If you’re looking to harvest an adult Chinook salmon in the Klamath basin, the Trinity River is your only option as of Tuesday. On Monday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife determined the recreational fall-run Chinook salmon catch will have met the Upper Klamath River adult fall-run Chinook salmon quota (of 208) below Iron Gate Dam for the 2021 season.
This triggers the closure of the adult fall-run Chinook salmon fishery on the main stem of the Klamath River from 3,500 feet downstream of the Iron Gate Dam to the State Route 96 bridge at Weitchpec. The adult fall-run Chinook salmon fishery on the lower Klamath River, from the estuary to the State Route 96 bridge at Weitchpec closed Sept. 8. The spit fishery at the mouth of the Klamath closed Aug. 28 and will remain closed to all fishing for the rest of the year.
Except within 100 yards of the mouth (spit area), the main stem of the Klamath River will remain open for the harvest of salmon (jacks) less than or equal to 23 inches. All adult Chinook salmon caught must be immediately released and reported on an angler’s report card. The daily bag limit remains two jacks per day.
Both the upper and lower Trinity River sections remain open to the harvest of adult fall-run Chinook salmon. The daily bag limit on the Trinity River is two fall-run Chinook salmon with no more than one adult greater than 23 inches.
Anglers may monitor the quota status of open and closed sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers by calling California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s fishing information hotline at (800) 564-6479.
Willow Creek weir counts
The week ending Oct. 7, a total of 587 adult kings were counted at the Willow Creek weir. The jack count for the week was 94. For the season to date, 2,833 (adults and jacks) have been counted, including both hatchery and wild. The totals are the highest dating back to 2004. The next highest was in 2012, when a combined 2,609 adults and jacks were counted for the season.
Weekend marine forecast
Gusty conditions will ease beginning Friday. As of Wednesday afternoon, Friday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the north 5 to 10 knots with northwest waves 8 feet at 13 seconds. Saturday, winds will be out of the north up to 5 knots with northwest waves 6 feet at 13 seconds. Sunday the winds will be 5 to 10 knots out of the north with north waves 3 feet at 5 seconds and northwest 6 feet at 14 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.
Dungeness crab testing continues
Domoic acid testing in Dungeness crabs is roughly halfway complete on the California coast. To date, samples from Crescent City, Trinidad, Bodega Bay, Half Moon Bay/San Francisco and Monterey have all been tested at least once. Only Monterey had crabs that exceed the action level of 30 parts per million. For more information, visit www.cdph.ca.gov.
The Pacific halibut bite and effort have both slowed down considerably. According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, the lack of effort could be have something to do with the slow fishing. “There aren’t many anglers still trying and not many are looking around,” he said. “If you land on the right spot the fishing can be good, which is pretty normal for this time of the year.” Cape Mendocino continues to provide solid rockfish action. “There’s fish to be had but we’ve had to look around a little to find a wide variety,” added Klassen. The warm tuna water is staying put at just over 55 straight out. There could be a small weather window Saturday.
The salmon and rock fishing continues to be excellent at Shelter Cove. “We had salmon limits every day last week,” said Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “It’s been a real mixed grade with barely legals all the way up to 30 pounds. The salmon have been right at the Coast Guard buoy. The rock fishing has been excellent as well with limits everyday we’ve gone. We went to Gorda one day and got two halibut before coming back to cove and getting our salmon limits.”
According to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters, A break in the windy weather allowed anglers to get offshore for bottom fish and halibut over the weekend. “A handful of halibut were caught in 200 feet of water along the border,” said Martin. “Lingcod fishing has been best near the Point St. George Reef lighthouse. Rockfish action has been wide open. A big swell will make fishing a little less comfortable this week, but the ocean is expected to remain fishable in close.”
North Coast river closures
Currently, all the North Coast rivers subjected to low flow fishing closures, including the Eel, Mad, Redwood Creek, Smith and Van Duzen are closed. Sections of rivers that are open include the main stem Eel River from the paved junction of Fulmor Road to its mouth, and the main stem Smith River from the mouth of Rowdy Creek to its mouth. The Mad River from the mouth to 200 yards upstream is closed until Jan. 1, 2022.The Department of Fish and Game will make the information available to the public no later than 1 p.m. each Monday, Wednesday and Friday as to whether any river will be closed to fishing. The rivers can be opened up at any time. The low flow closure hotline for North Coast rivers is 707-822-3164.
Fishing has been tough on the lower Klamath as the run is winding down. There are some steelhead around, and the occasional coho. The late-run kings should be making their way into the river soon, especially if we see some rain. Boat pressure has been light. The daily bag limit is two jack Chinook 23-inches or less and two hatchery steelhead.
Good fishing at times in the Chetco estuary indicates a big fall run upriver once rains arrive reports Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. He said, “The area along the jetties has been producing kings to 30 pounds. Guides are averaging a fish per rod. Bigger schools are staging just offshore, as anglers targeting rockfish are reporting large numbers of salmon begging released while bottom fishing. The hatchery-to-wild ratio is nearly 50-50.”
Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.