Fall kings slow to enter the Klamath

Pictured L-R, Ruben Rios, Tyrone Bachus, Ed Tatro, and young Jason Bachus hold salmon caught on Monday in the Klamath River estuary. Salmon fishing in the estuary has been hit and miss this week. Steelhead fishing from the Glen to Blue Creek continues to be excellent, though adult kings have yet to make their way upriver in big numbers. Photo courtesy of Ruben Rios

The fall run of Klamath River Chinook has yet to really take off, which is a little alarming as we head towards the end of August. There’s been flurries of fish moving in the estuary, but not many are choosing to head upriver as of yet. Reportedly, there’s been plenty of fish staging outside of the mouth for quite a while. It should be just a matter of time before they decide to make their way upriver in big numbers.

According to Dan Troxel, an Environmental Scientist on the Klamath River Project, only 141 adult salmon had been harvested from the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the Klamath mouth towards the quota of 648 for the week ending Aug. 26. Of those, 89 adults were caught at the spit area of the mouth. As of Wednesday, 105 adults remained of the 194-adult sub-quota for the mouth.

If the fishing doesn’t bust open soon, there is some help on the way. Beginning Friday afternoon, increased flows will be coming out of Iron Gate dam via Link River dam for Yurok Tribes ceremonial Boat Dance. Currently flowing at 900 cfs, flows coming out of Iron Gate will reach 2,050 cfs by Friday afternoon and will continue at these target flows until Saturday morning at approximately 6 a.m. Flows will then begin to down-ramp through the weekend before reaching 1,000 cfs by Wednesday afternoon.

Trinity River quotas begin on Sept. 1
Fall regulations for Chinook salmon fishing on the Trinity River will go into effect on Sept. 1 and run through Dec. 31, with a sport quota of 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. Anglers may keep track of the Klamath and Trinity river quotas by calling 800-564-6479. For Klamath and Trinity fishing regulations, visit https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=169262&inline

Marine forecast
Northerly winds will increase through the week, with gale force conditions expected over portions of the outer waters through the weekend. Winds nearshore will generally be lighter, however seas will grow steeper through the end of the week and over the weekend. Out 10 nautical miles north of the Cape, Friday’s forecast is calling for N winds 5 to 15 knots and waves out of the N 8 feet at 8 seconds. Saturday is calling for N winds 10 to 20 knots and waves NW 10 feet at 10 seconds. Sunday’s forecast looks similar, with winds out of the N 10 to 20 knots and waves NW 10 feet at 10 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.

The Oceans:
Windy conditions the past few days have kept the boats from heading towards the Cape for rockfish. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing was there late last week and reports the fishing is still good. “Some days you have to move around a little down there, but the fishing is still excellent overall,” said Klassen. “We’ve been able to get limits just about every trip. And the variety is really good, we’re catching nine to 10 species of rockfish each trip. It looks like the wind will keep us from heading back down there at least through the weekend.” 

Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing has been back fishing Trinidad the last few days. “We’ve actually seen more giant lingcod come off the northern grounds the last few weeks than to the south,” said Sepulveda. “Top fish of the week was a 36-pound giant lingcod on a live horse mackerel.  Limits of 10 to 20-pound lingcod have come in short order every day. Beautiful limits of rockfish with copper, canary and quillback making up the majority of the catch.”

Shelter Cove
“The salmon fishing wasn’t red hot, but there’s definitely still some fish around,” said Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “Boats putting in the time were averaging a fish per angler. Most the action was right between the two cans, and still a really nice grade. Rock fishing was a bit slow this week and we really had to bounce around between the Old Man and the Hat to get our limits. I did make it up to Rogers last Friday and we put in limits pretty quickly.”

Crescent City

The rockfish and lingcod bite remains excellent reports Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “When the boats can get out to the reefs, it’s been pretty easy limits. The California halibut bite picked up over the weekend, but slowed down on Monday. Quite a few were caught off the rock wall along South Beach. The Threshers must have moved on, I haven’t heard of any being caught in quite a while.”

Fishing has been good for lingcod and rockfish out of Brookings on calmer days according to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Bigger lings have started to move into shallow water. Fishing remains good for Pacific halibut when boats can get three to five miles offshore,” added Martin.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The stellar steelhead fishing is still going strong on the lower Klamath. The river is full of half-pounders, along with lots of adults running three to six pounds. There have been a few jacks caught each day, along with a handful of adults. The estuary fishery isn’t red-hot by any means, but there were a few caught earlier in the week by boats trolling anchovies.  

Lower Rogue
The salmon bite has improved on the Rogue Bay, with several dozen fish a day being caught reports Martin. “The bay is crowded, so overall catch rates are somewhat low, although some boats are getting up to five fish a day,” said Martin. “The best action has switched to the Indian Creek area at the top of the tide, followed by decent action near the sand spit as the tide ebbs. Summer steelhead also are biting above Lobster Creek.”

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