Eureka halibut continue to chew up baits

Fortuna resident James Huffman holds a large Pacific halibut caught on Sunday while fishing out of Eureka. The big fish tipped the scales at 80-pounds. Photo courtesy of Tim Klassen/Reel Steel Sport Fishing

Death, taxes – and Pacific halibut? That’s what it’s starting to feel like as the wide-open halibut bite continues out of Eureka. Since mid-June, the fishing has been unstoppable. And it’s showing no signs of slowing down. In years past when the salmon were thick, boats would spend an hour or two loading the boats with kings and then head to the halibut grounds to see if they could get one or maybe two for the boat. This year, it’s been the polar opposite. Boats are making a beeline for 300 feet of water, spending all of an hour reeling in limits of halibut, and then trying to scratch out a few salmon. You have to take what the sea provides, and right now it’s a steady stream of Pacific halibut. As it’s been since the opener, the fish are mostly on the small side. But we are finally starting to see more and more in the 40 to 60-pound range. With salmon season coming to a close after this weekend, you can bet some of that effort will shift towards halibut. If the last few weeks are any indication, there should be plenty to go around.

Pacific Halibut quota update
The CDFW has projected 14,760 net pounds of Pacific Halibut has been harvested through July. In 2020, the Pacific halibut allocation for California is 39,000 pounds. To view the latest catch projection information, visit https://wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/pacific-halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

Important reminder:
When fishing for halibut, rockfish and salmon, or any combination of the three, the more restrictive gear and depth restrictions apply. When targeting salmon, or once salmon are aboard and in possession, anglers are limited to using barbless hooks (barbless circle hooks if fishing south of Horse Mountain) when fishing for other species.
When targeting rockfish, cabezon, greenling and lingcod, or once any of these species are aboard and in possession, anglers are limited to fishing in waters shallower than 180 feet when fishing for other species.

Weekend marine forecast
It’s looking like it could be a windy final weekend to the salmon season. Out 10 nautical miles from Pt. St. George to Cape Mendocino, Friday’s forecast is calling for N winds 10 to 20 knots and NW waves 6 feet at 7 seconds. Saturday is calling for N winds 10 to 20 knots and waves out of the NW 8 feet at 10 seconds. Sunday is looking similar, with winds out of the N 10 to 15 knots and waves 7 feet at 9 seconds and NW 5 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.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Salmon fishing out of Eureka hasn’t been great this week reports Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “The fish are scattered all over the place, and I don’t think there’s huge schools around,” said Klassen. “I did hear of a decent bite north around the Mad River area earlier in the week, but it’s been pretty inconsistent. Conditions have been excellent out front of the entrance – we’ve had tons of bait and piles of birds, but the salmon were nowhere to be found. Guys who are really grinding it out all day are getting a few each. The Pacific halibut bite on the other hand, hasn’t slowed down a bit. Most of the action this week was around the 51-line between 280 to 320 feet of water. Most of the fish are still in the 10 to 20-pound range, but we are starting to see more bigger fish caught.” Last weeks calm ocean conditions and the warm water within reach allowed for a few boats to target albacore. A handful of boats ran 55 to 60 miles on Thursday and most scored over twenty albies. A couple boats made a shorter run on Friday and boated numbers in the high teens.

Trinidad
The rockfish and ling cod are really on the bite reports Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. He said, “There’s a wide variety of rockfish around, including lots of blues. We’ve been targeting the spots between the Head and Patrick’s Point. We had a pretty decent salmon bite up until Wednesday when it dried up. Most of the action was south of Trinidad. Guys who put in the effort were getting a fish per rod. There are a few halibut being caught, but it’s not as good as Eureka.”

Crescent City
The rockfish bite really took off this week reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “The bite has been excellent, with quick limits of both rockfish and lingcod coming off the South Reef. The salmon bite was decent last week, but slowed on Sunday. Most of the effort was outside of the South Reed on a 240 heading. A couple of Thresher sharks were caught this week along South Beach. The California halibut have also showed up in better numbers, with most of the anglers targeting them getting one or two per trip,” Hegnes said.

Shelter Cove
The salmon bite has been pretty slow this week according to Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing.  He said, “The average is about a half a fish per angler right inside the whistle. A small fleet of commercial boats showed up for the opener, but left after the first day as they weren’t able to find anything either. The rockfish bite was really good. I made it up to Gorda one day and had limits for the boat in two drifts. We also did a couple days down around the Hat and it was pretty good as well. I’ve spent a little time fishing for California halibut and we’re getting about a fish per person fishing around the moorings for a couple hours effort.”

Brookings
Salmon fishing is fair out of Brookings, with the best action five to seven miles out in 300 feet of water reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “The kings are deep, 120 to 170 feet on the wire,” said Martin. “The season closes Friday. Fishing has been surprisingly good for Pacific halibut. The fish are small, around 15 pounds with an occasional 40- to 60-pounder, but anglers are consistently getting fish in 200 feet of water straight out from Bird Island. Lingcod and rockfish action is good.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The salmon action in the estuary continues to be hit and miss, with a handful of fresh kings being caught daily on the high tide. The warm water in the estuary is forcing the kings to stay close to the mouth and in the colder salt water, and that’s where most of the fish are being caught. Trolling anchovies behind a Rogue River spinner bait is catching the majority of the fish.
Spring-run regulations are in effect through August 14, with a daily bag and possession limit of one salmon of any size.

Darrell Christensen of Boise, Idaho, holds a 22-pound king caught Aug. 4 on the Rogue Bay with guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. He was trolling an anchovy and gold Hildebrandt blade. Photo courtesy of Andy Martin/Wild Rivers Fishing

Lower Rogue
The Rogue Bay is improving but still only fair at best according to Martin. “Morning minus tides have made fishing slow in the morning, but there has been a decent bite on the afternoon outgoing tide. Around 25 total fish a day are being caught for 60-plus boats,” added Martin.

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

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 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.

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 https://wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/pacific-halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

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

The Oceans:
Eureka
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.”

Brookings
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.

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

2020 Klamath / Trinity Regulations

2020 Spring Regulations

The bag limit is one salmon per day, with two in possession for Klamath and Trinity Rivers

Klamath Spring season runs July 1 through Aug. 14

  • From the Klamath mouth to the Hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec – July 1 through Aug. 14
  • From the Hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec to 3,500 feet downstream of the Iron Gate Dam – Closed to salmon fishing through Aug. 14

Trinity Spring season runs July 1 through Aug. 31

  • Downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat – July 1 through Aug. 31
  • Hwy 299 bridge at Cedar Flat to Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar – July 1 through Aug. 31
  • New River (confluence of the East Fork to confluence w/ Trinity– July 1 through Aug. 31
  • Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar to mouth of the South Fork Trinity– July 1 through Aug. 31
  • From the mouth of the South Fork Trinity to confluence w/ Klamath River – Closed to salmon fishing through Aug. 31

Klamath / Trinity fall quota – 1,296 adults

The daily bag limit is 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.

Klamath Fall season begins on Aug. 15 and closes Dec. 31

  • The Spit Area (within 100 yards of the channel through the sand spit formed at the Klamath River mouth) – 194 adults *
  • From the Klamath mouth to the Hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec – 648 adults
  • From the Hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec to 3,500 feet downstream of the Iron Gate Dam – 220 adults
* Only the Spit Area will close once 194 adults are harvested. The rest of the area below Highway 101 (estuary) will remain open to recreational fishing.
The take of salmon is prohibited from Iron Gate Dam downstream to Weitchpec from Jan. 1 through Aug. 14

Trinity Fall season begins Sept. 1 and closes Dec. 31.

  • Downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat – 214 adults
  • Downstream of the Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar to the confluence with the Klamath – 214 adults
Downstream of the Highway 299 Bridge at Cedar Flat to the Denny Road Bridge in Hawkins Bar is closed to fishing September 1 through December 31.
The take of salmon is prohibited from the confluence of the South Fork Trinity downstream to the confluence of the Klamath 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.

Ocean kings on the move

Customers aboard the Miss Brooke of Brookings Fishing Charters hold the salmon they caught July 20 two miles out of the harbor. Photo courtesy of Andy Martin/Brookings Fishing Charters

So much for the kings being right where we left them after last week’s wind-a-thon. After working over some big schools of kings from Eureka to north of Trinidad the previous week, it looks like they may have moved on to greener pastures. The Eureka boats were back on the water in force on Sunday with high hopes. A few were caught, but scores fell well short of where they were prior to the wind. By Monday, it was pretty much belly up. While the salmon bite slowed from Shelter Cove to Trinidad, the kings have finally made their way to Fort Bragg. And they just recently made a return appearance in Brookings. It appears to be a game of hide-n-seek, with no one knowing which port they’ll pop up in next. Luckily for us, we’re in the midst of one of the best Pacific halibut seasons on record. So, when the salmon bite turned off, boats headed west and continued the onslaught. The ocean was also calm enough to allow boats to make the long run south to the Cape, where the rockfish and lingcod have been patiently awaiting some company. Always good to have options…

Weekend Marine Forecast
The weekend forecast looks plenty fishable, and lighter winds and lower seas are expected late in the weekend and early next week. Friday’s forecast is calling for 5 to 15 knot winds out of the N and NW waves 6 feet at 7 seconds and W 2 feet at 9 seconds. Saturday is calling for N winds 5 to 15 knots and waves out of the NW 6 feet at 8 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is a little better, with winds out of the NW up to 5 knots and waves NW 5 feet at 8 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.

Sport Crab season coming to a close
The 2020 sport Dungeness crab season in Humboldt, Mendocino, and Del Norte counties will close on Thursday July 30. The season is expected to re-open on Nov. 7.

Ocean salmon closures
Klamath
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
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).

The Oceans:
Eureka
“The salmon bite has been slow since the weekend when most boats got back on the water,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “Boats averaged less than a fish per rod on Sunday, and Monday was tougher. There’s some really good signs around, so hopefully they’re still here,” added Klassen. With salmon on the slow side and favorable ocean conditions, boats opted for the Cape or back out to the Pacific halibut grounds. Neither fishery disappointed. Quick limits were the norm on Tuesday for halibut anglers, with some coming as fast as 45 minutes. The rockfish action was good at the Cape, but not wide-open like the halibut. “The fishing was very good, but not red hot like we’ve seen,” said Klassen. “There’s some super clear water down there, along with some really brown water. The lings bit really well on Tuesday, with limits up to 28-pounds.”

Trinidad
Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters and Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing both fished through some tough weather prior to Sunday. “We were mostly running half-day trips prior to the weekend and getting quick limits of black rockfish and a few salmon right in front of the Trinidad Head,” said Sepulveda. “Nothing is wide open, but rockfish, lingcod, salmon and pacific halibut are all hitting the deck.”. Conditions finally took a turn for the better on Sunday, and according to Wilson, the halibut bit pretty well. “It was real good fishing, not wide-open but almost everyone was catching,” said Wilson. “This week we’ve been targeting rockfish to the north, where the lingcod bite has been good along with a wide variety of rockfish. The salmon bite has slowed down, but you can still go out and get a few opportunities each day.”

Shelter Cove
The salmon bite was pretty darn slow this week according to Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “We had some pretty decent weather and people were able to look far and wide, but nothing really produced. There’s been quite a bit of bait hanging in some areas, so I’m hopeful that they’ll find it soon. I made the run up to Rodgers a few times this week for rockfish and it was pretty good. We even caught a few halibut up to 77-pounds while rock fishing. Lingcod was a bit slow, but the ones we did get were a very good grade. A couple boats ran 45 miles for tuna on Monday and found a few fish. When we get another weather window, we’ll have another option.”

Crescent City
There’s been a few salmon caught this week reports Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “There’s tons of anchovies around, and they’re really spread out. And the salmon are as well. I heard of salmon being caught right on the beach, and also out in 300 feet of water. There’s been quite a bit of effort this week on the CA halibut, but without much success. A few were caught off the B Street Pier last Friday. That area was loaded with anchovies too. The rockfish bite continues to be good when the boats can get out. The lingcod bite has been excellent as well. Boats are fishing both reefs, the Sisters, and around the lighthouse.”

Brookings
The salmon bite is back on out of Brookings, with a few fish right outside the mouth of the Chetco and bigger schools a couple miles offshore according to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “The bite kicked into gear early this week, with anchovies trolled just below the surface working best,” said Martin. “Lingcod and rockfish action have been fair with the big tides. A few California halibut also are being caught. The rough seas that kept boats at the dock last week have subsided this week, but it is still fairly rough.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Salmon fishing in the estuary continues to be up and down. Some fish came in last Sunday with the high tide, and quite a few were caught. Monday sounded like the fishing was good, but it was very slow again on Tuesday. Like any tidal fishery, the bite can be fickle. You need to be there when the fish are in and want to bite. Trolling anchovies behind a Rogue River spinner bait is still catching the majority of the fish. Spring-run regulations are in effect through August 14, with a daily bag and possession limit of one king salmon of any size.

Lower Rogue
According to Martin, the Rogue Bay had its best two days of the season Sunday and Monday before the action slowed on Tuesday. “There are schools of salmon now milling around in the bay. Guides had a fish a rod early in the week before the bite stalled on Tuesday. Still no steelhead upriver near Agness as of yet,” added Martin.

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

Eureka Kings finally make a showing

Chris Pinkham of San Francisco landed this 25-pound king salmon last Sunday while fishing out of Eureka. After getting off to a slow start, the salmon have finally shown up in Eureka as well as Trinidad. Boats fishing over the weekend scored limits of kings up to 30-pounds. Photo courtesy of Gary Blasi/Full Throttle Sport Fishing

The salmon have finally shown up in Eureka. That’s the good news. The bad news is so did the wind. Following a fairly hot bite that started last Wednesday and lasted through the weekend, the wind has kept the Eureka boats from staying on the fish. Back to the good news. The fish are here, they’re close, and they’re big. Boats fishing between the 48 and 50 lines in roughly 120 feet of water were treated to some pretty good action on Thursday and Friday. The word quickly spread – and by the weekend – boats were out in force. And everyone was catching. This year’s crop of kings is substantially bigger than last years. These fish are amped up on krill, and running 10 to 25 pounds. While the wind and bar crossing has stifled the Eureka fleet, some of the bigger boats fishing out of Trinidad have been able to push through the tough conditions. Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing was on the water all week and reported a really good salmon bite. “The lagoon area has been loaded with birds, krill, whales and fish,” said Sepulveda. “Deep sixes and downriggers at 40 feet on the wire are crushing limits of 8 to 20-pound kings, with a few bigger ones in the mix. The last few days mornings have been a little slow and then they come on strong around midday.” Fishable conditions look like they are returning for the weekend. Hopefully the kings will be sitting right where we left them.

Marine Forecast
Conditions for the weekend are looking a little rough, but may be doable for salmon trolling. As of Wednesday, Friday’s forecast is calling for N winds 10 to 20 knots and N swells 6 feet at 7 seconds and NW 3 feet at 12 seconds. On Saturday, winds will be out of the NW 10 to 15 knots and waves will be out of the NW 6 feet at 10 seconds. Sunday is looking better, with winds out of the N 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 5 feet at 9 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.

Sport Crab season coming to a close

The 2020 sport Dungeness crab season in Humboldt, Mendocino, and Del Norte counties will close on Thursday July 30. The season is expected to re-open on Nov. 7.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Salmon fishing finally busted open last week out of Eureka, and there were some quality kings coming over the rail. The action started on Wednesday, with Gary Blasi of Full Throttle Sport Fishing and Matt Dallam of Northwind Charters both finding some fish near the dumpsite. On Thursday, the fleet converged. “The bite was off the stacks in 120 feet of water,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “Boats averaged roughly a fish per rod, but there were some nice fish landed. The story was pretty much the same on Friday. Saturday the fishing improved, and a solid bite materialized around the whistle buoy where there was lots of bait. The bite remained solid on Sunday around the whistle, with fish ranging from barely keepers to a solid 18-pounds. The bite was best when the tides weren’t moving the bait too far out or in. The bigger fish were in close, but there were quite a few jelly fish to contend with. Overall, it was really good fishing for the four days, with the grade of keepers running from 10 to 25 pounds.” With all the salmon excitement, the Pacific halibut got a reprieve. Boats that dedicated a little time over the weekend were rewarded with easy limits. No change there.

Trinidad
The salmon bite was outstanding Thursday through Sunday according to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. He said, “There were salmon scattered from Reading Rock to Patrick’s Point. There were some big ones in the mix too, quite a few 30-pounders were boated. There were plenty of shakers as well. The wind picked up Sunday afternoon, so we haven’t been able to get back up to where the bigger schools are. Since Monday we’ve been running half-day trips. We’re getting our limits of black rockfish and then trolling for salmon. We’re catching a handful each day venturing as far north as Cone Rock,” Wilson added.

Shelter Cove
Salmon has been a slow pick for the most part according to Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “We’ve been averaging about a fish per rod this week. The weather hasn’t allowed us to venture too far and look elsewhere, so we’re fortunate that there’s been some fish hanging close. The salmon fishing is still happening right inside the whistle. And the fish are still a really good grade, with fish running 10 to 25 pounds. The rockfish bite was great this week but the lingcod have been pretty inconsistent. Most of the rock fishing I did this week was around the Hat. Looks like we’ve got some decent weather coming our way for the next several days.”

Crescent City
According to Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, a few salmon are being caught.  He said, “Not very many people are trying. There were a few small fish caught roughly 8 miles from the entrance on a 270 heading. The rockfish bite is still pretty good at all the usual spots,” added Hegnes.

Brookings
Salmon fishing remains hit and miss, with poor catches for most, out of Brookings reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “A few boats scored multiple fish early this week near the mouth of the Chetco,” said Martin. “The schools of fish that provided wide-open action early in the season appear to be north of Brookings, as fishing has been good from Bandon to Newport. Lingcod and rockfish catches are good, with lots of bigger lingcod last week. A few Pacific halibut also are being brought in.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Spring salmon fishing has been fairly slow for trollers in the Klamath estuary. A small handful of fish are being caught each day, though the boat pressure has been light. Anchovies rigged with a spinner blade has been the top producer so far, but some are being caught on Cut Plugs. Best fishing has been on the incoming and a couple hours after the high.

Lower Rogue
The Rogue Bay is still slow according to Martin. “A handful of salmon a day are being caught, but most boats are going fishless. Lingcod fishing has been very good at the Rogue Reef, but bar conditions limit the window to fish,” said Martin.

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

Salmon season showing signs of life

Vacaville resident Darell Odland landed this nice 17-pound king on Wednesday while fishing north of Trinidad. The salmon have finally shown up on the North Coast. Boats fishing out of Trinidad scored limits on Wednesday, and quite a few kings were caught out of Eureka as well. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Shellback Sport Fishing

Well, it looks like we may have a salmon season on the North Coast after all. After the first month of the season produced basically nothing, salmon are finally starting to show up. The hot spot has been north of Trinidad, near the mouth of Redwood Creek. A handful of private boats found some fish late last week, and the charters have been boating limits since the weekend. “Salmon sign was spread over a huge range from straight out front of Trinidad to as far north as I ventured,” said Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. “There’s been a band of life from 120 to 190 feet running north and south. Whales, murres, krill and salmon. Action wasn’t wide-open, but midday limits were the norm. Lots of shakers kept things busy while the keepers were a mixed grade. About half were really solid fish, running 10 to 15 pounds.” And the bite seemed to get better as the week progressed. On Wednesday, Sepulveda put in limits of quality kings in just a few hours of fishing. Eureka had been the last remaining port still waiting for the kings to show up. And they finally did on Wednesday. Gary Blasi of Full Throttle Sport Fishing and Matt Dallam of Northwind Charters both landed a fair number of keeper kings working the dumpsite area. This is the first report of any kings being caught out of Eureka, and it’s just what we’ve been waiting to hear.

Marine Forecast
Conditions for the weekend are looking plenty fishable as the winds will be coming out of the north, blowing 5 to 10 knots. Friday’s forecast is calling for N swells 3 feet at 5 seconds. On Saturday, waves will be out of the NW 4 feet at 9 seconds. On Sunday, winds will be out of the N 5 to 15 knots with waves out of the NW 5 feet at 6 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:
Eureka
Pacific halibut remains the top story out of Eureka after another week of wide-open fishing. “I’ve never seen the bite hold on this long,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “It’s been limits every trip. The fish are still running small, from six to 25 pounds with the occasional bigger one. There’s fish spread from the 47 to the 54-line in 240 to 320 feet of water. Herring and salmon bellies have been the go-to baits.” As mentioned above, salmon were caught out of Eureka on Wednesday by two of the charters. Reportedly, the grade was excellent and they’re only three miles from the bar. This is the first real solid salmon report of the season.

Aaron Michalovic with a couple of nice kings from Trinidad. Photo courtesy of Wind Rose Charters

Trinidad
According to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters, salmon are finally being caught out of Trinidad. “The bite started late last week, with some of the private boats heading north and picking up a few kings,” said Wilson. “Since then, the charter boats have been making the run anywhere from 7 to 17 miles where there’s lots of life. There’s tons of krill, along with lots of birds and whales. There’s been quite a few small ones we’ve had to weed through, but the keepers have been a solid 8 to 15 pounds. The variety of rockfish around the Patrick’s Point area has been phenomenal. The lings are starting to show up as well, we’re getting anywhere from 2 to 6 per trip. We’re also seeing a lot of shorts, which is good,” Wilson added.

Eureka resident Rowdy Mendes with a nice Shelter Cove king. Photo courtesy of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing

Shelter Cove
The salmon bite was wide-open late last week, but has slowed down a little the last few days reports Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “It got a lot of pressure over the weekend and a lot of the bait moved out,” said Mitchell. “All the salmon action was right inside the whistle buoy where there’s been lots of krill. We’ve been doing well mooching, with fish running from 10 to 30 pounds. Last Thursday we had our limits by 9:30, and on Friday we were done by 8:00 and ended the day on a double. The rockfish bite has been good as well. We did pretty good off the Ranch House a couple days. The wind has really put a damper on things here the last few days as well, and it doesn’t look like it’s going stop anytime soon. We’ve still been able to get out each morning before the wind forces us off the water around 11:00.”

Crescent City
According to Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, a few salmon are being caught, but not many. He said, “There hasn’t been much effort on salmon. We had one boat come in with four nice fish the other day, but it’s been slow. There isn’t much sign out there, and the water temps have been on the cold side. The rockfish bite is still going strong, with most boats targeting the reefs. A few Pacific halibut have been caught in 250 feet of water outside of the South Reef,” added Hegnes.

Brookings
After a really good start to the season, salmon fishing has slowed out of Brookings reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “Cold water from offshore upwelling has spread fish out. The water temperate was down to 47 degrees, but is rising. Salmon fishing improved further up the Oregon Coast, at Winchester Bay and Depoe Bay, an indication the big schools may have moved north. Albacore were caught in decent numbers this week 60 miles out of Charleston. Lingcod and rockfish have been biting well out of Brookings.”

The Rivers:

Lower Klamath
Ten to 15 salmon were being caught daily in the estuary since the opener, but the number has slowly dwindled. Only a handful of fish were caught each day over the weekend. Fresh kings should start to move in with the tides and start to stack up as the water temperatures are rising to nearly 70 degrees. Anchovies rigged with a spinner blade has been the top producer so far. Best fishing has been on the incoming and a couple hours after the high.

Lower Rogue
The Rogue Bay continues to be slow for salmon according to Martin. “A few jacks were caught in the past week, but the main run has yet to arrive,” added Martin.

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

Saltwater season ready for a reset

Ocean conditions look good for Friday

Elk Grove resident Berkeley Munoz landed a nice king salmon this week while fishing out of Shelter Cove. Despite the wind, quite a few salmon were boated out of the Cove this week. The weekend weather looks to be much improved for the entire North Coast, with winds topping out at 10 knots. Photo courtesy of Jake Mitchell/Sea Hawk Sport Fishing

After sitting on the sidelines watching the wind blow for more than a week, it looks like it’s finally laying down, allowing our saltwater fishing season to resume. Boats left the Pacific halibut and rockfish biting, and both should still be there when the boats get back on the water on Friday. The bigger question is will there be salmon. Every port outside of Eureka and Trinidad has had their share of good king fishing this season. But now, conditions are finally looking favorable for us. The blustery north winds that have blown all week dropped the water temps to a very salmon-friendly 50 to 52 degrees. If the salmon aren’t here now, there’s a real chance we won’t have much of season. With decent trolling weather forecasted through the holiday weekend, I’d expect the fleet to employ a full court press hunting for kings. Let’s hope they find em’, it’s getting to be now or never.

Important reminder:
When fishing for halibut, rockfish and salmon, or any combination of the three, the more restrictive gear and depth restrictions apply. When targeting salmon, or once salmon are aboard and in possession, anglers are limited to using barbless hooks (barbless circle hooks if fishing south of Horse Mountain) when fishing for other species.

When targeting rockfish, cabezon, greenling and lingcod, or once any of these species are aboard and in possession, anglers are limited to fishing in waters shallower than 180 feet when fishing for other species.

Weekend Marine Forecast
Strong northerlies and steep wind-driven seas will gradually subside after Thursday. As of Wednesday afternoon, Friday’s forecast is calling for N winds 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 6 feet at 8 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for N winds 5 to 10 knots and waves N 5 feet at 7 seconds and SW 2 feet at 18 seconds. More of the same for Sunday, winds coming from the N 5 to 10 knots and waves N 5 feet at 5 seconds and SW 2 feet at 16 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.

Salmon season now open on parts of Klamath and Trinity Rivers
The spring Chinook salmon fishery on the lower Klamath River (downstream of the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec) and Trinity River (upstream of the confluence of the South Fork Trinity River) opened on July 1 and will run through Aug. 14 on the Klamath River and through Aug. 31 on the Trinity River. The daily bag limit has been set to one Chinook salmon (no size restrictions), and the possession limit set at two Chinook salmon.

July 4 is statewide free fishing day
On Saturday July 4, people may fish California’s waters without a sport fishing license. All regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect. On Free Fishing Days, every angler must have the appropriate report card if they are fishing for steelhead, sturgeon, spiny lobster, or salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity River Systems. For more information visit, https://wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing/free-fishing-days

The Oceans:                                                     
Eureka
There hasn’t been much to report during the last week as boats have been off the water since last Wednesday due to the wind. Prior to the wind, the Pacific halibut bite was still going strong and most boats were heading in with early limits. Hopefully once the ocean comes back down, the fish will still be there. The bit of good news following these howling north winds is the water temperatures off of Eureka. According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, temperatures are down to 50 to 52 degrees from a high of 57. “The cold water out front is now connected south to Cape Mendocino,” said Klassen. “Obviously, we’re all hoping that when we get back out on Friday, there’s some salmon around.” With the ocean blown out, there’s been plenty of boats targeting CA halibut in the bay. Skipper Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing was back on the bay Tuesday for halibut and generally found the bite a little tough. He said, “The hard blow the last few days has things stirred up and that always has a way of making them shut down a little. Despite the conditions we put together three-quarter limits on a nice grade. Nothing that had to be measured. Looks like a much better weather week coming.”

Trinidad
“Despite the windy conditions, we were able to get out in the mornings this week,” said Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “We were pretty limited as far as where we could go, so it was mostly catching limits of black rockfish. We’re also catching some keeper crabs, but we’re having to work hard for them,” Wilson added.

Shelter Cove
Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing has been dealing with windy conditions all week, but managed to get a half-day in just about every day. He said, “Salmon fishing was decent. Overall, for the week, we probably averaged a fish per rod in 4 to 5 hours of fishing. The grade is still pretty good. There hasn’t been much effort on the rockfish because of the wind.”

Crescent City
According to Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, the wind has been blowing all week, making for some tough conditions. “There’s been a few boats getting out early in the morning before the wind picks up,” said Hegnes. “I’ve heard they are catching a few salmon, with most of the effort to the south in 150 feet of water. The fish have been a decent grade, averaging 13 to 15 pounds. It’s been too rough to rockfish this week,” added Hegnes.

Brookings
“Salmon fishing has been very good at times offshore of Brookings, where anglers have caught more salmon in a few days than ocean anglers in the combined other areas have caught in the entire season, which opened as early as March elsewhere,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Through the first full week of the season, 619 adult kings have been checked by ODFW fish checkers in Brookings, including 332 the opening weekend. A total of 141 king salmon have been caught in the balance of the state, from Gold Beach to Astoria, since their seasons opened. Fishing has been open from Bandon north for three months. Late last week, there was a wide-open bite at the mouth of the Chetco, but fishing slowed early this week. Good weather is expected this weekend. Winds have made rockfish and lingcod difficult to reach.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The spring season opened on Wednesday and there were reportedly a few fish caught by trollers in the estuary. There’s some moss coming down the river, which will make it tough to fish on the anchor. The water temperature in the estuary should start to warm up now that the spring flow releases have ended on the Trinity, which should keep the fish holding in the estuary.

Lower Rogue
Salmon fishing is mostly slow on the Rogue Bay, with a few decent days mixed in reports Martin. “Water temperatures have warmed enough to keep salmon held up in the bay, but anglers are waiting for bigger number of fish to arrive. Early July generally kicks off the peak season,” added Martin.

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

Wind curtails wide-open Pacific halibut action

McKinleyville resident Lawrence Sobolewski hauled in this whopping 37-pound California halibut last Friday inside Humboldt Bay. Photo courtesy of Lawrence Sobolewski

Halibut continues to be the shining light out of both Eureka and Trinidad as the sizzling bite continued into this week. It’s looking like the only thing that will slow it down is if you can’t get to the fishing grounds. And that’s exactly where we are. After a long stretch of good weather and even better fishing, the ocean lumped up, giving the Pacific halibut a breather. Over the weekend and earlier in the week, the charter fleet were reporting limits for six customers as early as 8:30, which is practically unheard of. With virtually no salmon to speak of, hopefully the halibut will still be on the chew once the seas come back down. The California halibut bite hasn’t been quite as hot, which can be attributed to the minus tides and big swings we’ve had this week. Humboldt Bay was packed over the weekend, and there were quite a few boats that reported three fish per angler limits. For a well-known salmon port like Eureka, the lack of salmon is a tough pill to swallow. But at least we have our halibut.

Weekend marine forecast
Northerly winds and steep seas will persist through the weekend. As of Wednesday afternoon, Friday’s forecast is calling for N winds 5 to 15 knots and waves NW 9 feet at 8 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for N winds 10 to 20 knots and waves N 8 feet at 8 seconds. The winds will increase on Sunday, coming out of the N 15 to 20 knots and waves NW 8 feet at 10 seconds forecasted. 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.

Freshwater Lagoon trout plants
According to the CDFW website, Freshwater Lagoon has been planted with trout since mid-April. Reportedly, the fishing has been excellent this month for keeper-sized rainbows. Freshwater is open to fishing year-round and the limit is 5 trout per day and 10 in possession. For more information, visit http://www.nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FishPlants or call (530) 225-2146.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Eureka is still the place to be for all things Halibut. The only factor that can slow the bite appears to be the ocean conditions, and that’s what’s happening right now. “The Pacific halibut action over the last two weeks is the best I’ve ever seen,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing “But now it looks like they’re going to get a break. We have some pretty rough conditions forecasted through the weekend. Earlier in the week the fishing was lights out, with just about all the boats catching their limit or close to it. The fish have been in the same general area, straight out and ranging from 250 to 320 feet of water. Most of the fish are still on the small side, but we are starting to see a few bigger ones being caught. Inside the bay, the California halibut bite has been fair, mostly due to the minus tides we’ve had this week. There seems to be plenty of fish around, but the big tide swings seem to have slowed the bite.”

Casey Allen fishing Humboldt Bay Wednesday June 10th landed this nice 24-pound California halibut on light tackle. Photo submitted by Marlene Allen

Skipper Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing fished the Cape through Saturday and reports the lingcod bite was on fire. “Limits every day with more 20 pounders for the week than I could count and several over 30,” said Sepulveda. “The top fish was a 37 pounder.  The great weather started breaking down so I’ve moved the boat north to Trinidad.  We’re making a 20-mile run from there for limits of lingcod and colorful rockfish in an area that’s more protected from the wind than the lost coast. Pacific halibut have also been on the chew and we’ve been topping off our bottom fish limits with some shots at them. A 58-pounder was our best fish, but most are running 10 to 20 pounds.”

Trinidad
According to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters, the weather hasn’t been great this week. He said, “We did a few halibut trips, and only caught a few. The fish are definitely still here, but it can be tough to get them in rough water. A lot of the smaller boats didn’t make it out this week. The rockfish bite is still going strong. Flat Iron and the Turtles are some of the better spots. We’ve been finding a better variety out deeper. A few keeper salmon were caught this week, but there isn’t much effort.”

A couple nice kings caught out of Shelter Cove on Monday. Photo courtesy of Jared Morris/C’Mon Sport Fishing

Shelter Cove
According to Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing, the salmon bite was pretty sporadic this week. He said, “Some days were pretty good, but you had to be there at the right time. Most of the salmon effort was inside the whistle in 40 feet of water. The grade this week was pretty good with many fish in the 20-pound class. The rockfish bite was pretty good down off Bear Harbor this week as well.”

Crescent City
A couple of boats came in on Tuesday with limits of salmon reports Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “The fish are really scattered, and there aren’t many boats trying. The fish that were caught on Tuesday came south of the South Reef. The rockfish and lingcod bite are still going strong, with anglers coming back with limits of both. There hasn’t been much effort on Pacific halibut, and I haven’t heard of any California’s caught this week.”

Brookings
The salmon opener off of Brookings on Saturday was the best in several years, with more than 100 boats returning with salmon onboard reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Most had multiple fish,” said Martin. “The fish were shallow, feeding on schools of anchovies and herring close to the harbor. Fishing also was good Sunday and Monday, but slowed Tuesday, although several dozen kings were caught. Fishing was especially good considering the windy weather and choppy seas early this week. The Miss Brooke of Brookings Fishing Charters had two doubles and a triple on Saturday, with 12 adult kings from 10 to 20 pounds for six anglers. 

Fishing for rockfish has been extremely good, with quick limits. Lots of fish have moved close to the harbor to feed on anchovies. Lingcod fishing is fair, with decent numbers of fish caught this past week. Rough weather has kept boats away from the halibut grounds.”

Lower Rogue
Salmon fishing remains slow on the Rogue Bay, but should improve with quickly warming water temperatures according to Martin. “The temperature at Agness increased from 61 degrees last week to 72 degrees on Tuesday. The warm water halts the upstream migration of salmon and forces them to hold in the bay, sparking the summer fishery in Gold Beach,” added Martin.

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

Pacific halibut flying over the rails

Rosemary Kelly landed a nice Pacific halibut on a recent trip out of Trinidad. The halibut bite off the North Coast has been red-hot the past two weeks. Photo courtesy of Curt Wilson/Wind Rose Charters

The Pacific halibut bite on the North Coast is sizzling right now. With salmon virtually nonexistent, offshore anglers have honed in on the halibut, and they are coming over the rails at a record pace. Eureka, Trinidad, and eve Shelter Cove have all experienced some exceptional fishing. And we’re not talking about a couple halibut per boat, we’re talking full limits by early morning. It’s akin to how our salmon fishing used to be. A couple passes, load em’ up and head to the barn. Some of the credit should go to the weather. We had solid 10-day stretch of fishable water that started on the salmon opener and ended on Wednesday. As for location, it’s been the same for a long time. You’re in the zone once you reach 250 to 300 feet of water weather you’re fishing out of Eureka or Trinidad. The fish this year have been on the small size. The average is running around 12-pounds, but we’re seeing plenty in the 20-pound class and the occasional 50 to 60 pounder. With the salmon nowhere to be found, a wide-open halibut bite couldn’t have come at a better time.

Weekend marine forecast
Northerly winds and short period seas will persist through Thursday as high pressure builds over the northeast Pacific. Winds and seas are forecast to diminish slightly on Friday and for the weekend. On Friday, NW winds are predicted at 10 to 15 knots and N waves 7 feet at 7 seconds and NW 3 feet at 12 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for N winds 5 to 10 knots and W swells 6 feet at 11 seconds and SW 2 feet at 16 seconds. Sunday’s conditions look similar with N winds 5 to 15 knots and NW swells 6 feet at 7 seconds and SW 2 feet at 15 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:
Eureka
Good news and not-so-good news out of Eureka this week. First the good news. The Pacific halibut fishing is as good as it gets right now. “I’ve never seen it like this,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “The fish are mostly small, but there seems to be lots of them. Doubles and triples aren’t uncommon, and limits came pretty easy this week. Most of the action was between the 45 and 54-line in 250 to 320 feet of water. Usually there’s patches of fish here and there, but the patches are bigger right now. The water is a little on the warm side – it was 57 degrees on Tuesday – which explains why we’re seeing lots of Mackerel and Blue sharks. All the usual baits are working, including herring and salmon bellies. And the Mackerel works well too. The rockfish and lingcod bite at the Cape are also holding their own.

George Short landed a 36-pound lingcod while fishing near Cape Mendocino. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Shellback Sport Fishing

Skipper Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing has made his way to the Cape six of his last seven trips and reports an excellent grade of ling cod. “Not as abundant as years past, but we’ve been bringing our A game, working hard and putting together limits every day,” said Sepulveda. “Of the 72 lingcod we boxed over that span, about a third were over 20-pounds, with 5 over 30. None have been under 10 and the top fish hit the scales at 36. The rockfish have been easy pickings and we’re finding some smaller pacific halibut on the reef too.  We did one day in the bay – my first of the season – and the California halibut bit well.  We boxed 18 fish to 14 pounds for limits by noon.” Now the not-so-good news. The salmon are nowhere to be found. A few guys have been trying, but without much success. There isn’t much bait around, and the water temps are a little on the warm side. North winds are predicted to blow for a few days, hopefully this will help cool the water.

Trinidad
“Like the rest of the coast, the Pacific halibut bite is the big story in Trinidad,” said Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “The bite has been wide open, with limits coming pretty easily. There’s no real spot better than the other, boats have been heading 2.5 miles straight out to 250 feet and doing well. Most of the fish are smaller, but there’s a few bigger ones being caught now and then. Most of our rockfish trips lately have been to Reading Rock, where we’re catching a good variety of fish. The Canaries have been the highlight so far, and we’re catching some nice vermilions and blacks as well. The ling cod bite has been slower, but we’re still getting limits. The ling cod bite has also been spotty inshore from Patrick’s Point to the harbor. The salmon effort has been really low. I don’t think many are trying, and for good reason as it seems that there aren’t many around.”

Shelter Cove
The salmon bite turned on and has been wide open for the last few days reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “However, the wind started on Tuesday and ruined the party. Hopefully they’re still around when the weather settles back down. We were getting them off the edge of the banks outside the Hat where there was a lot of krill. There is a mixed grade with a lot of small fish and silvers, but there are quite a few nice ones too. The weather allowed some boats to get up to Gorda on Saturday for halibut and they did pretty well. Sounded like most boats had at least two halibut and a couple fish close to 80lbs.”

Crescent City
The salmon bite remains slow, but there’s a lot of effort reports Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “The boat launch was packed over the weekend with boats looking for salmon. There were some caught but overall, it’s been slow. There are quite a few silvers around though. There hasn’t been much effort on Pacific halibut this week as most are targeting salmon or rockfish. The rockfish bite has been really good, and lots of lings are coming in too. The California halibut bite remains slow, but did see a few hooked this week.”

Brookings
Ocean salmon season opens this weekend out of Brookings, but windy weather could limit success reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “Bottom fish anglers are catching and releasing a few kings in close, and commercial trollers, who are already allowed to fish, are finding lots of smaller salmon. Bottom fishing has been good, while halibut fishing is fair.”

Lower Rogue
The Rogue Bay continues to be slow for salmon according to Martin. “Cooler water is allowing late springers to race upstream. Few salmon appear to be holding in the bay,” added Martin.

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

Tough opener for salmon anglers

Prior to Saturday’s sport salmon opener, the ocean out front of Eureka was swarming with life. Lots of bait, piles of birds and favorable water temps. All of which typically indicate the salmon are close by. By Saturday, those signs had vanished, taking with it any hopes of a salmon bounty. A couple boats landed on some fish and managed to box limits of small salmon, but that was far from typical. Overall, it was disappointing start to what was supposed to be decent season. After watching the Bay Area boats load up on big kings daily and plenty of quality fish coming out of Shelter Cove, hopes were high. But it wasn’t meant to be. At least not yet. For all we know the fish could be out in deeper water, right on the beach, or they could still be making their way here. Crescent City had a good opener, so that’s encouraging. Until the kings arrive, halibut and rockfish will suffice.

Weekend marine forecast
Light winds and long period swells will continue through the weekend. Saturday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the S 5 to 10 knots and W swells 5 feet at 9 seconds. Sunday’s prediction is winds out of the N 5 to 10 knots and W swells 6 feet at 9 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:
Eureka

After the first weekend, it doesn’t look like the salmon are here reports Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “Most of the fish caught were shakers, and it doesn’t seem like there’s many of those around either,” said Klassen. “The keepers caught over the weekend were small, most in the 22 to 24-inch range. Whatever signs of life we saw prior to the opener is gone now. There isn’t much bait, birds, and we haven’t seen any whales. It’s pretty lifeless, but the water temps are still good. Boats spread out over the weekend covering water from the Eel Canyon north to the 50-line and couldn’t locate any schools. Hopefully they’re around and we just haven’t found them yet. The Pacific halibut bite is really good right now, but the fish are mostly small.” With salmon being tough to come by, Skipper Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing has been making his way to the Cape daily in search of quality rockfish. “It’s been the usual deal,” said Sepulveda. “Limits of lingcod to 25 pounds and rockfish the size of basketballs.  Lots of reds, coppers and canary. And in the middle of a great stretch of weather too.”

Trinidad
“The salmon opener out of Trinidad was similar to Eureka – a few small kings around,” said Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “I’ve only heard of a couple caught since the weekend. The Pacific halibut action is still really good, with just about everyone getting limits up to 20-pounds. Rock fish have been on the bite at Redding Rock, with lots of variety and lings up to 40-pounds. The sport crabbing is spotty, but we’re getting limits or close to it every trip.”

Shelter Cove
According to Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing, the salmon bite has slowed way down the last few days. “There was a decent amount of fish caught on Saturday, but it has dropped off to nearly nothing last couple days,” said Mitchell. “Most of the effort has been right around the whistle, but boats have been spreading out the last couple of days looking but didn’t find anything.  The rockfish action at Rogers Break is still excellent and the lingcod bite has really picked up.”

Michael McGahan of Brookings fished the salmon season opener out of Crescent City with friends, landing eight keeper kings and losing a few more trolling anchovies. The kings were 5 to 18 pounds. Photo courtesy of Ray Fairfax

Crescent City
There were a few nice kings caught on the opener, but it wasn’t stellar reports Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “A few boats were able to score limits of salmon, and some decent size fish were caught. Overall, it seems the fish are really spread out and there’s lots of shakers around. Boats have been looking from 175 out to 300 feet of water. The rockfish bite continues to be good, with easy limits including lings. A few small pacific halibut have been caught, but the California’s have yet to show.”

Brookings
Anglers fishing out of Brookings are catching limits of rockfish and some lingcod as they wait for the June 20 salmon opener on the Oregon side of the border reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “Lots of bait schooled up near the harbor combined with promising reports from Crescent City have Brookings anglers optimistic about the opener at the end of next week.”

Lower Rogue
The first few salmon have been caught in the Rogue Bay according to Martin. “It is still early, and fishing is slow, but a few kings are holding in the bay. The water at the tips of the Gold Beach jetties is extremely shallow, as low as 2 feet during the minus tide. Bar conditions have been extremely rough all spring. The dredge will arrive in July. Moss is making spring salmon fishing tough upriver,” added Martin.

Send in your fish photos
Land a big salmon or halibut lately? Or maybe your friend or relative has reeled in their first perch. Email your fishing photo to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com and I’ll run them with the “Fishing the North Coast” weekly column and also post them on the digital version on times-standard.com. Just include the name of the person in the photo, where and when it was taken and any other details you’d like to share.

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