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

Salmon bite out of Eureka inconsistent

Inconsistent would be the best way to describe the salmon fishing out of Eureka at the moment. The beach bite that was holding steady for a few weeks off of Table Bluff has finally dried up. The last couple days the action has been slightly south of the entrance in 170 to 200 feet of water, roughly 8 miles offshore. A decent afternoon bite developed there on Tuesday and boats that stuck it out until the end were rewarded with some quality salmon. A very small fleet, including three charter boats, headed back to that general area on Wednesday. Reportedly, there were plenty of shakers, barely legals, and silvers, with the occasional king coming aboard. After a couple weeks of calm ocean conditions, the ocean could use some wind to re-charge the upwelling and reset the deck. And it looks like that may happen as winds are forecasted 10 to 20 knots for Thursday and Friday.

While anglers try and figure out their next move for salmon, tuna, and the warm water that holds them, are moving to the forefront. On Monday, one Eureka boat ran approximately 50 miles northwest to 62-degree water and quickly boated three quality albacore, all weighing 20-plus pounds. Another boat made the run from Trinidad and landed just a single. The warm water is moving in quickly, it was roughly 36 miles out as of Tuesday morning. Rough seas for the next several days will keep the fleet closer to home, but it won’t be long before tuna fever is running rampant.

Weekend Marine Forecast
Strong northerly breezes are in store for coastal waters through most of Thursday, with seas building in response. Winds are expected to increase in strength late on Thursday across portions of the northern waters. Friday’s forecast is calling for 10 to 20 knot winds out of the N and NW waves 8 feet at 8 seconds. Saturday is calling for N winds 5 to 15 knots and waves out of the NW 7 feet at 8 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is a little better, with winds out of the N 5 to 10 knots and waves N 5 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.

Alex Bobillot of Eureka landed a nice king while fishing out of Eureka with Capt. Matt Dallam of NorthWind Charters. Photo courtesy of NorthWind Charters

The Oceans:
Eureka
The last few days the salmon bite tailed off, but there were still some quality fish being caught. “The best bite has been about eight miles offshore just above the Eel River canyon,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “Most of the fish are coming in 80 to 100 feet otw. There’s some decent sized fish in the mix, but there’s still quite a few in the six to seven-pound range. The one fishery that’s remained consistent is rockfish at the Cape. “Lost Coast bottom fish are in full stride,” said Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. “Amazing rockfish limits with up to 20 huge vermillion in a trip. They were my most abundant species last week on several days. Lingcod to 33 pounds also hit the deck,” added Sepulveda.

Arcata resident Andrew Medina‎ landed this nice king salmon while fishing from his kayak last Tuesday. Medina was fishing out of Trinidad near flatiron Rock. Photo courtesy of Anthony Gooch

Trinidad
According to Tyler Vaughn, who’s running the Wind Rose, the salmon bite has been slow this week. He said, “Most of the kings being caught are out in deep water and on the bottom. There’s been lots of bait on the reef, but it’s been loaded with silvers. There are a few keeper kings in there, but you have to wade through a lot of fish. The rockfish bite is going well, we’re catching a lot more variety. And the lingcod are showing in bigger numbers now. We’re getting close to limits on each trip,” Vaughn added.

Shelter Cove
The salmon bite is consistently inconsistent reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “One day they bite really well, and then the next day they don’t,” said Mitchell. “The wind has been absolutely relentless, so we’ve been limited on where we can get to. We’ve spent most of the time trolling around the whistle for salmon. Rock fishing hasn’t been red hot, but we’ve been getting limits when we put our time in. The lingcod bite remains pretty slow, we’re averaging about a fish per rod. Most of the rock fish action has been at the Old Man and the Hat.”

Crescent City
A few salmon have been caught this past week, but not many reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “There’s really no concentration of fish. Guys are catching one here and there, but pretty much fishing blind. The California halibut bite has been really good with lots of limits being reported by boats trolling anchovies at South Beach. A few are also being caught by anglers off the jetty. The rock fish bite has been good, not great. It’s been somewhat inconsistent as well,” Hegnes added.

Brookings
“Salmon fishing improved close to the harbor over the weekend, but was slower early this week,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Big schools of anchovies have drawn salmon close to shore, but rockfish are thick and have been hitting trolled baits. Some charter boats caught full limits of rockfish while targeting salmon.” 

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The salmon action in the estuary really took off over the weekend, with quite a few fresh salmon being caught daily. There’s been a really good bite first thing in the morning, then it becomes a tidal bite. With all the moss in the river, the incoming tide has been the best. Typically, the outgoing tide fishes better, but with mossy conditions, the fish seem to be coming in better on the high tide. During the incoming high, there’s a lot less moss, which gives us about a two-hour window of moss-free fishing. Trolling anchovies behind a Rogue River spinner bait is catching the majority of the fish.

Upper Trinity
According to guide Steve Huber, the Trinity springer and steelhead season is off to a really good start. “First light is your best opportunity for salmon as they are moving into the holes and staying put. Plugs first thing in the morning then roe and tuna balls is your best bet. A good batch of steelhead have also entered the system. Fish are spread from Lewiston all the way down to Cedar Flats,” Huber said.

Lower Rogue
The Rogue Bay saw a good bite late last week as water temperatures hit 72 degrees according to Martin. He said, “Some guides had a fish or more a rod. The action has since slowed, but could quickly pick up again with this week’s bigger tides. Heavy moss had made fishing tough except for along the jetties.”

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

Anglers taking advantage of calm seas

Five year-old Graham Gaser is all smiles after catching his limit of king salmon while fishing with his father Chad on a recent trip out of Eureka. Photo courtesy of Chad Gaser

Calm ocean waters continue to provide ample opportunities for saltwater anglers. The Eureka salmon action has been fairly consistent for a couple weeks now, with the majority of the fish holding in a four-mile section south of the entrance. While the quantity may have dipped a little, the quality has gotten much better. We’re finally starting to see some nice kings in the 20-pound class. Rockfish has been another good option, especially with the flat water making it an easy run to Cape Mendocino for the Eureka boats. On the halibut front, the current finally slowed down enough to drift effectively. There was reportedly a decent bite happening on Monday, with Matt Dallam of Northwind Charters boating two nice keepers. Quite a few are also being caught in Trinidad. And finally, not only is the ocean flat, it’s also warming up. The warm tuna water is roughly 50 miles straight off of Eureka and Trinidad. One boat ran out of Eureka roughly 72 miles on Tuesday, but couldn’t locate any fish. Another boat ran 50 miles out of Shelter Cove to 59-degree water where they found huge bait balls – but no tuna. It should be just a matter of time before the first tuna hits the deck however. If you plan on targeting multiple species this weekend, be advised the more restrictive gear and depth restrictions apply. Once salmon are aboard and in possession, anglers are limited to using barbless hooks (barbless circle hooks if fishing south of Horse Mountain) when fishing for other species. 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.

Marine Forecast
Conditions for the weekend are looking plenty fishable as the winds will shift back to the north, blowing 5 to 10 knots through the weekend. Friday’s forecast is calling for W swells 4 feet at 7 seconds. On Saturday, waves will be out of the NW 3 feet at 4 seconds and W 2 feet at 11 seconds. On Sunday, waves will be out of the NW 3 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.

Shelter Cover salmon derby and fish festival
The Shelter Cove Fishing Preservation Incorporated will be holding their 2nd annual Fish Festival at the Shelter Cove Lighthouse on Saturday July 13. There will also be a salmon derby on July 12 and 13, ending at 4 p.m. Entry is $20 and there will be a grand prize for the biggest fish. On Saturday afternoon there will beer from Gyppo Ale Mill, a fish dinner, kid’s games, raffles, and live music. A $35 donation for entry will be charged for dinner and music. Oysters and desserts will be available for purchase. Come out and support your local fishing community. For more event details, visit https://www.facebook.com/scfpinc/

Crescent City kayak fishing tournament coming July 20
The Pelican Bay Athletics Organizations will be holding their 1st annual Crescent City Kayak Fishing Tournament on Saturday July 20. A pre-event captains meeting will be held at Englund Marine on July 19th at 3:30pm. The tournament will begin at the Groin, off Anchor Way on Whalers Island, one half hour before sunrise. Anglers can turn in tournament fish until 2:00 p.m. and a fish fry/potluck will follow at 5:30 p.m. at the Florence Keller Park. For more details and a complete list of rules, visit http://pacificoutfitters.com/pbao-kayak-fishing-tournament-crescent-city-july-20th-2019.

Pacific Halibut quota update
The CDFW has projected 7,424 net pounds of Pacific Halibut has been harvested through June 30. 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

Risa Waddell of Fortuna took advantage of Saturday’s free fishing day and caught her first lingcod. The 10-pound ling was caught on the ocean side of the south jetty.
Photo courtesy of Robert Waddell

The Oceans:
Eureka
The salmon bite out of Eureka isn’t red-hot, but it’s been fairly consistent. “The fish are still to the south of the entrance,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “The best fishing has been between the 46 and 42-lines in 60 to 120 feet of water. They’ve been in that general area for awhile now. The grade has improved, fish are averaging 10 pounds with quite a few bigger fish now being caught. The halibut bite picked up the last couple days as the current has finally slowed down. Prior to this week it was just about unfishable.” The rockfish bite at Cape Mendocino has been wide-open reports Skipper Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. “The weather has been great, and the fishing equally as good,” said Sepulveda. On Tuesday we put in limits of lingcod that were all between 10 and 15 pounds. The rockfish bite was incredible, you had to beat them off with a stick. We’ve also been targeting Pacific halibut and we’re getting a couple chances each day. We went one for two on Tuesday and landed two on Monday, including a 78-pounder.”

Trinidad
According to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters, the halibut bit really well this week with lots of limits reported. “Most of the halibut are being caught straight out in 200 feet of water. There’s been a good little patch of salmon off the reef near Flat Iron, that area seems to be holding some bait. From Patrick’s Point south there’s no shortage of small kings in 200 feet of water. They’re really deep, we’re getting em’ at 150 feet otw. The rockfish bite is still really good, especially for the blacks. A few more lingcod are showing up as well,” Wilson added.

Jason Gellman of Garberville landed this nice king while fishing out of Shelter Cove On Tuesday. Courtesy of Jason Gellman

Shelter Cove
The salmon bite is still a slow pick reports Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “Those that are putting in the time have been doing ok, but you really have to work at it,” said Mitchell.  “Most of the action has been right at the whistle. I did salmon, rockfish, and crab combos all last week and we averaged half limits on all three. We’ve been targeting rockfish at the Hat and also Rogers Break. The weather has been rough, but it got a lot nicer on Tuesday and the next few days look pretty good,” said Mitchell.

Crescent City
According to Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, a few salmon are being caught, but not many. He said, “Out near South Reef is where most are being caught, but it’s just one here and there. There are also some silvers in the same general area. The rockfish bite is good, but not great. Limits have been tough to come by. The big tides didn’t help, and now the dirty water has moved in and we’re not seeing much bait,” added Hegnes.

Brookings
Ocean salmon has been fair out of Brookings, with kings and hatchery silvers reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “We have been averaging a keeper per rod, and three or four shakers a rod, for lots of action,” said Martin. “The kings are 5 to 8 miles out, while Coho are also in closer. We got into a few salmon while bottom fishing over the weekend. Lingcod fishing has slowed, but easy limits of rockfish are common place.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The weekend saw quite a few fresh springers caught by boats sitting on the anchor upriver. It has slowed since, with lots of boats putting up zeros. The estuary fishery has yet to take off, but should soon as the water drops and warms.

Lower Rogue
The Rogue Bay remains slow according to Martin. “Only a few fish a day are being caught. The water temperate is back above 70 degrees, so hopefully the fish will begin to hold up on the bay,” added Martin.

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

Plenty of angling options for the holiday weekend

On one of the most popular holidays for boats targeting ocean salmon, it looks like the North Coast will be blessed with favorable offshore conditions. Inland anglers who are considering making the long trek to Humboldt to enjoy our beautiful, coastal weather and to fish for salmon will want to pay close attention to the tides. Very large tidal exchanges are predicted through the holiday weekend, which could create hazardous bar crossing situations. Once safely outside, you can expect to find plenty of hungry kings. It’s been solid fishing for close to 10 days now, with the best bite taking place south of the entrance off of Table Bluff. Rockfish at the Cape as well as Pacific halibut should all be within reach for the weekend. If you’re more comfortable inshore, the California halibut inside Humboldt Bay are really snapping. Sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers are now open to salmon fishing, and there’s plenty of redtail perch to be had at all the beaches. If you’re looking to wet a line this long holiday weekend, the North Coast has no shortage of opportunities.

Weekend Marine Forecast
According to National Weather Service, light to moderate winds are in the forecast through the rest of the week and weekend. Thursday through Sunday, NW winds are predicted at 5 to 10 knots with N swells 4 feet at 5 seconds and SW 2 to 3 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.

Potentially dangerous bar crossing
With large tidal exchanges in effect through the weekend, there could be potential early morning hazardous Humboldt bar conditions. High tides will be over seven feet and will drop to minus tides. With a large volume of water flowing out of the bay and running into 5-foot swells, you’ll want to error on the side of caution — even if it means waiting until the out-flowing water from the bay has slowed, which usually occurs within 30 to 45 minutes prior to the tide bottoming out. If you’re planning on hitting the bar at daylight in the next few days, check the conditions first. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit https://www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan/. For the latest tide and current predictions, visit https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/noaatidepredictions.html?id=9418767

Low tides — Thurs. July 4 (-1.87 at 7:51 a.m.), Fri. July 5 (-1.72 at 8:37 a.m.)
Sat. July 6 (-1.35 at 9:24 a.m.), Sun. (-0.81 at 10:12 a.m.)

Boat ramp etiquette
With the holiday weekend approaching, the local boat ramps at lakes, rivers and bays will likely see an influx of traffic. While it can be a frustrating experience at times, it could go a lot smoother if people would follow some very simple, common sense rules at the ramp.

When arriving at the launch parking lot:

  • Remove all tie-downs except the winch hook attached to the bow, and disconnect the trailer wiring plug.
  • Make sure the drain plug is in, batteries are charged, fuel levels are good and boat lights work.
  • Load all gear, including fishing gear and coolers.
  • Attach stout lines to bow and stern cleats.

When you’re ready to back the boat down the ramp:

  • Back the trailer into the water until the vessel is in sufficient water depth to lower the drive unit.
  • Start the engine and let it idle for a few moments to prevent stalling.
  • Remove the trailer winch hook from the boat’s bow eye.
  • Finish backing the boat down the ramp, lower the drive unit and slowly back off the trailer and head to the courtesy dock (if available) to wait for the tow vehicle driver.

When you’re back at the ramp:

  • Tie up at the courtesy dock (if available) and drop off the tow vehicle driver.
  • Avoid blocking the ramp for boats entering or exiting the water.
  • Important note: The tow vehicle’s place in line determines the order boats will be retrieved, not where a boat is tied to a launch dock.
  • As the trailer is backed down the ramp, the boater should leave the dock and slowly motor to the trailer. Or guide with bow line.
  • The boater can slowly drive onto the trailer, or the tow vehicle driver can winch the boat on the trailer.
  • Raise the motor’s lower unit so it won’t scrape the ramp.
  • Head for an open area of the parking lot before unloading any gear, removing the drain plug, plugging in trailer lights and attaching tie-down straps.

With space limited on our boat ramps, being as efficient and quick as possible will help save a lot of grief and raised tempers. If you see people who need assistance, help out. Be conscious and courteous of others.

July 6 is statewide free fishing day
On Saturday July 6, 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, spiny lobster, or salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity River Systems. For more information visit, https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2019/06/24/july-6-is-free-fishing-day-in-california/

The Oceans:
Eureka
“The oceans been flat, there’s lots of boats out, and the salmon fishing has turned on,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “Salmon fishing this week was a lot like the old days with most boats, both private and charters, scoring limits.  Almost all of the action this week has been to the south between the 42 and 45 lines. We’re basically getting about halfway to the whistle, making a left turn, and putting out the gear. The fish have been in shallow, between 80 and 100 feet and they’re averaging a solid 10 pounds. Some bigger fish in the teen are starting to show up as well. The bay entrance is loaded with bait, and there were a couple kings caught there this week. I’d expect that bite to really turn on at some point,” said Klassen.

Nine year-old Ryder Gregory is all smiles after catching his limit of king salmon over the weekend with Heidi Musick. The Chico residents enjoyed a beautiful day on the water and caught plenty of salmon while fishing aboard the Wind Rose out of Trinidad. Photo courtesy of Curt Wilson/Wind Rose Charters

Trinidad
The salmon bite was really good over the weekend according to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “The action was best between Eureka and Trinidad, from the 50 to the 57 line in 25 fathoms. There wasn’t a lot of sign, but the fish were there. The rockfish bite is still good, with lots of blacks and blues around. I’ve been spending most of my time around Patrick’s Point due to the weather being a little nicer. I haven’t heard much regarding halibut, but I know some of the regulars are catching a few. There hasn’t been much effort though. Crabbing remains outstanding, we’re sending home limits for all the passengers each trip,” Wilson added.

Shelter Cove
The salmon bite has finally picked up, but has been a little inconsistent reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “The fish are spread out from the Banks to the whistle. We’re seeing mostly smaller fish, but there are a few nice ones mixed in. I ran some rockfish and salmon combo trips over the weekend and boated limits of salmon, rockfish, crab and half limits of lings. On Monday the salmon bite slowed for us and we only landed three. The last couple days were spent fishing the Banks and the whistle for salmon.

Crescent City
According to Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, a few salmon are being caught, but it’s not red-hot. “Most of the fish are being caught out near the South Reef in 200 to 300 feet of water, and we’re starting to see a little more effort. The Pacific halibut are still biting, we had a 92-pounder come in this week. The rockfish has been a little spotty the last couple days, likely due to the minus tides,” added Hegnes.

Brookings
There are plenty of salmon off of Brookings, but the majority are short kings or wild Coho reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “Charters are sorting through a lot of fish and getting a keeper per rod. In Oregon, the minimum size for kings is 24 inches, and many of the shakers are just an inch short. They will be keeper size in about a week. A few halibut also are being caught.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The spring season opened on Monday and the reports weren’t great. There’s quite a bit of moss coming down the river, which makes it tough to fish on the anchor. Reportedly, only a couple were caught upriver on Monday and trollers in the estuary didn’t have much luck either. The water temperature in the estuary is still a little cold, so the fish aren’t holding. That should change now that the spring flow releases have ended on the Trinity. Look for water levels to drop and the temps to increase.

Lower Rogue
According to Martin, the Rogue Bay has yet to yield a consistent bite. “On Sunday a dozen boats caught a dozen kings. On Monday it was dead. It is still a little early, so the bay should take off any time. Peak season isn’t until the end of July and August,” 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

Saltwater season back in full swing

Colby Black from Houston, TX holds a king salmon landed on Wednesday while fishing out of Eureka. Salmon fishing picked up on Wednesday, with bigger fish moving in on the beach both north and south of the entrance to Humboldt Bay. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Shellback Sport Fishing

After sitting on the sidelines watching the wind blow for more than a week, it finally relented, allowing our saltwater fishing season to resume. Salmon, rockfish, and halibut were all attainable the last couple days. And that should be the case through the weekend as the weather looks to remain fishable. Early in the week, the salmon bite was decent despite the influx of cold water. “The most striking development following a windy week was the frigid water that moved in, ranging from 47 to 51 degrees,” said skipper Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. “I don’t recall ever seeing temperature in the 40s this time of year, or ever really. But the salmon bit surprisingly well.” And they bit even better on Wednesday. According to Sepulveda, some bigger fish are moving in on the beach. “A few miles either north or south of the entrance in 80 to 150 feet of water produced on Wednesday. We put in six limits before 11:00 a.m. and the fish were all 10 to 20 pounds,” added Sepulveda. Calm seas also made for a smooth ride south to Cape Mendocino, where anglers enjoyed lights out lingcod and rockfish action. No new news there. With all the salmon excitement, Pacific halibut fishing took a backseat this week. That probably won’t last for long as anglers will soon get their fill of salmon and will look towards filling the freezer with white meat. The weather looks good for the next few days, and there’s plenty of room left in the quota. As of June 16, 6,032 net pounds have been harvested toward the 39,000-pound quota.

Important reminder:
When fishing for halibut, rockfish and salmon, or any combination of the three, the more restrictive gear and depth restrictions apply. When targeting salmon, or once salmon are aboard and in possession, anglers are limited to using barbless hooks (barbless circle hooks if fishing south of Horse Mountain) when fishing for other species.

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.

Weekend Marine Forecast
Light winds and small seas are expected through Friday as low pressure off the Oregon coast gradually fills and moves northward. Northerly winds will increase slightly over the weekend. As of Thursdayafternoon, Friday’s forecast is calling for N winds up to 10 knots and waves NW 3 feet at 8 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for N winds 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 3 feet at 4 seconds. Sunday’s forecast will be similar, with N winds 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 4 feet at 5 seconds forecasted. 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.

July 6 is statewide free fishing day
On Saturday July 6, 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, spiny lobster, or salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity River Systems. For more information visit, https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2019/06/24/july-6-is-free-fishing-day-in-california/

The Oceans:
Eureka
Monday out of Eureka started slow, with a small fleet of boats looking around for salmon in marginal seas. With not much happening where they left them biting, Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing pointed the bow west and didn’t stop until he ran across some really good signs in 300 feet of water. The fishing was good, and the rest of fleet soon joined the party. Limits were had by just about all, but the fish were on the small side. On Tuesday, the fleet got a little bigger and fish showed up at a couple of the usual locations – Table Bluff to the South and the dumpsite northwest of the entrance. Better fishing, and a better grade of fish, transpired at Table Bluff. Having that information, the majority of the boats made the turn south on Wednesday and again found some pretty good fishing between the 45 and 40 lines. Not only are the fish moving into shallower water, they are getting bigger as well. Taking advantage of the nice weather, quite a few boats ran all the way south for rockfish at the Cape. “The lingcod bite was fantastic, and we were just a couple rockfish short of limits for everyone on Tuesday,” said Klassen. “We even managed to catch a 50-pound halibut, which was a nice little bonus.”

Trinidad
“We were finally able to get back on the water on Monday, and the salmon are still here,” said Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “We ran north up to Patrick’s Point and found a pretty good bite. However, everything changed on Tuesday as the fish had moved south five to 10 miles. Some of the boats did well from straight out down to the Mad River fishing in 100 to 200 feet of water. The grade of fish is also picking up. On Wednesday, the south wind came up pretty good and cut our rockfish trip short. We were able to boat a few lings near Reading Rock before we were forced in. The rockfish bite has been good everywhere, with plenty of blacks and blues to fill your 10-fish limit. There has been a handful of halibut caught this week, but there hasn’t been a whole lot of effort,” Wilson added.

Shelter Cove
Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing spent most last week running rockfish trips due to the ocean conditions. “The weather was pretty bad for most of last week but the rockfish bit pretty good at the Old Man,” said Mitchell “The lingcod bite has been much tougher and they’re really making you work for them. The salmon bite has been getting better every day and boats are starting to get limits inside the Old Man. The grade seems to be getting better as well with lots of fish over 10-pounds. The weather looks really good this week so we should see some better salmon scores.”

Crescent City
According to Leonard Carter of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, Pacific halibut has been the big story the last couple days. “Monday and Tuesday were really good; 14 halibut came in on Tuesday alone. They’re all coming from the backside of the South Reef. There’s been a few salmon caught out deep, but not many are trying. I heard that there’s mostly silvers out front. The rock fishing has been excellent at all the usual spots, and the lings are biting too,” Carter said.

Brookings
“Anglers fishing out of Brookings found good numbers of hatchery Coho and a few kings this week as ocean conditions settled down and boats could get offshore,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “The best fishing is still five to 10 miles offshore. Big numbers of kings have still not arrived, but Coho are plentiful with lots of wild fish and enough hatchery silvers to get a keeper or more a rod. Calm weather is expected into the weekend.”

Dave Miller of Shady Cove, Ore., and Mike Phillips of Gig Harbor, Wash., holds a king and hatchery coho salmon caught June 26 while fishing out of Brookings with Capt. Rye Phillips of Brookings Fishing Charters. They were trolling anchovies with Big Al’s Fish Flash flashers. Photo courtesy of Rye Phillips/Brookings Fishing Charters.

The Rivers:
Lower Rogue
According to Martin, the Rogue Bay remains slow, but fish are being caught. “The water is starting to warm again, which should begin to hold fish again in the bay,” 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