Following last year’s low returns and with only 186,600 adult Klamath kings said to be in the ocean this fall, anglers are facing a much lower sport quota in 2020. During last Thursday’s meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission adopted bag and possession limits for the Klamath Basin based on a quota of 1,296 fall-run adults. The Commission also adopted a size change for jacks (grilse), or two-year-old salmon within the Klamath River basin. The size used to delineate adult fall Chinook salmon, currently set at greater than 22 inches total length, has been changed to greater than 23 inches total length. In the past, the Department has used a provisional standard of 55 centimeters fork length to estimate the jack harvest of KRFC during the season. This equates to 21.7 inches when converted to fork length, and 23.2 inches when converted to total length. The new jack size will now be consistent between what’s used for recreational harvest and what’s used for research and monitoring.
On the Klamath, the fall season begins on Aug. 15 and closes Dec. 31. The daily bag limit will be two Chinook salmon, no more than one of which may be greater than 23 inches, and a possession limit of six, of which only three may be greater than 23 inches. On the Lower Klamath, from the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth, 648 adults will be allowed for sport harvest. The section above the 96 bridge at Weitchpec to 3,500 feet downstream of the Iron Gate Dam will get 220 adults. The take of salmon is prohibited from Iron Gate Dam downstream to Weitchpec from Jan. 1 through Aug. 14.
The Spit Area (within 100 yards of the channel through the sand spit formed at the Klamath River mouth) will close when 15 percent of the total Klamath River Basin quota is taken downstream of the Highway 101 bridge. In 2020, 194 adults can be harvested below the 101 bridge before the closure at the mouth is implemented. The rest of the area below Highway 101 (estuary) will remain open to recreational fishing.
On the Trinity, where the fall season begins Sept. 1 and closes Dec. 31., the quota is set at 428 adults. The quota will be split evenly; 214 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat and 214 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar to the confluence with the Klamath. The main stem downstream of the Highway 299 Bridge at Cedar Flat to the Denny Road Bridge in Hawkins Bar is closed to all fishing September 1 through December 31. The take of salmon is prohibited from the confluence of the South Fork Trinity River downstream to the confluence of the Klamath River from Jan. 1 through Aug. 31.
Once these quotas have been met, no Chinook salmon greater than 23 inches in length may be retained. Anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon under 23 inches in length.
Important Reminder: Spring-run Chinook salmon fishing regulations will run from July 1 through Aug. 14 on the Klamath and through Aug. 31 on the Trinity. The bag limit is one salmon per day, with two in possession.
Additional season information can be found on CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage or by calling CDFW’s ocean salmon hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the Klamath-Trinity River hotline at (800) 564-6479. All anglers on the Trinity and Klamath rivers must have Salmon Harvest Cards in their possession when fishing for salmon.
Weekend Marine Forecast
The marine forecast for the holiday weekend is looking extremely blustery. On Saturday, winds will be out of the N blowing 10 to 20 knots and waves N 8 feet at 7 seconds. The wind will start to come down slightly on Sunday, coming out of the N at 10 to 15 knots with N waves 6 feet at 7 seconds and NW 5 feet at 14 seconds. On Monday, winds will be out of the N 10 to 15 knots with N waves 7 feet at 7 seconds and W 5 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.
HASA hosting “Big Fish” contests
Humboldt Area Saltwater Anglers is currently hosting two big fish contests, the “Biggest Lingcod” and the “Biggest Pacific Halibut. Both began on May 15, 2020 and will end June 15, 2020. Winners will be announced the following day with verifiable entry. Entries into each contest are $10 and can be purchased online at https://humboldtasa.com/the-biggest-fish-contests/. Contestants must submit two pictures, one of your fish being measured with a closed mouth from the tip of its nose to middle of tail down the lateral line of the fish. The second being a picture of you with the fish. Submit entry by posting pictures to HASA Facebook page or email to email@example.com to be entered. Please include name and where you are from, type of fish with length and weight if possible, and location caught (not limited to Humboldt County but still limited to California).
First Place winners of each contest will receive a $150 prepaid Coast Central Credit Union Mastercard. Additionally, a randomly drawn contestant from each contest will receive $50 prepaid CCCU Mastercard. Winners will be announced on our website, Facebook Page and http://humboldttuna.com/ on June 17. Other Big Fish Contests scheduled throughout the summer include: black snapper, salmon, California halibut, albacore, and exotic fish. For more information along with rules and regulations, visit https://humboldtasa.com/2020/05/15/open-season-on-pacific-halibut-ling-cog-biggest-fish-contest/
“Most of the boats have been tied up since last week, and it looks like more marginal weather is on the way,” said Skipper Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “Friday was the last really good day weather-wise. Quite a few boats went south for rockfish and plenty went straight out targeting halibut. And plenty of fish were caught in both locations. The rockfish bite wasn’t wide-open for us at the Cape as we had to move around a little. The lingcod however, bit really well and the limits came easy. I heard there were quite a few halibut caught and some boats were able to boat limits. It sounded like some of the best fishing was between the 46 and 48-lines,” said Klassen.
According to Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing, ocean conditions haven’t been very good since last week. He said, “It’s been pretty lousy for the most part and hardly anyone has been out. Last Friday was really the only decent day and quite a few boats were on the water. We got our limits of rockfish and lingcod at the Hat and then came back up to the whistle to finish the day trolling for salmon. We ended up putting five in the box. We snuck out on Tuesday and got a half-day of rock fishing in. We boated limits of lingcod and just short of limits on snappers off the Ranch House. I did hear that a few salmon were caught on Tuesday at the whistle, but for the most part, it’s been spotty. The wind is predicted to blow through Memorial Day.”
Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine reports the rockfish and lingcod action are kicking into high gear. “Conditions haven’t been great this week, but a few boats have been out almost every day,” said Carson. “The lingcod bite has really turned on, and most guys are getting limits along with their rockfish. Boats are getting fish at all the usual spots, including the Sisters and both reefs. A couple Pacific halibut have also been caught this week. Both came out near the South Reef in 250 feet of water,” Carson added.
Bottom fishing has been good, weather permitting, out of Brookings according to Andy Martin, of Brookings Fishing Charters. “The bar at the mouth of the Rogue in Gold Beach has been very rough,” added Martin.
Sections of the main Eel (South Fork to Cape Horn Dam), South Fork Eel (South Fork Eel River from mouth to Rattlesnake Creek) Van Duzen, Mad, Little River, Mattole and Smith will re-open on Saturday, May 23rd. On most rivers, only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. For a complete list of river openings and regulations visit https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=177572&inline
“Rain over the weekend seemed to draw some fresh springers into the lower Rogue, with perhaps the best fishing so far this season,” said Martin. “Catch rates are still poor, but many guides anchoring all day are averaging a fish or two. Wild springers still must be released through the end of the month.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org