Sizzling Pacific Halibut Bite off Eureka and Trinidad

Mark Nelson of Chester landed this nice Pacific halibut Saturday while fishing out of Eureka aboard the Seaweasel II. Photo courtesy of Gary Blasi/Full Throttle Sport Fishing

The weather isn’t the only thing heating up right now. The Pacific halibut bite on the North Coast is sizzling! With salmon season still a couple weeks away, offshore anglers have honed in on the halibut, and they are coming over the rails at a record pace. Eureka and Trinidad have both 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 some of the best fishing we’ve seen,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “I think the water clarity has a lot to do with it. Last week the water was really dirty, and the bite slowed. There’s seems to be fish from north of the entrance all the way to Trinidad in 260 to 300 feet of water. We’re starting to see some bigger fish too. They’re running anywhere from 15 to 45 pounds, but we’re seeing more in the 30-to-40-pound class,” added Klassen. The only thing that could cool the bite would be the wind. And that’s exactly what’s headed our way, and plenty of it.

Weekend marine forecast
Northerly winds will ramp up starting Wednesday and will persist through the rest of the work week and through the weekend. Friday’s forecast is calling for 10 to 20 knot winds out of the north and waves north 11 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday looks similar, with north winds 10 to 20 knots and waves north 10 feet at 10 seconds. On Sunday, winds will be out of the north 5 to 15 knots with north waves 9 feet at nine seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or 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 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

Pacific halibut quota update
The CDFW has projected 12,711 net pounds of Pacific halibut has been harvested through June 16. In 2021, the Pacific halibut allocation for California is 39,260 pounds. The Pacific halibut fishery opened on May 1 and will run through November 15, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. To view the latest catch projection information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

The Oceans:
Eureka
Not only are the Pacific halibut snapping, the rockfish bite at Cape Mendocino is also going strong. A few boats have made their way south this week and reported easy limits of both rockfish and lingcod. The California halibut bite is starting to turn on as well. Quite a few were caught by the boats working the middle and third channels over the weekend. Shore anglers are also picking up a few at Fairhaven Beach tossing swimbaits.

Trinidad
The Pacific halibut bite slowed slightly over the weekend, but picked right back up on Tuesday. Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters, who boated limits on Tuesday, reports the best bite is south of Trinidad Head in 250 to 300 feet of water. “The rockfish action between the Head and Patrick’s Point is still really good too,” said Wilson. “We’re catching mostly blacks, with limits coming pretty easily. We’re also catching a few lings, but not a wide variety of rockfish right now.” Crabbing is still good and the charter captains are sending their clients home with limits of fresh Dungeness.

Shelter Cove
Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing took advantage of some nicer weather and made the trip north for Pacific halibut and rockfish combos. “The halibut bite was scratchy at best and we averaged only one per day,” said Mitchell. “The rockfish and lingcod bite on the other hand was fantastic and we had quality and quick limits each day.  We spent a couple days last week fishing rockfish close to home around the Hat and had pretty good results as well. We’ve been seeing a lot of salmon around last few days.” Ocean recreational salmon season opens June 29 and continues through October 31.

Crescent City
Just about any direction you take, the rockfish and lingcod action are outstanding reports Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “The weather was a little better this week, so the boats were able to spend a little more time on the water,” said Carson. “Just about everyone were reporting limits of both rockfish and lingcod. The redtail perch bite really took off this week; anglers were scoring easy limits along Kellogg Beach. The minus tides brought out the clammers, and there were plenty of clams to be had. Lots of limits reported for medium-sized razors. The next set of minus tides begin June 21. A couple Pacific halibut were caught last week, so hopefully that fishery is starting to heat up. Still no California halibut to speak of, and the effort remains low.”

Brookings
According to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters, the salmon fishing has been wide open out of Brookings, where anglers can keep hatchery coho. “Kings can be kept beginning Saturday,” said Martin. “Charter boats caught limits over the weekend and early this week trolling whole anchovies behind Fish Flash flashers. Wild coho and kings outnumbered the hatchery silvers, but with so many salmon off of Brookings right now, limits are still fairly easy. The coho are 15 to 25 feet below the surface in 200 feet of water. Lots of kings are being caught deeper. Halibut fishing was good last week, but poor over the weekend and on Monday. Rockfish are biting everywhere, while the best lingcod fishing is at Point St. George Reef.”

Customers of Brookings Fishing Charters hold limits of hatchery coho salmon caught Monday aboard the Miss Brooke with Capt. Michael McGahan.

Lower Rogue
The decent bite in the Rogue Bay could return this weekend as an expected inland heat wave warms the water again reports Martin. “Fishing was good a week ago as temperatures hit 70 degrees near Agness a week ago. A handful of boats caught a fish per rod before water temperatures dropped back to 60 and the late-arriving springers blasted upstream,” Martin added.

Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

2021 Klamath / Trinity Salmon Regulations

2021 Spring Salmon

Klamath Spring season runs July 1 through Aug. 14

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

  • 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
Klamath River spring-run Chinook

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

2021 Fall- Run Salmon

Klamath / Trinity fall quota – 1,221 adults

Klamath River fall-run Chinook
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) – 183 adults *
  • From the Klamath mouth to the Hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec – 611 adults
  • From the Hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec to 3,500 feet downstream of the Iron Gate Dam – 208 adults
* Only the Spit Area will close once 183 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 – 201 adults
  • Downstream of the Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar to the confluence with the Klamath – 201 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.
Trinity River spring-run Chinook

Break in the Wind Puts Boats Back on the Water

Paul Malay, of Lovelock, Nevada, landed this nice lingcod Friday while fishing out of Trinidad aboard the Shellback. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Shellback Sport Fishing

The wind and seas finally relented on Tuesday, allowing the Eureka-based fleet of boats to get back on the water. A few of the boats went south, reacquainting themselves with Cape Mendocino. The rockfish bite was good according to the few boats who made the run. The majority had halibut on their minds and headed north to 250 feet of water. Reports coming from the charter boats were good, with limits or close to it for most. That’s good news as the bite had really slowed prior to the last blow. The ocean looks plenty fishable for the next few days, although the dreaded south wind will rear its ugly head beginning Thursday and stick around through the weekend.

Weekend marine forecast
After a few nice days, the winds will shift to the south starting Thursday. Friday’s forecast is calling for 5 to 15 knot winds out of the south and waves southwest 6 feet at nine seconds. Saturday looks a little better, with south winds 5 to 10 knots and waves west 6 feet at 11 seconds. Sunday looks similar, with south winds up to 5 knots and west waves 5 feet at 11 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or 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 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

Pacific halibut quota update
The CDFW has projected 2,825 net pounds of Pacific halibut has been harvested through June 6. In 2021, the Pacific halibut allocation for California is 39,260 pounds. The Pacific halibut fishery opened on May 1 and will run through November 15, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. To view the latest catch projection information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

The Oceans:
Trinidad
Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing reports last week was strong for fishing out of Trinidad. “We lost this Monday due to weather but that was the first one in almost two weeks,” he said. “Our remote waters bottom fish trips have been kicking limits of jumbo rockfish with lots of color. Canaries, coppers, reds, yellowtail, quillback and tigers have been in the daily mix with limits of lingcod up to 30 pounds being the norm. Closer to Trinidad Head, the Pacific halibut bite has been on fire. Limits are the norm, which is always special on these elusive fish. Most have been in the 15-pound range but we had quite a few over 30 this week topped by a 58 pounder.”

Shelter Cove
Choppy ocean conditions caused by stiff winds out of Shelter Cove kept boats from launching over the weekend, according Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “We only made it out twice last week,” said Mitchell. “Conditions were decent last Wednesday and we made it down to Bear Harbor and put in rockfish limits by 9:30 a.m. The lingcod bite was tough and we ended the day with only five. We made it back out on Friday in tough conditions and boated quick limits of rockfish before we were chased off the water at 9:30 a.m. The weekend saw big white caps all the way to the beach. We finally made it back out on Tuesday and headed to Gorda for halibut. We spent a good part of the day with nothing to show for it. We threw in the towel and went rock fishing and had limits, including lings, in about an hour.”

Crescent City
The rockfish and lingcod bite continues to be excellent out of Crescent City, reports Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “Quite a few boats are fishing both the North and South reefs as well as near the Point St. George Lighthouse,” said Carson. “The Pacific halibut bite was slow this week, with only one reportedly caught. During the last round of minus tides, the razor clam diggers did very well. There doesn’t appear to be a shortage, though they are on the small side. Minus tides returned on Tuesday and will run through next Wednesday. The redtail perch has been really good at Kellogg Beach. The beach is loaded with sand crabs. The California halibut is still non-existent but effort remains very low.”

Brookings
Ocean salmon season begins Saturday out of Brookings, according to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Only hatchery silvers can be kept June 12-18, and then wild and hatchery kings and hatchery coho can be kept June 12 through mid-August,” said Martin. “Commercial trollers are catching a few kings in deeper water out of Brookings. With lots of anchovies in close, expect some salmon to be caught near the buoys during this weekend’s opener, although the best fishing in early June is typically three miles offshore in 200 feet of water. The coho will likely be in the top 40 feet of water. Rockfish action has been good, despite windy weather. Lingcod fishing has slowed the past week out of Brookings.”

Lower Rogue
Salmon have made a sudden, and early, showing in the Rogue Bay, reports Martin. “Water temperatures near Agness hit 70 degrees late last week, forcing the tail end of the spring salmon run to hold up in the bay,” said Martin. “Nearly a dozen kings were caught on Saturday by the handful of boat trolling in front of Jot’s Resort. Expect kings to trickle into the bay throughout the month, before the fall run builds in August.”

Send in your fish photos
Land a big lingcod 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. Just include the name of the angler in the photo, where and when it was taken and any other details you’d like to share.

Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Trinidad, Crescent City Kicking Out Limits of Rockfish

Rockfish, including this nice copper caught by Vern Lyton, of Weed, continue to fly over the rails in Trinidad and Crescent City. Located close to the fishing grounds is a big advantage for these two ports. Photo courtesy of Steve Huber/Crescent City Fishing

The rockfish bite continues to be red-hot out of Trinidad and Crescent City. Both ports have quick access to the rockfish grounds, making it much easier to be on the water even when the ocean is a little snotty. And the fishing has been phenomenal. Limits have been pretty easy to come by. In Trinidad, there are plenty of good spots between the head and Patrick’s Point. Up in Crescent City, there is an abundance of rocky outcroppings whether you head north or south to the Sisters.
The Eureka fleet, having to deal with a dangerous bar crossing as well as a long boat ride south to Cape Mendocino, hasn’t had nearly the amount of time on the water compared with the other coastal ports. For the entire month of May, the fleet has seen less than 10 fishable days. That’s not necessarily good for business or the freezer. It looks like the weather will cooperate for the next few days before the wind pops back up Saturday. If it’s rockfish you’re after, Trinidad or Crescent City are the two best options going.

Weekend marine forecast
The last few days have been decent but the wind is predicted to pick up by the weekend. Friday’s forecast calls for winds out of the north 5 to 15 knots and waves north 6 feet at seven seconds and west 3 feet at 11 seconds. Saturday is not looking good, with north winds 10 to 20 knots and waves northwest 8 feet at eight seconds and northwest 4 feet at 16 seconds. Sunday looks a little better, with north winds 10 to 15 knots and north waves 8 feet at nine seconds and northwest 7 feet at 11 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or 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 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

Ruth Lake Bass tournament this Saturday
Fortuna Fire Department CO-2’s will be holding the annual “Paul Jadro Memorial Bass Tournament” on Saturday, June 5. Blast off will be at 5:45 a.m. or at first safe light, by draw. The one-day tournament event offers a first prize award of up to $1,000 with payout to 1 in 3 in addition to door prizes and sponsor products. The entry fee is $140 per team with a big fish buy in option of $10. The tournament is catch and release and all competitors must fish from boats that are required to have operational live wells on board. Life jackets are required. Check in at the Marina on Friday June 4 at 4:30-6 p.m. or Saturday 4-5 a.m. For more information, contact Lon Winburn at 707-725-5021 or 707-725-7880. Free boat inspections will be held at Reynolds R V Repair, 988 Hwy. 36. Inspections are by appointment only, call 707-725-3426.

Fish for free this weekend in Oregon
Oregon will be having a Free Fishing Weekend June 5 and 6. On those two days, no license, tag or endorsement is required to fish, crab or clam anywhere in Oregon. This applies only to waters already open to fishing, crabbing or clamming. All other regulations, such as bag limits, still apply. Visit https://myodfw.com/articles/2021-free-fishing-days-and-events for more information.

Trinidad Pacific halibut contest
Trinidad Harbor and the Seascape Pier are hosting a Pacific halibut contest starting June 1. Sign-ups are at the bait shop and are free. Fish must be caught by boats launched or moored at Trinidad Harbor. Halibut must be weighed and photographed by Harbor crew members. The contest ends when the 2021 quota is met. First place is $100 cash and dinner for two at the Sunset Restaurant. Second place is a Redwood Coast Godfather spreader bar. Third place will win two t-shirts from Migration Clothing.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Wind and rough seas kept the Eureka boats tied up over the holiday weekend. The Pacific halibut fishing was good last week, with the best fishing between Eureka and Trinidad in 250 to 300 feet of water. Several of the charter boats returned to port with limits of halibut averaging 15 to 25 pounds. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing was the lone charter boat drifting for Pacific halibut on Wednesday and reported the fishing wasn’t very good. Ocean conditions look like they will begin to deteriorate starting Friday.

Chris Brown, from Point Reyes Station, landed this 60 pound Pacific halibut while fishing out of Trinidad on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Shellback Sport Fishing

Trinidad
Being within a few miles of the fishing grounds continues to be a huge advantage for boats fishing out of Trinidad. Ocean conditions weren’t great late last week, but the Pacific halibut didn’t seem to mind. Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters was able to put limits on board Friday fishing in sloppy conditions with fish up to 30 pounds. Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing had a similar day Tuesday putting 6 halibut in the box up to 60 pounds. The rockfish bite remains solid, with boats finding no shortage of quality black rockfish just north of Trinidad Head. Crabbing is still good and the charter captains are sending their clients home with limits of fresh Dungeness.

Shelter Cove
Ocean conditions allowed boats to hit Rogers Break last Monday and Thursday, reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “The rockfish and lingcod bite was great as it usually is up there,” said Mitchell. “The weather kept us close to home the rest of the week where we managed limits of rockfish in marginal conditions. A few boats tried for Pacific halibut off Gorda Thursday, but couldn’t find any takers. Windy conditions are in the forecast for most of the week.”

Crescent City
When the boats can get out, the rockfish and lingcod action has been excellent, according to Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “Boats going both directions have been scoring limits of quality rockfish and some nice lings. The Pacific halibut bite is starting to show signs of life as two were caught last week. Most of the effort is on the backside of the south reef roughly six miles from the harbor,” he said. “Skilled diggers have been getting limits of razor clams the past few days, taking advantage of the minus tides. The clams are small to medium in size. The redtail perch bite has really picked back up, anglers are reporting easy limits coming off of Kellogg Beach. The California halibut fishery has yet to take off, mostly due to ocean conditions.”

Brookings
“The ocean salmon openers are just around the corner out of Brookings,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Anglers can begin salmon fishing and keep hatchery coho on June 12. Kings cannot be kept until June 19, when the season opens for both wild and hatchery kings and hatchery silvers. There are big schools of anchovies near the harbor and salmon are being caught and released by bottom fish anglers. Windy weather has kept the fleet in close but limits of rockfish and some lingcod are being caught. A break in the wind is expected this week.”

Lower Rogue
A few boats are trolling the Rogue Bay for salmon, but success is poor according to Martin. “A few salmon are usually caught by mid-June and some years the end of June produces limits. Fishing for springers is poor upriver,” added Martin.

Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Eureka Boats Finding the Halibut

The Pacific halibut bite has been pretty good out of Eureka this week. Pictured is a couple of anglers who boated their limit of halibut while fishing off Eureka Monday. Photo courtesy of Gary Blasi/Full Throttle Sport Fishing

The weather finally cooperated for consecutive days and the Eureka boats took full advantage. Most of the angling effort was on the Pacific halibut grounds but quite a few boats made the trip south to Cape Mendocino. While the halibut bite isn’t wide open, most of the charter boats are putting clients into limits. It can best be described as a grind and you definitely don’t want to forget to pack a lunch. Whether it’s a tidal issue — or just the right time of day — the best bite has been late morning into early afternoon. Those who have the patience and time have been rewarded. “We’ve had some really good conditions this week with very little current,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “We haven’t looked around a whole lot yet; right now most of the effort is from the 48-line north to the 53 line in 280 to 300 feet of water. There seems to be quite a few fish around.” Offshore conditions are looking a little dicey for the holiday weekend. If they improve and the bar at Humboldt Bay is passable, be aware of the minus tides that will go through Monday. Thursday and Friday are the most dangerous as over 8 feet of water will be leaving the bay down to a minus 2-foot low when boats will be heading through the jaws.

Weekend marine forecast
After Thursday, wave heights are forecasted to build through the weekend. Northwest winds blowing 5 to 15 knots are predicted through at least Sunday. Friday, northwest waves will be 8 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for northwest swells 7 feet at nine seconds. Sunday’s prediction is north swells 7 feet at seven seconds. Monday’s forecast is for north waves 7 feet at seven seconds and 3 feet at 11 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or 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 office at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

Ruth Lake Bass tournament coming June 5

Fortuna Fire Department CO-2’s will be holding the annual “Paul Jadro Memorial Bass Tournament” on Saturday, June 5. Blast off will be at 5:45 a.m. or at first safe light, by draw. The one-day tournament event offers a first prize award of up to $1,000 with payout to 1 in 3 in addition to door prizes and sponsor products. The entry fee is $140 per team with a big fish buy in option of $10. The tournament is catch and release and all competitors must fish from boats that are required to have operational live wells on board. Life jackets are required. Check in at the Marina on Friday June 4 at 4:30-6 p.m. or Saturday 4-5 a.m. For more information, contact Lon Winburn at 707-725-5021 or 707-725-7880. Free boat inspections will be held at Reynolds R V Repair, 988 Hwy. 36. Inspections are by appointment only, call 707-725-3426.

Trinity flow releases will increase on Friday
Flows releases from Lewiston Dam will increase to 1,800 cubic feet per second from 1,250 cfs Friday May 28. Flows will then begin to decrease to summer baseflow (450 cfs) by June 18, which continues until September 30. Visitors near or on the river can expect river levels to increase during the flow releases and should take appropriate safety precautions. For more information, visit www.trrp.net/restoration/flows/current/

Pacific halibut quota update
The CDFW has projected 2,499 net pounds of Pacific halibut has been harvested through May 23. In 2021, the Pacific halibut allocation for California is 39,260 pounds. To view the latest catch projection information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

Commercial Dungeness season to close June 1
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Chuck Bonham ordered the state’s commercial Dungeness crab fishery to close at noon June 1 to avoid entangling endangered humpback whales now migrating along California’s coastline. All commercial crab traps must be removed from the fishing grounds by the June 1 closure date. The season typically ends June 30 in central California and July 15 in Northern California. The closure order was based on data from the state’s new Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program. That program was developed in line with a legal agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity, which sued the department in 2017 over increasing whale entanglements. Visit www.cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2021/05/18/cdfw-works-with-diverse-stakeholder-group-to-manage-entanglement-risk-in-the-commercial-dungeness-crab-fishery/ for more information.

The Oceans:
Trinidad
The rockfish bite in Trinidad continues to be red hot and you don’t need to travel far. Captain Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters reports a wide-open bite right out front of Trinidad. “We’ve been staying close, right in front of Flat Iron and finding all the rockfish and lingcod we need,” said Wilson. “There’s a really good variety, too, including coppers, vermilion, canaries, blacks, blues and lings. The fishing is as good as I’ve seen it in a long time. The crabbing is still good, as we’re getting limits for our clients each trip.” Ocean conditions look fishable for the week out of Trinidad, especially if you’re looking to fish half days.

Shelter Cove
Conditions continue to wreak havoc on the Shelter Cove fleet. “Saturday was brutal, but we were able to get our rockfish limits fishing near the buoys and the Old Man,” said Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “Only one other boat was out. The ocean was slightly better on Sunday, but we were still fishing in medium whitecaps. Overall, the conditions have been tough, but the rock fishing is really good when we can get out and hit a variety of spots. The lingcod bite has been a little tougher.” Conditions look good for Thursday but it looks like the wind will return prior to the weekend.

Crescent City
According to Steve Huber of Crescent City Fishing, the rockfish and lingcod bite continues to sizzle. “It hasn’t really mattered which direction you go, there seems to be a good amount and a wide variety of rockfish around,” said Huber. Windy conditions have really hindered both the Pacific and California halibut effort reports Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “Limits of razor clams are being dug but they’ve been on the small size. Minus tides are on tap through Memorial Day, so it should be a good week. The redtail perch bite continues to improve at Kellogg Beach.”

Brookings
Halibut season is off to a good start out of Brookings, with several fish a day being brought in when the weather is calm, reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Fish to 60 pounds have already been caught, with an average size in the mid- to upper 20-pound range. Herring and squid combinations fished in 180 to 230 feet of water are working best. Rockfish are keying on crab spawn, with good topwater action along the inshore reefs. Lingcod fishing has been very good near the Point St. George Reef lighthouse.”

Lower Rogue
According to Martin, the Rogue spring salmon run has been a complete bust. “With low flows and warm weather inland, anglers are hoping the Rogue Bay will kick off early. A few kings are often caught in early June before action picks up in late June or early July.”

Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Eureka Boats Finally Get Offshore

Richard Needham of Cottonwood, CA landed this nice Pacific Halibut on Tuesday while fishing out of Eureka aboard the Fishy Business. Photo courtesy of North Wind Charters

After sitting on the sidelines watching the wind blow for nearly two weeks, boats fishing out of Eureka were finally able to make their way to the halibut grounds Monday. The fishing was decent but the sample size was small as only a handful gave it a go. Gary Blasi of Full Throttle Sport Fishing landed on the hotspot and boated limits for his crew. The other boats all landed a few and reported some missed opportunities. Tuesday’s flat ocean allowed more boats on the water and the fishing was pretty good. Limits were reported by multiple boats. The smaller ports to the north and south continue to benefit from short rides to the fishing grounds and have enjoyed some of the best rockfish action we’ve seen in years. Strong winds are forecast to return Wednesday and blow through at least Saturday.

Weekend marine forecast
After a nice ocean Tuesday, the north wind picked backed up Wednesday and are forecast to stick around through Saturday. Winds will be out of the north Friday, blowing 15 to 25 knots and waves north 8 feet at seven seconds. The wind will start to come down on Saturday, coming out of the north at 5 to 15 knots with north waves 6 feet at seven seconds and west 3 feet at 13 seconds. Sunday is calling for north winds 5 to 10 knots with north waves 4 feet at five seconds and west 4 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 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 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

Trinity Lake kids fishing derby
On Saturday, May 22 all kids ages four to 15 are invited to the Carrville Dredger Pond (located five miles north of the Trinity Center) for the 48th Annual Trinity Lake Lions Fish Derby. Registration is from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. The derby will run from 9 a.m. to noon. Free fishing tackle will be provided for the first 100 kids registered. Kids must supply their own fishing pole. Bait fishing only, lures cannot be used. Prizes will be awarded in many categories. Free soda, water, and chips will be available. For more information, call Pete at 530-598-2877.

Klamath/Trinity Rivers 2021 salmon season set
Following last year’s low returns and with only 181,500 adult Klamath kings said to be in the ocean this fall, anglers are again facing a much lower sport quota in 2021. During last Thursday’s meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission adopted bag and possession limits for the Klamath Basin based on a quota of 1,221 fall-run adults. On the Klamath, the fall season begins on Aug. 15 and closes Dec. 31. The fall season begins on the Trinity Sept. 1 and closes Dec. 31.

On the Lower Klamath, from the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth, 611 adults will be allowed for sport harvest. The section above the 96 bridge at Weitchpec to 3,500 feet downstream of the Iron Gate Dam will get 208 adults.

The Spit Area (within 100 yards of the channel through the sand spit formed at the Klamath River mouth) will close when 15 percent of the total Klamath River Basin quota is taken downstream of the Highway 101 bridge. In 2021, 183 adults can be harvested below the 101 bridge before the closure at the mouth is implemented. The rest of the area below Highway 101 (estuary) will remain open to recreational fishing.

On the Trinity side, which will be open to fall-run Chinook salmon fishing Sept. 1 and run through Dec. 31, the quota is set at 402 adults. The quota will be split evenly; 201 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat and 201 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar to the confluence with the Klamath.

The daily bag limit will be 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. 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 22 inches in length).

Klamath/Trinity spring salmon fishery
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) will open 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.

The Oceans:
Eureka
“The wind finally eased up and we were able to get back on the water Monday and Tuesday,” said Skipper Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “The Pacific halibut fishing started off slow both days but after the tide change, the bite picked up. We only landed a couple on Monday and I heard the bite may have been slightly better to the north. On Tuesday we moved north and after another slow start, we were able to get all the clients a halibut. Looks like we’ll only get a couple days on the water before the wind picks back up,” said Klassen.

Trinidad
Captain Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters reports the rockfish bite continues to be wide-open. “Tuesday’s conditions were perfect, and we didn’t have to go far to catch limits of both rockfish and lingcod,” said Wilson. “The sport crabbing is excellent as well. “We had 40 keeper crab in one pot Tuesday.”

Shelter Cove
Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing has been on the water just about every day and reports an excellent rockfish bite. “We were able to get limits everyday but Friday, which was exceptionally rough,” said Mitchell. “The lingcod bite hasn’t been as good; we really had to work for them. The Old Man and the Hat have both produced excellent fishing, but we’ve had our best days at the Ranch House. I haven’t heard of any Pacific halibut caught as of yet.”

Tim Morris of Yuba City scored a pair of vermilion rockfish while fishing out of Shelter Cover last weekend. Photo courtesy of Jake Mitchell/Sea Hawk Sport Fishing
The rockfish bite along the North Coast continues to be red-hot. Black rockfish, like these caught Sunday out of Crescent City, are making up the majority of the catch. Photo courtesy of Steve Huber/Crescent City Fishing

Crescent City
According to Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, one Pacific halibut was caught last week but there hasn’t been much effort. “The rockfish and lingcod bite is still wide-open when the boats can get out,” said Carson. “I haven’t heard of any California halibut being caught yet but they’re here. I’ve heard a few have been caught out of Brookings. The perch bite at Kellogg Beach has been hit and miss, but it is picking back up,” Carson added.

Brookings
Rough weather kept Brookings boats at the docks last week, but fair conditions Sunday and calm seas Monday allowed anglers to get back offshore, reports Andy Martin, of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Lingcod and rockfish action has been good,” said Martin. “Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife fish checkers confirmed three Pacific halibut on Monday. The best shot at a halibut is in 180 to 220 feet of water off of Bird Island. Ocean salmon season opens June 12 for coho and June 19 for kings and silvers. Lots of anchovies inside the harbor and the arrival of pelicans have anglers optimistic about the salmon openers.”

The Rivers:
Lower Rogue
According to Martin, salmon fishing has shown no sign of improvement on the lower Rogue, where spring kings are few and far between. “The best shot at a salmon is near Rainey Falls downstream of Galice, where a few springers are holding up because of low flows,” Martin said. “The Rogue Bay fishery won’t heat up until late June or July. The Chetco opens to trout fishing May 22.”

Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Wind Continues to Hamper Offshore Angling

Les Whitehurst of Anderson, CA landed this nice vermilion rockfish while fishing near Cape Mendocino last Thursday with Tim Klassen aboard the Reel Steel. Photo courtesy of Reel Steel Sport Fishing

It’s been a very quiet start to the saltwater season, especially for boats looking to head offshore. The north wind has been prevalent for almost two weeks, letting up just enough to allow boats to venture outside Humboldt Bay for a couple days. Trinidad, Shelter Cove and Crescent City have faired slightly better in terms of days on the water based purely on proximity to the fishing grounds. But even those fleets have been hampered by horrible conditions. Conditions aren’t looking any better in the coming days. Thursday is marginal but then we’re right back to gale force winds through at least Saturday. In the meantime, anglers anxiously await the California halibut action to ramp up. A few are being caught but it hasn’t quite taken off. Bait is starting to show up in the bay, so we’re getting close to having another solid alternative when heading offshore isn’t an option.

Weekend marine forecast
Winds will weaken slightly Wednesday and Thursday before strengthening back to gale force Friday and Saturday. Friday, north winds will be 5 to 15 knots with northwest waves 7 feet at eight seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for north winds 10 to 20 knots with northwest waves 11 feet at 10 seconds and southwest 2 feet at 17 seconds. Sunday’s prediction is looking slightly better, with northwest winds 10 to 15 knots with northwest swells 8 feet at nine seconds and southwest 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 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 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484

The beach/jetties
The wind has made the beaches tough for anglers looking for redtail perch. When the ocean is rough, the mouth of the Elk River or King Salmon are two of the better options to get out of the wind. Both have been producing some quality perch. Both of the  jetty’s have been slow due to the wind. Your best bet is to get out there early as the wind comes up around 10 a.m. A few black rockfish are being caught along with the occasional keeper lingcod. Half-ounce jig heads with four to five inch swimbaits have been a solid producer.

Pacific Halibut quota update
The CDFW has projected 326 net pounds of Pacific Halibut has been harvested through May 9. In 2021, 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

The Oceans:
Eureka
Another quiet week for the Eureka fleet as the wind continues to keep the fleet tied to the dock. The brief weather window last Wednesday and Thursday provided hope for a good Pacific halibut and rockfish season. Boats fishing north on the 50-line in 300 feet of water did very well on halibut, with some limits reported. The boats that made the trip south to Cape Mendocino were rewarded with a variety of rockfish and quality lings. Thursday is looking like it may be fishable but the wind is forecast to return Friday and continue through the weekend.

Trinidad
Being close to where the fish are is huge advantage for Trinidad boats and Captain Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters has been making the most of tight weather windows. “We were able to get out Saturday and Tuesday in pretty tough conditions,” said Wilson. “We’ve been staying close to home fishing outside of Flat Iron rock in 100 feet of water. The black rockfish bite has been wide-open, so it hasn’t take much time to get everyone limits. The crabbing is still good, we’re averaging 40 to 60 male keepers per pot,” Wilson added.

Shelter Cove
After canceling trips over the weekend, Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing ventured out in rough conditions Tuesday in search of rockfish. “Conditions weren’t very good but we made quick work of it,” said Mitchell. “We made our way to the Old Man and put in limits of rockfish and lings and finished the day with 37 keeper crabs.”

Crescent City
Steve Huber of Crescent City Fishing was able to get offshore Wednesday and found some quick success. “We found a pretty good bite south near the Sisters and we filled the boat quickly,” said Huber. “We didn’t find any lingcod, but the quality of the black rockfish was excellent. Conditions weren’t very good and we didn’t see anyone else out. The ocean looks good for Thursday, then it looks like we’re back to some rough weather Friday and Saturday.” According to Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, there were a few Pacific halibut caught last week, all under 50 pounds. “Most were caught outside of the South Reef. A few boats have been trolling for California halibut off South Beach but none have been caught as of yet,” Carson added.

Brookings
“The ocean out of Brookings has been rough, but rockfish and lingcod are still being caught on the nearshore reefs,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “A few halibut were caught offshore during the brief break in the wind last Wednesday. Several salmon also were released by rockfish anglers the middle of last week. Salmon season opens June 12 out of Brookings, with hatchery silvers allowed the first week. King season opens June 19.”

Anglers aboard the Miss Brooke of Brookings Fishing Charters hold limits of lingcod caught May 5 near the Point St. George Reef lighthouse between Brookings and Crescent City. Photo courtesy of Brookings Fishing Charters

Lower Rogue
With very slow spring salmon fishing on the lower Rogue, most anglers have given up for the season, reports Martin. “The best action on the Rogue is the salmon fly hatch near Shady Cove, which is just beginning. The Chetco, Elk and Sixes rivers are closed but open May 22. Look for sea-run cutthroat trout on the lower ends when the river open. Tossing spinners is a good bet,” said Martin.

Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Breezy Start to the Saltwater Season

Mother Nature can be so cruel. In the week leading up to Saturday’s rockfish and Pacific halibut openers, ocean conditions out of Eureka were pristine. Then, as if someone was playing a bad joke, the north winds picked up and the ocean swells grew steep, spoiling the weekend plans of the Eureka fleet. That’s the bad news. The good news is the seas have since subsided and boats will be headed out through Humboldt Bay Wednesday in search of the season’s first haul of halibut and rockfish. But the weather window could be small. Winds will begin to pick up Friday and the weekend is again looking very breezy. There’s plenty of season ahead of us and this won’t be the last time Mother Nature has her way.

Razor clam fishery opens back up in Del Norte
After a five-year closure, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife director has re-opened the recreational razor clam fishery in Del Norte County following a recommendation from state health agencies that the consumption of razor clams in the area no longer poses a significant threat for domoic acid exposure according to a press release issued Friday. During the closure, state health agencies have continued to assess domoic acid levels in razor clams. Razor clams have consistently exceeded the federal action level of 20 parts per million. However, clams recently collected from Crescent City in March and April 2021 all had lower concentrations. CDFW, the California Department of Public Health and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment continue to monitor domoic acid in razor clams to determine when the recreational fishery in Humboldt County can be opened safely. CDFW reminds clammers that the daily bag limit for razor clams is 20 and the first 20 clams dug must be retained regardless of size or condition. The fishery in odd-numbered years is open north of Battery Point, Crescent City in Del Norte County. Effective March 8, 2021, each person is required to keep a separate container for their clams and is not allowed to commingle their take with another person when digging and transporting clams to shore.  Visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Sport-Fishing/Invertebrate-Fishing-Regs#mollusks for specific razor clam regulations.

Sport-Harvested Mussels quarantined

In a press release issued on April 30, The California Department of Public Health announced the annual quarantine of sport-harvested mussels gathered along the California coast. The quarantine begins May 1 and applies to all species of mussels that are recreationally harvested along the California coast, including all bays and estuaries. The quarantine is in place to protect the public against poisoning that can lead to serious illness, including coma and death. The quarantine is designed to prevent paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and domoic acid poisoning, also known as amnesic shellfish poisoning, in people who might otherwise consume sport-harvested mussels. Both of these syndromes are from naturally occurring toxins produced by certain phytoplankton consumed by shellfish, including mussels and clams. Cooking does not destroy the toxins. Commercially harvested shellfish are not included in the annual quarantine because all commercial harvesters in California are certified by CDPH and subject to strict testing requirements to ensure that all oysters, clams, and mussels entering the marketplace are safe. Visit www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/OPA/Pages/SN21-003.aspx for more information.

Weekend marine forecast
Breezy conditions are once again in the forecast for the weekend. Saturday is calling for north winds 10 to 20 knots with waves out of the northwest 9 feet at 10 seconds. Sunday is looking similar, with winds out of the north 15 to 25 knots. Waves will be northwest 10 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 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 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Ocean conditions improved dramatically Wednesday and a few boats took advantage. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing was one of the boats making the trip to the halibut grounds and he reported some pretty good fishing. Klassen was targeting the area out 300 feet around the 50-line where he boated limits for his clients of halibut in the 10 to 20-pound range. Conditions look excellent for Thursday but the wind is forecast to blow starting Friday.

Nine-year-old Joey Swancey, of Palo Cedro, scored a pair of black rockfish while fishing out of Trinidad Monday. Photo courtesy of Curt Wilson/Wind Rose Charters

Trinidad
Captain Curt Wilson, who runs Wind Rose Charters, was able to put clients on limits of black rockfish and crab over the weekend. “We only had a to hit a couple spots towards Patrick’s Point to score limits of quality black rockfish,” said Wilson. “Conditions weren’t great but we were able to get in and out early before the wind picked up. We’ll have a little more time this week to look around for some variety as conditions will be much better.”

Shelter Cove anglers were all smiles after scoring limits of rockfish and lingcod on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing

Shelter Cove
Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing took advantage of Wednesday calm seas and put together a pretty good rockfish trip. “We fished The Hat for limits of lings and rockfish, finishing up at 11 a.m., said Mitchell. “We have more territory this year with the extra 40 feet of depth. That’s going to be big for us. The crabbing was good too, we pulled the gear and had 24 keepers.”

Crescent City
Despite the conditions, a few boats trudged their way to the rockfish grounds before the winds came up Saturday. Steve Huber, who runs Crescent City Fishing, battled minus tides and rough water to put his clients on some quality rockfish. “We started north of the harbor and found a decent bite,” said Huber. “We made a couple of moves before the weather go too bad.” Huber was back on the water Monday and found plenty of hungry rockfish and a few lingcod south near the Sisters.

Brookings rockfish update
“Rough ocean conditions put a damper on the halibut opener out of Brookings as well as the Point St. George Reef opener south of the border,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “The inshore reefs still produced limits of rockfish and a few lingcod during the windy weekend. Calmer conditions are expected Wednesday before a storm brushes the area Thursday and Friday.”

Lower Rogue
A few spring salmon were caught on the lower Rogue after last week’s rain but overall catch rates remain poor, reports Martin. “This year’s springer run has been well below average. Rogue anglers looking for action are waiting with anticipation for the salmon fly hatch on the upper river, which produces the best trout fishing of the year,” added Martin.

Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Saltwater Season Kicks Off Saturday

This Saturday marks day one of our ocean sport fishing season on the North Coast as both rockfish and Pacific halibut will finally open, bringing with it tons of excitement, optimism and relief. Following a year we’d all like to forget, a little saltwater therapy sounds pretty relaxing. As anglers take to the ocean Saturday — weather and conditions permitting — the hope is all the negativity will slowly fade into the horizon, leaving only happy thoughts of big lings and barn door-sized halibut.

The Pacific halibut season opens Saturday, May 1 on the North Coast. The season will run through Nov. 15 or until the quota is met. Pictured is Cloverdale resident Fred Kramer, right, with one of the 2019 season’s first Pacific halibut. Kramer was fishing out of Eureka with skipper Marc Schmidt (left). Photo courtesy of Coastline Charters

May 1 openers:

Pacific Halibut: The 2021 Pacific halibut fishery will open May 1 and run through Nov. 15, or until the quota is reached. There won’t be any in-season closures as was the case in 2019. The quota in 2021 will once again be 39,000 pounds. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife will again monitor catches of Pacific halibut during the season and provide catch projection updates on the CDFW Pacific halibut webpage, www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking. The limit remains at one, with no size restrictions. No more than one line with two hooks attached can be used.

Rockfish: The boat-based rockfish season in the Northern Management Area, which runs from the California-Oregon border to the 40°10′ North latitude (near Cape Mendocino), will run through Oct. 31 within 180 feet. From Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, rockfish may be taken at any depth.

New sport rockfish regulations for 2021
In December of 2020, CDFW announced multiple changes to the sport rockfish regulations starting in 2021. Changes that pertain to the Northern Management area include:

  • Elimination of sub-bag limits for black rockfish, canary rockfish and cabezon within the 10-fish rockfish, cabezon, and greenling (RCG) complex daily bag limit.
  • A new sub-bag limit of five vermilion rockfish within the 10-fish RCG complex daily bag limit.

The daily bag limit of lingcod remains at two per person and they must be 22-inches in length. The take and possession of cowcod, bronzespotted rockfish and yelloweye rockfish is prohibited statewide. Petrale sole and starry flounder can be retained year-round at all depths with no size limit. For more information about recreational groundfish regulations within the northern mgt. area, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Groundfish-Summary#north.

Important reminder:
When fishing for halibut and rockfish, the more restrictive gear and depth restrictions apply. 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 halibut.

Marine forecast
Ocean conditions for the weekend aren’t looking very favorable for boats heading offshore, especially out of Eureka. Saturday’s forecast is calling for north winds 10 to 20 knots with waves out of the north 8 feet at 7 seconds and northwest 3 feet at 18 seconds. Sunday is looking similiar, with winds out of the north 10 to 20 knots. Waves will be north 7 feet at 7 seconds and west 4 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 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 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

Weekend tides – Humboldt Bay
For anglers who aren’t aware, extreme caution should always be used when crossing the bar. The combination of large swells and outgoing morning tides could make for a dangerous bar crossing. Saturday, 7 feet of water will be flowing out down to an -1.1. This could make for a dangerous bar crossing if the swells are large. If you’re planning on hitting the bar at daylight, always check the conditions first. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan.

Saturday May 1: High: 3:03 a.m. (7.6 feet), Low: 10:22 a.m. (-1.12 feet) and High 5:26 p.m. (5.4 feet), Low 10:05 p.m. (3.41 feet)

Sunday May 2: High: 3:58 a.m. (7.1 feet), Low: 11:23 a.m. (-.66 feet) and High 6:37 p.m. (5.4 feet), Low 11:19 p.m. (3.5 feet)

Trinidad launch ready to go
The Trinidad launch will be in service and launching boats beginning Saturday, May 1. Call 677-3625 for more information.

Brookings ocean update
Halibut season opens May 1 out of Brookings. “With calm weather in the forecast, expectations are high,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Lingcod and rockfish action has been good out of Brookings, especially on calm weather days. Lings have started to move into deeper water. An abundance of anchovies close to shore has already drawn salmon into the shallows to feed. Charters released a handful of feeder kings the past week. Salmon season opens June 12 for coho and June 19 for Chinook out of Brookings.”

The Rivers
Main Stem Eel

The main stem Eel is still in fishable shape, but it’s clear. It was flowing at 1,300 cfs on the Scotia gauge as of Wednesday. Fishing reports have been hard to come by.

Smith
The Smith River from its mouth to the confluence of the Middle and South Forks; Middle Fork Smith River from mouth to Patrick Creek; South Fork Smith River from the mouth upstream approximately 1,000 feet to the County Road (George Tryon) bridge and Craigs Creek to Jones Creek, will close after Friday, April 30.

Lower Rogue
Southern Oregon coastal rivers remain closed to fishing until May 22, except for the Rogue River, where spring salmon fishing remains dismal, reports Martin. “This year’s springer run has been disappointing so far, with only a handful of hatchery salmon caught,” Martin added.

Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Ocean King Season Set to Open June 29

Limited by a low-abundance forecast of Klamath River fall Chinook, North Coast recreational salmon anglers will have a little more than a month on the water this season. Management measures were designed to provide fishing opportunity for the more abundant Sacramento fall Chinook while reducing Klamath River impacts. Due to our proximity to the Klamath, this scenario never plays out well for our local fleet. Based on the 181,500 Klamath River kings forecasted to be swimming in the ocean, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) came up with a short 34-day season for the CA KMZ (Oregon-California border south to the 40°10’00” N. latitude (near Cape Mendocino). The CA KMZ recreational salmon season will open June 29 and continue through August 1.

Fishing will be allowed seven days per week for all salmon except coho, two fish per day and a minimum size limit of 20 inches total length for Chinook.

Note: The California Department of Fish and Wildlife would like to inform anglers of a change to the boundary line between the northern management areas effective this season. The line between the Fort Bragg and Klamath Management Zones has been moved five nautical miles north from Horse Mountain (40° 05’ 00” N. latitude) to 40° 10’ 00” N. latitude (near Cape Mendocino). This change was made in an effort to simplify fishing regulations by aligning the salmon management boundary line with the existing groundfish management boundary line.

Sport salmon anglers won’t have much time on the water this year as the season will run for only 34 days on the North Coast, beginning June 29. Pictured are Chico residents Ryder Gregory and Heidi Musick, who caught a pair of nice kings in 2019 while fishing in Trinidad. Photo courtesy of Curt Wilson/Wind Rose Charters

With only 271,000 Sacramento fall Chinook said to be swimming in the ocean, the seasons for areas to our south will also face restrictions. The area from Horse Mountain south to Point Arena, which includes Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg, will open June 29 as well, but will run through Oct. 31. The San Francisco area will open June 26 and also run through October. Typically these areas open to fishing in April but were pushed back this year to mitigate impacts on the fall Klamath River kings. Fishing will be allowed seven days per week for all salmon except coho, two fish per day and a minimum size limit of 20 inches total length for Chinook.

To the north in the Brookings area (OR KMZ), the Chinook season will open June 19 and run through Aug. 15. Fishing will be allowed seven days per week, two fish per day and a minimum size limit of 24 inches total length for Chinook. The hatchery coho season will begin June 12 and run through Aug. 28 or earlier if the 120,000 Cape Falcon to OR/CA border quota of coho is met. Fishing is allowed seven days per week. All coho must be fin clipped and a minimum of 16 inches.

Season dates, bag/possession limit information and gear restrictions can be found on CDFW’s ocean salmon web page or by calling the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429. Public notification of any in-season change to conform state regulations to federal regulations is made through the National Marine Fisheries Service ocean salmon hotline at (800) 662-9825.

Klamath/Trinity river quota update

Along with ocean salmon seasons up for final approval, the PFMC allocated 1,221 adult Chinook for the Klamath Basin quota. Bag and possession limits will be determined at the California Fish and Game Commission meeting on May 11. The tribal allocation is 8,135 adult Klamath River fall salmon, split between the Yurok and Hoopa Valley tribes.

Increased flows coming down the Trinity

The Trinity River flows will begin to increase Thursday, April 22, as releases from Lewiston Dam will increase to 1,450 cubic feet per second and then reach 1,500 cfs Friday. Flows will be reduced until next Wednesday, when they’ll hit a spring-high of 3,550 cfs. Residents near or recreating on the river can expect levels to increase and should take appropriate safety precautions. A daily schedule of flow releases is available at www.trrp.net/restoration/flows/current.

Marine forecast
Ocean conditions are looking decent for the weekend, although south winds are in the forecast. Friday is calling for northwest winds 5 to 10 knots and northwest waves 5 feet at eight seconds. Saturday is calling for winds out of the south 10 to 15 knots with 3-foot swells at five seconds out of the southwest and west 2 feet at 10 seconds. Sunday is looking favorable, as well, with winds out of the south 5 to 10 knots with 5-foot swells at nine seconds out of the west. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka or www.windy.com.

The Beach/Jetties

The redtail perch bite wasn’t wide open over the weekend, but there were fish caught. Fishing was reportedly better from the beaches south of Trinidad. Both jetties are providing a good mix of rockfish and a few lingcod. Tossing swimbaits has been one of the better options. Fishing is typically best two hours prior to high tide to an hour after the slack for the beach as well as jetty.

Brookings ocean update
“Lingcod and rockfish action was good over the weekend and again Monday, but windy weather is expected mid-week,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “A gale warning has been posted. Calmer seas are expected for the weekend. The best fishing has been from Bird Island north. Anchovies have arrived at the Port of Brookings, a good sign for the June salmon opener. Salmon season opens June 12 out of Brookings.”

Eel River steelhead returns
As of April 11, a total of 199 steelhead have entered the Van Arsdale fish count station, according to Andrew Anderson, an Aquatic Biologist with PG&E. Making up that total are 74 males, 84 females, nine subadults and 32 unknowns. The Chinook count stands at 65 and is done for the season. For more information, visit www.eelriver.org/the-eel-river/fish-count/.

Eel (main stem)
As of Thursday, the main was flowing at 1,320 cfs on the Scotia gauge. Reportedly, there are some steelhead around but fishing is tough due to the clear water. The main stem Eel to the South Fork is open all year. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used through Sept. 30.

Lower Rogue

According to Martin, the Rogue continues to be slow for springers, but reports of ocean anglers catching and releasing a few hatchery kings near Gold Beach has anglers hopeful some salmon may finally be arriving. “The water is low but rain expected this week will give flows a boost. Catch rates have been poor all season on the Rogue,” Martin added.

Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com