Plenty of Kings in the Klamath

Kyliee, left and sister Maycee Jacks of Eureka scored a limit of jack salmon Saturday while fishing the Klamath River. Photo courtesy of Kenny Priest/Fishing the North Coast Guide Service

Since just before Labor Day weekend, the Klamath River has been stuffed with salmon. The number of jacks has been amazing and we’re seeing some nice adult kings in the river, as well. The bulk of the run started a little late this year, most likely due to the unusually high water temperatures. Smoke-filled skies and cooler weather finally began cooling the water just enough, and the salmon came charging.

For the last three weeks, the fishing has been nothing short of spectacular. To see the number of fish in the river is certainly good news, especially considering the numbers of adult salmon returning in previous years has been so dire.

Since the complete salmon fishing closure in 2017, adult salmon returns have fallen well short of the 40,700 minimum floor escapements. In 2019, a return of approximately 87,000 was predicted but the actual returns were only 37,270. In 2020, CDFW forecasted a modest 48,274 natural area spawning salmon would return but only 26,190 were counted. This fall, 31,574 natural area spawning adults are forecasted to return.

So, while it’s easy to speculate this year’s returns could be more robust due to the harvest and catch rates, it’s way too early to celebrate. We won’t know the size of the run until sometime early next year. But it does feel good to see the river full of fish again. The lower Klamath adult salmon quota was met Sept. 7. You can still keep two jacks (less than or equal to 23 inches) per angler. Anglers may still fish for adult Chinook salmon in other sections of the Klamath Basin, including the main stem of the Klamath River above Weitchpec and the entire Trinity River, until their quotas are met. Anglers may keep track of the Klamath and Trinity river quotas by calling (800) 564-6479.

Weekend marine forecast

Hazardous seas warnings are in effect for the outer waters as steep waves and gusty winds continue through the work week. Conditions are expected to ease just before the weekend. As of Wednesday, the forecast out 10 nautical miles for Friday is calling for winds out of the south 5 to 10 knots with northwest swells 5 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday looks similar, with winds from the south up to 10 knots and northwest swells 6 feet at 11 seconds. Sunday the winds will be from the west up to 5 knots and northwest swells 8 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.

The Oceans:
Eureka
According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, the Pacific halibut bite was pretty good prior to the latest ocean blowout. “We had fairly easy limits on Friday and Saturday,” he said. “There seems to be plenty of fish around. Most of the action is in roughly 250 feet of water just north of the entrance and the fish are averaging 15 to 25 pounds. The California halibut bite is still going, too. We fished Monday in the bay and landed five keepers. There’s a lot of smaller fish as well, which is good for the future. There’s quite a bit of bait in the bay right now.”

Shelter Cove
According to Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing, the rock fishing and lingcod bite has been excellent all week. “From the Old man to down below the Hat, that area all seemed to produce equally good results. There are still some salmon around as well. Two days we had a fish per rod and two days we had zero. Still lots of bait right below the Cove and that’s where all the action has been. There’s still some nice fish around, two 36-pounders were caught this week.”

Crescent City
A 65-pound Pacific halibut was caught on Friday, according to Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “Most of the fish are being caught near the South Reef in 225 to 300 feet of water. The rockfish and lingcod action remains excellent, with most boats getting easy limits of both.” A few tuna were caught late last week 25 miles from the harbor. The next weather window looks to be Friday.

Brookings

“Lingcod and rockfish was very good out of Brookings last week before a big swell and strong winds returned on Sunday,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters.  “A few boats ventured offshore for tuna Saturday, and found a handful of albacore 22 miles out. With rough weather this week, tuna won’t be an option any time soon. Halibut fishing has slowed, but remains decent for Pacific halibut. The limit is now two fish a day.”

Eleven year-old Rylan Pilgrim from Lincoln, CA landed a limit of jacks over the weekend on the Klamath River. Photo courtesy of James Keeling Guide Service

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
There are still quite a few jacks in the lower river, along with some nice adult kings. The fish are spread out from the Glen to Johnson’s. As a reminder, the lower river quota has been met and salmon longer than 23 inches must be released. Your adult Chinook releases need to be recorded on your North Coast Salmon Report Card as normal. The bag limit is two salmon less than or equal to 23 inches and two hatchery steelhead.

Chetco/Lower Rogue
The Chetco estuary fished surprisingly well last week, with many boats getting multiple fish reports Martin. “It is still early, with the best estuary fishing at the end of September and early October,” he said. “The Rogue Bay is fair for salmon, with a mix of jacks and larger adults. Salmon fishing has improved near Grants Pass, and indication much of the fall run has already moved through the bay.”

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

Anglers Enjoy Pacific Halibut Season Reopener

The Pacific halibut fishery reopened Sept. 3 and what a nice little shot in the arm for our local economy. You needn’t look any further than the local boat ramps as trucks and trailers were lined up as far as you could see. The charter fleet was also rejuvenated, with plenty of happy customers filling their boats over the holiday weekend. The “reopening” came after CDFW and NMFS indicated a much lower catch volume than previously projected following the June 30 closure. Can you say Christmas in September? While the boat traffic was heavy, the fishing wasn’t quite as red hot as everyone hoped. There were plenty of fish caught, including limits for some boats. The slower than anticipated bite didn’t seem to bother most anglers. Being back on the water, drifting for a tasty meal while enjoying the long holiday weekend was enough for most. Prior to the weekend, more than 20,000 pounds were left to harvest of the 39,260 quota. For more information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/pacific-halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking.

Menlo Park resident Craig Maynard landed a nice Pacific halibut over the weekend out of Trinidad. The halibut fishery opened back up Friday, Sept. 3 Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Green Water Fishing Adventures

Weekend marine forecast
Northerlies and steep seas will gradually increase through the workweek, and hold through the weekend. As of Wednesday, the forecast out 10 nautical miles for Friday is calling for winds out of the north 5 to 10 knots with northwest swells 5 feet at six seconds. Saturday looks a little worse, with winds from the north 10 to 15 knots and northwest swells 7 feet at seven seconds and northwest 4 feet at 17 seconds. Sunday the winds will be from the north 5 to 15 knots and north swells 8 feet at eight seconds and northwest 6 feet at 14 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or 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.

Adult Salmon Quota met on the Lower Klamath
In a press release issued Tuesday, CDFW projected anglers will have met the Lower Klamath River adult fall Chinook salmon quota below the State Route 96 Bridge near Weitchpec for the 2021 season as of 11:59 p.m. Sept. 7.

This triggers the closure of the adult Chinook salmon fishery on the main stem of the Klamath River from the State Route 96 Bridge to the mouth of the Klamath River.

The fishery at the mouth of the Klamath was closed as of Friday, Aug. 27 and will remain closed to all fishing for the rest of the calendar year. The rest of the lower main stem of the Klamath River below the Highway 96 Bridge at Weitchpec will remain open to the harvest of jack (two-year-old) Chinook salmon less than or equal to 23 inches. All adult Chinook salmon caught must be immediately released and reported on the angler’s report card.

Anglers may still fish for adult Chinook salmon in other reaches of the Klamath Basin, including the main stem of the Klamath River above Weitchpec and the entire Trinity River until the closure of those fisheries. Anglers may keep track of the Klamath and Trinity river quotas by calling (800) 564-6479. For Klamath and Trinity fishing regulations, visit www.nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=169262&inline.

The Oceans:
Eureka
With the Pacific halibut season opening back up, there was no shortage of anglers taking advantage of the calm seas over the weekend. According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, the bite wasn’t red hot but there are plenty of fish around. “Most of the effort was just north of the entrance in 300 feet of water,” he said. “The fish ranged from 12 to 30 pounds this weekend. The ocean looks fishable through the week so we should see some better scores. Boat traffic was heavy over the holiday weekend.”

Trinidad
According to Curt Wilson, of Wind Rose Charters, there were a handful of halibut caught over the weekend. “It wasn’t wide-open but there were fish caught each day over the weekend,” he said. “We were able to boat four on Saturday with the big fish weighing roughly 40 pounds. Fish are being caught all up and down the line, from 180 all the way to 400 feet. The black rockfish action is still good but we’re still not seeing much variety.” The launch is scheduled to close Sept. 14.

Shelter Cove
The salmon bite continues to be somewhat decent, reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “Some private boats with two to three people have been getting limits, while many others have been striking out,” he said. “It seems it’s just about being patient and being in the right place at the right time. We averaged just over a fish per angler this past week. Most of the action is just south of the harbor in 20 to 60 feet of water. Rock fishing is still solid and the lingcod bite seems to be improving a little as well. No one has been halibut fishing since it reopened that I know of.”

Crescent City
Quite a few Pacific halibut were caught over the weekend, according to Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “The best bite was on the backside of the South Reef in 225 to 300 feet of water. The rockfish and lingcod action remains excellent, with lots of limits reported over the holiday weekend.” One boat made a 25 to 35 mile run for tuna on Saturday and reportedly boated 15.

Brookings
“Calm weather led to wide-open halibut fishing over the weekend out of Brookings,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Boaters who put in an all-day effort fishing in 200 feet of water straight out from the harbor returned with limits of halibut from 10 to 40 pounds. Combinations of squid, herring and salmon carcasses are working best. Lingcod fishing has improved, especially on calm-weather days in 40 to 60 feet of water. Ocean salmon season is closed.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The salmon bite was red-hot over the weekend even with the increase in flows. The river is full of jacks and quite a few adult kings are mixed in. Fish are being caught side-drifting the riffles and dragging bait through the deeper holes. The adult quota was met Sept. 7. The daily bag limit is two Chinook less than or equal to 23 inches. For more information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/News/lower-klamath-river-adult-fall-run-chinook-salmon-quota-met.

Chetco/Lower Rogue
Salmon fishing busted open over the weekend in the Chetco estuary according to Martin. “A dozen or more kings a day are being caught along the jetties, with more adult salmon showing in the catch than jacks,” he said. “The second half of the incoming tide is best. Drift boat fishing upriver won’t begin until there are significant fall rains. Salmon fishing has been hit-and-miss on the Rogue Bay, with good fishing over the weekend and slow action on Monday.”

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

Kings Make a Strong Showing on the Klamath

Klamath resident Kathy DeVol Cunningham landed a nice limit of king salmon on Saturday on the Klamath River. Photo courtesy of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service

Early last week, we were waiting patiently for the fall run of king salmon to begin their migration upriver. Well, the wait is over. The water temperatures cooled a couple degrees and the schools of ocean-fresh kings moved their way into the lower river. In fact, so many fish came through the mouth beginning last Tuesday that the spit area quota was filled in only a few days. And the fishing was phenomenal further upriver as well all through the weekend. There were plenty of jacks to be had and some nice adults as well. All the fish are dime-bright and moving through the river quickly. “As of Tuesday morning, very preliminary estimates indicate only 32 adults have been added to the quota since last week’s count, leaving well over half of the 611 fish quota left for harvest,” said Dan Troxel, an environmental scientist on the Klamath River Project. “No expansion estimates have been factored in at this point. Unless the adult catch-rate really takes off, we should be open to keeping adult salmon through the holiday weekend.” 

Reminder: The spit area, within 100 yards of the channel through the sand spit formed at the Klamath River mouth, is closed to fishing the remainder of the year. Fishing is open from the estuary upriver to State Route 96 bridge at Weitchpec. Once the quota is 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).

Anglers may keep track of the Klamath and Trinity river quotas by calling (800)564-6479. For Klamath and Trinity fishing regulations, visit www.nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=169262&inline.

Trinity River water release
Beginning Thursday, Sept. 2, the Bureau of Reclamation will begin to increase flows to the Trinity River for the Hoopa Valley Tribe’s Ceremonial Boat Dance. Releases will begin to increase above the base summer flow of 450 cubic feet per second at 10 a.m. Sept. 2, and reach a peak flow of 2,650 cubic feet per second between 12 a.m. and 12 p.m. Sept. 4. The releases will then gradually decrease back to the base summer flow, reaching 450 cfs at approximately 11 p.m. Sept. 10. Colder water temperatures and increased turbidity levels are to be expected.

Weekend marine forecast
Ocean conditions will begin to improve Thursday. Out 10 nautical miles north of the cape, Friday’s forecast is calling for northern winds 5 to 10 knots and waves out of the northwest 4 feet at seven seconds. Saturday is calling for northern winds 5 to 10 knots and waves north 4 feet at four seconds. Sunday, winds will be out of the north 5 to 15 knots and waves north 7 feet at six 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.

2021 recreational Pacific halibut fishery to reopen Sept. 3
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced on Tuesday that the recreational Pacific halibut fishery will reopen on Friday, Sept. 3 at 12 a.m. and remain open until Nov. 15 or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. Based on the current estimates of catch through June, CDFW estimates that 20,964 net pounds of the 39,260 net pound quota remain for anglers to catch.

The 2021 recreational fishery was closed on June 30 due to projected attainment of the quota. Since that date, new 2021 catch information indicates that the catch volume in the early part of the season was much lower than projected. The new information prompted CDFW and its partners at National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) and the Pacific Fishery Management Council to evaluate the updated catch to date against the state’s quota, leading to the decision to reopen the fishery.

CDFW is excited to provide this additional opportunity for anglers to participate in the 2021 recreational Pacific halibut fishery. CDFW field staff will continue to collect information from anglers at public launch ramps and charter boat landings to monitor catch through the remainder of the season. Anglers’ cooperation aids CDFW field staff in monitoring the progress of the fishery to ensure the quota is not exceeded.

In-season quota tracking can be found at http://www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/pacific-halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

Saturday is statewide free fishing day
The last chance of the year to fish for free arrives over the Labor Day holiday weekend. Free Fishing Day is offered by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Saturday, Sept. 4. While no fishing license is required on free fishing days, all fishing regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect. Every angler must have an appropriate report card if they are fishing for steelhead or sturgeon anywhere in the state or salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity river systems. For more information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Fishing/Free-Fishing-Days.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Not much going on this week out of Eureka due to rough ocean conditions. According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, the seas look good for the upcoming weekend. He said, “The warm tuna water is still sitting off our coast and it looks like it’s sliding south, which is good for us. Right now, it’s about 30 miles off of Crescent City and 50 miles from Eureka. I’m hoping for a window mid next week.”

Trinidad
Curt Wilson, of Wind Rose Charters was on the water Sunday but the rough water has forced him to the dock for a few days this week. “As it’s been all season, the black rockfish action is excellent,” said Wilson. “It’s pretty easy to go out between the Head and Patrick’s Point and catch a limit of 10 fish per person. We’re not seeing much variety right now. The weather looks to improve by the weekend, which should allow us to make it out to Reading Rock.”

Shelter Cove
According to Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing, the salmon bite was pretty solid until about Friday and has slowed considerably since then. “There’s still lots of bait but I think the bigger fish might be moving on and heading towards their home rivers,” he said. “The majority of the salmon the past couple days have been smaller, but I did see a 36-pounder caught on Sunday. Rock fishing was easy limits as usual and we’ve even had limits of lingcod the last three days. We’ve spent most of our time off the Ranch House and the Old Man.”

Crescent City
The tuna water is sitting about 30 miles off of Crescent City reports Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “There’s a few boats going out this weekend, hopefully the fish are still there. It’s been really windy this week, but a few boats are getting out early and getting limits of rockfish and lingcod. The California halibut bite has really died off.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The salmon bite was pretty spectacular over the weekend, with most boats getting limits of adults and jacks. The fish are spread throughout the river now and more are moving in everyday from the ocean. The steelhead bite has slowed as they’ve made their way further upriver but there are still a few around.

Kenny Priest (he/him) 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 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

Anglers Await Arrival of Fall Klamath Kings

Cotati resident Brandon Crane landed a nice hatchery steelhead while fishing the Klamath River Saturday. Photo courtesy of Alan’s Guide Service

Some of the best steelhead fishing in recent years on the Klamath has kept anglers busy as we await the arrival of the fall kings. There’s been flurries of fish moving in the estuary and below the U.S. Highway101 bridge, but not many are choosing to head upriver as of yet. The water temperatures cooled by a couple degrees Monday and quite a few fresh steelhead and jacks moved into the lower river. The big kings should start to move any time, especially with the water starting to cool down. According to Dan Troxel, an environmental scientist on the Klamath River Project, only 47 adult salmon had been harvested from the State Route 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the Klamath mouth toward the quota of 611 for the week ending Thursday Aug. 19. Of those, 20 adults were caught at the spit area of the mouth. As of last Friday, 163 adults remained of the 183-adult sub-quota for the mouth. If the fishing doesn’t bust open soon, there is some help on the way. Reportedly, flows coming out of the Trinity are scheduled to increase Sept. 3 for the ceremonial Hoopa Boat Dance. Flows are predicted to peak at 2,800 cubic feet per second on the Hoopa gauge Sept. 5 or Sept. 6 and then ramp back down by Sept. 8.

Marine forecast
Gale force northerly gusts are forecast to develop Friday across the outer waters north of Cape Mendocino. Winds nearshore will generally be lighter. However, seas will grow steeper through the end of the week and over the weekend. Out 10 nautical miles north of the Cape, Friday’s forecast is calling for north winds 15 to 25 knots and waves out of the north 9 feet at nine seconds. Saturday is calling for north winds 5 to15 knots and waves northwest 8 feet at eight seconds. Sunday, winds will be out of the north at 5 to 15 knots and waves northwest 8 feet at eight 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 River quotas begin on Sept. 1
Fall regulations for Chinook salmon fishing on the Trinity River will go into effect on Sept. 1 and run through Dec. 31, with a sport quota of 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 main stem downstream of the Highway 299 Bridge at Cedar Flat to the Denny Road Bridge in Hawkins Bar is closed to all fishing September 1 through December 31. Anglers may keep track of the Klamath and Trinity river quotas by calling 800-564-6479. For Klamath and Trinity fishing regulations, visit www.nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=169262&inline

Persong Lamsury from Kelseyville landed a pair of nice kings on a recent trip out of Shelter Cove. Photo courtesy of Jake Mitchell/Sea Hawk Sport Fishing

The Oceans:
Eureka
Wind and rough ocean conditions have kept the Eureka boats tied up for well over a week. There is a brief weather window for Wednesday and Thursday before the wind returns by the weekend. According to Tim Klassen, of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, the tuna water is still within reach. “The warm water is roughly 40 to 45 miles from Eureka,” said Klassen. “We just need some decent weather.”

Trinidad

Curt Wilson, of Wind Rose Charters, reports the black rockfish action remains steady between the Head and Patrick’s Point.  “We’re catching a few lingcod everyday along with the blacks, but not a ton of other variety are in close right now,” he said.

Shelter Cove
The salmon bite has been pretty good this week, reports Jake Mitchell, of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “We had limits most days of nice quality kings up to 32 pounds,” Mitchell said. “We’ve been getting them just south of the harbor around the bell buoy. The rock fishing was stellar, as well, as we limited on rockfish a few days after our salmon. The lingcod bite remains inconsistent with about a fish per rod average.”

Crescent City
Windy conditions have slowed the offshore fishing out of Crescent City. A few boats are getting out early in the morning and hitting spots close to the harbor for limits of rockfish and some lingcod. The Sisters continues to be one of the better locations. The tuna water is still sitting 30 miles straight out of Crescent City, but conditions don’t look great for the remainder of the week and the weekend.

Brookings
Rough, windy weather kept the fleet at the docks out of Brookings last week and over the weekend according to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “The ocean finally calmed enough for inshore bottom fishing on Monday. Thursday looks like the next opportunity for tuna, with 60-degree water a little less than 30 miles straight out. King season is closed, while hatchery coho may be kept through Aug. 28. Fishing was good for Pacific halibut a week ago, and should be good again this calmer weather mid-week.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The stellar steelhead fishing is still going strong on the lower Klamath. The river is full of half-pounders, along with lots of adults running 3 to 6 pounds. More jacks entered the river Monday and quite a few boats were getting limits. Very few adults are being caught, but that could change at any time, especially with the water temps starting to cool. The estuary fishery isn’t red-hot, but a few are being caught by boats trolling anchovies. Most of the fishing pressure has moved upriver.

Lower Rogue
The Rogue Bay fished very well last week before increases flows from Lost Creek Dam sent many of the salmon help up in the estuary upriver according to Martin. “After a slow weekend, the bite improved again Monday. Summer steelhead are being caught from Lobster Creek to Agness. A few wild coho also are now being caught in the bay,” Martin said.

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 Cuts Short Epic Tuna Bite

Arcata residents Matt Goldsworthy, left, and Noah Jenkins with a couple nice albacore caught last Friday out of Crescent City. Photo courtesy of Marc Schmidt/Coastline Charters

And what an epic bite it was! The onslaught began last Thursday out of Crescent City and didn’t let up until Sunday, when the ocean turned sporty. Fish were caught out of Shelter Cove but the best bite was near Crescent City. Boats leaving Eureka headed northwest to the area off of the mouth of the Klamath River. There was a huge swath of tuna from there north to Brookings. Boats leaving Crescent City met the warm water and boatloads of tuna at 20 miles. The Trinidad boats got in on the action, as well. Tony Sepulveda, of Shellback Sport Fishing, was one of the charters that made the run Friday and Saturday. “Tuna were caught as close as 34 miles northwest of Trinidad,” said Sepulveda. “We did our heavy lifting around 45 miles. The fishing on Friday was ridiculous, with 76 by noon. We had lots of quads, five-ways and even six-bangers. We didn’t have live bait available but did real well sliding colt snipers after the troll rods went off. Saturday was busy but they were a little more tentative. No long dry spells but lots of singles and we ended the day with 37.” Scores were all over the board, ranging from high teens to more than 70 for some boats. A boat fishing out of Brookings even announced a limit of 75 for three anglers by 8:30 a.m. The best way to describe this level of fishing – everyone who went “got all they wanted.” The grade of fish was mixed, ranging from 8 pounds all the way to the high 30s.

Weekend marine forecast
Gale force winds will produce steep seas for most of this week. Friday’s forecast is calling for winds 15 to 25 knots out of the north and north waves 10 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday is calling for north winds 5 to 15 knots and waves out of the northwest 7 feet at eight seconds. Sunday’s forecast is similar, with winds out of the north 5 to 15 knots and waves northwest 7 feet at nine 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 at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

The Oceans:
Eureka
The tuna water was quite a way from Eureka, but a few boats did make the long 50-plus-mile run. Quite a few of the Eureka boats opted to trailer to Crescent City to get in on the bite from there. The boats that stayed put took advantage of the nice weather and headed to the Cape for rockfish. Tim Klassen, of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, reports the fishing is really good, with easy limits of rockfish. “The blacks are big and plentiful and it’s really easy to catch a quick limit,” he said. “The lingcod were a bit tougher to come by as the wind kept us from getting to some of the better spots, but we did manage to get quite a few.”

Eleven-year-old Paul Griffith, of Chico, landed this hefty albacore tuna on Saturday while fishing roughly 45 miles northwest of Trinidad. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Shellback Sport Fishing

Trinidad
Curt Wilson, of Wind Rose Charters, reports the rockfish action is cranking right along, with lots of black rockfish coming over the rails. “Between the Head and Patrick’s Point is still producing quality limits of black rockfish,” he said. “We made a couple trips out to Reading Rock over the weekend and caught a wide variety of rockfish and some nice lingcod. The wind this week may keep us off the water for a few days.” The boat launch is operating from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Shelter Cove
According to Jake Mitchell, of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing, there are still some nice salmon being caught. “It’s not red hot but the average is probably about a fish per angler,” he said. “Some days are better than others as it hasn’t been real consistent. Still lots of bait in close to the harbor and that’s where most of the effort has been. We made our first tuna run on Thursday 57 miles out past Gorda Valley. The grade was pretty small for the most part but there was plenty of action. In five hours of fishing, we boated 55 albacore. Rock fishing was still easy limits with about a lingcod per rod on the days we tried. Most of the rockfish are being caught at the Hat and the Old Man.”

Crescent City
The tuna fishing was wide-open Thursday through Sunday with fish as close as 20 miles. The rockfish and lingcod bite is still going strong at the Sisters and the South Reef. A few California halibut are being caught along South Beach as well as a few Threshers.

Brookings
“Last week was nothing short of phenomenal out of Brookings,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “The albacore came within 18 miles and the bite was wide-open, while the Pacific halibut action also was wide-open. We ran eight albacore trips last week on four different charters and averaged 30 fish a day. We could have caught more, but there was no more room or ice. The best catch was 74 fish on the Dash on Friday, with some fish over 30 pounds. Two of our charters caught limits of Pacific halibut on Sunday in around 200 feet of water just north of the border. The biggest halibut was around 45 pounds. Salmon season closed for kings on Sunday, with slow fishing. It remains open for hatchery coho through Aug. 28, but the vast majority of the clipped fish have moved north. Rockfish action is good, while lingcod fishing is fair. Sport crabbing remains slow. Windy weather will sideline the fleet much of this week. 

The Rivers
Lower Klamath
The estuary fishery has slowed down as we wait for the fall kings to come in big numbers and make their way upriver. As of Wednesday, there weren’t many salmon being caught above tidewater, but there are plenty of half-pounders and adult steelhead around. Fall regulations went into effect Sunday, Aug. 15. The daily bag limit will be two Chinook, no more than one adult (greater than 23 inches) and the possession limit is six, no more than three adults.

Lower Rogue
After a hit-and-miss week of fishing on the Rogue Bay, the action heated up with some guides getting boat limits Monday and Tuesday, and many getting at least a fish per rod reports Martin. He said, “The bay is fishing in peak-season from. Plain anchovies are working best. Fish are spread throughout the bay. Windy weather could making trolling the bay more challenging this week.”

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

Fall-Run Salmon Quotas to Begin on the Klamath

Ruby Dawn, with a little help from her father Pat and mother Michele, landed her first-ever salmon while fishing the Klamath River Saturday. Fall regulations for adult fall-run kings will begin Sunday, Aug. 15. Photo courtesy of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service

Fall regulations will begin Sunday, Aug. 15 on the Klamath River, triggering the start of the fall salmon quota. The California Fish and Game Commission adopted bag and possession limits for the Klamath Basin based on a quota of 1,221 fall-run adult kings. On the Klamath, the fall season closes Dec. 31. The fall season on the Trinity begins Sept. 1 and closes Dec. 31.

On the Lower Klamath, from the State Route 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth, 611 adults will be allowed for sport harvest. The section above the 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 U.S. Highway 101 bridge. In 2021, 183 adults can be harvested below the U.S. Highway 101 bridge before the closure at the mouth is implemented. The rest of the area below U.S. Highway 101 (the estuary) will remain open to recreational fishing. Important reminder: All legally caught Chinook salmon must be retained while fishing the spit. Once the adult component of the total daily bag limit has been retained, anglers must cease fishing in the spit area.

On the Trinity side, 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 State Route 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 longer than 23 inches. Once these quotas have been met, no Chinook salmon longer than 23 inches may be retained (anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon less than 23 inches in length).

Visit www.nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=193634&inline for a complete list of regulations. Additional information can be found on the Klamath-Trinity River hotline at 1-800-564-6479. All anglers on the Trinity and Klamath rivers must have salmon harvest cards in their possession when fishing for salmon.

Razor Clam fishery opens in Humboldt County
After a closure that lasted five years due to domoic acid, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director has opened the recreational razor clam fishery in Humboldt County. In a press release issued on Tuesday, state health agencies recommended that the consumption of razor clams in the area no longer poses a significant threat for domoic acid exposure. Testing of razor clams at Clam Beach, Humboldt County in June and July 2021, indicated all clams were below the federal action level for domoic acid of 20 parts per million. This announcement arrives several months after the fishery opened in Del Norte County. With the opening of Humboldt County, no domoic acid closures remain in effect for razor clams.

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. During odd-numbered years, Clam Beach (also known as Little River Beach) in Humboldt County, is only open between Moonstone Beach and north of the boundary line due west from the Clam Beach south parking lot trailhead (40° 59.67’ N. lat.). 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. For specific razor clam regulations, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Sport-Fishing/Invertebrate-Fishing-Regs#mollusks

Weekend marine forecast
Light winds and lower seas are expected to last through the weekend. Friday’s forecast is calling for winds up to 5 knots out of the northwest and northwest waves 5 feet at 11 seconds. Saturday is calling for north winds 5 to 10 knots and waves out of the northwest 4 feet at 12 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is similar, with winds out of the north 5 to 10 knots and waves northwest 3 feet at five 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 at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

The Oceans:
Eureka
According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, the tuna water looked promising a couple of days ago, but it looks like the wind may have done a number on it. “The latest Terrafin shots didn’t look all that great,” said Klassen. It doesn’t look like Eureka will get in on this round, as it looks much better up off Crescent City now.” Ocean conditions look great through the weekend. This will be a good opportunity to head south to Cape Mendocino for rockfish and lingcod.

Trinidad
The rockfish bite out of Trinidad remains excellent according to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. He said, “The lingcod bite has really picked up. They’ve definitely moved in closer to shore. The fishing is good from right out front all the way to Patrick’s Point, it hasn’t really slowed down. When the weather allows, fishing at Reading Rock is wide-open. The lingcod have really been on the bite and limits are coming easy with fish to 25 pounds and plenty in the high teens.”

Shelter Cove
Like everywhere else along the coast, tuna is on everyone’s mind. According to Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing, the warm water is about 50 miles straight out. “It was 40 miles out two days ago, and it may be starting to break up,” said Mitchell. “There’s a lot of boats planning on going Thursday. The rock fishing has been great, but the lingcod remains at about a fish per rod on average.  There was a decent salmon bite over the weekend down by the Hat but the weather made it difficult for the sport fleet to spend much time down there. Looks like some better weather for the better part of this week.”

Crescent City
Boats in search of tuna will be heading to Crescent City in force starting Thursday. The warm water is sitting only 30 miles out and it’s by far the best tuna conditions we have on the North Coast. A dozen albacore along with a dorado were caught last Thursday 30 miles offshore. If you’re planning on heading up this weekend, expect a crowd. And also, be aware of the road closures at Last Chance Grade. According to Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, the Sisters and the South Reef continue to provide limits of quality rockfish and lingcod. “The California halibut bite was hit and miss last week with only a few hitting the net,” said Carson. “A thresher shark was caught Thursday along with some soup fins along South Beach.”

Brookings
Salmon fishing improved last week out of Brookings, where fishing remains open for kings through Aug. 15 and hatchery coho through Aug. 28 reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “Windy weather slowed the bite over the weekend. There also was decent halibut action last week in 200 feet of water. Boats are gearing up for albacore tuna runs beginning Thursday, setting their course for a bubble of warm water 30 miles straight out from Point St. George. A few tuna were caught last week 40-plus miles out. Fishing is good for rockfish and fair for lingcod. Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The estuary fishery slowed down over the weekend, but there are still some adults and jacks being caught daily. There are some half-pounders and adult steelhead upriver. Fall regulations go into effect Sunday. The daily bag limit will be two Chinook, no more than one adult (longer than 23 inches) and the possession limit is six, no more than three adults.

Lower Rogue
According to Martin, the Rogue Bay is producing big salmon, and good action at times. “Lots of salmon are held up, and can be seen splashing near the north jetty. Calmer winds this week could boost catch rates,” 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

KMZ Closes, Shelter Cove Best Bet for Ocean Salmon

A group of anglers are all smiles after boating limits of king salmon while fishing out of Shelter Cove last week. Photo courtesy of Jake Mitchell/Sea Hawk Sport Fishing

The ocean sport salmon season ended Sunday just like it began 34 days ago – quietly. Some nice kings were caught the week prior off Eureka, which led us to believe the season could potentially end on a high note. Didn’t happen. So now it’s rockfish only within the KMZ (Klamath Management Zone). However, if you’re still hankering for salmon, Shelter Cove is a pretty good option right now. Though it’s slowed down a little this week, it’s still your best bet at the moment. “The fishing pressure got pretty intense and that definitely slowed the bite,” said Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “The best bite had been between the launch and the bell buoy in 10 to 30 feet of water. There’s been a lot of bait in the area, mostly anchovies, herring and some small needle fish. It’s been about a fish per rod on average with a few random limits mixed in. The fish are a nice size, with quite a few tipping the scales well over 30-pounds.” The sport salmon season out of Shelter Cove will run through Oct. 31.

Weekend Marine Forecast
Gusty north winds will begin to pick up as we head into the weekend. Friday’s forecast is calling for winds 5 to 15 knots out of the north and west waves 5 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday is calling for north winds 5 to 15 knots and waves out of the north 5 feet at six seconds. Sunday’s forecast is similar, with winds out of the north 5 to 15 knots and waves northwest 6 feet at seven 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.

Junior Angler Fishing Day
This Saturday, Aug. 7, there will be a Junior Angler Fishing Day held at Freshwater Lagoon Beach for anglers 16 and younger. Loaner fishing equipment is available for those that need it (available on a first-come-first-served basis). Get a Junior Angler program/booklet with which kids can earn a fishing badge, free stickers and other giveaways. Limited to 40 participants who need to be accompanied by an adult. Sign up is required. Call 465-7762 or emailing redw_volunteer@nps.gov.

Tuna Update
The first tuna of the season was caught on Monday out of Shelter Cove. A single boat ran 50 to 55 miles towards the Gorda Valley and boated three albacore. Currently, the better conditions are off of Crescent City where the warm water is sitting within 45 miles as of Wednesday. All it will take is some calm weather to get the boats out looking.

The Oceans:                                                     
Eureka
With the sport salmon season now closed, full attention will turn to rockfish at Cape Mendocino. According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, the bite has been excellent this week. “The black rockfish are like piranha’s and are very aggressive biters, said Klassen. “They are a good size as well; we’re seeing a lot of 5 to 6-pounders. The ling cod bite has been good too, and we’re able to get limits or very close to it most days. The weather looks good at least through Thursday before the wind picks back up.”

Trinidad
“Rockfish out of Trinidad remains limit-style fishing,” said Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “The weather the past few days allowed us to venture out to Reading Rock where the fishing is outstanding,” said Wilson. “The lingcod have really moved in at the Rock and we’re getting limits pretty quickly with fish up to 30-pounds. Closer to home, the black rockfish bite is still wide-open between the Head and Patrick’s Point. A bunch of big canary rockfish have shown up as well.”

Crescent City
According to Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, the rockfish bite is still wide-open. He said, “The Sisters and the South Reef continue to provide limits. The California halibut bite was decent this week and quite a few are being caught daily off of South Beach by trollers and by anglers tossing jigs off the rocks.”

Brookings

After weeks of slow fishing, action improved for both Pacific halibut and salmon out of Brookings over the weekend, mainly because of calmer weather conditions reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters He said, “Boats were able to get offshore, where action has been decent for halibut and salmon. Kings are being caught in 250 feet of water straight out from the harbor. Halibut are in 180 to 200 feet. Several boats had multiple fish on Saturday, Sunday and Monday when returning from the offshore water. Action remains good for rockfish and fair for lingcod. A few boats are preparing to search for tuna with Friday’s good forecast.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The estuary fishery remains inconsistent and the bite varies from tide to tide and day to day. A handful of adult kings along with some jacks are being caught daily. It will likely be this way until we see the first big push of fall salmon enter the river. Spring-run regulations are in effect through Aug. 14, with a daily bag and possession limit of one salmon of any size.

Lower Rogue
The Rogue Bay fished well over the weekend, with a fish or two for many boats according to Martin. “The size of the salmon is impressive, with a handful of 30-pounders a day being weighed in. Lots of jacks have arrived as well. Good tides this week could lead to even better action,” 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 Salmon Finally Show Up

Arcata resident Larry Biggs landed this big king salmon Monday while fishing out of Eureka. The king weighed close to 23 pounds. Photo courtesy of Tim Klassen/Reel Steel Sport Fishing

If the last couple days are any indication, we may have a strong finish to the salmon season out of Eureka. Since the opener June 29, the fishing — and subsequently the effort — have both been underwhelming. But things began to change Saturday. A couple charters and sport boats braved tough conditions and found some nice kings 5 miles north of the entrance. This is exactly what we’ve been waiting on. After sitting out Sunday due to rough seas, Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing and Gary Blasi of Full Throttle Sport Fishing found enough hungry kings Monday to make a solid day. “The salmon were off of Mad River on the 55-line Monday in 230 feet of water,” said Klassen. “The fish were scattered and you had to look around for patches of bait. There wasn’t much to key on but there were some nice fish in the mix. They averaged from 7 pounds all the way to 23 pounds,” said Klassen. Nice weather is forecast for the rest of the week, so expect the fleet to apply a full-court press on the salmon grounds. The season will come to a close after Sunday.

Weekend Marine Forecast
Calmer winds and seas will most likely persist through the week. Friday’s forecast is calling for winds 5 to 10 knots out of the north and northwest waves 4 feet at six seconds. Saturday is calling for north winds 5 to 10 knots and waves out of the north 4 feet at six seconds. Sunday’s forecast is similar, with winds out of the northwest 5 to 10 knots and waves northwest 5 feet at eight 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.

Junior Angler Fishing Day
Saturday, Aug. 7, there will be a Junior Angler Fishing Day held at Freshwater Lagoon Beach for anglers 16 and younger. Loaner fishing equipment is available for those that need it (available on a first-come-first-served basis). Get a Junior Angler program/booklet with which kids can earn a fishing badge, free stickers and other giveaways. Limited to 40 participants who need to be accompanied by an adult. Sign up is required. Call 465-7762 or emailing redw_volunteer@nps.gov.

Sport Crab season coming to a close
The 2021 sport Dungeness crab season in Humboldt, Mendocino, and Del Norte counties will close Friday July 30. The season is expected to reopen Nov. 6.

The Oceans:                                                     
Eureka
With the season closing after this weekend, the salmon action is finally starting to heat up. Schools of kings were located off the Mad River Saturday in 230 feet of water and boats were back in that general area on Monday. There were some salmon up to 23-pounds caught.

Trinidad
The salmon bite dipped a little Tuesday according to Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. “Prior to Tuesday, limits were had just about each day,” said Sepulveda. “There’s a big area of fish from a little north of Patrick’s Point all the way to Reading Rock. And there’s some nice ones in the mix with some over 20 pounds.”

Shelter Cove
According to Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing, the salmon fishing has been sporadic. He said, “Some days have been really good and the next will be pretty tough. Overall, there are fish to be had, if you’re willing to work at it. The grade has been excellent but there are a lot of silvers in the mix as well. Most of the effort has been in close from the moorings down to White Rock. The rock fishing has been awesome but the lingcod were pretty tough to come by last week.” Big fish honors for the week went to John Neil, who boated a 30.5-pound king last Thursday.

Crescent City
When they can get out, anglers are finding a few salmon. According to Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, the best bite is still between Round Rock and the green can in 100 feet of water. “The fish are close to the bottom, coming at 80 feet on the wire,” said Carson. “The California halibut bite really picked up this week along South Beach. Trollers as well as anglers fishing from the rocks are getting a few each day. The rockfish and lingcod bite continues to be excellent. South Reef and the Sisters are a couple of the popular spots.”

Brookings

Salmon fishing has come to a standstill out of Brookings, as very few kings or hatchery coho are being caught reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Rough weather has prevented boaters from getting offshore, and the area close to the harbor has been void of salmon,” said Martin. “Fishing is decent for rockfish, and slow for lingcod. Very few Pacific halibut are being caught since it’s been difficult to reach the deeper water. Surf perch fishing remains good near Gold Beach.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The estuary fishery has been up and down all week and varying from tide to tide. It will likely be this way until we see the first big push of fall salmon enter the river. Spring-run regulations are in effect through Aug. 14, with a daily bag and possession limit of one salmon of any size.

Lower Rogue
“The Rogue Bay is fair for salmon, with good numbers of kings in the estuary, and the best bite is during the outgoing tide,” said Martin. “Anchovies without blades have been working best. The water temperature at Agness is 73 to 76 degrees, forcing salmon to hold up in the bay.”

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 Salmon Season Showing Signs of Life

Petaluma resident John Burch landed this beautiful 19-pound king salmon while fishing out of Trinidad. Trinidad is currently providing the best action for ocean salmon anglers. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Shellback Sport Fishing

Well, it looks like the salmon season on the North Coast has a pulse after all. After the first three weeks of the season produced very little, especially out of Eureka, salmon are finally starting to show up. The hot spot has been right out front of Trinidad. “It’s been like this off and on all season,” said Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. “I’ve had a handful of days where we’ve done a fish a rod or better.” After long stretches of unfishable weather and the salmon nowhere to be found, the Eureka fleet joined the Trinidad party over the weekend. The fishing was good, with some boats getting limits and others close to it. Most of the boats were working the 03 to 06 lines in 180 to 220 feet of water. There have been plenty of shakers to keep you on your toes as well as plenty of coho. With only 12 days left in the season, it’s good to see some smiles at the dock. It’s been a tough year but it looks like it may well end on a high note. For more information on the ocean sport salmon season, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Salmon.

Weekend Marine Forecast
Fresh to strong northerly breezes and steep seas will persist all week. As of Wednesday, Friday’s forecast is calling for north winds 10 to 20 knots and waves northwest 8 feet at eight seconds. Saturday, the winds will be out of the north 5 to 15 knots and waves will be out of the north 7 feet at seven seconds. Sunday, winds will be out of the north 5 to 15 knots with waves out of the north 7 feet at nine seconds and south 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 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.

CDFW provides guidelines for fishing during drought
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) issued a press release on Monday asking recreational anglers to voluntarily change how, when and where they fish to minimize stress and mortality among fish populations suffering from drought conditions. CDFW is advising anglers not to fish past noon on certain inland waters as even catch-and-release angling during the hottest parts of the day can greatly increase fish stress and mortality.

Coldwater species such as trout, salmon and steelhead have the greatest likelihood of being affected by the drought this year but low water levels and high-water temperatures can potentially affect all inland aquatic species.

CDFW has introduced a series of voluntary angling recommendations – so-called “Hoot Owl” Restrictions – that directs anglers to focus their fishing during the cooler “hoot owl” periods of the day when water temperatures are lowest. A watchlist of specific waters anglers should avoid fishing past noon is included and will be updated as conditions change. Sustained afternoon water temperatures exceeding 67 degrees Fahrenheit for trout fisheries could trigger addition to the list.

As conditions change, CDFW will post the updated list on the “Hoot Owl” Restrictions page.

Elevated water temperatures, lower oxygen levels, disease, low flows and low water levels are among the drought-related effects impacting many of California’s coastal waters and inland fisheries.

CDFW offers a number of other angling tips to reduce fish stress during the drought:

  • Minimize the time you spend “fighting” the fish and any hands-on handling.
  • Use rubber or coated nylon nets to protect a fish’s slime layer and fins.
  • Quickly remove the hook with forceps or needle-nosed pliers.
  • Minimize the amount of time the fish is exposed to air, especially when the weather is warm.
  • Keep your hands wet when handling the fish. 
  • If the fish is deeply hooked, do not pull on the line. Instead, cut the line as close as possible to where it is hooked and leave the hook so it can dissolve.
  • Allow the fish to recover in the net before you release it.
  • If the fish does not stay upright when you release it, gently move it back and forth.
  • Avoid fighting fish from deeper, cooler waters and bringing them into warmer waters at the surface if your intention is to release them.
  • Target fisheries that have stable water levels and species that are more resilient to elevated temperatures.

While theses best practices may not all apply to anglers interested in harvesting their fish to eat, mortality may result from non-targeted species caught and released or fish outside of legal size limits that must be returned to the water.

For more information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Inland/Hoot-Owl

The Oceans:

Eureka
With few signs of salmon, the Eureka fleet has moved its efforts north to Trinidad, where a decent bite has been going on for a couple weeks. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing made the run north the past few days and reported a pretty good bite. “There’s lots of shakers around and keepers up to 20 pounds,” said Klassen. “We boated seven on Sunday and Monday, with fish to 14 pounds fishing in 200 feet of water. Most of the fish are coming at 70 feet and shallower.”

Trinidad
“We’re seeing a pretty good salmon bite right out front of Trinidad now, “said Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “Most of the fish are in 200 to 250 feet of water from Trinidad Head to Cone Rock,” said Wilson. Some of the boats are reporting limits but most days are more than a fish a rod. I wouldn’t call it limit-style fishing yet. The rockfish bite remains steady, with limits of blacks coming easily between the Head and Patrick’s Point.

Benbow resident Jesse Hancock landed a nice king while fishing out of Shelter Cove over the weekend. Photo courtesy of Jake Mitchell/Sea Hawk Sport Fishing

Shelter Cove
The rockfish bite has been great all week, reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “Most of the boats were getting quick limits,” said Mitchell. “The lingcod bite picked up this week as well with limits on most days. The salmon bite showed signs of life again starting Thursday and peaking on Friday. It slowed to about a fish per rod over the weekend for those fishing the Old Man.”

Crescent City
The salmon are spread out but some are being caught each day, according to Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “The best bite has been between Round Rock and the green can in 100 feet of water,” said Carson. “The guys putting in the time are getting limits while others aren’t doing as well. There’s been lots of zeros. The rockfish and lingcod bite continues to be excellent when the boats can get out. The California halibut bite has been slow due to the wind and lack of effort. Clamming was good on the last round of minus tides, with lots of limits reported. The clams continue to be on the small side.”

Brookings
“Rough weather made for poor salmon catches the past week out of Brookings, although charter boats had a few good days,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters.  “Warmer water has stalled the action close to the harbor, while choppy seas have prevented most boats from getting offshore, where commercial boats have been faring better. Fishing is good for rockfish and fair for lingcod. No reports yet of tuna out of Brookings, but boats further up the coast have had some success.”

The Rivers:

Lower Klamath
The salmon bite has slowed in the estuary. Only a handful of fish were caught each day over the weekend. There were quite a few rolling but the bite never turned on. Anchovies rigged with a spinner blade has been the top producer so far. Best fishing has been on the incoming and a couple hours after the high tide.

Lower Rogue
The Rogue Bay has been hit and miss for salmon, with some very good days mixed in according to Martin. “The kings are spread throughout the bay. Windy weather has kept many boats away from the jetties, concentrating effort near Jots Resort and Indian Creek. Straight baits without blades worked best last week,” 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