Late season rain a blessing and a curse

The late-season storms barreling their way towards the North Coast are a huge benefit to all of our rivers and the fish that travel through them. But they can also be quite the burden to steelhead anglers. Chetco and Smith river fishermen will reap the rewards of the March rains, while anglers looking for additional opportunities on the Eel, Van Duzen, and Mad rivers will be forced back to the sidelines. A couple inches of rain is predicted over the next several days, which will likely signal the end of green water for most of the Humboldt rivers. The Chetco and Smith are both on the clear side and could use a good shot of water. On both rivers, you can expect to see a good number of spawned-out steelhead making their way down and the last of the fresh fish moving in. And both should remain fishable through the rain, unlike the rivers to their south.

While these late-season rains may not bring much joy to the anglers, they’re a godsend for the fish. The extra water will go a long way in helping the steelhead reach their spawning grounds and also provide a helping hand for the juvenile salmonids as they begin their journey down to the saltwater.

The weather ahead
“Following a mostly dry Thursday, rain will be back in the forecast for Friday,” said Kathleen Zontos of Eureka’s National Weather Service. “Widespread rain should begin sometime mid-morning on Friday and will stick around through Saturday morning. By Saturday afternoon, most of the rain will fall in Humboldt and to the north. Daytime on Sunday looks to be dry, but rain will return in the evening. This will be a colder system where we could see snow in the higher elevations and heavier rain. The rest of next week is looking like off and on showers, with small breaks in the rain.” said Zontos.

Bucksport Surf Perch contest
Bucksport Sporting Goods will be holding its first annual Surf Perch Contest beginning on April 1. The contest will run through September and you can enter up to 10 fish per month. A point will be given for each ounce and for each quarter inch. All fish must be measured and weighed at Bucksport. The top three fish at the end of the contest will win a prize. Entry is free, but limited to in-store registration only. Bucksport is located at 3650 Broadway St, in Eureka.

Perch’n on the Peninsula coming April 6
The Samoa Peninsula Fire District will be hosting their 10th Annual Perch’n on the Peninsula Surfperch Fishing Tournament and Fish Fry Fundraiser on Saturday, April 6. The fish fry fundraiser is open to the public and admission is only $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for juniors. Children 6 and under get in free. Adult fishing tournament entry is $20.00 and junior entry (under 16) is $10.00. Tournament day registration is available at the Peninsula Elementary School in Samoa beginning at 6 a.m. or your entries can be purchased at Mad River Tackle in Arcata, Pacific Outfitters, Englund Marine, Shafer’s Ace Hardware in Eureka, or LIVE2DIVE in Fairhaven. For more information, call (707) 443-9042 or visit http://www.samoafire.org.

Brookings ocean report
Lingcod fishing is fair and rockfish action is good out of Brookings reports Andy Martin with Brookings Fishing Charters. “The last part of the incoming tide is fishing, while the big outgoing tides are making fishing tough after the tide change. The rockfish are in shallow close to the kelp and wash rocks right now because of the strong tidal currents.”

The Rivers:
Chetco/Rogue
Steelhead fishing has slowed on the Chetco but a few bright fish are still around according to Martin. “Boats drifting from the upper end clear down to Social Security Bar are picking up a fish or two a day. There are some blue backs in the river now. Rain this week may bring a handful of fresh fish in,” added Martin.

Hatchery steelhead and a few hatchery springers are being caught on the lower Rogue according to Martin. “Some guides are catching a couple steelhead and a springer or two a day. Expect more salmon with this week’s rain.”

Smith River
Not much happening on the Smith as most of the anglers have put away their steelhead gear for the winter. The few boats still out are getting a chance at one to two fish per day. That could change by the weekend however as flows are predicted to jump to 10.5 feet on the Jed Smith gauge. That should kickstart the spawned-out fish to begin moving downriver, and will likely bring in a few more fresh steelhead.

Eel River (main stem)
The main Eel was getting oh so close to fishable, but the rain that’s predicted for the next few days will put us back at square one. It was under 9,500 cfs on Wednesday, but it predicted to rise to nearly 22,500 cfs by Saturday night. It will likely need another 10 days of dry weather to drop into fishable shape.

Eel River (South Fork)
The South Fork was definitely the place to be since late last week. The river is full of steelhead, the majority of which have been downers. There are also a few fresh ones mixed in. Boats fishing from Leggett all the way down were reporting really good scores, with most hooking double-digits. Flows were starting to rise slowly on Wednesday, but should be fishable on Thursday. On Friday it will be on a sharp rise, going over 4,000 cfs by Saturday. With more rain on the way next week, it may not be fishable again before it closes on March 31.

Chico resident Michael Padula holds a healthy winter steelhead landed on a recent trip down the South Fork of the Eel River. This past week the steelhead fishing was as good as it’s been all year on the South Fork. Rains will return on Friday, which could blow out the river until it closes on March 31. Photo courtesy Kenny Priest

Van Duzen
The Van Duzen has been at a good height this past week, but was holding a little more color due to the snow melt. With a couple inches of rain forecasted to hit the watershed, it’s forecasted to blow out early Thursday morning. Another inch and a half is in store for Friday, which may deliver the knockout punch. Hopefully it drops back into shape prior to closing on March 31.

Mad River
The Mad is still a little high and off color, but there’s still fresh fish to be had. The liners did really well late last week and on the weekend fishing near the hatchery. It’s forecasted to really blow out after Wednesday, and should peak around 11 feet on Saturday morning. The chances of green water prior to the March 31 closure are slim at best.

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

Telling weekend ahead for late fall king run

Fishing the NC 11_29 photo

Don Williams of Brookings holds a king salmon he caught Nov. 26 while fishing the Chetco River with guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing.

The season for late fall kings finally got going last week following the first significant storms of the year. For the Smith and Chetco, I’d say the fishing was fair. While there were some big, bright fish caught on both rivers, the overall scores were pretty underwhelming. Now granted, conditions weren’t exactly perfect, but we were all hoping to see a few more fish around. Especially bright ones. The one nice surprise was the number of jacks, or two-year old kings on the Smith. Their numbers far outweighed the adults, which is always a good sign for our future runs, but they don’t provide the smiles like a chrome bright king. Looking forward, off and on rain is in the forecast through Saturday, which should keep the Smith and Chetco at prime levels. The Humboldt rivers should also stabilize. The Mad, SF Eel, and the Van Duzen could all drop into fishable shape by Monday if the rainfall predictions are correct. With excellent river conditions on the horizon, we’ll have a real good idea by the end of the weekend if the heart of the run has already made their way upriver. If so, bring on the steelhead.

Weather ahead
“We don’t expect any huge rain events for the next week, but we do expect to see a few decent systems move through the area,” said Kathleen Zontos of Eureka’s National Weather Service. “The next system will arrive Wednesday night and will linger through Thursday, with the majority of the rainfall hitting the Eel basin. Rainfall totals will be from a half to an inch in the Eel basin and a half to three-quarters in the Smith area. Light showers are predicted for Friday, with the next system hitting overnight Friday and into Saturday. Up to an inch and half could fall in the Smith basin and up to an inch in the Eel basin. Sunday and Monday are looking like they’ll be dry. Another system is forecasted for Tuesday and Wednesday, but there’s some uncertainty around this one. If the system is right over us, we could see one to two inches. If it clips us, we may see a half-inch. We’ll have to wait and see. The weather pattern does look active at least through the second week of December as of now,” said Zontos.

Anti-snagging regs lifted on the Chetco
Anti-snagging fishing gear restrictions were lifted on Tuesday after significant rains reduced snagging risks, according to a news release issued by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. These restrictions, in place to allow angling for Chetco River fall chinook salmon, are meant to curb illegal snagging.

Fall chinook anglers on the Chetco and Winchuck have been relegated to fly-fishing or fishing with a bobber while using artificial lures or bait, with leaders no longer than 3 feet. On the Chetco, the rule applied to the top of tidewater at River Mile 2.2 to the mouth of Nook Creek.

That rule typically is lifted after Nov. 4, when rains typically raise the river levels and allow the fish to move upstream. The rains did not arrive by then, so the ODFW extended the bobber rule through Dec. 31 or when rainfall allowed chinook to move upstream. The chinook bag limit on the Chetco is one per day and no more than five per year through December. For more information, visit https://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2018/11_november/112718.asp

Humboldt Steelhead Days announce fishing contest dates for 2019
The founders of Humboldt Steelhead Days, Mad River Alliance — in their 6th year of producing this annual wintertime event — announced this year’s fishing contest will occur on the Mad and Trinity Rivers and will again be limited to hatchery fish only. The three biggest hatchery fish on both rivers, caught and measured, from Jan. 19 to Feb. 23, 2019 will be eligible to win prizes and bragging rights. Anglers must register with a $10 donation in order to be entered into the contest. For more info and a complete list of events, visit http://www.humboldtsteelheaddays.com/

The Rivers:
Smith
Salmon fishing took off on the Smith Thanksgiving Day following a decent storm that opened up the river to fishing. There were a few caught on Thursday, but Friday was tougher as the river was on the rise. Saturday, the conditions were excellent and the fishing was good for most of the boats. Some nice fish were caught, along with quite a few jacks. By Sunday, the river was low and clear and the scores dropped. Tuesday night’s rain brought in some bright fish to the tidewater according to Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service. “With more rain in the forecast, the river should be in excellent condition through the weekend. Hopefully we’ll see a bunch of fish come in,” added Coopman.

Chetco/Elk/Sixes
“The Chetco dropped into prime shape over the weekend, but salmon fishing was fair at best, and slow for many anglers,” said Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. “Lots of dark fish are being caught, with a few bright kings. The river blew out on Tuesday, but could fish just for a few days before it rises again this weekend. A few steelhead have been caught. The bobber-only regulation has been lifted, so back-bouncing and side-drifting are now allowed.”

The Elk and Sixes both blew out on Tuesday but will be dropping into prime shape this week according to Martin. “Rain could blow the Sixes out again before the weekend. The bulk of the Elk River salmon run is expected in the coming days, but the river likely will be crowded. ODFW is radio-tagging several dozen kings for a study this fall. Any of the fish with radio tags, indicated by a hole punched onto their gillplate, must be released,” said Martin.

Mad
Forecasted to be hovering right at 7 feet by early Monday morning. If the predictions are correct, if could be fishable by Monday or Tuesday.

Eel
Main
Flows are predicted to peak at just over 8,000 cfs on the Scotia gauge on Friday afternoon, but it’s predicted to drop to 5,000 cfs by early Monday morning. A long shot to be fishable before the next storm hits.

South Fork
The Miranda area is forecasted to peak at 3,300 cfs Thursday evening. Flows should be back down to 1,100 cfs by early Monday morning. Should be worth a look.

Van Duzen
Forecasted to hit 1,330 cfs on Saturday, but should be on the drop the rest of the day and Sunday. Flows are predicted to be under 500 cfs by Monday morning. There’s a chance it could fish above Yager Creek.

Upper Trinity
With more rain in the forecast, we should see a good week of fresh steelhead moving into the upper Trinity,” said Steve Huber of Steve Huber’s Guide Service. “Warmer conditions should help improve the bite, and all methods should be effective. The river was back on the drop Tuesday night. It looks like we may have some snow next week, so I expect conditions will be a little tougher, but we should have some more fish to work with,” added Huber.

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 halibut action remains red-hot

After a short break due to rough seas, the red-hot halibut bite picked up right where it left off last Thursday. On Monday, a few boats went out of Eureka and fished in marginal conditions. The current was ripping and the wind was blowing, which made it nearly impossible to keep your bait close to the bottom. A few fish were caught, but nothing to write home about. On Tuesday, conditions were ideal and flatties were flying over the rails at record pace. Quite a few limits were reported, including a few of the charter boats. “There were lots of boats out on Tuesday and it sounded like most were catching,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “The majority of the boats were straight off the stacks like last week, but the better fishing seemed to be a little deeper in 53 to 55 fathoms. Herring, mackerel, salmon and tuna bellies are all consistently catching fish,” added Klassen. The ocean looks like it will remain fishable until at least Saturday when the wind and waves will begin to increase.

Pacific halibut in-season tracking
The CDFW has projected 2,658 net pounds of Pacific Halibut has been harvested through May 6. The 2018 Pacific halibut quota for the California subarea is 30,940 pounds – about 3,600 pounds less than the 2017 quota. This season’s open dates are May 1-June 15, July 1-15, Aug. 1-15 and Sept. 1-Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. The limit remains at one, with no size restrictions. No more than one line with two hooks attached can be used. To view the latest catch projection information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

Sport salmon season set to open June 1
The sport salmon fishery will open on June 1 from the CA/OR border south to Horse Mountain (KMZ) and run through Sept. 3. The daily bag limit is two salmon of any species except Coho. The minimum size limit is 20 inches total length. There’s quite a bit of excitement surrounding the opener as birds, bait and salmon themselves are being spotted from Eureka north in the 300 foot range. The commercial fleet are reportedly catching a few, including plenty under the 26-inch size limit. For more info on the sport season, visit https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=156296&inline

Weekend marine forecast
For coastal water from Pt. St. George to Cape Mendocino out 10 nautical miles, the marine forecast looks good for the next couple days, but the wind and seas will start to build by the weekend. For Friday, the forecast is calling for winds out of the NW 5 to 10 knots with waves NW 3 feet at 5 seconds and NW 2 feet at 13 seconds. The swells are a little bigger and the wind will increase slightly beginning on Saturday. Winds will be out of the NW 5 to 15 knots and waves will be out of the NW 5 feet at 5 seconds and W 4 feet at 14 seconds. Sunday looks to be a little sloppy, with NW winds 5 to 15 knots and NW waves 6 feet at 6 seconds and W 5 feet at 12 seconds. These conditions can and will change. For up-to-date weather forecast, visit http://www.weather.gov/eureka/. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit https://www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan/

Lost Coast Fish Festival coming in June
The first annual Lost Coast Fish Festival and Halibut Derby will be held Saturday, June 9 in Shelter Cove. There will be live music all day at the Shelter Cove RV and Deli, along with oysters, food, drinks, raffles, and kids fishing games. Entry is $15 and all ages are welcome. Ages 12 and under get in free. The halibut derby will run June 1st  through June 9th. The buy in is $20, and the top three finishers will win prizes. Derby signups are May 15 through May 31 at the Shelter Cove RV and Deli, Shelter Cove General Store, or the Southern Humboldt Chamber office in Garberville. Must be present on June 9th to win. For more info, contact the Southern Humboldt Chamber of Commerce at 707-923-2613.

Fishing the NC 5_17 photo

Daniel McGuire of Eureka boated this nice Pacific halibut on Monday while fishing out of Shelter Cove with Sea Hawk Sportfishing. The large halibut weighed in at 62-pounds. Photo courtesy of Jake Mitchell/Sea Hawk Sportfishing

The Oceans:
Shelter Cove
“We fished on Saturday for a couple hours before the wind sent us home, but we were able to boat 8 lingcod and 12 rockfish along with limits of crab – so it wasn’t a complete loss,” said Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. On Sunday, we headed to the Hat and Old Man where we really had to work for them. We managed to get limits of lings and rockfish by days end. Monday and Tuesday we ran north for halibut and rockfish combos. The rock fishing wasn’t wide-open, but was still pretty good. The halibut fishing has picked up a bit and the ones putting in the time were averaging a fish per rod. We had two halibut Tuesday, along with limits of rockfish, lings as well as crabs.”

Trinidad
Halibut fishing has been pretty good this past week according to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters out of Trinidad. He said, “We caught a couple each trip, and I heard of others being caught as well. Most of the action was due west of the Head in roughly 240 feet of water. The rockfish bit well this week too, but that’s typical for early in the season. There’s plenty of blacks around, and quite a few lings too. Most of the boats are hanging around Flat Iron. Much like Eureka, we’re seeing some real good salmon signs out in 300 feet of water. There’s lots of birds and bait, and the commercial guys are catching a few as well,” Wilson said.

Crescent City
Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine reports the rockfish action has been steady, with most of the boats going south. “I haven’t heard of many boats going north, most of the action has been at the South Reef. A few guys have been trying for halibut, but the bite has been real spotty. The redtail perch bite is still wide-open, with Kellogg Beach being one of the top spots. I heard the commercial salmon guys were catching a few, so hopefully they’ll be some around when the sport season opens on June 1,” added Hegnes.

Brookings
We are eager to get out salmon gear back in the water this weekend reports Andy Martin, who runs Brookings Fishing Charters. “May is generally slow to fair out of Brookings, as the peak season isn’t until late June and July,” said Martin. “But the anchovies and pelicans are already here, so the salmon can’t be too far behind. The Rogue forecast of nearly 450,000 fish, double that of the Sacramento forecast, bodes well for the Brookings fishery. We will be trolling anchovies and herring next to the bait balls for the opener. Lingcod and rockfish has been very good this week as the ocean has calmed down. Rockfish are still in shallow water feeding on crab spawn, so there is some good top-water action. We may have some wind this weekend.”

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

Halibut bite wide-open off Eureka

Fishing the NC 5_10 photo

Chad Gaser of Eureka landed this monster 70-lb. halibut on Sunday while fishing out of Eureka. Gaser was fishing in 300 feet of water straight off the stacks. Photo courtesy of Chad Gaser

A little more than a week on the water isn’t a huge sample size, but if the halibut fishing is anything remotely close to the level of the past week, we’re in for a heck of a season. And potentially a short one. But talk of the impending quota can wait, let’s bask in the glory of a halibut bite that’s been on fire for the better part of a week. The first two days of the season were a bust due to weather, but it’s been pretty good fishing since. Charter boats as well as sporty’ s have been in on the action in what Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing is calling “one of the best May starts ever.” Most of the action has been between the 50 and 53 lines (straight off the stacks) in 280 to 350 feet of water. According to Klassen, it’s been almost a fish per rod, and there’s been many days where it’s been just that. Herring, salmon and tuna bellies have all been catching fish.

The rockfish action down at the Cape has been equally spectacular reports Klassen, but that’s nothing we didn’t already know. “Every trip down so far has resulted in limits of everything. It’s really nice to have the extra depth and adding the second Canary to the bag limit was a nice little bonus,” added Klassen. And the good news just keeps coming. According to Klassen, there’s some really good salmon signs off of Eureka. “On Tuesday, we saw quite a few whales feeding on krill and salmon chasing baitfish on the surface. With the salmon opener right around the corner, let’s hope that’s starts off with a bang as well.

Important reminder:
When fishing for halibut and rockfish, the more restrictive gear and depth restrictions apply. When targeting rockfish, cabezon, greenling and lingcod, or once any of these species are aboard and in possession, anglers are limited to fishing in waters shallower than 180 feet when fishing for other species. If you’re targeting both halibut and rockfish, you’ll want to get your halibut first.

Weekend marine forecast
For coastal water from Pt. St. George to Cape Mendocino out 10 nautical miles, the marine forecast is not looking very pleasant beginning on Thursday. For Friday, the forecast is calling for winds out of the NW 20 to 30 knots with waves NW 11 feet at 10 seconds and NW 7 feet at 16 seconds. The swells and wind will decrease slightly beginning on Saturday. Winds will be out of the N 10 to 20 knots and waves will be out of the NW 8 feet at 9 seconds and NW 6 feet at 14 seconds. Sunday is looking better, with S winds up to 5 knots and NW waves 3 feet at 5 seconds and NW 6 feet at 11 seconds. These conditions can and will change. For up-to-date weather forecast, visit http://www.weather.gov/eureka/. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit https://www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan/

Brookings
“Lingcod and rockfish action continues to be great, with limits most days,” said Andy Martin, who runs Brookings Fishing Charters. “The rockfish have been feeding on the surface the past week, so we have been getting them with top-water lures. The pelicans are now diving on anchovies in the Bird Island and Twin Rock area, a great sign for the May 19 salmon opener. Halibut fishing has been slow so far out of Brookings. I ran one trip and we had three good bites that resulted in two halibut between 40 and 45 inches. A lot of boats have come back fishless.”

Crescent City
Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine reports the rockfish bite is wide-open. “The South Reef sounded like the place to be. The ling cod bite has been over the top, and a couple halibut have been caught this week as well, including one that weighed 108-pounds.” Hegnes added.

Shelter Cove
Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing reports the rockfish bite has been excellent out of Shelter Cove while the halibut bite was a bit on the slow side. “Last Wednesday, we fished The Hat and The Old Man and put together limits of some real nice rockfish and lingcod,” said Mitchell. “The next four days the weather was absolutely outstanding and we ran north to Gorda for rockfish and halibut combos each day. The rock fishing was lights out as expected and we got limits of rockfish and lings each day. Halibut was a bit slower for us and we only averaged a fish per day for our efforts. Although the crabbing isn’t red hot we still were able to grind up limits of crab everyday as well.

Emergency dilution water releases from Iron Gate Dam
Water flows increased below Iron Gate Dam early Monday morning to address disease concerns in salmon in the Klamath River according to a press release issued by The Bureau of Reclamation on May 7. Releases from Upper Klamath Lake via Link River Dam started early Monday morning, with flows anticipated to reach 3,000 cfs below Iron Gate Dam by mid-day. Subsequent flows below Iron Gate Dam could reach up to 4,000 cfs during the event. The higher flows will continue for 14 days, through May 21.

The public is urged to take all necessary precautions on or near the river while flows are high. For the 2018 water year, BOR is required to implement winter-spring surface flushing flows and emergency dilution flows. The emergency dilution flows will utilize approximately 50,000 acre-feet of water from Upper Klamath Lake.

For more information, visit https://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=62155

Ruth Lake Bass tournament coming June 2
Fortuna Fire Department CO-2’s will be holding the annual “Paul Jadro Memorial Bass Tournament” on Saturday, June 2. Blast off will be at 5:45 a.m. or at first safe light, by draw. The one-day tournament event offers a first prize award of up to $1,000 with payout to 1 in 3 in addition to door prizes, and sponsor products. The entry fee is $120 per team with a big fish buy in option of $10. The tournament is catch and release and all competitors must fish from boats that are required to have operational live-wells on board. Life jackets are required. Check in at the Marina on Friday June 1 at 4:30-7 p.m. or Saturday 4-5 a.m. For more information, contact Lon Winburn at 725-5021 or 725-7880. Or visit http://fortunafire.com/bass-tournament/ Free boat inspections will be held at Reynolds R V Repair, 988 Hwy. 36. Inspections are by appointment only, call 707-725-3426.

Lower Rogue River
The Rogue has been hit and miss, but some guides on the lower river have been getting one or two fish a day reports Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. “More wild fish than hatchery fish are now being caught. Wild salmon cannot be kept until June 1.”

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

Rough seas delay rockfish, halibut openers

Mother Nature can be so cruel sometimes. After months and months of anticipation leading up to Tuesday’s rockfish and halibut openers, boats from Crescent City to Shelter Cove were forced to stay in port due to howling north winds. Blustery winds this time of the year are common, and they actually do way more good than harm. But the timing could have been a little better. The good news is we won’t have to wait long to get on the water. By Thursday, wind and seas are forecasted to die down considerably. The forecast is also calling for light winds and calm seas through the weekend, so expect to see plenty of halibut and rockfish flying over the rails very soon.

Weekend marine forecast
As of Wednesday, the forecast for coastal waters out 10 nautical miles is looking really good for halibut and rockfish anglers for the next few days. Friday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the NW 5 to 10 knots and waves N 3 feet at 4 seconds and NW 4 feet at 12 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the NW 5 to 10 knots and waves N 2 feet at 4 seconds and NW 2 feet at 10 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the NW 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 3 feet at 4 seconds and NW 2 feet at 9 seconds These conditions can and will change. For up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

Brookings rockfish update
“Windy weather made bottom fishing tough out of Brookings early this week, but there has been a window to catch fish before the wind comes up by heading south toward the border,” said Andy Martin, who runs Brookings Fishing Charters. “The grade of rockfish and lingcod has been good. Conditions look ideal for halibut fishing Thursday through Sunday. We hooked our third salmon in recent weeks on Tuesday while bottom fishing, a great sign for the May 19 Oregon salmon opener.”

Ruth Lake Bass tourney this Saturday
The Southern Trinity Volunteer Fire Department is hosting its 12th annual Ruth Lake Bass Tournament this Saturday, May 5. Blast off begins at 6:00 a.m. Entry fees are due May 4. Entries are $150 per team (includes Big Fish). First Place is $1,500 and second place is $1,000. Big Fish will win $100. One in five payback based on full slate of 40 boats. This is a catch and release tournament; live wells and life jackets are required. Check in is Friday at Journey’s End at 4:15-5:30 p.m. or Saturday 4:45 a.m. at the Marina parking lot. HBMWD is requiring that all boats be inspected for Quagga and Zebra mussels before launching. For more information, call RLCSD at 707-574-6332. For more info on the tournament, contact Todd Perras at (707) 273-9621.

Sport-Harvested Mussels quarantined
In a press release issued on April 30, The California Department of Public Health announced the annual quarantine of sport-harvested mussels gathered along the California coast. The quarantine began May 1 and applies to all species of mussels that are recreationally harvested along the California coast, including all bays and estuaries. The quarantine is in place to protect the public against poisoning that can lead to serious illness, including coma and death.

In addition to this annual quarantine, consumers are urged not to eat recreationally harvested razor clams from Humboldt and Del Norte counties due to continued high levels of domoic acid. To read the entire press release, visit https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/OPA/Pages/NR18-026.aspx

Fishing the NC 5_3 photo

Fourteen-year-old Blue Lake resident Gabriel Lewis took second place in last Saturday’s Perch’n on the Peninsula fishing tournament with her junior’s division 13.62-inch Redtail perch. Lewis was fishing at Mad River Beach. Photo courtesy of Samoa Peninsula Fire District

Perch’n on the Peninsula results
According to even coordinator Charlie Holthaus, an event-record 109 participants from as far away as Monterey braved the pouring rain and big swells in search of giant perch in this year’s Perch’n on the Peninsula. “Mother Nature was not very kind to us this year”, said Holthaus. “It rained on tournament day, and it rained a lot. The surf also came up a bit from the previous day and anglers experienced waves several feet larger than forecast. Many anglers reported rough conditions and a tough bite. On average, the fish entered this year were smaller than past years. Despite the tough conditions most anglers still caught a few perch.” This year’s tournament winner was Thomas Jones with a 15.55-inch redtail caught at Gold Bluff Beach. The second largest perch was a 15.15-inch redtail caught by Gary Whitmer at Samoa beach.

Nine-year old Destanie Jones of Arcata brought back the largest surfperch for the junior’s category with a 14.56 inch and a 13.82-inch redtail caught at Gold Bluff Beach. Gabriel Lewis, 14 years old from Blue Lake, placed second in the junior competition with her 13.62-inch redtail caught at Mad River Beach. Third place in the junior competition was claimed by Vincent Melms with a 12.99-inch redtail. The other contenders in the junior competition were Psalm Meyer, fourth place, with his 11.10-inch redtail and Lane Baker, fifth place with a pair of Walleye surfperch that measured 7.8 and 7.7 inches. The junior competition winners were awarded various fishing gear items donated by Sportsman’s Warehouse.

The Rivers:
Main Stem Eel
The main stem Eel is emerald green and in perfect shape. As of Wednesday, it was running at just over 3,100 cfs on the Scotia gauge. I haven’t heard of any fish being caught, but there should be some downrunners and summer steelhead around. And there’s always the chance that a few bright winter fish are still making their way upriver.

Lower Rogue
The Rogue was good at times this past week on the lower end, with much of the effort focused on the Riverview restaurant area reported Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing.  He said, “The bite continued to be an afternoon bite until Tuesday, when a few fish were caught in the morning. Overall springer fishing the past week has been slow.”

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

Coastal saltwater season set to take off

Fishing the NC photo 4_26

Charlie Arce of Smith River and Mike Van Camp of Brookings hold a pair of lingcod caught over the weekend while fishing with Capt. Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. Pacific halibut and rockfish season will open along the North Coast next Tuesday, May 1. Photo courtesy of Andy Martin/Brookings Fishing Charters

Next Tuesday marks day one of our ocean sport fishing season on the North Coast as both rockfish and halibut will finally open, bringing with it tons of excitement, optimism and relief. Following a year in which we had a limited abalone season and total closures of both salmon and razor clams, we could all use a little saltwater therapy. As anglers take to the ocean next Tuesday — weather and conditions permitting – the hope is all the bad news will slowly fade into the horizon, leaving only happy thoughts of big lings and barn door-sized halibut.

May 1 openers:

Pacific Halibut: The 2018 Pacific halibut fishery will have four open periods, May 1-June 15, July 1-15, August 1-15 and Sept. 1-Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. The quota allotment for 2018 will be 30,940 pounds. CDFW will again monitor catches of Pacific halibut during the season and provide catch projection updates on the CDFW Pacific halibut webpage, https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking. The limit remains at one, with no size restrictions. No more than one line with two hooks attached can be used.

Rockfish: Changes made prior to the 2017 season will carry over into 2018 for the Northern Management Area, which runs from the Oregon border to Cape Mendocino. The season for boat-based anglers will again run from May 1 through Oct. 31 within 180 feet and Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 with no depth restrictions. In 2018, the one big change is the sub-bag limit for canary rockfish will increase from one fish to two within the RCG daily bag limit of 10 fish, effective Saturday, April 14, 2018 statewide.

Summary of regulations: The daily bag limit per person is a 10-fish combination. Exceptions include three Cabezon, two Canary, and three black rockfish allowed per person as part of their 10-fish bag limit. Cabezon have a minimum 15-inch size limit and Kelp and/or rock greenlings must be 12-inches. The daily bag limit of Lingcod is two per person and they must be 22-inches in length. The take and possession of Cowcod, Bronzespotted rockfish, and Yelloweye rockfish will remain prohibited statewide. Petrale sole and Starry flounder can be retained year- round at all depths with no size limit. For more information about recreational groundfish regulations within the northern mgt. area, please call the hotline at 831-649-2801 or visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Groundfish-Summary#north

Marine forecast
It’s a little far out to predict what Tuesday will bring, but if Monday’s forecast is any indication, we may see some long faces hanging around the boat launches. Monday’s forecast is calling for NW winds 20 to 30 knots with waves out of the NW 10 feet at 5 seconds and NW 4 feet at 12 seconds. These conditions will most likely change before next Tuesday. For an up-to-date marine forecast, visit http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/

Tuesday, May 1 tides – Humboldt Bay
For anglers who aren’t aware, extreme caution should always be used when crossing the bar. The combination of large swells and outgoing morning tides could make for a dangerous bar crossing. On Tuesday, 7.4 ft. of water will be flowing out down to an -0.7. This could make for a dangerous bar crossing if the swells are large. If you’re planning on hitting the bar at daylight, always check the conditions first. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan or check out the bar cam located at www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/barCam/?cam=humboldtBayBar

Tuesday May 1 (High: 1:22 a.m. (7.4 ft.) and 2:33 p.m. (5.9 ft.) (Low: 7:48 a.m. (-0.7) and 7:38 p.m. (2.1 ft.)

Trinidad launch ready to go
The Trinidad launch will be open on Tuesday and ready to launch boats if the weather allows. The moorings are all in for the season. Hours of business will be 6:15 a.m. to 5 p.m., weather depending. For more info, call 707-677-3625.

Big Halibut Contest
Don’t forget, Eureka’s Englund Marine will be holding its BIG FISH Halibut Contest this again year. The annual event runs from May 1 to October 31, 2018. There is no entry fee and you can enter as many fish as you’d like. Fish do not need to be gutted and gilled. Prizes will be awarded to the top three fish. A complete list of rules and regulations are available at Englund Marine, 2 Commercial St., Eureka, 707-444-9266.

Perch’n on the Peninsula coming Saturday
The Samoa Peninsula Fire District will be hosting their 9th Annual Perch’n on the Peninsula Surfperch Fishing Tournament and Fish Fry Fundraiser this Saturday, April 28.

The fishing tournament begins at sunrise with the check-in deadline at 2:00 p.m., prize presentations will begin at 3:00 p.m. with the fish fry beginning at noon. The fish fry fundraiser is open to the public and admission is only $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for juniors. Children 6 and under get in free. Adult fishing tournament entry is $20.00 and junior entry (under 16) is $10.00. Tournament day registration is available at the Peninsula Elementary School in Samoa beginning at 6 a.m. or your entries can be purchased at Mad River Tackle in Arcata, Pacific Outfitters, Englund Marine, or Shafer’s Ace Hardware in Eureka. For more information, call (707) 443-9042 or visit www.samoafire.org.

Brookings rockfish update
“Bottom fishing has been very good out of Brookings, with easy limits of rockfish and limits of lingcod on most days, said Andy Martin, who runs Brookings Fishing Charters. “A strong drift of more than 1.5 knots made the lingcod bite tougher on Tuesday. Good conditions are in the forecast all week.”

The Rivers:
Main Stem Eel
The main stem Eel is green and fishable, but is still a little on the big side. As of Wednesday, it was running at just over 4,500 cfs on the Scotia gauge. It should be in really good shape by the weekend and into early next week.

Lower Rogue
Spring salmon fishing has improved on the Rogue, which is also getting crowded on the lower end reported Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. He said, “Guides are averaging a fish per boat, with a little more than half hatchery fish. Flows remain good. The bite was late in the day last week, but switched over to the morning with this week’s tides.”

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 and Trinity River quotas and regulations – Fall 2018

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In 2018, 3,490-adult fall Chinook are available for sport harvest in the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. The daily bag limit is Two (2) Chinook salmon, of which no more than one (1) may be more than 22 inches in length. The possession limit is six (6) Chinook salmon, of which no more than three (3) may be more than 22 inches in length.

Klamath River:

Fall regulations will begin on Aug. 15 and run through Dec. 31.

  • 1,745 adults will be allowed for sport harvest from the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the river mouth.
  • 593 adults will be allowed for sport harvest above the 96 bridge at Weitchpec to 3,500 feet downstream of the Iron Gate Dam.
  • 523 adults can be harvested below the 101 bridge. The Spit Area (within 100 yards of the channel through the sand spit formed at the Klamath River mouth) will close when 15 percent (523) of the total Klamath River Basin quota is taken downstream of the Highway 101 bridge. Only the spit area will close to fishing once this quota is met, fishing will remain open upriver of the spit.
    • All legally caught adult salmon must be retained.
    • Anglers must leave the spit area once their adult daily bag is met
    • Anglers can fish other areas of the Klamath to fill their jack component of their daily bag.

Spring-run Chinook salmon fishing regulations began on Jan. 1 and will run through Aug. 14, with a daily bag and possession limit of two Chinook salmon. The take of salmon is prohibited on the Klamath River from Iron Gate Dam downstream to Weitchpec from Jan. 1 through Aug. 14.

Trinity River:

Fall regulations will begin on Sept. 1 and run through Dec. 31, with a quota of 1,152 adults

  • 576 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat
  • 576 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 take of salmon is prohibited from the confluence of the South Fork Trinity River downstream to the confluence of the Klamath River from Jan. 1 through Aug. 31.

The Trinity is open to spring-run Chinook salmon fishing from Jan. 1 through Aug. 31. The daily bag and possession limit is two Chinook salmon.

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).

Klamath -Trinity River hotline is 800-564-6479. All anglers on the Trinity and Klamath rivers must have Salmon Harvest Cards in their possession when fishing for salmon.

Quotas set for Klamath and Trinity rivers

In an interesting twist of events, the Klamath River will likely provide better fishing opportunities than the mighty Sacramento this season. That’s quite a turnaround from last year when fears of extremely low salmon returns prompted a full closure for ocean salmon within the KMZ and fall kings on the Klamath and Trinity. But it turned out the adult returns weren’t as bad as feared – 31,838 returned compared to 18,410 predicted. The rebuilding process was boosted by the 21,903 jacks (two-year old salmon) that also made their way upriver. These surprisingly-good jack counts led the CDFW to predict roughly 93,500 adult kings would return to the Klamath this fall. An average year will see roughly 122,000 adults returning.

Along with a healthy in-river return, 359,200 Klamath River fall Chinook adults are said to be swimming in the ocean. Together, Klamath fall king numbers will provide a generous ocean salmon season within the KMZ and a modest adult salmon quota for the Klamath/Trinity Rivers. And speaking of quotas, the CA Fish and Game Commission last Thursday unanimously approved the 3,490-adult fall Chinook in-river quota that was recommended by the PFMC for the Klamath and Trinity.

On the Klamath, fall regulations will begin on Aug. 15 and run through Dec. 31 with a daily bag limit of 2 Chinook salmon, of which no more than 1 may be more than 22 inches in length. The possession limit is 6 Chinook salmon, of which no more than 3 may be more than 22 inches in length. On the Lower Klamath, from the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth, 1,745 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 593 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 2018, 523 adults can be harvested 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.

Spring-run Chinook salmon fishing regulations began on Jan. 1 and run through Aug. 14, with a daily bag and possession limit of two salmon. The take of salmon is prohibited on the Klamath River from Iron Gate Dam downstream to Weitchpec from Jan. 1 through Aug. 14.

On the Trinity side, which will be open to fall-run Chinook salmon fishing Sept. 1 and run through Dec. 31, the quota is set at 1,152 adults. The quota will be split evenly; 576 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat and 576 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 Trinity is open to spring-run Chinook salmon fishing from Jan. 1 through Aug. 31. The daily bag and possession limit is two Chinook salmon. The take of salmon is prohibited from the confluence of the South Fork Trinity River downstream to the confluence of the Klamath River from Jan. 1 through Aug. 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 2018 sport seasons, dates, locations and bag limits will be published in the 2018-2019 Sport Fishing Regulations Supplement, which will be posted online in May. Additional season information is available 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.

Trinity River restoration program water releases
The official water year designation for the Trinity River in 2018 is “Critically Dry” according to the Trinity River Restoration Program. With that, the Bureau of Reclamation announced on Monday releases from Lewiston Dam into the Trinity River would increase to a peak flow of only 1,900 cfs as part of the Trinity River Restoration Program.

Releases from Lewiston Dam began increasing on Tuesday, April 17, and will reach approximately 1,900 cubic feet per second (cfs) by Sunday, May 13, and remain at peak flow for one day. Four sub-peaks are scheduled at discharges of 1,390 cfs on Wednesday, April 18; 1,400 cfs on Sunday, April 29; 1,600 cfs on Saturday, May 5; and, 1,620 cfs on Friday, May 25. On May 26, the flow will begin gradually decreasing to a summer base-flow of 450 cfs on June 30. The total water allocation for Trinity River restoration flows in a “critically dry” water year, such as this, is 369,000 acre-feet.

People residing near the river or recreating on the river can expect river levels to increase and should take appropriate safety precautions. Landowners are advised to clear personal items from the floodplain prior to the releases. A schedule of daily flow releases is available at: http://www.trrp.net/restoration/flows/current. For additional information, please contact Kevin Held at 530-623-1809 or kheld@usbr.gov or visit www.trrp.net

Ruth Lake Bass tourney coming in May
The Southern Trinity Volunteer Fire Department is hosting its 12th annual Ruth Lake Bass Tournament on Saturday, May 5. Blast off begins at 6:00 a.m. Entry fees are due May 4. Entries are $150 per team (includes Big Fish). First Place is $1,500 and second place is $1,000. Big Fish will win $100. One in five payback based on full slate of 40 boats. This is a catch and release tournament; live wells and life jackets are required. Check in is Friday at Journey’s End at 4:15-5:30 p.m. or Saturday 4:45 a.m. at the Marina parking lot. HBMWD is requiring that all boats be inspected for Quagga and Zebra mussels before launching. For more information, call RLCSD at 707-574-6332. For more info on the tournament, contact Todd Perras at (707) 273-9621.

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

The Rivers:
Main Stem Eel
The main stem Eel remains big and off color, but it’s on the drop. As of Wednesday, it was running at just under 10,000 cfs on the Scotia gauge. It could fish towards the end of next week.

Fishing the NC_4_19 photo

Napa resident Dan Sherilo landed this nice hatchery spring salmon on the Lower Rogue near Elephant Rock last week. Springer fishing has been good, with most guides getting a fish or two a day. Only hatchery salmon can be retained through May 31. Photo courtesy of Gene Garner/Gold Beach Guide Service

Lower Rogue
Springer fishing is pretty good right now on the Lower Rogue according to Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. He said, “It is rarely red hot, so when guides are getting a fish a day, or two fish a day, the fishing is solid. That is what is happening this week. Flows and conditions are good, and the lower river is not too crowded yet. Anchoring with anchovies and small green spinner blades is working best. The morning minus tides this week are best for fishing the lower river.”

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

2018 CA Recreational Ocean Salmon Regulations

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OR/CA Border to Horse Mountain (KMZ)

June 1 – September 3

  • Open seven days per week
  • Minimum size limit: 20 inches total length
  • Klamath Control Zone* (KCZ) closed in August
  • Additional closures around mouth of Klamath, Smith & Eel rivers

Horse Mountain to Point Arena (Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg)

June 17 – October 31

  • Open seven days per week
  • Minimum size limit: 20 inches total length

Point Arena to Pigeon Point (San Francisco)

June 17 – October 31

  • Open seven days per week
  • Minimum size limit: 20 inches total length

Pigeon Point to U.S./Mexico Border (Monterey and South)

April 7 – July 2

  • Open seven days per week
  • Minimum size limit: 24 inches total length

General Sport Regulations 

  • Daily bag limit: 2 salmon of any species except Coho.
  • Possession limit: No more than two daily bag limits may be possessed when on land. On a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit.
  • 2018 Sport Ocean Salmon Season Flyer (PDF)

*Klamath Control Zone: The ocean area at the Klamath River mouth 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).

Game (back) on! Salmon opener slated for June 1

Fishing the NC_4_12 photo

Salmon, as well as smiling faces, will both be returning to the North Coast come June. The PFMC on Tuesday announced our recreational ocean salmon season will run from June 1 through Sept. 3 in Eureka, Trinidad, and Crescent City. In 2017, the entire season was shut down due to low salmon numbers. Photo courtesy of Coastline Charters

After suffering through a complete shutdown of our salmon season in 2017 within the KMZ, one thing is for certain – absence truly does make the heart grow fonder. Halibut and rockfish are fun, but salmon is king in Eureka – always has been, always will be. And not being able to fish for them last year really stung. Needless to say, there were a lot of nervous anglers waiting while the different agencies poured through data last month trying to determine what our ocean salmon season would look like in 2018 – or if we’d even have one.

In all my years living here, I can’t recall such anticipation and excitement revolving around the recreational salmon opener. What was once just a mere formality, has taken on the feel of a lottery. While the PFMC were holed up in Portland this week crunching the final numbers and doing their best to divide the salmon numbers across the entire state, local anglers held their collective breath. When it was all said and done on Tuesday, the outcome was just what we wanted to hear. The North Coast will have a salmon season, and a lengthy one at that.

Encouraged by a recovering Klamath River fall Chinook stock, the PFMC adopted a very generous season for the California KMZ, which runs from the CA/OR border south to Horse Mountain. The season will run from June 1 straight through September 3. Fishing will be allowed seven days per week for all salmon except Coho, two fish per day and a minimum size limit of 20 inches total length for Chinook. According to the PFMC, 359,200 Klamath adult salmon are swimming in the ocean, opening the door for fall salmon seasons on the Klamath and Trinity Rivers as well. Though still awaiting approval from the F&G Commission, the sport in-river quota will be 3,490 adults divided between the two rivers.

With only 229,432 Sacramento fall Chinook said to be swimming in the ocean, the seasons to our south were a little more restricted this year. The area from Horse Mountain south to Point Arena, which includes Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg, will open on June 17 and run through Oct 31. The San Francisco area will have the same season opening and closing dates. To the north in the Brookings area (Oregon KMZ), the season will open on May 19 and run through Aug. 26. Fishing will be allowed seven days per week for all salmon except Coho, two fish per day and a minimum size limit of 24 inches total length for Chinook. For more information on the recreational fishing seasons, visit  https://www.pcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/T2_Sport_draft-041018.pdf

Fish and Game Commission meeting today
The California Fish and Game Commission will meet on Thursday, April 12 in Sacramento at 3 p.m. to adopt and discuss changes to the upcoming Klamath River sport fishing season. The PFMC recommended 3,490 adult salmon be allocated for recreational fishing for the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. The tribal allocation is 18,122, split between the Yurok and Hoopa tribes. Members of the public may participate in the teleconference at the CDFW Conference Room, 50 Ericson Court in Arcata. The meeting will be live streamed at http://www.cal-span.org, for listening purposes only. If you’re interested in the Klamath River fall salmon fishery, you’ll want your voice to be heard. Also on the agenda is the adoption of proposed changes to the Central Valley salmon sport fishing regulations. The full agenda can be viewed here: https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=155576&inline

Limit increases for Canary rockfish
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced on Tuesday a statewide increase to the recreational canary rockfish daily limit within the Rockfish, Cabezon and Greenling (RCG) bag limit. The sub-bag limit for canary rockfish will increase from one fish to two fish within the RCG daily bag limit of 10 fish, effective Saturday, April 14, 2018. Limited retention of canary rockfish in California’s recreational fishery began last year as a result of the stock being declared rebuilt. Because retention of canary rockfish had been prohibited in recreational fisheries off California for more than a decade, a one fish daily sub-bag limit was implemented as a matter of precaution. Catches were monitored weekly to ensure harvest limits were not exceeded. Pursuant to California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 27.20(e), CDFW has the authority to make in-season modifications to the recreational fishery, including adjustments to bag and sub-bag limits. For more information, visit  www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Groundfish.

HASA dinner Saturday night
The annual HASA fundraiser dinner will be held this Saturday, April 14, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Arcata Community Center, 321 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway in Arcata. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children under 12. Food will be provided by Ramone’s and some great items will be auctioned and raffled off. Each ticket will get you a HASA annual 2018 membership as well as entry into the door prize. Tickets are available from the following Eureka merchants until Thursday: Pacific Outfitters, Englund Marine, Bucksport Sporting Goods, Sportsmen’s Warehouse, and W&W RV & Sporting Goods. For more information, email hasa6191@gmail.com or visit http://humboldtasa.com/event/hasa-2018-annual-fundraising-dinner-auction/

Perch’n on the Peninsula coming April 28
The Samoa Peninsula Fire District will be hosting their 9th Annual Perch’n on the Peninsula Surfperch Fishing Tournament and Fish Fry Fundraiser on Saturday, April 28, 2018. The fish fry fundraiser is open to the public and admission is only $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for juniors. Children 6 and under get in free. Adult fishing tournament entry is $20.00 and junior entry (under 16) is $10.00. Tournament day registration is available at the Peninsula Elementary School in Samoa beginning at 6 a.m. or your entries can be purchased at Mad River Tackle in Arcata, Pacific Outfitters, Englund Marine, or Shafer’s Ace Hardware in Eureka. For more information, call (707) 443-9042 or visit www.samoafire.org.

Eel River steelhead returns
As of April 9, a total of 169 steelhead have entered the Van Arsdale fish count station according to Scott L Harris, an associate Biologist with the Northern Region. Making up that total is 74 males, 85 females, and 10 unknowns. The Chinook count stands at 232. According to Harris, the ladder was shut down Friday evening in anticipation of Scott Dam spilling. For more information, visit https://eelriver.org/the-eel-river/fish-count/

The Rivers
Main Stem Eel
As of Wednesday, the main Eel was running at 16,300 cfs on the Scotia gauge and holding due to the rain this week. It remains high and dirty, and will need a couple weeks of dry weather to clear.

Lower Rogue
The Rogue has dropped into prime shape for springers with 5,000 cfs flowing at the Agness gauge according to Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. “The water temperature hit 53 degrees on Tuesday, sparking the best bite so far this season with nearly a dozen keepers reported in the Elephant Rock area.”

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