Shelter Cove gets the tuna season started

Laytonville resident Patrick Warner holds a good-sized albacore tuna caught on Sunday while fishing out of Shelter Cove. Shelter Cove, as well as Fort Bragg, both saw good scores of tuna over the weekend. Photo courtesy of Jake Mitchell/Sea Hawk Sport Fishing

The warm tuna water came within reach of the Shelter Cove fleet, and anglers jumped at the chance to bring the season’s first albacore over the rails. Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing out of Shelter Cove targeted tuna on Sunday and Monday and caught fish both days. “We ran outside the Vizcaino Knoll on Sunday where we found the break at 40 miles from the Cove, said Mitchell. “It took us a while to get them located, but we ended the day with 20 nice grade albacore. On Monday, we found the break a little closer at 35 miles. The fish bit pretty good in the morning, but was a slow pick the rest of the day. We ended up with 20 again and all the Cove boats had 10 to 30 fish apiece. We had a couple peanuts each day, but on average the fish were 12 to 25-pounds. We may get another shot at them on Thursday, but it looks like the wind will pick up for the weekend. Seems there’s plenty of fish around and it should be another good year for albacore.”

The Fort Bragg boats also were in on the hot bite over the weekend. The water was mostly straight west 35 to 37 miles. Scores ranged from the high teens to over forty per boat. Lots of big fish in the mix as well. The forecast looks good for the next few days. I expect this is just the start of very successful albie season on the North Coast.

Weekend Marine Forecast
Ocean conditions are looking excellent the next few days and through the weekend. Friday’s forecast is calling for winds up to 5 knots out of the N and W waves 4 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday is calling for N winds 5 to 10 knots and waves out of the W 4 feet at 11 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is similar, with winds out of the N 5 to 10 knots and waves W 4 feet at 9 seconds. 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.

Ocean salmon closures coming in Aug.
Klamath River mouth
The Klamath Control zone will be closed the month of August for ocean sport salmon fishing. The closed zone around the Klamath River mouth is bounded on the north by 41°38’48” N. lat. (approximately 6 nautical miles north of the Klamath River mouth); on the west, by 124°23’00” W. long. (approximately 12 nautical miles off shore); and on the south, by 41°26’48” N. lat. (approximately 6 nautical miles south of the Klamath River mouth).

Eel River mouth
No salmon may be taken during the months of August and September in ocean waters at the Eel River mouth bounded on the north by 40°40’24” N. lat. (approximately 2 nautical miles north of the Eel River mouth), on the west by 124°21’24” W. long. (approximately 2 nautical miles offshore), and on the south by 40°36’24” N. lat. (approximately 2 nautical miles south of the Eel River mouth).

Pacific Halibut quota update
The CDFW has projected 14,760 net pounds of Pacific Halibut has been harvested through July 26. In 2020, the Pacific halibut allocation for California is 39,000 pounds. To view the latest catch projection information, visit

Larry Biggs from Arcata with a nice Pacific halibut. Photo courtesy of Reel Steel Sport Fishing

The Oceans:
After a slow bite over the weekend, the salmon action really took off on Tuesday according to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “There’s fish from the south side of Table Bluff north to the entrance in roughly 70 feet of water,” said Klassen. ‘We found them on Tuesday around the 44-line, and it was really good fishing. There are some really nice ones around too, with the average right around 15-pounds. There’s a lot of bait around, including a bunch of baby herring, which is what they’re feeding on. The Pacific halibut bite is still red hot, nothing has really changed. They’ve been biting a little later, but once they start, it’s easy limits. They’re still running six to 20 pounds, with the occasional 40 to 60-pounder.” The really good tuna water is sitting roughly 50 miles SW of Eureka. One boat reportedly made the run on Tuesday and boated 27.

Shelter Cove
While the tuna are biting at a pretty good clip, the salmon bite has been slower. According to Mitchell, it was slow all week but improved a little over the weekend. “Boats mooching right inside the whistle were getting two to six fish a day. The rockfish bite was relatively slow this week. We were still able to get limits when we tried, but really had to work for them.”

Crescent City
Salmon fishing has been pretty good this week reports Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “There was a good report on Wednesday that salmon were being caught roughly five miles SW of the harbor. Guys who are fishing everyday and know what they’re doing are consistently catching fish. The rockfish bite and lingcod are both red-hot right now. Most of the boats are fishing the reefs. A few California halibut have been caught by kayakers working South Beach.”

Salmon fishing has been fair to good out of Brookings, with charters finding nice kings and sorting through shakers reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “The fish are further offshore now, in 300 feet of water, 100 feet below the surface,” said Martin. “With plenty of bait around, expect the kings to keep biting through the end of the season, which runs through Aug. 7. Lingcod fishing is fair, with some big fish around. The limit for rockfish is now seven fish a day in Oregon.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The salmon action in the estuary is really hit and miss, with a handful of fresh salmon being caught daily. With all the moss in the river as well as warm water temps, the incoming tide has been the best. Typically, the outgoing tide fishes better, but this year the fish seem to be coming in better on the high tide. Trolling anchovies behind a Rogue River spinner bait is catching the majority of the fish.

Lower Rogue
According to Martin, the Rogue Bay continues to be hit and miss, but larger schools of salmon are now milling around in the estuary. “After a good day, there are a few days of slower fishing, but most guides are getting a fish or two a day on a consistent basis,” added Martin.

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