Plenty of adult kings left to catch on the Klamath

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

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

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

Weekend marine forecast
The strong northerly winds will begin to diminish on Thursday. Large, steep seas will persist across all coastal zones Wednesday through late Thursday before subsiding on Friday. As of Wednesday afternoon, Friday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the N 10 to 20 knots with N swells 9 feet at 9 seconds. Saturday looks similar, with N winds 10 to 20 knots and N swells 9 feet at 10 seconds. Sunday the winds will be from the N 5 to 10 knots, with N swells 8 feet at 7 seconds and W 2 feet at 16 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or https://www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

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

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

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

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

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

Areas subject to low flow closures:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Klamath River full of kings

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

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

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

Weekend marine forecast
Pacific high pressure will build along the coast and will result in northerly winds and steep seas increasing late Thursday and lingering into Saturday. Friday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the N 5 to 15 knots with N swells 7 feet at 7 seconds. Saturday looks a little better, with N winds 5 to 15 knots and N swells 6 feet at 6 seconds and NW 4 feet at 13 seconds. Sunday the winds will be from the NW 5 to 15 knots, with NW swells 8 feet at 9 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or https://www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Tuna continues to dominate the saltwater effort out of Eureka. At the moment, there’s warm water to the south of Eureka roughly 25 miles and the same distance to the north. Boats went both directions last Sunday, with the northern boats scoring big and the south boats not so much. “We were one of the boats that went south and the fishing wasn’t great,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “There was a commercial boat about five miles outside of us, and they were doing good. So, there’s fish out there. The weather doesn’t look good for the next few days, but the warm water looks like it’s going to stick around. In the past, October has been a good month for tuna, and it’s shaping up that way again this year,” Klassen added. There hasn’t been much, if any, effort on rockfish or Pacific halibut. Through Sept. 8, the Pacific halibut quota is at 16,819 net pounds towards a quota of 39,000 net pounds.

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

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

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

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

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Tuna remains all the rage

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

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

Weekend marine forecast
Northerly winds will gradually increase through the end of the week, with the strongest winds across the outer waters south of Cape Mendocino. As of Wednesday, the forecast out 10 nautical miles for Friday is calling for winds out of the N 5to 15 knots with NW swells 7 feet at 9 seconds. Saturday looks similar, with winds from the NW 5 to 10 knots and NW swells 5 feet at 7 seconds. Sunday the winds will be from the W up to 5 knots and NW swells 6 feet at 12 seconds These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or https://www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Tuna water still sitting off of Eureka

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

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

Weekend marine forecast
Ocean conditions look plenty fishable through the weekend, with Friday looking like the best day for a tuna run. As of Wednesday, the forecast out 10 nautical miles for Friday is calling for winds out of the N up to 5 knots and waves NW 3 feet at 9 seconds. Saturday is calling for NW winds 5 to 10 knots and waves W 5 feet at 7 seconds and SW 2 feet at 19 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is calling for NW winds 5 to 10 knots and waves W 5 feet at 7 seconds and SW 2 feet at 18 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or https://www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Offshore bonanza for the holiday weekend


Livermore resident Glenn Casabar boated a dandy king salmon on Sunday while fishing out of Eureka. The salmon action picked up this week, but only a few days remain in the season. Salmon season will be closed as of Sept. 3 from the CA/OR border to Horse Mt.
Photo courtesy of Gary Blasi/Full Throttle Sport Fishing

The timing couldn’t have been any better. The upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend will coincide with some of the best ocean conditions of the season. And it just so happens the warm tuna water is right on our doorstep. While the salmon bite has picked up, the talk of the town is tuna. Boats will be headed southwest out of Eureka beginning on Thursday roughly 25 nautical miles from the entrance. Confidence is high that the water is full of tuna based on the reports coming from Fort Bragg and Shelter Cove. Both of those ports have experienced wide-open bites this week, and this is the same connected water that’s now within our reach.

Like I mentioned above, the salmon bite has improved. Some nice limits were boated on Sunday and Monday straight out of the entrance in 220 feet of water. The calm seas will also make for an easy Cape run and there’s plenty of Pacific halibut left to catch before the quota is reached. The California halibut bite remains excellent, with fish being caught up to 20 pounds. The Klamath is another option for the weekend, although it’s off to a slow start for returning fall kings. Reportedly, there were quite a few jacks caught in the estuary on Wednesday, so this could be the beginning of better fishing to come. If fishing is part of your holiday itinerary, the North Coast has plenty of options for you.

Weekend marine forecast
Ocean conditions for the long weekend are looking great as winds will be light and the seas calm. Friday’s forecast for coastal waters from Point St. George to Cape Mendocino out 10 nautical miles is calling for N winds to 5 knots with W waves 2 feet at 9 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for NW winds to 5 knots and W waves 3 feet at 8 seconds. Sunday is calling for NW winds to 5 knots and W waves 4 feet at 9 seconds and SW 2 feet at 17 seconds. Monday looks the same, with NW winds to 5 knots and W waves 3 feet at 9 seconds and SW 2 feet at 16 seconds.  These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or https://www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

Saturday is statewide free fishing day
On Saturday August 31, people may fish California’s waters without a sport fishing license. All regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect. On Free Fishing Days, every angler must have the appropriate report card if they are fishing for steelhead, sturgeon, or salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity River Systems. For more information visit, https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Fishing/Free-Fishing-Days

Eureka tuna/ live bait availability
As of Wednesday, the warm water is steadily moving north and is well within reach of the Eureka fleet. The target area is 27N x 43W, which is about 28 nautical miles from the entrance. Boats will be running through the weekend if ocean conditions hold. Ken Bates will have live bait available on Friday morning starting at 5:00 a.m. He will be anchored in the channel across from Englund Marine. Price is $20 per scoop.

Klamath River quota update
According to Dan Troxel, an Environmental Scientist on the Klamath River Project, 72 adult salmon had been harvested from the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth towards the quota of 3,818 for the week ending Aug. 26. Of those, 38 adults were caught below the Hwy. 101 bridge. The spit fishery will close when 1,145 adults are caught below the 101 bridge. Only the spit area will close to fishing once this quota is met, fishing will remain open upriver of the spit until the 3,818 quota is met. Anglers may keep track of the Klamath and Trinity river quotas by calling 800-564-6479.

Trinity River quotas begin on Sept. 1
The Trinity River will open to fall-run Chinook salmon fishing Sept. 1 and run through Dec. 31, with a sport quota of 2,520 adults. The quota will be split evenly; 1,260 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat and 1,260 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. 

Trinity River water release
Beginning Sunday, Sept. 1, 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 cfs at 5 p.m. Sept. 1, and reach a peak flow of 2,650 cfs between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Sept. 2. The releases will then gradually decrease back to the base summer flow about 3 p.m. on Sept. 5. Colder water temperatures and increased turbidity levels are to be expected.

The Oceans:
Eureka
The salmon bite came back to life over the weekend according to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. He said, “Sunday and Monday were really good, most everyone had limits early. Fishing was tougher on Tuesday due to the south swells and current. Most of the boats have been targeting the 47 line in 220 to 240 feet of water. It’s been a mixed grade, with fish from 24 inches up to 15 to 16 pounds. The average has been in the six to 12-pound range,” Klassen added. Salmon season will be closed as of Tuesday, Sept. 3 from the CA/OR border south to Horse Mtn. Weather permitting, the Cape has continued to produce big rockfish according to Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. “We got to the Lost Coast one day last week and loaded the boat with limits of lingcod and rockfish, including 34 giant vermillion,” said Sepulveda. “Top fish that day was a 64-pound Pacific halibut. The California halibut bite was as good as it gets this week on a nice grade of fish up to 20 pounds.”

Shelter Cove
Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing has been targeting a wide variety of species all week out of Shelter Cove. He said, “The rockfish bite has been great at Rogers, but the lingcod have been tough to come by. The salmon bite has picked up a little bit, with some boats getting a fish per rod along the beach off White Rock. With the warm water close by, we’ve been targeting tuna the last few days and averaging about 35 per trip. On Tuesday we did a tuna/rockfish combo and had 34 tuna, 37 rockfish and eight lings.”

Crescent City
According to Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, the offshore activity is starting to slow down, which is typical for this time of the year. “There are a few California halibut still being caught along South Beach. I heard a guy scored limits fishing from the jetty this week. The rockfish bite has been spotty, but the lings are biting. Most of the boats are fishing Big or South Reef. The salmon never materialized, and there really hasn’t been any effort lately,” Hegnes added.

Brookings
Ocean salmon fishing is extremely slow out of Brookings heading into this weekend’s big salmon derby according to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “Very few kings are being caught. Limits of rockfish have been easy to come by, with some nice lingcod mixed in. Boats are planning tuna trips this weekend.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Fishing remains tough on the lower Klamath, the adult salmon have yet to show in big numbers. A few more jacks are starting to move in and the boats are getting a couple each trip. There are some adult steelhead in the river along with some half-pounders. With the influx of cold water coming early next week, we should see the first push of adult kings push in.

Lower Rogue
Salmon fishing busted wide open on the Rogue Bay last Friday, with upwards of 80 fish caught, but action has slowed since reports Martin. “The fishing is still fair, with a few dozen fish a day being caught. Lots of salmon appear to be staging at the mouth, but warm water is keeping them from heading much further upstream than the jetties,” added Martin.

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Fall kings yet to show on the Klamath

The fall run of Klamath River Chinook has yet to really take off, which is a little unusual heading into the third week of August. There’s been flurries of fish moving in the estuary, but not many are choosing to head upriver as of yet. Reportedly, the commercial boats have been seeing lots of salmon offshore of the Klamath mouth. It should be just a matter of time before they decide to make their way upriver in big numbers. According to Dan Troxel, an Environmental Scientist on the Klamath River Project, only 25 adult salmon had been harvested from the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the Klamath mouth towards the quota of 3,818 for the week ending Aug. 19. Of those, 20 adults were caught below the Hwy. 101 bridge. If the fishing doesn’t bust open soon, there is help on the way. Beginning next Sunday, Sept. 1, 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 cfs at 5 p.m. Sept. 1, and reach a peak flow of 2,650 cfs between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Sept. 2. The releases will then gradually decrease back to the base summer flow about 3 p.m. on Sept. 5. 

Willits resident Andrew Hosford landed a nice king salmon Tuesday on the Klamath River. The fall kings have yet to move into the lower Klamath in big numbers, but it should bust open any time. Photo courtesy of Alan’s Guide Service

Fall regulations in effect on the Klamath
Fall regulations went into effect on the Klamath River for fall-run Chinook salmon beginning Aug. 15 and run through Dec. 31. On the Trinity, the fall quota will begin on Sept. 1 and run through Dec. 31. The in-river quota for the entire Klamath Basin is 7,637 adult fall Chinook. The daily bag limit will be two Chinook, no more than one adult (greater than 22 inches) and the possession limit is six, no more than three adults. Two hatchery steelhead or hatchery trout may also be retained, with a possession limit of four each. Anglers may keep track of the Klamath and Trinity river quotas by calling 800-564-6479. For Klamath and Trinity fishing regulations, visit https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=169262&inline

Trinity River salmon trappings
As of Aug. 19, 354 adult Chinook salmon had been counted at the Junction City weir. Of those, 78 were hatchery fish. With the release of water from the dam for the Hoopa Boat Dance beginning Sept. 1, the fall run kings should begin to make their way upriver in bigger numbers starting in the couple weeks.

Klamath River Salmon Derby
The Nor-Cal Guides and Sportsmen’s Association will be holding their inaugural Klamath River Salmon Derby on Aug. 31. The biggest salmon pays $1,000, second is $500, and third place is $250. The Junior winner will receive a life-time fishing license. Entry fees are $70 for non-NCGASA members, $50 for member, and $30 for Juniors. Weigh in will be at the old Redwood Rest Resort (kitty corner from Steelhead Lodge) from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. All entries include a free BBQ lunch, water and a raffle ticket for additional prizes. Sign up online at https://ncgasa.org/donate/ or at Little Ray’s Tackle in Klamath. Participants must be paid for prior to 6 a.m. on the day of the event. For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1211703795686649/

Marine forecast
Northerly winds will develop on Thursday and increase through late week as steep, short- period seas rapidly build in response. Out 10 nautical miles north of the Cape, Friday’s forecast is calling for N winds 10 to 15 knots and waves out of the NW 8 feet at 9 seconds and W 2 feet at 13 seconds. Saturday is calling for N winds 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 6 feet at 8 seconds and W 2 feet at 14 seconds. Sunday’s forecast looks similar, with winds out of the N 5 to 15 knots and waves NW 7 feet at 9 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or https://www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

Tuna still within reach
The ocean calmed down on Monday, paving the way for a short weather window for anglers chasing tuna out of Fort Bragg and Coos Bay. The warm water pushed offshore out of Eureka and Crescent City, but a few boats made a long run and caught fish. The lone Eureka boat ran 52 miles on Tuesday and boated 17. One of the Crescent City charters ran 50 miles for 58 tuna. The runs were much closer for Fort Bragg and Coos, and it sounded like the scores were better as well. Fort Bragg boats only had to go 25 miles and scores ranged from 40 all the way to 80. Coos was equally as good, with boats running 20 miles for all the tuna they wanted.

The Oceans:
Eureka
The salmon bite remains hit and miss out of Eureka. Most of the effort has been straight out of the entrance in 200 feet of water on the 45 line. “A couple of the charters limited out on Monday, but fishing was tougher on Tuesday,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “It seems like the fish are there, but we were only able to land one keeper. I know of one boat that landed four, so it’s right place, right time. And you need to make your bites count. There were small patches of bait, but not many murres around,” added Klassen. The Cape has been productive per usual, and Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing has been taking advantage of calm ocean conditions to put his clients on the fish. “The Lost Coast has been incredible as always,” said Sepulveda. “Vermillion rockfish have really been the story the last few weeks. Giant ones have been my most abundant species. We boated 28 huge reds in our 60 fish limits on the last trip to go with limits of lingcod all running 12 to 25 pounds.” The California halibut bite is still going strong in Humboldt Bay according to Sepulveda. “Limits have been the norm and a lot of days they’ve come quick. And it’s a really nice grade, with lots of fish in the eight to 10-pound range and we had them as big as 22 this week,” added Sepulveda.

Shelter Cove
“The rockfish and lingcod bite was great this week, with most of the effort around the Hat,” said Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “The salmon bite was scratchy at best, with most of the action down off White Rock in 70 feet of water. The tuna bite was really good on Monday and Tuesday, with boats getting 25 to 60 fish 20 to 30 miles out.”

Crescent City
The fishing effort has slowed down this week reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “The one bright spot was one of the charters ran for tuna on Tuesday and did really well. They went 50 miles and put in 58 tuna by 11 a.m. With the ocean coming back up, that may be it for a while. The rockfish and lingcod are both still biting well at all the usual spots. The California halibut and the Thresher action along South Beach have both slowed down,” Hegnes added.

Brookings
Boats headed 35 miles out of Brookings for albacore on Tuesday, but returned with just a handful of fish reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “The action remains very good to the north out of Charleston. Fishing has been good for lingcod out of Brookings, but slow for salmon.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
A bunch of steelhead moved into the river late last week and the fishing was good for both adults and half-pounders. However, it looks like they didn’t bother to stick around as the bite slowed down on Tuesday in the lower river. The few boats out side-drifting and dragging bait in the deeper holes are catching a few adult salmon, but not many. The estuary fishery isn’t red-hot by any means, but there were a few caught on Wednesday by boats trolling anchovies.  

Lower Rogue
The Rogue Bay has shown signs of life the past week, but has been hot and cold according to Martin. “Friday and Saturday produced good fishing, but the action slowed to a halt on Sunday. There was a wide-open bite along the jetties halfway into the incoming tide on Monday, with more than 30 fish landed in an hour, but Tuesday was slower with about 15 total fish caught,” said Martin.

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Epic week of tuna fishing for the North Coast

Steve Jones of Clovis landed a rare mahi-mahi last Wednesday while fishing for albacore tuna out of Crescent City. The mahi-mahi, also called dorado, are most commonly found in the waters around the Gulf of Mexico, Costa Rica, and Hawaii. Jones was fishing with Gary Graham, also of Clovis. Photo courtesy of Gary Graham

And what a week it was! The onslaught began last Wednesday out of Crescent City and didn’t let up until Tuesday afternoon. From Fort Bragg to Brookings, and every port in between, boats loaded up on the tuna. Scores were all over the board, from high teens up to seventy for some boats. The numbers, however, seemed irrelevant. The best way to describe this level of fishing – everyone who went “got all they wanted.” I’ve lived in Humboldt for the better part of 16 years now, and I can’t recall a stretch this good. Saltwater anglers who’ve lived here their entire life are hard pressed to remember a time when the ocean was this flat for this long, the warm water was this close, and the water was this full of fish. Following six days of wide-open tuna fishing, what was left of the fleet had planned a relaxing day of salmon fishing on Tuesday out of Eureka. The weather was forecasted to get crummy in the afternoon, making a run for tuna out of the question. As he approached the salmon grounds, Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing, took a quick look at the updated SST image on his phone and couldn’t believe his eyes. “It had makings of tuna on our doorstep,” said Sepulveda. “Salmon gear was cast aside and 17 miles from Humboldt Bay Entrance, we had jigs in the water. Eighteen miles from the entrance I blasted a “hookup” call across the radio and the first tuna of the day hit the deck. The rush was on as a fleet of boats jumped in on the game. We pulled the plug at 1:30 p.m. with 22 beautiful albacore in the box on a flat ocean and Cape Mendocino looming in the background.” And that folks, is how you cap off an epic seven days of wide-open tuna fishing,

Cliff Hart and his son Ollie with a nice albacore landed out of Crescent City last Saturday,
Aug. 10. Photo courtesy of Cliff Hart

Weekend Marine forecast
Northerly winds and seas will continue to gradually trend upward through the end of the week, with gales possible by Thursday morning. Out 10 nautical miles north of the Cape, Friday’s forecast is calling for N winds 15 to 25 knots and waves out of the N 11 feet at 9 seconds and W 3 feet at 17 seconds. Saturday is calling for N winds 10 to 20 knots and waves NW 9 feet at 9 seconds and W 3 feet at 15 seconds. Sunday’s forecast looks better, with winds out of the N 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 5 feet at 7 seconds and W 3 feet at 15 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or https://www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

2019 Klamath/Trinity fall regulations
Fall regulations go into effect on the Klamath River for fall-run Chinook salmon beginning Aug. 15 and run through Dec. 31. On the Trinity, the fall quota will begin on Sept. 1 and run through Dec. 31. The in-river quota for the entire Klamath Basin is 7,637 adult fall Chinook. The daily bag limit will be two Chinook, no more than one adult (greater than 22 inches) and the possession limit is six, no more than three adults. Two hatchery steelhead or hatchery trout may also be retained, with a possession limit of four each.

Alan Borges and Ally Del Grande, both of Eureka, landed a nice king salmon while fishing the Klamath River estuary on Aug.1 Photo courtesy of Alan’s Guide Service

Klamath Quotas
On the Lower Klamath, from the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth, 3,818 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 1,298 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 2019, 1,145 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.

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. Also, the new six-foot leader length restriction remains in effect.

Trinity Quotas
On the Trinity side, the quota is set at 2,520 adults. The quota will be split evenly; 1,260 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat and 1,260 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. 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.

Once these quotas have been met, no Chinook salmon greater than 22 inches in length may be retained (anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon under 22 inches in length). The 2019-2020 sport seasons, dates, locations, bag limits and gear restrictions can be found here https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=169262&inline. Additional information can be found on the Klamath-Trinity River hotline at 800-564-6479. All anglers on the Trinity and Klamath rivers must have Salmon Harvest Cards in their possession when fishing for salmon.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Tuna took center stage out of Eureka beginning last Thursday, and it didn’t stop until Tuesday afternoon. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing was in on the action, targeting longfins Friday through Sunday. He said, “Friday we ran 20 miles south off of the Cape along with quite a few other boats. It wasn’t great, but we landed 13 to up to 20 pounds. On Saturday we went straight out about 30 miles and boated 30. Sunday the warm water moved slightly north, so we headed straight west of the stacks and put another 32 on board. Aside from the tuna, the salmon has been hit and miss. It was really good for some on Sunday, then fell flat on Monday. Boats are working the same general area between the 42 and 45- lines in 180 to 200 feet of water,” said Klassen.

Ross Taylor with a 25-pound albacore on Aug 9th, 45 miles northwest of Trinidad. Photo courtesy of Ishan Vernallis.

Trinidad
Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters reports the rockfish action is cranking right along, with lots of variety coming over the rails. “It’s been wide-open this week, and we’re still catching plenty of lingcod,” said Wilson. “On Sunday and Monday, we put some time on the salmon grounds and put in about a fish per rod on half-day combo trips. Most of the action was in 300 feet of water between Cone Rock and Patrick’s Point. There are a few guys trying for Pacific halibut just about every day, but the bite has been really slow.”

Shelter Cove
Like everywhere else along the coast, it’s been all about the tuna at the Cove. Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing made runs on Friday and Saturday and did very well. “We fished Friday up off the Cape with the Eureka fleet and finished the day with 23 albacore,” said Mitchell. “On Saturday we ran south to Noyo Canyon and finished with 36 longfins. Prior to the tuna showing up, we’ve spent some time at the Hat for limits of quality rockfish and lings. We also made a halibut trip up Rogers Break and boated three halibut to 62 pounds. Salmon remains slow, we’ve been averaging a couple while running combo rockfish trips.”

Crescent City
The tuna fishing was wide-open through the weekend, with fish as close as 17 miles reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine “The parking lot was full of boats, and there were a lot of fish caught,” said Hegnes. “The rockfish bite is still going strong, but the lingcod bite slowed. I heard there was a better bite out in deeper water. A few California halibut are being caught along South Beach, and one Thresher was caught on Tuesday.”

Brookings
Tuna fishing has been very good out of Brookings, with boats finding plenty of fish just 15 miles from the harbor reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “Exceptional weather last week allowed even the smaller jet boats to get out. Salmon fishing has been slow out of Brookings, although lots of wild Coho are still around. Tuna boats likely will be kept in through Saturday because of windy weather.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The estuary fishery really slowed down over the weekend and early this week. Very few boats have been out, but a few fish were caught on Wednesday. Hopefully we’ll start to see the fall fish come in and make their way upriver. As of Wednesday, there weren’t any salmon being caught above tidewater, but there are plenty of half-pounders and a handful of adult steelhead around. Fall regulations go into effect on Thursday. The daily bag limit will be two Chinook, no more than one adult (greater than 22 inches) and the possession limit is six, no more than three adults

Lower Rogue The Rogue Bay has slowed, with a few salmon a day being caught and a catch rate around a fish for every 10 rods according to Martin. “This week’s tides should be good for fishing, but the bite never really materialized Monday or Tuesday,” added Martin

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Tuna fever hits the North Coast

Dan Harris of Fortuna, right, along with Bob Johnson of Hydesville had a banner day tuna fishing last Friday out of Fields Landing. The pair, who landed 33 albacore, were fishing with Jeff Stackhouse of Stackhouse Guide Service. Photo courtesy of Dan Harris

Tuna fever is spreading like wildfire along the North Coast. Last week’s two-day window fueled the flames, but now we’re dealing with a full-blown inferno. Warm, easily-accessible water that’s loaded with tuna will do that to you. The ocean forecast for the next few days is as good as it gets, and plenty of anglers will be taking full advantage. If you see a convoy of boats headed north or south, now you know why. All ports from Fort Bragg to Brookings will be launching boats on the hunt for tuna. According to reports, the warm water is nearest out of Crescent City where as of Wednesday it was 17 miles offshore. To add a little gas to the fire, a 25-fish limit was taken by a lone angler 20 miles offshore of Crescent City on Wednesday. Plenty of locals will be headed that direction come Thursday morning. Like I mentioned, this all started last Thursday and Friday. Plenty of fish were caught from all the local ports, with the high score coming out of Crescent City at 62 albies. If you’re targeting anything other than tuna, you may want to show up at the ramp a little later – or you could find yourself looking at a long wait time.

Blue Lake resident Seth Naman landed a nice albacore tuna while fishing
out of Charleston, OR last Thursday. Contributed photo

Weekend marine forecast
Light winds and calm seas are expected Wednesday through Saturday. Out 10 nautical miles from Pt. St. George to Cape Mendocino, Friday’s forecast is calling for SE winds up to 5 knots and NW waves 2 feet at 9 seconds. Saturday is calling for SW winds up to 5 knots and waves out of the W 2 feet at 3 seconds. The wind and swells will pick up slightly on Sunday. Winds will be out of the N 5 to 10 knots and waves 4 feet at 5 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or https://www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Salmon fishing out of Eureka is all about location and timing this week reports Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “We had some good days fishing between the 42-45-lines in 180 feet of water, but it was inconsistent. The fish are there, but they’re spread out and not biting like crazy. When they turn on, you need to be there. When the weather has permitted, the Pacific halibut bite has been good. We went out on Saturday and put five in the box pretty quickly. I heard of fish being caught from the 44 to the 52 line in 260 to 300 feet of water. We’ve got some excellent ocean and water conditions for the next several days, so lots of boats will be running for tuna,” Klassen added.

Trinidad
The rockfish and ling cod are really on the bite reports Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. He said, “I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence or not, but it seems when the crab season comes to a close, the rockfish bite goes off. And that’s what’s happening now. The ling cod bite has been wide open, and there’s some big ones around. We boated a 46-pounder a couple days ago. There’s also a wide variety of rockfish around, we’re catching vermilion, coppers, browns, and canary’s and others. Not much is happening with salmon, nobody is really putting in any effort. The Pacific halibut bit really well last week, I saw plenty coming in weighing between 30 and 70-pounds. This week for whatever reason, has been slow. The effort slowed as well.”

Crescent City
The rockfish bite really took off this week reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “I heard today some boats with really quick limits of both rockfish and lingcod out at the South Reef. The Thresher and California halibut bites have both slowed, but a few are still being caught. With the ocean being flat, it will be all about the tuna for the next three or four days. The warm water has moved in even further, it sounds like it’s within 20 miles,” Hegnes said.

Shelter Cove:
Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing spent most of the week salmon fishing and struggled to average a fish per rod. “We were mostly fishing near the whistler, but we did get a few up by the canyon today,” said Mitchell.  “We’ve all been holding out hope that it would turn on, but when it’s all done, I think this will go down as one of the worst salmon seasons we’ve seen here. We ran up to Rodgers Break on Friday for some fantastic rock fishing where almost half the boats limits were big vermilions. We also fished rockfish at the Hat on Saturday and it was great as well. The tuna water is close, we may run on Thursday and Friday.”

Brookings
Salmon fishing remains spotty out of Brookings, as warm water close to shore has the fish off the bite reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “A few kings and hatchery Coho were caught over the weekend, but most boats got skunked. Tuna have been reported as close as 15 miles. The biggest surprise out of Brookings is a strong showing of California halibut. I ran charters for them Monday and boated 14 keepers and got seven on Tuesday. We usually see a few California halibut each summer, but the number of fish being caught this year is a pleasant surprise.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The estuary fishery really took off last Sunday on the incoming tide as the first real push of fall fish entered the river. On Monday the fishing was excellent as well, but it slowed on Tuesday. There are fish being caught every day, but you need to be there when they push in and want to bite. The salmon haven’t moved upriver in big numbers yet, but there are some steelhead being caught by boats side-drifting the riffles with bait. Spring-run regulations are in effect through August 14, with a daily bag and possession limit of one salmon of any size.

Lower Rogue
The Rogue Bay was slow over the weekend but showed signs of life Monday and Tuesday according to Martin. “Fish are staging along the Jetty jaws on the incoming tide. There also is a bite each morning near the mouth of Indian Creek,” said Martin.

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Eureka salmon back on the bite

It appears the lull is over. Salmon are once again on the bite out of Eureka – in pretty much the same location they’ve been all season. Table Bluff in 180 to 200 feet of water seems to be the one spot that’s consistently holding fish. A handful of sport boats were the first to capitalize fishing over the weekend on an ocean that was much nicer than forecasted. More boats, including a couple of the charter boats, joined the party on Monday and enjoyed some really good salmon fishing. The story was the same for Tuesday, but the bite really went wide-open on Wednesday. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing put the wood to em’ with full boat limits by 10:30 a.m. The fish are a decent size as well, Klassen’s fish averaged a solid 13 pounds. Salmon fishing will be a good option for the weekend, but the calm seas predicted will allow for plenty of options. The Cape for rockfish, Pacific halibut, and even tuna are all within reach in the next few days.

Weekend Marine Forecast
Ocean conditions are looking ideal through Saturday, with stronger northerly winds returning on Sunday. Friday’s forecast is calling for winds up to 5 knots out of the E and W waves 3 feet at 8 seconds. Saturday is calling for N winds 5 to 15 knots and waves out of the NW 4 feet at 6 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is a little breezy, with winds out of the N 5 to 15 knots and waves NW 6 feet at 6 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or https://www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

Tuna within reach
Tuna conditions are shaping up nicely for Thursday and Friday, with boats on the hunt from multiple local ports. Friday looks like the day for the Fort Bragg fleet. The warm water looks to be within 40 miles straight west. Thursday is the better day for the Eureka, Trinidad and Crescent City boats. The warmest water looks to be off the mouth of the Klamath, and that’s the general area where the boats will converge. It looks to be roughly a 40-mile run out of Crescent City. Charleston has been kicking out tuna since the weekend, and plenty of Humboldt County boat owners elected to tow that direction.

Sport Crab season closed
The 2019 sport Dungeness crab season in Humboldt, Mendocino, and Del Norte counties closed on Tuesday July 30. The season will re-open on Nov. 2.

The Oceans:                                                     
Eureka
The salmon bite returned over the weekend, and has steadily improved each day. Earlier in the season the fish were off of Table Bluff, and they’re still there. A few of the charters have been targeting the area around the 41-42-lines since Monday and reported solid action. Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing reported limits by 10:30 am on Tuesday with fish up to 22 pounds. Reportedly, it was even better on Wednesday. With the warm water within reach and a flat ocean in the forecast, the talk of the town has been tuna. A few local boats are running from Eureka and Trinidad on Thursday, but most have elected to launch out of Crescent City where the warm water is quite a bit closer. Pacific halibut and a trip to the Cape should all be doable prior to Sunday.

Shelter Cove
The salmon bite was nonexistent last week, but picked up on Monday and Tuesday according to Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “On Monday, we fished salmon all day and ended up with six. Tuesday, we did the same thing and ended up with limits of salmon, lingcod and one California halibut while mooching near the whistle. The salmon are a mixed grade running from 5 to 20 pounds. I was able to pound my way up to Rodgers on Friday for some great rock fishing. We had boat limits in an hour and a half with some quality lingcod. Weather looks to be improving slightly for the rest of the week, so hopefully the fishing will follow suit.”

Crescent City
Thresher Sharks and California halibut are still both being caught along South Beach reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “We’re seeing three to six Threshers caught a day by guys drifting or trolling herring or anchovies. The halibut bite is still going too. I don’t think we’re seeing many limits but the fish are big, lots of 15 to 20 pounders. Trolling herring behind a dodger has been the ticket. The rockfish and lingcod are still biting at all the usual spots, but the salmon action has dried up. Not much effort on the salmon.”

Brookings
Ocean salmon fishing has been fair out of Brookings, with mostly wild and hatchery Coho being caught and a few kings according to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Nicer weather will allow boaters to get further offshore this week. The lingcod fishing has improved. Several boats are planning to run tuna trips with this week’s good marine forecast,” added Martin.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The estuary fishery has been up and down all week, and varying from tide to tide. Monday there were a decent amount of fish caught, with some boats getting their limit of one per angler. Tuesday the bite was slower, but some fish were caught. Wednesday was really tough, with just a few fish caught amongst the fleet. 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 August 14, with a daily bag and possession limit of one salmon of any size.

Lower Rogue
“The Rogue Bay fished well last week, with a few fish over 30 pounds, then slowed over the weekend with only a handful of salmon caught,” said Martin. “Fishing was better Monday and Tuesday, with signs of bigger numbers of salmon around. This week’s big tides should draw even more fish in.”

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com

Humboldt Bay kicking out the Halibut

Miles Sotelo of McKinleyville had his hands full landing a nice California halibut on a recent trip in Humboldt Bay. The California halibut bite has been excellent as of late and should be a good weekend option. Photo courtesy of Redwood Coast Fishing with Mike Stratman

Humboldt Bay continues to kick out some quality-sized California halibut, and there doesn’t seem to be a shortage. The fishing has been really good for the entire month of July, but has gotten even better the last week for boats drifting live bait in the north and middle channels. “The California halibut bite really hit its stride through most of the week with easy limits the norm,” said Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. “The grade was a little better than what we saw the last couple years with quite a few fish running in the 8 to 12-pound range,” added Sepulveda. The California halibut fishery has been a blessing these past few years. We’re pretty fortunate that when fishing offshore isn’t a good option, we have a world-class fishery to fall back on. With breezy offshore conditions and the lack of good salmon fishing, the bay could be the top choice for the weekend. As a reminder, the daily bag limit is three, and the minimum length is 22 inches. Also, according to Sepulveda, if you’re using live perch for bait, you’ll want to know your limits on them. “They’re legal to fish, but there are several different species in our waters and they have varying bag limits. Make sure you’re within the regulations when you load your bait tank,” added Sepulveda.

Weekend Marine Forecast
Strong breezes will persist across the outer waters through at least the weekend. Wind waves will also begin to steepen in response to the winds. Friday’s forecast is calling for 5 to 10 knot winds out of the NW and N waves 5 feet at 7 seconds. Saturday is calling for N winds 10 to 15 knots and waves out of the NW 5 feet at 6 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is a little worse, with winds out of the N 5 to 15 knots and waves N 6 feet at 7 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or https://www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

Pacific Halibut quota update
The CDFW has projected 12,594 net pounds of Pacific Halibut has been harvested through July 21. In 2019, the Pacific halibut allocation for California is 39,000 pounds. To view the latest catch projection information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

Sport Crab season coming to a close
The 2019 sport Dungeness crab season in Humboldt, Mendocino, and Del Norte counties will close on Tuesday July 30. The season will re-open on Nov. 2.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Salmon fishing out of Eureka has definitely hit a lull. At least we hope it’s just a lull. “Fishing was tough this week,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “Ocean conditions don’t look bad, the water is the right temperature and color, but there isn’t much bait around. As the bite has slowed, the effort kind of died as well, so not a lot of boats out looking either. There were some fish caught on Monday off of Table Bluff in deeper water, but that dried up as of Tuesday. Weather conditions don’t look good through the weekend, which will keep us close to the beach or in the bay,” added Klassen. The one bit of good news is the rockfish bite at Cape Mendocino. It very rarely disappoints, and it hasn’t this week. “We fished some breezy conditions at the cape this week but the lack of swell made it very doable,” said Sepulveda. “As is so often the case, the ocean was nice out front of Eureka but the wind would build as you went south. The drift was generally fast and we had some uphill current to fight but it ran light enough that lines stayed down reasonably well. Under those conditions, I generally stay clear of high relief structure (like pinnacles) and opt to comb hard bottom flats. In these areas, coppers, quillback, canary and medium size lingcod running eight to 20 pounds make up the bulk of my catch. Everything bit well,” added Sepulveda.

The crew aboard the Seaweasel II with limits of nice kings caught on Monday out of Eureka. Photo courtesy of Gary Blasi/Full Throttle Sport Fishing

Trinidad
According to Tyler Vaughn, who’s running the Wind Rose, there are salmon being caught but there aren’t many boats trying. He said, “Most of the action has been out deep in 250 feet of water off of Cone Rock and the fish are coming at 150 otw. I know one sport boat that put in quick limits two days straight. The fish were right around 10 to 12 pounds. The rockfish bite is still going strong. We’re getting easy limits of blacks and catching a handful of vermilions and canaries as well. And there’s a good number of lingcod around too. We’re catching anywhere from one to six per trip,” Vaughn added.

Shelter Cove
The report out of Shelter Cove hasn’t changed much – the salmon bite remains slow according to Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “Some guys are running into a flurry every now and again and getting a handful, but nothing has been consistent or lasted more than a few hours. The little bit of salmon action has been right at the whistle. It’s still very windy on the outside so we’re not able to venture to far. The lingcod bite picked up this last week and we got limits of nice ones to go along with limits of rockfish. We’ve been mainly fishing the Old Man,” added Mitchell.

Crescent City
The story this week has been the arrival of the Thresher Sharks. According to Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, they showed up in pretty big numbers this week. “I weighed one that was over 160 pounds on Wednesday. They are right on South Beach, and guys are getting them drifting herring. The California halibut are still there as well. The salmon bite continues to be spotty at best for the sport guys. The commercial boats having been doing well near the Klamath and down deep. The rockfish bite is still going strong, and it looks like the lingcod action is heating up,” Hegnes added.

Brookings
Salmon fishing is good at times out of Brookings, but hasn’t been consistent reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “There was a good bite Tuesday in close near the buoys. A few boats ventured offshore for tuna on Monday, but struck out. Sport boats caught tuna this week further north out of Charleston 30 miles offshore,” said Martin.

Klamath Control Zone closure
The Klamath Control zone will be closed the month of August for ocean sport salmon fishing. The closed zone around the Klamath River mouth is bounded on the north by 41°38’48” N. lat. (approximately 6 nautical miles north of the Klamath River mouth); on the west, by 124°23’00” W. long. (approximately 12 nautical miles off shore); and on the south, by 41°26’48” N. lat. (approximately 6 nautical miles south of the Klamath River mouth).

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The salmon action in the estuary slowed over the weekend, but a few limits were landed. Boat traffic on Sunday was heavy, and the bite was decent. Some boats caught a few, but the majority put up zeroes. Like any tidal fishery, the bite can be fickle. You need to be there when the fish are in and want to bite. Trolling anchovies behind a Rogue River spinner bait is still catching the majority of the fish. Spring-run regulations are in effect through August 14, with a daily bag and possession limit of one king salmon of any size.

Lower Rogue
The Rogue Bay fished well through the weekend, but slowed Monday and Tuesday according to Martin. He said, “Heavy moss has made fishing tough. Fish are showing, but baits must be suspended to have any chance and to avoid mossing up. Several fish topping 20 pounds have been caught.” 

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com