bay,” said Martin.

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