If you’d like a say in the upcoming Pacific halibut season, now’s the time to speak up as California anglers are invited to participate in an online survey to help inform the CDFW about angler preferences for open fishing dates during the upcoming 2022 season. Results of the survey, which is open until Feb. 18, will be used to develop recommended season dates that will be provided to the National Marine Fisheries Service. The Pacific halibut fishery takes place off Northern California and the 2022 quota will be 39,000 net pounds, the same as in 2021 and 2020.The online survey can be found at www.surveymonkey.com/r/RNDCG2S. For more information on the Pacific halibut fishery in California, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut.
The weather ahead
According to Jeff Tonkin of Eureka’s National Weather Service office, there’s a 30 to 40 percent chance of light rain Sunday into Monday. “Up in Del Norte, we could see up to a quarter inch while we’ll probably see less in Humboldt,” said Tonkin. “After Monday, we’re back to dry conditions with the ridge of high pressure pushing everything way to the north.”
2022 Salmon information meeting coming March 2
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Annual Salmon Information Meeting will be held via Zoom Webinar on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The meeting will provide the latest information on California salmon stocks and the outlook for ocean salmon fisheries for the upcoming 2022 season. The public is encouraged to provide comments on potential fishing alternatives for California ocean salmon fisheries in 2022. A panel comprised of fishery managers, scientists and industry representatives will be assembled to address questions and collect public input that will be used in developing a range of season alternatives for California salmon fisheries at the March 8-14 Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting. Final season regulations will be adopted at the April 6-13 PFMC meeting. Additional meeting links, agendas and other materials will be posted at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Salmon/preseason as they become available. Contact Katherine Osborn at OceanSalmon@wildlife.ca.gov if you have any questions regarding the meeting.
Free fishing days this weekend in Oregon
It’s free to fish, crab or clam on the Saturday and Sunday of President’s Day Weekend, Feb. 19-20. During these two days, no fishing licenses or tags (including a Combined Angling Tag and a Columbia River Basin Endorsement) are required to fish, crab or clam anywhere in Oregon. Although no licenses or tags are required, all other regulations apply including closures, bag limits and size restrictions. For more information, visit www.myodfw.com/articles/2022-free-fishing-days-and-events
The South Fork Eel, Mattole and Redwood Creek were closed to fishing as of Feb. 15 due to low flows. The South Fork Eel is closed from its mouth to Rattlesnake Creek. The Mattole is closed to fishing from the mouth to Honeydew Creek. Redwood Creek is closed from its mouth to the confluence with Bond Creek.
According to Justin Kelly of Eureka’s RMI Outdoors, the river is super low right now. “There’s still a little color in the deeper holes and slots,” said Kelly. “There are quite a few fish around but it’s been tough getting them to bite.” Flows were down to 260 cubic feet per second as of Wednesday. Minimum flow is 200 cfs at State Route 299 bridge.
Main stem Eel
As of Wednesday, it was running at 2,200 cfs and dropping. Flows went up about 400 cfs to 2,500 cfs over the weekend due to snowmelt from last week’s warm temperatures. The fishing has been inconsistent with boats getting anywhere from zero to three fish per day. Most of the fish being caught are bright. Minimum flow is 350 cfs at Scotia.
South Fork Eel
The South Fork is closed to fishing as of last week. On Wednesday, flows were 275 cfs at Miranda. Minimum flow is 340 cfs at Miranda.
The Van Duzen bumped up slightly due to snowmelt in the hills. As of Wednesday, flows were hovering just above 190 cfs. The river is extremely clear and low. Bank fishing effort has been light due to conditions. If the river forecast holds, it should close to angling later in the week. Minimum flow is 150 cfs at Grizzly Creek.
Last week’s warm weather triggered snowmelt pushing flows to 1,600 cfs on the Jed Smith gauge last Friday. It has since dropped back to 1,250 cfs as of Wednesday. There was a slight bump in flows Monday night following the small storm. This could have brought in some fresh fish but flows will remain extremely low. Minimum flow is 600 cfs at Jed Smith Park.
Southern Oregon rivers
The Chetco is approaching summertime levels, with flows below 600 cfs, reports Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. “Steelhead fishing is slow because of the low, clear water, although a few fish are trickling in. Effort is light. Expect catch rates to jump after the next major rain. Low water also has brought the action to a standstill on the Elk and Sixes, while fishing also is slow on the lower Rogue. A few steelhead are being caught near Agness, and action has been good in the canyon for anglers taking advantage of the low water. Expect the first spring salmon of the season after the next major rain.”
Brookings ocean update
According to Martin, calm ocean conditions out of Brookings have resulted in very good lingcod and rockfish action. “Anglers don’t have to travel far for bottom fish, as the reefs close to the harbor have been productive. More calm weather is expected this weekend, after a few days of windy weather. Crabbing is fair.”
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.