Late fall kings – and anglers – waiting on rain

The wait for rainfall has been nothing short of grueling for coastal salmon anglers chomping at the bit to drift the Smith, Chetco or Eel. Humboldt and Del Norte Counties have been bone dry since mid-October, when enough rain fell to put all the local rivers on the rise. Though the parched ground soaked up a lot of the moisture, the rivers came up enough to push the salmon out of the estuaries and into the lower sections of the rivers. Since then, we’ve had very little, if any, rain to speak of. The culprit to all this dry weather is the recurring high-pressure ridge that’s been parked over the West Coast. This ridge has been either blocking or weakening systems that are trying to move onshore and forcing storms to track far to our north, keeping them from sagging into the Northern end of the state as well as Southern Oregon.

Alfredo Mendoza of Hillsboro, Ore., holds a salmon caught Nov. 5 in the Chetco River estuary with guide Shane Brooks of Wild Rivers Fishing. Photo courtesy of Wild Rivers Fishing

But changes to our weather patterns may be afoot. Rain is in the forecast for Thursday and Friday, but it will be really light. “The next chance of rain will be Monday and Tuesday,” said Kathleen Zontos of Eureka’s National Weather Service. “This system won’t add up to much either, certainly not enough to raise any of the local river levels. We’re really keeping an eye on next weekend. The models are showing it could be wet, but there isn’t a lot of confidence there yet. It looks like as we get closer to the end of the month the ridge of high pressure will start breaking down, but we’re still looking at below normal rainfall for the next few weeks,” added Zontos.

Marine forecast
The weekend marine forecast looks a little rough for offshore crabbing. The forecast is calling for winds up to 10 knots out of the N on Saturday, with waves W 9 feet at 12 seconds. On Sunday, the wind will be coming out of the N 5 to 10 knots with waves N 4 feet at 6 seconds and W 7 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.

Sport crab fishing going strong
Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sportfishing is reporting the crabbing has improved out of Eureka. On a one-day soak, he’s been averaging anywhere from 15 to 20 keeper crabs per pot, up from 5 to 10 last week. “We’ve been fishing the south side, and from what I hear it’s been slightly better on the north side,” said Klassen. “We’ve been dropping our gear right around 100 feet, with most of the gear in between 60 and 120 feet.” The quality of crab is good and getting better. Reportedly the crab out of Eureka tested between 21 and 22 percent meat yield last week. Crabs need to be at 25 percent prior to commercial harvest.

Oregon commercial Dungeness crab season delayed
The opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season will be delayed from Dec. 1 until at least Dec. 16 along the entire Oregon coast as testing shows crabs are too low in meat yield according to press release issued on Wednesday by the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. The target opening of the ocean commercial Dungeness crab season in Oregon is Dec. 1, but can be delayed to ensure a high-quality product to consumers and avoid wastage of the resource. Crab quality testing in early November showed that none of the test areas met the meat yield criteria for a Dec. 1 opening. The delayed opening will allow crabs to fill with more meat. 

A second round of crab quality testing will occur in late November or early December, and the results will be used to determine if the season should open Dec. 16, be further delayed, or be split into areas with different opening dates.

Recreational harvest of Dungeness crab in the ocean off Oregon will open Dec. 1 as scheduled in all areas. Recreational crab harvesting is currently open coastwide in bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties. For more information, visit https://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2019/11_Nov/111319.asp

Brookings
“Lingcod fishing busted wide-open out of Brookings last week and continues to be solid,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Many of the lings are being caught while targeting rockfish with shrimp flies and Farallon Feathers. They have moved into shallow water to stage before spawning. Big swells are expected this weekend.”

The Rivers:
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, the main stem Mad River from the Hammond Trail Railroad Trestle to its mouth and the main stem Smith River from the mouth of Rowdy Creek to its mouth.

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.

Klamath River creel season comes to a close
According to Dan Troxel, an Environmental Scientist on the Klamath River Project, just two-thirds of the lower river quota was reached, and just a little less for the sub-area quota below the 101 bridge. “As nearly all of the fish have moved out of the lower river, and spawning grounds surveys have begun, we are seeing a similar trend in the tributary rivers and creeks further up in the basin,” said Troxel “The fish are there, but seemingly only in middling numbers. The size of the fish has been a constant inquiry to us, a lot of “micro jacks” and presumably small adult fish. But we’ll have to wait until late January before we have the aging analysis done.”

Final quota numbers for the season from the Highway 96 bridge to the mouth: 2,494 adults harvested towards the quota of 3,819 (65.32 percent). The spit fishery harvested 736 adult kings below the 101 bridge towards the quota of 1,145. (64.26 percent)

Smith
Not much has changed on the Smith since last week, the river remains closed to fishing above Rowdy Creek due to low flows. According to Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, there are a few being caught at the mouth and a few at the Sand Hole as well.

Chetco
With no rain in weeks, the Chetco estuary remains the best bet for salmon on the Southern Oregon Coast reports Martin. “Fishing is fair, with half a dozen to a dozen kings a day being caught by 10 to 15 boats. A few salmon also are being caught from shore at the mouth of the Elk River,” 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

Quality start to the Dungeness crab season

Typically, the start of the sport crab season can go two ways. If the crabs are abundant, the meat content is usually on the lighter side. If there are fewer crabs around, they are typically heavier and in better shape. This is all due to their food source – lots of crabs equals less food for them to divide, fewer crabs usually means plenty of food to go around.

Six year-old Ridge Bermers of Eureka holds a jumbo Dungeness crab caught last Sunday off of Eureka. Ridge was crabbing with his dad Blaine and brother Ryker.
Photo courtesy of Chuck Petrusha

This year’s crab season is starting off as the latter. There are fewer crabs, but the quality is pretty good for this time of the year. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing fished the opener and reports the crabs are in good shape, and they’re big. “I’d say they’re right around 70 to 80 percent full,” said Klassen. “Almost all of the crabs are jumbos, we’re not seeing a lot of medium-sized crabs. Very few are not commercial grade.” As for some of the better locations, the north side outside of the Humboldt Bay entrance fished better than the south. “On the south side, we were getting four to eight keepers per pot on an overnight soak in 100 feet of water. On the north side, they were averaging around a dozen per pot,” added Klassen. Crabbing in Humboldt Bay was reportedly slow, but better than last year. Up in Trinidad, the kayaks and small boats plugged the bay with pots and rings and enjoyed lake-like conditions. The fishing reports were similar to everywhere else, not a ton of crab around, but the quality was good. A few experienced kayakers did manage to pull limits.

Reminder: CDFW strongly encourages anglers to follow the Best Fishing Practices Guide developed by the California Dungeness Crab Fishing Gear Working Group. Voluntary actions anglers can employ include keeping the line between the pot and main buoy taught and vertical, reducing the amount of vertical line at the surface, avoiding setting gear in the vicinity of whales and turtles, and marking gear consistent with regulations. Best Fishing Practices Guide can be found here: http://www.opc.ca.gov/webmaster/_media_library/2019/11/2019-20_BPG_Final.pdf

Commercial Dungeness crab season delayed south of Mendocino/Sonoma
On Tuesday, the CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham issued a declaration delaying the Nov. 15 start date for the California Dungeness crab fishery south of the Mendocino/Sonoma county line after making a preliminary determination that there is a significant risk of marine life entanglement due to fishing gear.

The opening of the commercial Dungeness crab fishery in that area (Districts 10, 17,18 and 19) will be delayed until Nov. 22. Pursuant to Fish and Game Code Section 8283, traps may be set and baited 18 hours in advance of the opening date. A pre-soak period can commence at 6 a.m. on Nov. 21, 2019.

Before taking this action, the Director considered all recommendations and information provided within the public notice period that ended at 5 p.m. on Nov. 4 in advance of enacting this delay. The comments resulted in the Director shortening the delay from eight to seven days.

For more information related to the risk assessment process or this delay, please visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Whale-Safe-Fisheries. Commercial fishery participants should also be aware that additional delays are possible due to human health risks from domoic acid and should monitor the https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CEH/DFDCS/Pages/FDBPrograms/FoodSafetyProgram/DomoicAcid.aspx for the latest results.

For more information on Dungeness crab, please visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Invertebrates/Crabs

All depths rock fishing
For the first time in nearly 20 years, North Coast saltwater anglers aren’t limited to depth restrictions while fishing for rockfish within the Northern Management Area. According to Klassen, this opens up new water and a new variety of fish options that we don’t normally get. “Chilipepper and Widow rockfish are a couple species that we don’t get to target with depth restrictions,” said Klassen. “We also see some really nice Canary and Yellowtail rockfish.”

Weekend weather and forecast
According to the National Weather Service, dry weather is in the forecast at least the next seven days. The ridge of high pressure sitting off the coast continues to push any threats of rain to our north. There is a slight chance of a change coming next weekend, but it’s not looking very reliable.

The weekend marine forecast looks decent for offshore crabbing, with very little wind in the forecast. The forecast is calling for winds up to 5 knots out of the N on Saturday, with waves NW 4 feet at 6 seconds. The wind will pick up slightly on Sunday, coming out of the N 5 to 10 knots with waves N 5 feet at 6 seconds and NW 4 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.

Brookings
Lingcod are moving into shallow water to spawn close to Brookings reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Limits are being caught when weather conditions are calm,” said Martin “The weekend forecast looks good. Fishing for rockfish also is good, especially from Bird Island north.”

The Rivers:
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, the main stem Mad River from the Hammond Trail Railroad Trestle to its mouth and the main stem Smith River from the mouth of Rowdy Creek to its mouth.

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.

Smith

The Smith remains closed to fishing above Rowdy Creek due to low flows, and not much has changed since last week reports Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “Fishing is still really slow. There are a few being caught at the mouth and a few at the Sand Hole as well.”

Chetco
“Low flows in the Chetco have the bulk of the fall salmon run still holding in the estuary and in the ocean just off the mouth,” said Martin. “Fishing has been good, with a fish or better per rod for guides and many private boaters also catching fish. The estuary will continue to fish until a major rain storm arrives.”

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

Sport crab season slated to open Saturday

The uber-popular recreational Dungeness crab season is slated to open state-wide this Saturday, Nov. 2. The season’s first traps can legally be deployed at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday morning. Anglers will get their first peak into the health and weight of this season’s crop as the pre-season quality tests have not taken place or the results have yet to be made public. One thing we do know is the domoic acid levels shouldn’t be an issue. Tests conducted in Eureka, Trinidad, and Crescent City all came back clean.

Word on the street is there’s plenty of crab, but they aren’t as meaty as we’d like. A typical year will find the meat content at around 20 percent, with the theory being that crabs will add one percent of meat a week and reach the 25 percent mark for the commercial opener of Dec. 1. Meaty crabs or not, we’re just happy that the season is opening on time.

Submitted photo

The season runs from Saturday, Nov. 2 through July 30, 2020. The minimum size is five and three-quarter inches measured by the shortest distance through the body from edge of shell to edge of shell directly in front of and excluding the points (lateral spines) and the limit is 10. A valid California sport fishing license is required. For more information regarding recreational Dungeness crab fishing regulations and other crab species, visit http://www.eregulations.com/california/fishing/saltwater/invertebrate-regulations/

As of this writing, CDFW has not issued any information to the public regarding the upcoming sport season. We’re under the assumption here that it will open on time with no delays.

Below is a list of the state regulations that went into effect on Aug. 1 2016, regarding the crab fisheries and crab trap requirements. Dungeness crab size and bag limits are now uniform statewide.

1) Crab trap buoys must display the “GO ID” number of the operator of the trap.

2) Crab traps must contain at least one destruct device made from a single strand of untreated cotton twine size No. 120 or less that creates an unobstructed opening anywhere in the top or upper half of the trap that is at least 5 inches in diameter when this material corrodes or fails.

3) Crab traps must not be deployed or fished seven days prior to the opening of the Dungeness crab season.

4) Every crab trap must be outfitted with two rigid circular escape openings that are a minimum of 4.25 inches in diameter and located so that the lowest portion is at the most five (5) inches from the top of the trap. This is to allow small crabs to easily escape from the trap.

For a complete list of crab trap regulations, visit https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=150181&inline

Crabbing locations
If you’re planning on heading offshore out of Eureka and leaving pots overnight, your best bet is to start setting gear in 100 to 150 feet of water. Historically, crabs tend to be in deeper water at the beginning of the season and will move in towards the beach later in the year. If you’re soaking for just a few hours and don’t have the equipment to go deep, dropping pots just outside the entrance in 50 feet is a good option.

If you don’t have means to head offshore, you can still find plenty of crab. One of the top spots to soak a few rings is Crab Park, located at the end of Cannibal Island Rd., in Loleta. There’s access to launch a kayak or canoe in the estuary of the Eel River. You can also launch your boat at Pedrazzini Park at the end of Cock Robin Island Rd., and make your way up the estuary towards the mouth of the Eel.

Humboldt Bay also has a few good locations to catch some crab. Out in front of the PG&E plant is a good spot as well as the flat off of the South Jetty parking lot. Another top location is either side of the channel leading into the South Bay. Up north, inside Trinidad Harbor is another popular spot among the locals. You can launch your small boat, kayak or canoe right off the beach and head out to Prisoner Rock, where the bottom is sandy and 40 to 50-ft deep. Launching here requires a relatively calm ocean, which looks to be the case this weekend.

Marine Forecast
Ocean conditions look good for Saturday’s crab opener, with no advisories posted as of Wednesday. Saturday’s forecast is calling for N winds to 5 knots with NW waves 3 feet at 7 seconds and NW 3 feet at 12 seconds. Sunday is looking a little rougher, with winds out of the NW to 5 knots and NW waves 4 feet at 5 seconds and NW 3 feet at 12 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.

Weekend Tides – Humboldt Bay
• Sat., Nov. 2 (High: 5:08 a.m. and 3:50 p.m.) (Low: 10:02 a.m. and 10:59 p.m.)

Standard time begins at 2:00 a.m. Sunday
• Sun., Nov. 3 (High: 5:14 a.m. and 3:49 p.m.) (Low: 10:12 a.m. and 10:59 p.m.)

North Coast all-depth recreational fishing to begin Nov. 1
In a press release issued last Friday, the CDFW announced a new recreational fishing opportunity for groundfish north of Point Arena from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, 2019.

For two decades, recreational fishing for groundfish species in deep waters off the California coast has been completely off limits, driven by the need to protect certain stocks that have been overfished. This marks the first time anglers off the northern California coast will be allowed to fish for groundfish without needing to abide by fishing depth limit regulations.

The all-depth fishery will take place only in November and December 2019, and only north of Point Arena. The newly open areas will allow anglers to target groundfish species in the midwater column, such as widow and yellowtail rockfish, as well as species found on the bottom. There are no special gear requirements, though unless otherwise specified, regulations require anglers to use not more than two hooks and one line to target groundfish. All other season dates, bag limits, size limits and other special area closures still apply.

While the all-depth fishery has been proposed since 2017, encounters with yelloweye rockfish in 2017 and 2018 exceeded the federal limit. In-season regulatory action in those years was needed to restrict depth limits in most areas of the state and also prevented the all-depth fishery from occurring. Following the outcome of the most recent yelloweye stock assessment indicating the population is rebuilding much sooner than expected, the federal limit increased in 2019, allowing the all-depth fishery this year. For more information on all-depth fishing, visit https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2019/10/25/north-coast-all-depth-recreational-fishing-to-begin-nov-1/.

For more information regarding groundfish regulations, management and fish identification tools, please visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Groundfish

Weekend Weather forecast
Dry weather continues to dominate the North Coast, and it looks to be more of the same for the next seven days. “There aren’t any signs of rain through next week,” said Kathleen Zontos of Eureka’s National Weather Service. “But there is a possibility that we’ll begin to see a pattern change – possibly a wet one – beginning the week of Nov. 11.”

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, the main stem Mad River from the Hammond Trail Railroad Trestle to its mouth and the main stem Smith River from the mouth of Rowdy Creek to its mouth.

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.

Smith River
The Smith remains closed to fishing above Rowdy Creek due to low flows, and the fishing has been really slow below according to Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “Very few salmon are being caught at the mouth, maybe one or two a day. There isn’t much happening at the Sand Hole either, it’s been slow all over.”

Chetco Estuary
“The Chetco estuary is fishing well, with lots of fish caught each day, especially at the beginning of the outgoing tide,” said Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. “Bigger numbers of hatchery fish arrived last week. A few fish to 35 pounds have been caught, but most are 15 to 20 pounds. With this week’s extra high tides, some of the fish are moving above the fishing deadline into the upper tidewater. The estuary will continue to fish until rain arrives.” From Oct. 1 through December 31, the daily bag limit for salmon is two adult fish per day. No more than one adult wild Chinook salmon may be harvested per day as part of the daily bag limit and no more than two total from Oct. 1 through December 3. Anglers may harvest adult hatchery Chinook salmon until their daily bag limit has been met. The daily limit for jack salmon is five fish per day and does not count towards the adult daily limit. Once the adult daily limit is harvested, anglers cannot continue to fish for jacks.

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

Humboldt Bay continues to kickout CA halibut

If you thought the California halibut season was over, you might want to rethink that. While the swells are too big to get offshore, and the rivers are too low to fish, Humboldt Bay just keeps producing. According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, who fished the bay a couple times last week, there’s plenty of fish around to make for a great day. “The fish aren’t in every spot like they were earlier in the year, so you may have to hunt around a little to find them,” said Klassen. “We’ve had some good success in the middle channel just above the bridge. The fishing should continue to be excellent as there’s still plenty of bait in the bay, which should keep the halibut close by.” According to Klassen, about the only thing that can slow the bite is the rain. Once the freshwater infiltrates the bay, both the halibut and the bait will likely head back to the ocean. The recreational fishery for California halibut is open year-round. The daily bag and possession limit is three fish, with a minimum size limit of 22 inches total length.

Betty Chinn of Eureka, left, is all smiles after landing her first-ever California halibut in Humboldt Bay last Thursday. Also pictured is Capt. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. Photo courtesy of Paul Shanahan

No rain in sight
We’re looking at dry weather at least through early November according to Kathleen Zontos of Eureka’s National Weather Service. “A ridge of high pressure continues to sit off our coast, which is moving systems to the north. As of now, there isn’t any rain forecasted through the first week in November,” Zontos added.

Focus group study seeks participants
The NNC is recruiting participants for focus group studies as part of a research project with NOAA about the use of National Weather Service flood forecast and warning tools. Nurture Nature Center (NNC) is a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit organization with a focus on flood issues, and has been working with NWS to help improve its flood forecast products. The focus groups, one for Humboldt County residents and the other for water resource and emergency management professionals, will help inform product recommendations to improve the display and delivery of forecast information in the region and nationally. The meeting for water and emergency professionals will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday, November 4 at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center. The meeting for residents is Monday, November 4 at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Participants should live or work in the Humboldt County area and be at least 18 years of age. To participate, contact Rachel Hogan Carr at rhogan@nurturenature.org or 610-253-4432 for more information. You can also register online at www.focusonfloods.org 

Willow Creek weir counts
For the trapping week of Oct 15 through Oct. 21, 42 jacks were trapped at the weir. To date, 646 jacks have been trapped compared to 251 for the entire 2018 trapping season. This past week, 122 adult Chinook were trapped, bringing the season total to 819. In 2018, 1,341 total adult Chinook were trapped. Twenty-eight were Coho trapped last week, bringing the season total to 61. In 2018, 25 adult Coho were trapped. The steelhead numbers picked up this week as well compared to the previous week. A total of 240 adult steelhead were trapped. The previous week 13 were trapped. For the season, 649 have been counted compared to 510 for the entire 2018 season.

Pacific Halibut season coming to the end
The recreational Pacific Halibut season will come to a close next Thursday, Oct. 31. As of Wednesday, 17,852 net pounds have been harvested towards the 39,000-pound quota.

Shelter Cove
Rockfish remain the focus for the few still fishing out of the Cove according to Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “Rock fishing was good around the Old Man the couple days I went. We’re starting to see some nice ling cod move in on the reef. I didn’t hear of any salmon caught this week and only heard of one boat trying.”

Brookings
Ocean fishing has been fair out of Brookings, but a big swell and northwest winds have limited the window to fish early in the morning reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “We ran trips Monday and got limits of rockfish and a few lingcod, but had to run up the coast to Mack Arch. 

The Rivers:
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, the main stem Mad River from the Hammond Trail Railroad Trestle to its mouth and the main stem Smith River from the mouth of Rowdy Creek to its mouth.

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.

Lower Klamath
A few fish are still being caught at the mouth, but the effort has dwindled. Same can be said for upriver where a total of four adult salmon were caught last week. Through Oct. 21, 2,473 adult kings have been harvested towards the quota of 3,819, leaving 1,346 left for harvest. The spit fishery still has plenty of fish to catch as well. Anglers have harvested 718 adult kings below the 101 bridge, leaving 427 left to catch. Anglers may keep track of the Klamath and Trinity river quotas by calling 800-564-6479.

Lynn Mimidas of Lancaster, Pa., and Kathie Jeffery of Emerson, N.J., hold a pair of king salmon caught Sunday on the Smith River with guide Rye Phillips They used 4.0 MagLip plugs. Submitted

Smith
Enough rain fell late last week to open the Smith River to fishing last Friday. Reportedly, fishing was slow on the lower river although a few fish were caught. Most of the fish landed were on the small side. The river closed on Tuesday morning, and with no rain in the forecast, it probably won’t open again until sometime in November.

Chetco
The Chetco estuary slowed with higher water, which is allowing salmon to move into the upper tidewater according to Martin “Fishing should improve as the river drops. Tides are ideal this week, with an incoming in the morning. A few salmon were caught early in the week on the Rogue 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

More rain on the way, Smith may open to fishing

If you’ve been waiting for your shot at some Smith River kings, you may get your wish this weekend. It seems likely there won’t be enough rain to open the Humboldt rivers that are currently closed due to low flows, but up in Crescent City, the Smith River could come into play. According to Kathleen Zontos of Eureka’s National Weather Service, the Smith River basin could see up to two inches of rain at the coast and possibly three in the higher elevations. If that comes to fruition, the levels could jump substantially.

As of Wednesday, flows were predicted to push well over the minimum flow of 600 cfs at the Jed Smith gauge. After a small rise on Thursday, the river is forecasted to reach nearly 2,500 cfs by late Saturday night. On paper, it looks like the river could open sometime Saturday late morning and close again on Monday. Whether the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife chooses to open the river to fishing will likely be a game-time decision.

Here in Humboldt, rainfall totals will be much less. In the Mad and Eel basins, we could see anywhere from a quarter on the coast and up to an inch in the mountains. Not nearly enough to open the Mad or Eel rivers to fishing. For low flow closure information, call the hotline at 707-822-3164.

Weekend marine forecast
Gusty south winds and steep seas will build into Thursday and gradually diminish through the weekend. South winds are forecasted for Friday 5 to 10 knots with waves NW 13 feet at 13 seconds. Saturday forecast is calling for S winds 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 12 feet at 13 seconds. Sunday is looking a little better, with SE winds up to 5 knots and NW waves 9 feet at 13 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.

Local crabs being tested for domoic acid
The season’s first domoic acid crab survey was taken on Oct. 2 in Eureka and Trinidad. Six crab were tested in the Trinidad north region, and another six in the south region. Six crabs were also tested to the north and south of Eureka. Zero percent of the crab’s samples exceeded action levels. Crescent City’s tests were pending as of Wednesday. Results of future testing can be found here: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CEH/DFDCS/Pages/FDBPrograms/FoodSafetyProgram/DomoicAcid.aspx

Entire Oregon coast now open for razor clamming
In a press release issued last Friday, the Oregon Department of Agriculture has opened the Razor clam season for the entire Oregon coast. The elevated presence of domoic acid kept the coastal area between the south jetty of the Umpqua River and the Coquille River closed to shellfish harvesting, but recent samples revealed an amount below the closure limit. Now all areas of the Oregon coast are opening for razor clamming. For more information on shellfish safety, call the ODA hotline at 800-448-2427 or the agency’s food safety division at 503-986-4720. For more information, visit https://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2019/10_Oct/100419b.asp

Mussels off limits in Humboldt/Mendocino counties
In a press release issued on Tuesday, Oct. 15, The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is advising consumers not to eat sports-harvested mussels, clams, or whole scallops from Humboldt and Mendocino Counties due to dangerous levels of domoic acid. The naturally occurring toxin is also referred to as Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP) and can cause illness or death in humans. This shellfish safety notification is in addition to the annual mussel quarantine. The annual quarantine applies to all species of mussels harvested along the California coast, as well as all bays and estuaries, and will continue through at least October 31. The warning against eating sport-harvested razor clams in Del Norte and Humboldt counties also remains in effect, due to continued elevated levels of domoic acid. You can get the most current information on shellfish advisories and quarantines by calling CDPH’s toll-free Shellfish Information Line at 800-553-4133. For additional information, visit: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CEH/DRSEM/Pages/EMB/Shellfish/Marine-Biotoxin-Monitoring-Program.aspx

Fishing vessel drill conductor training
The Alaska Marin Safety Education Association (AMSEA) will be conducting hands-on survival skills on Oct. 28 and 29 from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Woodley Island Marina in Eureka. The training will include: Cold-water survival skills, EPIRBs, signal flares and mayday calls, man overboard recovery, firefighting and more. Fees are $95 to commercial fisherman, $195 to all others. Training meets the U.S. Coast Guard requirements for drill conductors on commercial fishing vessels, 46 CFR 28.270(c). Register online at www.amsea.org or call 907-747-3287.

Klamath River quota update
According to Dan Troxel, an Environmental Scientist on the Klamath River Project, we’re just about two-thirds through the lower river quota, with angler effort dwindling. Through Oct. 14, 2,463 adult kings have been harvested towards the quota of 3,819, leaving 1,356 left for harvest. The spit fishery still has plenty of fish to catch as well. Anglers have harvested 711 adult kings below the 101 bridge, leaving 434 left to catch. Once this quota is met, only the spit area will close to fishing. Fishing will remain open upriver of the spit until the 3,819 quota is met. Once the lower river quota is wrapped up, anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon under 22 inches in length. Anglers may keep track of the Klamath and Trinity river quotas by calling 800-564-6479.

Trinity flows dropping
Flows coming out of Lewiston Dam were reduced beginning Monday, Oct. 14, going from 450 cfs down to 300 cfs by Wednesday, Oct. 16.

The Oceans:
Eureka
This week’s calm conditions allowed what’s left of the ocean fleet to get back on the water. According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, the rock fish at the Cape are still biting and there were a few Pacific halibut caught over the weekend. “There’s a real good variety of rockfish coming out of the Cape right now, and they’re a good grade as well,” said Klassen. “The ling cod bite has been a little tougher, but most days we’re getting at least one per angler. The Pacific halibut bite has been a little up and down. One day we boated limits for five and the next day we only landed one. Most of the action has been a little north on the 50-line in 250 to 350 feet of water.” As of Oct. 13, 17,852 net pounds have been harvested towards the 39,000-pound quota.

Shelter Cove
Rockfish has been the choice for the few boats fishing out of the Cove this week. According to Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing, it’s still worth the effort. He said, “We fished up at Gorda three days and one down at the Hat this past week. Rock fishing was great up north, but the lingcod bite was tough, although we did get limits. There seems to be a lot more ling cod around the Hat, but the quality of snappers down there isn’t as great as up north. There were a few pacific halibut caught over the weekend as well. A couple were caught outside of the Old Man and a handful were caught at Gorda. A couple salmon were also caught this week near the whistle.”

Brookings
“The ocean has fished very well for rockfish and lingcod in recent days, but swells to 15 feet will keep boats at the docks through the weekend,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Fishing on the lower Klamath has slowed considerably. A few kings are still around, and some more steelhead showed up. There’s also some Coho that are starting to show. Boat pressure has been light as most guides have moved on.

Smith River
A few salmon were caught at the mouth on Tuesday evening according to Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “So far, that’s the most fish I’ve seen caught, with most of them coming on Cleo’s. Not many fish have made it up to the Sand Hole yet.”

Glen Green of Montana and Janae and Chris Nelson of Denio, Nev., and deckhand Shane Brooks hold salmon caught Oct. 5 at the mouth of the Chetco River while fishing with guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. The Chetco, along with the Smith, should see a push of fresh salmon with the rise in flows. Photo courtesy of Andy Martin

Chetco Estuary
The Chetco estuary fished well over the weekend before the action slowed Monday and Tuesday according to Martin. “Big swells and strong southerly winds likely will make it tough to fish the rest of the week. With dry weather expected to return next week, the estuary could heat up again, although a portion of the run will shoot upriver with increased flows from this week’s rain,” Martin added.

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

Fisheries roundtable to be held this Saturday in Arcata

Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), Chair of the House Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife, announced last Saturday that his first two fisheries roundtable discussions will be held in Northern California; the first this Saturday, October 5th, from 2:30-4:30 p.m. in Arcata, and the second on Monday, October 7th, at 1:00 p.m. in San Francisco. These are the initial stops on a nationwide listening tour on federal fisheries management designed to engage diverse perspectives, interests, and needs of individuals who have a stake in management of federal ocean and fisheries resources. The events are both free and open to the public and press. The Arcata event will be held at the D Street Community Center, 1301 D Street.

Each of Huffman’s roundtable panel discussions with experts and stakeholders will include a detailed, technical examination of current and future challenges in federal fisheries management and will explore potential solutions. Guests will be able to submit written questions during the roundtable and provide public comments at its conclusion. Members of the public can register for the events and submit questions ahead of time at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rep-huffman-roundtable-on-magnuson-stevens-act-and-federal-fisheries-tickets-74157562265. The ideas Huffman receives from this listening tour, and from other stakeholder outreach that is already underway, will inform his introduction of a reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the primary law governing fisheries management in U.S. federal waters.

Emma Sobrehad of McKinleyville caught a nice kelp greenling while participating in last year’s Trinidad Pier Youth Fishing Tourney. The 2019 event is scheduled for this Saturday, Oct. 5 from 11 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The free event is open to all children ages 6 to 15. Photo courtesy of Ken Jones
Six year-old Rex Bertrand of Arcata with a brown rockfish. Photo courtesy of Ken Jones

Young Anglers Tournament this Saturday
The Trinidad Pier Youth Fishing Tourney will take place this Saturday, Oct. 5 from 11 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The free event is open to all children ages 6 to 15. Prizes will be awarded in each category and fishing gear and bait will be provided. An adult must accompany children.

Twelve year-old David Shigematsu of Davis with a lingcod. Photo courtesy of Ken Jones

Hot dogs and refreshments will be served following the event. Catch and release is encouraged and no fishing license is required. Look for the sign-up table on the Trinidad Pier. For more information, contact Ken Jones at kenjones@pierfishing.com

Low Flow River Closures now in effect
North Coast rivers that are regulated by low flow closures, including sections of the Eel, Mad, Redwood Creek, Smith and Van Duzen are all closed to fishing as of Oct. 1 due to low flows. The Mattole, also falls under low flow regulations, but doesn’t open to fishing until Jan. 1, 2020. For more information and up-to-date closure info, call the North Coast low-flow closure hotline at 707-822-3164 or visit https://bit.ly/2QsZUQ9

Klamath River quota update
According to Dan Troxel, an Environmental Scientist on the Klamath River Project, we’re just about halfway through the sub-area quota below 101 bridge, and just under halfway through the Lower River quota. Through Sept. 30, 1,872 adult kings have been harvested towards the Lower River quota of 3,819, leaving 1,947 left for harvest. The spit fishery still has plenty of fish to catch as well. Anglers have harvested 581 adult kings below the 101 bridge, leaving 564 left to catch. Once this quota is met, only the spit area will close to fishing. Fishing will remain open upriver of the spit until the 3,819 quota is met. Once the lower river quota is wrapped up, anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon under 22 inches in length. Anglers may keep track of the Klamath and Trinity river quotas by calling 800-564-6479.

Weekend marine forecast
The ocean looks to be fishable through the weekend, with Sunday looking like the best day. Friday’s forecast is calling for N winds 5 to 10 knots with waves NW 7 feet at 11 seconds. Saturday is calling for winds out of the N 5 to 10 knots and NW waves 6 feet at 8 seconds. Sunday looks better, with N winds up to 5 knots and W waves 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.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Ocean conditions finally improved, allowing boats to once again head offshore. On Tuesday, Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing took advantage of the weather and made a run to the Cape. He said, “Fishing was pretty good, but we didn’t find a lot of variety. We were able to limit on blues, blacks and canaries. We also had a few Cabazon as well as a few lings. Prior to the weather lying down, we spent most of our time in the bay targeting California halibut. The fishing is still good if you’re in the right location. Most days we had limits or close to it. There’s still lots of anchovies in the bay.

Brookings
“This week’s return of calm seas and light winds allowed boats to get offshore again for lingcod and rockfish, with good fishing,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Crabbing also has been very good out of Brookings, especially in deeper water. Tuna remain too far out for sports boats in Brookings, but charters in Newport and Depoe Bay did very well over the weekend.”

The Rivers:
Chetco Estuary
Salmon fishing is off to a good start in the Chetco estuary, with several fish a day being caught reports Martin. “Jacks comprise most of the catch, but fish topping 20 pounds also are being caught. The Chetco is closed above river mile 2.2, but will open after significant fall rains increase flows,” added Martin.

Smith River
Last Sunday was pretty good at the mouth of the Smith according to Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “I saw a total of five salmon caught, which is the best day so far this year. Most of the fish are being caught tossing Cleo’s on the outgoing tide. Not many fish have made it up to the Sand Hole yet.”

Lower Klamath
There are still plenty of fresh salmon pouring into the Klamath and the fishing remains excellent. There’s still plenty of jacks around to make for a great day, and more adults are showing up all the time. The grade also seems to be improving.

Lower Rogue
According to Martin, salmon fishing has slowed on the Rogue Bay, but a few adult kings and wild Coho are still around.

Chetco low flow angling closures
The Chetco will be closed to angling upstream of River Mile 2.2 until opened following arrival of fall rains and increased river flows. This closure may be lifted when fall-run Chinook salmon have distributed and forecasted flows are expected to remain high enough to allow fish to migrate, expected for early to mid-November based on historical river flows. From Oct. 1 through December 31, anglers are allowed one adult salmon daily, and two total.

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

Plenty of adult kings left to catch on the Klamath

It’s hard to imagine the fishing could get better on the Klamath after last week, but it actually did. Whether it was the increased flows from the rain, or the fish were just ready – a pretty good slug of fish entered the Klamath beginning on Sunday. And a lot more adults finally made their way into the system. Limits have been easy to come by this week on adults and jacks.

Houston, TX resident Ralph Wissel landed a pair of jack salmon on a recent trip to the Klamath River. Fishing remains excellent on the Klamath, and there’s still plenty of adult salmon left to catch before the lower river quota is met. Photo courtesy of Tracy Mac

The one thing we know for sure is there’s plenty of fish left to catch before the lower river quota is met. Through Sept. 23, 1,564 adult kings have been harvested towards the quota of 3,819, leaving 2,255 left for harvest. With angling effort beginning to decline, the quota could easily go through Oct. The spit fishery still has plenty of fish to catch as well. Anglers have harvested 525 adult kings below the 101 bridge, leaving 620 left to catch. Catch rates supposedly began to increase over the weekend, so this quota could go quick if the fish arrive in big numbers. Once this quota is met, only the spit area will close to fishing. Fishing will remain open upriver of the spit until the 3,818 quota is met. Once the lower river quota is wrapped up, anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon under 22 inches in length. Anglers may keep track of the Klamath and Trinity river quotas by calling 800-564-6479.

Weekend marine forecast
The strong northerly winds will begin to diminish on Thursday. Large, steep seas will persist across all coastal zones Wednesday through late Thursday before subsiding on Friday. As of Wednesday afternoon, Friday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the N 10 to 20 knots with N swells 9 feet at 9 seconds. Saturday looks similar, with N winds 10 to 20 knots and N swells 9 feet at 10 seconds. Sunday the winds will be from the N 5 to 10 knots, with N swells 8 feet at 7 seconds and W 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.

Young Anglers Tournament coming in Oct.
The Trinidad Pier Youth Fishing Tourney will take place on Saturday, Oct. 5 from 11 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The free event is open to all children ages 6 to 15. Prizes will be awarded in each category and fishing gear and bait will be provided. An adult must accompany children. Hot dogs and refreshments will be served following the event. Catch and release is encouraged and no fishing license is required. Look for the sign-up table on the Trinidad Pier. For more information, contact Ken Jones at kenjones@pierfishing.com

The Oceans:
Eureka
The wind has finally slowed down the tuna fishing. A few locals ran on Sunday and found some success roughly 40 miles out in less than ideal conditions. According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, we may get another crack at them once the wind and ocean come down. “Right now, next Tuesday is looking like a possibility. There’s still warm water straight out of Eureka, as well as to the north and south. Prior to the big winds, we made a trip down to the Cape and the fish were biting. It was good to see the lingcod back on the bite. We also boated limits rockfish that included blues, coppers, cabezon, quillbacks, and some canaries. The most consistent fishery continues to be California halibut within Humboldt Bay. There’s still fish spread throughout the bay. Most fish are running eight to 12 pounds, but we’re seeing the occasional fish into the upper twenties,” Klassen added.

Shelter Cove
“The tuna bite was good last Monday through Wednesday, but we haven’t been back out since due to wind,” said Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “The warm water is pushing out a little bit, so we’ll see what it looks like when the wind calms down. Right now, my plan is to try again on Thursday as it looks like the water is about 30 miles. The salmon effort has dried up, I didn’t hear of anyone trying this week.”

Brookings
Rough weather has kept boats at the docks in Brookings this week reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Rockfish and lingcod are biting when the weather cooperates, but wind has kept most anglers in port,” added Martin.

Low Flow River Closures begin Oct. 1
North Coast rivers that are regulated by low flow closures, including the Eel River, Mad River, Mattole River, Redwood Creek, Smith River and Van Duzen River will begin angling restrictions on October 1st, except for the Mad River, which went into effect September 1st. The Department of Fish and Game will make the information available to the public by a telephone recorded message updated, as necessary, no later than 1 p.m. each Monday, Wednesday and Friday as to whether any stream will be closed to fishing. The rivers can be opened up at anytime. The low flow closure hotline for North Coast rivers is (707) 822-3164. NOTE: The main stem Eel from the South Fork to Cape Horn Dam and the Mattole River will be closed until January 1, 2020

Areas subject to low flow closures:

Mad River: The main stem Mad River from the Hammond Trail Railroad Trestle to Cowan Creek. Minimum flow: 200 cfs at the gauging station at the Highway 299 bridge.

The main stem Eel River from the paved junction of Fulmor Road with the Eel River to the South Fork Eel River. Minimum flow: 350 cfs at the gauging station near Scotia.

The South Fork of the Eel River downstream from Rattlesnake Creek and the Middle Fork Eel River downstream from the Bar Creek. Minimum flow: 340 cfs at the gauging station at Miranda.

Van Duzen River: The main stem Van Duzen River from its junction with the Eel River to the end of Golden Gate Drive near Bridgeville (approximately 4,000 feet upstream of Little Golden Gate Bridge. Minimum flow: 150 cfs at the gauging station near Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park.

Mattole River: The main stem of the Mattole River from the mouth to Honeydew Creek. Minimum flow: 320 cfs at the gauging station at Petrolia.

Redwood Creek: The main stem of Redwood Creek from the mouth to its confluence with Bond Creek. Minimum flow: 300 cfs at the gauging station near the Highway 101 bridge.

Smith River: The main stem Smith River from the mouth of Rowdy Creek to its confluence with Patrick Creek; the South Fork Smith River from the mouth upstream approximately 1000 ft to the County Road (George Tyron) bridge and Craigs Creek to its confluence with Jones Creek; and the North Fork Smith River from the mouth to its confluence with Stony Creek. Minimum flow: 600 cfs at the Jedediah Smith State Park gauging station.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Fishing got a little tougher last Friday and Saturday, but it busted wide-open on Sunday. Limits have been the norm since then for just about everyone. Right now, there’s a good mix of jacks, adult salmon, along with a good number of adult steelhead. Fish are spread out from the Glen to Blue Creek. Side-drifting roe in the riffles and dragging roe through the deeper holes are both producing fish.

Lower Rogue/Coos
“The Rogue Bay has slowed, with a few jacks and adult kings and some Coho salmon available,” said Martin.  “Fish are quickly moving through the bay and continuing upriver. Last week’s rain also drew many of the salmon holding in the Coos and Umpqua estuaries upriver. Fishing is fair for salmon on both systems with a fish per rod. Lots of wild Coho are staging below the airport on the Coos.

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

Klamath River full of kings

If you want action, the Klamath River has plenty to offer at the moment. The fishing has been pretty spectacular for almost two weeks now, and it doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. In fact, it could be quite the opposite. Currently, the river is plugged with jacks (two-year-old male salmon) as well as adult steelhead. And there’s a good mix of small adult kings around now too. But with over an inch of rain this week, this could really entice the bulk of the run to make their way in from the salt. Historically, the adult salmon have followed the jacks into the system. If history repeats itself, the best fishing could still be yet to come.

Six-year-old Hiram Johnson of Rio Dell had himself quite a day on the Klamath River on Monday. The young angler bagged his limit of king salmon and also landed a couple steelhead. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Green Water Fishing Adventures

Klamath River quota update
According to Dan Troxel, an Environmental Scientist on the Klamath River Project, we are roughly 41 percent of the way through the sub-area quota for closure at the mouth, and 35 percent through the entire lower river quota. Through Sept. 16, 1,329 adult salmon have been harvested from the Hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth towards the lower river quota of 3,819. Of those, 468 adults were caught below the Hwy. 101 bridge, leaving 677 adult salmon left to catch below the 101 bridge prior to the spit fishery closing. Only the spit area will close to fishing once this quota is met, fishing will remain open upriver of the spit until the 3,818 quota is met. The lower river, from the Hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth has roughly 2,490 adults remaining for sport harvest. Once the quota has been met, anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon under 22 inches in length. Anglers may keep track of the Klamath and Trinity river quotas by calling 800-564-6479.

Weekend marine forecast
Pacific high pressure will build along the coast and will result in northerly winds and steep seas increasing late Thursday and lingering into Saturday. Friday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the N 5 to 15 knots with N swells 7 feet at 7 seconds. Saturday looks a little better, with N winds 5 to 15 knots and N swells 6 feet at 6 seconds and NW 4 feet at 13 seconds. Sunday the winds will be from the NW 5 to 15 knots, with NW swells 8 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
Tuna continues to dominate the saltwater effort out of Eureka. At the moment, there’s warm water to the south of Eureka roughly 25 miles and the same distance to the north. Boats went both directions last Sunday, with the northern boats scoring big and the south boats not so much. “We were one of the boats that went south and the fishing wasn’t great,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “There was a commercial boat about five miles outside of us, and they were doing good. So, there’s fish out there. The weather doesn’t look good for the next few days, but the warm water looks like it’s going to stick around. In the past, October has been a good month for tuna, and it’s shaping up that way again this year,” Klassen added. There hasn’t been much, if any, effort on rockfish or Pacific halibut. Through Sept. 8, the Pacific halibut quota is at 16,819 net pounds towards a quota of 39,000 net pounds.

Shelter Cove
Rock fishing was great this week, but the ling cod are tough to come by if you want to get limits reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “I mainly fished down off Bear Harbor for rockfish this week. The tuna fishing remains excellent. Monday and Tuesday, we fished down off of Fort Bragg for 20 and 29 fish. There isn’t much effort on salmon, we tried for a couple of days and got blanked. I did hear of a couple caught this week, one at the bell and one at the Hat. The California halibut bite has been decent in on the beach lately as well.”

Brookings
Strong winds and choppy seas kept boats in port this week at Brookings reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Before the stormy weather, a few Pacific halibut were being caught, along with plenty of lingcod and rockfish. The weather looks ok for the weekend, although the swell will be modestly big,” added Martin.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The rain brought the flows up just enough to put the fish on the move reports guide Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service. “The weather has been very influential the past few days. With the rise, the fish are now moving quickly through the system. The rise also brought in some more adult kings to go along with all the jacks and steelhead. Typically, we’ll see the main push of adults follow the jacks in, so there’s a good chance that the best fishing is yet to come,” Coopman added.

Lower Rogue/Coos
“Salmon fishing cooled down on the Rogue, although some nice adults and a few jacks are still being caught,” said Martin.  “Now is the time to fish the Grants Pass are before the river there closes at the end of the month. Salmon fishing has been fair to good on the Coos and Coquille Rivers.”

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

Tuna remains all the rage

Tim Klassen, left, along with Dean and Forrest Ester from Freshwater landed a nice Albacore tuna on a recent trip out of Eureka. Photo courtesy of Tim Klassen/Reel Steel Sport Fishing

If tuna fever was a real virus, there’d be a lot of ailing anglers in Humboldt County. The madness started back at the beginning of August, and except for a few days of rough water, hasn’t slowed down. The combination of flat ocean conditions and easily accessible water has stuck around longer than anyone would have ever imagined. And it’s worth mentioning that the warm water is stuffed with tuna. The warm water doesn’t look like it’s moving out of reach anytime soon either. As the water moves north past Trinidad, there’s another warm patch moving north from Fort Bragg/Shelter Cove to take its place. While it’s a real treat being able to take a leisurely cruise after work and load up on tuna, there is a downside to the warm water. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has identified another expanse of warm water stretching from Alaska to California. The warm mass, which formed as a ridge of high-pressure over the Pacific Ocean decreased the winds that mix up ocean waters and cool the surface, could turn out to be as strong as the “blob” that began forming off our coast in 2013. Impacts of the blob are still felt today. The algal bloom created by the warm water shut down crabbing and clamming, and greatly reduced food sources for our salmon. I love a calm ocean, but right now I’m praying for wind, and lots of it.

Weekend marine forecast
Northerly winds will gradually increase through the end of the week, with the strongest winds across the outer waters south of Cape Mendocino. As of Wednesday, the forecast out 10 nautical miles for Friday is calling for winds out of the N 5to 15 knots with NW swells 7 feet at 9 seconds. Saturday looks similar, with winds from the NW 5 to 10 knots and NW swells 5 feet at 7 seconds. Sunday the winds will be from the W up to 5 knots and NW swells 6 feet at 12 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.

Klamath River quota update
According to Dan Troxel, an Environmental Scientist on the Klamath River Project, we are a little over a third of the way through the sub-area quota for closure at the mouth, and a solid quarter of the way through the entire lower river quota. “It seems that things are picking up on the river. Anglers are getting them pretty good upriver and fairly well in the estuary. However, the mouth is still on the slow side,” said Troxel. Through Sept. 9, 979 adult salmon had been harvested from the Hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth towards the quota of 3,819. Of those, 419 adults were caught below the Hwy. 101 bridge, leaving 726 adult salmon left to catch below the 101 bridge prior to the spit fishery closing. Only the spit area will close to fishing once this quota is met, fishing will remain open upriver of the spit until the 3,818 quota is met. The lower river, from the Hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth has roughly 2,840 adults remaining for sport harvest. Once the quota has been met, anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon under 22 inches in length. Anglers may keep track of the Klamath and Trinity river quotas by calling 800-564-6479.

Pacific Halibut quota update
The CDFW has projected 16,819 net pounds of Pacific Halibut has been harvested through Sept. 8. In 2019, the Pacific halibut allocation for California is 39,000 pounds. To view the latest catch projection information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/pacific-halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

The Oceans:
Eureka
With nice weather and close water, it’s been all about the tuna for the Eureka fleet. According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, boats have been heading offshore since last Thursday. “There’s a large mass of warm water from the 46-line to Trinidad,” said Klassen. “Boats have been finding fish anywhere from 10 to 18 miles offshore where the water temps range from 62 to 64 degrees. The fish are a decent grade, with most in the 12 to 18-pound range along with the occasional fish in the 20’s. Tuna Clones, Cedar Plugs, and Rapalas are all catching fish. We’ve also had some good live bait stops,” added Klassen. Looking ahead, Thursday might be fishable, but Friday and Saturday are looking a little rough. The winds will start to come back down on Sunday. 

Shelter Cove
According to Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing, the tuna water pushed out a little bit and the weather has come up slightly. He said, “The closest water is about 20 miles right now. I fished tuna last Thursday and boated 26. We were out again on Tuesday, and landed 25. The fish are there, it’s just a little tougher to get to them right now. There isn’t a whole lot of effort on salmon, but the ones trying aren’t doing very well. I have only heard of two salmon caught this past week. The rockfish bite has been great. I fished down off Bear Harbor for limits two days this past week.”

Brookings
Rough weather kept boats at the docks in Brookings early this week, but conditions are forecasted to be much better through the weekend reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Several Pacific halibut were caught last week out of Brookings. Fishing for rockfish has been very good,” said Martin

Crescent City
There aren’t many anglers fishing, but there are fish to catch reports Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “The rockfish bite is still going strong. Guys fishing over the weekend did well at the Sisters, and the South and North Reefs. There were also a few Pacific halibut caught south of the South Reef in 230 to 300 feet of water. The California halibut bite was really good over Labor Day, but has since died.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The steelhead action was red-hot over the weekend from the Glen to Blue Creek. The river is also loaded with jacks, and a few more adult kings are starting to show up every day. Fish are being caught side-drifting the riffles and dragging bait through the deeper holes. The daily bag limit is two Chinook, no more than one adult (greater than 22 inches) and the possession limit is six, no more than three adults. Two hatchery steelhead or hatchery trout may also be retained, with a possession limit of four each.

Lower Rogue/Coos Bay
According to Martin, large numbers of jacks are providing plenty of action on the Rogue Bay, where nearly every boat is catching fish. He said, “Only a handful of adult kings are being caught. Lots of salmon headed upstream with the rain and are already near Agness. The Coos is off to a good start, with a salmon per rod to begin the week. Tides are prime for the remainder of the week, and the recent rain likely has fish moving in from the ocean.”

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

Tuna water still sitting off of Eureka

Arcata resident Natalie Okun got in on the tuna action out of Eureka this past week, landing this beauty while fishing aboard the Shellback. The warm water is still sitting off of Eureka, and plenty of boats have their sights set on a Friday tuna run. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Shellback Sport Fishing

A brief recap of the holiday weekend. An epic offshore bonanza was predicted for the weekend, and boy did it come to fruition. Tuna, salmon, halibut, and rockfish were all flying over the rails at a pretty good clip. Per usual, tuna generated the biggest buzz, and rightfully so. It doesn’t happen often where the ocean is flat calm, and the warm water is within 20 miles. The tuna frenzy began last Thursday, and boats were still chasing them as of Wednesday. Tuna were as close in as 10 miles on Monday, and Matt Dallam of Northwind Charters boated several large ones on his way in. Looking ahead, Friday appears to be the next really calm day. If you haven’t got all the tuna you need, there’s still some time. Salmon season closed as of Tuesday, and it sounded like they bit pretty well right down to the wire. Several Pacific halibut were caught over the weekend in Trinidad, which we haven’t seen in quite some time. Once the tuna water moves out of reach, expect a whole lot more effort on the halibut as there’s plenty of quota left to catch. Through Aug. 25, just 14,853 net pounds have been harvested towards the 39,000 quota.

Weekend marine forecast
Ocean conditions look plenty fishable through the weekend, with Friday looking like the best day for a tuna run. As of Wednesday, the forecast out 10 nautical miles for Friday is calling for winds out of the N up to 5 knots and waves NW 3 feet at 9 seconds. Saturday is calling for NW winds 5 to 10 knots and waves W 5 feet at 7 seconds and SW 2 feet at 19 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is calling for NW winds 5 to 10 knots and waves W 5 feet at 7 seconds and SW 2 feet at 18 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.

Klamath River quota update
The Labor Day weekend is typically the busiest weekend of the fall season on the Klamath River. And this year was no exception. The river was crowded, with plenty of boats and bank anglers trying to land the prized king salmon. Here’s what we know after the dust has settled. Through Sept. 2, 403 adult salmon had been harvested from the Hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth towards the quota of 3,818. Of those, 246 adults were caught below the Hwy. 101 bridge, leaving 899 adult salmon left to catch below the 101 bridge prior to the spit fishery closing. Only the spit area will close to fishing once this quota is met, fishing will remain open upriver of the spit until the 3,818 quota is met. The lower river, from the Hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth has roughly 3,416 adults remaining for sport harvest. Once the quota has been met, anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon under 22 inches in length. Anglers may keep track of the Klamath and Trinity river quotas by calling 800-564-6479.

The Oceans:
Eureka
The salmon season came to a close on Monday, but it ended on a pretty good note. Conditions were good, and quite a few boats were able to get limits or close to it. “Most of the boats were fishing around the 47 to 48 line straight off the dumpsite. Some nice fish up to 20 pounds were caught,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “With salmon closed and the warm water still close, some of the boats are still targeting tuna. As of Tuesday, the water was 13 to 15 miles from the entrance.”  Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing also spent most of the week chasing tuna and reports a solid 20 to 30 fish per trip 25 miles out of Eureka. He said, “Early in the week we focused our attention to the south off cape Mendocino and followed the warm water as it pushed north to straight out front. Fish ranged from six pound peanuts to over 30 pounds,” added Sepulveda.

Shelter Cove
The tuna bite was absolutely wide-open all week long until the wind started blowing on Monday reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “The water and fish pushed in as close as 10 miles from shore. It was a pretty good grade of fish, with many in the 20-pound range. We fished halibut at Gorda on Friday but only got one 50-pounder. The rockfish and lingcod bite was wide-open at Gorda as well. The salmon are still a little spotty, but most boats trying are getting a couple,” added Mitchell. The sport salmon season will remain open from Horse Mountain to Point Arena (which includes Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg) through Oct. 31. The minimum size limit remains at 20 inches total length.

Crescent City
The California halibut bite is still pretty good along South Beach reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “They were getting them pretty good off the seawall over the weekend. I heard of six anglers getting their three-fish limits. The rockfish bite has picked back up, and so have the lings,” Hegnes added.

Brookings
Salmon fishing ended on a slow note out of Brookings, with only a couple dozen kings caught during the three-day Labor Day salmon derby reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters . “A 20-pounder won. Fishing has been good for Pacific halibut and lingcod,” added Martin.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The water released from Lewiston Dam arrived at the lower Klamath on Wednesday, but the river remained in fishable shape reports Alan Borges of Alans’s Guide Service. He said, “It was pretty mossy down low in the morning, but it got better throughout the day. The river should be in great shape the rest of the week. There are some salmon around, not a ton. I’d say most boats are landing a couple adults a day. There’s fish spread throughout the river now, it should only get better.”

Lower Rogue
“The Rogue Bay has improved with guides consistently catching a fish per rod or better, with limits some days,” said Martin. “There are big numbers of jacks holding between Jot’s Resort and Indian Creek. Water temperatures are still above 70 degrees, so most of the adult salmon are holding in the lower portion of the bay, and biting on the incoming tide. Salmon fishing also has been good on the Coos, with a strong early season showing of adult kings and lots of jacks.

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