Anglers Await Arrival of Fall Klamath Kings

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

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

Marine forecast
Gale force northerly gusts are forecast to develop Friday across the outer waters north of Cape Mendocino. Winds nearshore will generally be lighter. However, seas will grow steeper through the end of the week and over the weekend. Out 10 nautical miles north of the Cape, Friday’s forecast is calling for north winds 15 to 25 knots and waves out of the north 9 feet at nine seconds. Saturday is calling for north winds 5 to15 knots and waves northwest 8 feet at eight seconds. Sunday, winds will be out of the north at 5 to 15 knots and waves northwest 8 feet at eight seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

Trinity River quotas begin on Sept. 1
Fall regulations for Chinook salmon fishing on the Trinity River will go into effect on Sept. 1 and run through Dec. 31, with a sport quota of 402 adults. The quota will be split evenly; 201 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat and 201 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar to the confluence with the Klamath. The main stem downstream of the Highway 299 Bridge at Cedar Flat to the Denny Road Bridge in Hawkins Bar is closed to all fishing September 1 through December 31. Anglers may keep track of the Klamath and Trinity river quotas by calling 800-564-6479. For Klamath and Trinity fishing regulations, visit www.nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=169262&inline

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

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

Trinidad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wind Cuts Short Epic Tuna Bite

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

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

Weekend marine forecast
Gale force winds will produce steep seas for most of this week. Friday’s forecast is calling for winds 15 to 25 knots out of the north and north waves 10 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday is calling for north winds 5 to 15 knots and waves out of the northwest 7 feet at eight seconds. Sunday’s forecast is similar, with winds out of the north 5 to 15 knots and waves northwest 7 feet at nine seconds and 3 feet at 11 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fall-Run Salmon Quotas to Begin on the Klamath

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

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

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

The Spit Area (within 100 yards of the channel through the sand spit formed at the Klamath River mouth) will close when 15 percent of the total Klamath River Basin quota is taken downstream of the U.S. Highway 101 bridge. In 2021, 183 adults can be harvested below the U.S. Highway 101 bridge before the closure at the mouth is implemented. The rest of the area below U.S. Highway 101 (the estuary) will remain open to recreational fishing. Important reminder: All legally caught Chinook salmon must be retained while fishing the spit. Once the adult component of the total daily bag limit has been retained, anglers must cease fishing in the spit area.

On the Trinity side, the quota is set at 402 adults. The quota will be split evenly: 201 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the State Route 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat, and 201 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar to the confluence with the Klamath.

The daily bag limit will be two Chinook salmon, no more than one of which may be greater than 23 inches, and a possession limit of six, of which only three may be longer than 23 inches. Once these quotas have been met, no Chinook salmon longer than 23 inches may be retained (anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon less than 23 inches in length).

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

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

CDFW reminds clammers that the daily bag limit for razor clams is 20 and the first 20 clams dug must be retained regardless of size or condition. During odd-numbered years, Clam Beach (also known as Little River Beach) in Humboldt County, is only open between Moonstone Beach and north of the boundary line due west from the Clam Beach south parking lot trailhead (40° 59.67’ N. lat.). Effective March 8, 2021, each person is required to keep a separate container for their clams and is not allowed to commingle their take with another person when digging and transporting clams to shore. For specific razor clam regulations, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Sport-Fishing/Invertebrate-Fishing-Regs#mollusks

Weekend marine forecast
Light winds and lower seas are expected to last through the weekend. Friday’s forecast is calling for winds up to 5 knots out of the northwest and northwest waves 5 feet at 11 seconds. Saturday is calling for north winds 5 to 10 knots and waves out of the northwest 4 feet at 12 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is similar, with winds out of the north 5 to 10 knots and waves northwest 3 feet at five seconds and 3 feet at 11 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KMZ Closes, Shelter Cove Best Bet for Ocean Salmon

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

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

Weekend Marine Forecast
Gusty north winds will begin to pick up as we head into the weekend. Friday’s forecast is calling for winds 5 to 15 knots out of the north and west waves 5 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday is calling for north winds 5 to 15 knots and waves out of the north 5 feet at six seconds. Sunday’s forecast is similar, with winds out of the north 5 to 15 knots and waves northwest 6 feet at seven seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

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

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

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

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

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

Brookings

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

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

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

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

Eureka Salmon Finally Show Up

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

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

Weekend Marine Forecast
Calmer winds and seas will most likely persist through the week. Friday’s forecast is calling for winds 5 to 10 knots out of the north and northwest waves 4 feet at six seconds. Saturday is calling for north winds 5 to 10 knots and waves out of the north 4 feet at six seconds. Sunday’s forecast is similar, with winds out of the northwest 5 to 10 knots and waves northwest 5 feet at eight seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brookings

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

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

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

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

Ocean Salmon Season Showing Signs of Life

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

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

Weekend Marine Forecast
Fresh to strong northerly breezes and steep seas will persist all week. As of Wednesday, Friday’s forecast is calling for north winds 10 to 20 knots and waves northwest 8 feet at eight seconds. Saturday, the winds will be out of the north 5 to 15 knots and waves will be out of the north 7 feet at seven seconds. Sunday, winds will be out of the north 5 to 15 knots with waves out of the north 7 feet at nine seconds and south 2 feet at 18 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Oceans:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Rivers:

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

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

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

Salmon Smolts Being Shuffled Between Klamath Hatcheries

Somes Bar residents Matt Johnson and Louisa Behnke landed a nice spring salmon Monday while fishing the Klamath River estuary. CDFW has shuttled smolts from Iron Gate to other Klamath Basin hatcheries instead of releasing them this summer due to poor water conditions. Hopefully we’ll see more fish like this in the future. Photo courtesy of Kenny Priest/Fishing the North Coast

Due to extremely poor water conditions and high risks of fish disease on the Klamath River, California Department of Fish and Wildlife hatchery managers were recently forced to truck more than 1 million smolts out of Iron Gate Hatchery into two other hatcheries in the Klamath watershed. This is the first time in it’s 55-year history Iron Gate Fish Hatchery will not release young salmon early in the summer. Citing lethal water temps, CDFW trucked more than 170,000 smolts to the Fall Creek Hatchery and 1 million to the Trinity Hatchery. Another million smolts will remain at Iron Gate. Once water conditions improve on the Klamath and the threat of disease wanes, the young salmon will be returned to Iron Gate and spend a few weeks re-acclimating before being released along with the smolts that remained at there. The young salmon will have an added advantage as they’ll be a little older and tougher, which should produce a better survival rate. The hope is that come October will see some storms that will cool the water and reduce chances of disease. Until then, more than 1 million smolts will spend the summer away from home. For more information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/News/cdfw-successfully-relocates-11-million-hatchery-salmon-until-klamath-river-drought-conditions-improve

Marine Forecast
Conditions will begin to improve slightly Thursday and look decent through the weekend. As of Wednesday, Friday’s forecast is calling for north winds 5 to 15 knots and northwest swells 5 feet at six seconds. Conditions on Saturday will be the similar, with waves 5 feet at six seconds. Sunday is looking the same, with winds out of the north 5 to 15 knots and waves northwest 5 feet at six seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Ocean conditions have kept the Eureka boats tied up since last Tuesday but it looks like they’ll get a break in the weather Thursday. Conditions might not be good enough to head to the Cape for rockfish, but it should be fishable for salmon.

Trinidad
“Ocean conditions haven’t been great, but we’re still managing to get limits of rockfish daily,” said Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “The wind has been blowing in the evening, making for some rough water in the mornings, but conditions improve throughout the day. We were able to make it to Reading Rock a few times last week where the fishing has been excellent. We’re getting a good variety of rockfish, along with limits of lingcod. When the weather keeps us close to home, the rockfish bite just north of the Trinidad Head has produced limits of quality black rockfish. A few salmon are being caught off the lagoons each day, but there hasn’t been a ton of effort. A sport boat landed a 16-pounder last week. The crabbing is slowing down and the quality has gone downhill as they are starting to molt.”

Shelter Cove
Salmon has been very slow for the most part, according to Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “There was a decent bite on Friday right inside the whistle but only a couple were caught on Saturday,” said Mitchell. “I went clear down to Usal a couple days ago looking. We found a fair amount of bait, but only hooked a couple silvers. Weather has been pretty chunky so we haven’t really looked too far lately. The rockfish bite remains really good just about every direction you go.”

Crescent City
“Salmon fishing isn’t red hot, but some are being caught daily,” said Kevin Hooper of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “There’s a handful of boats that are getting limits each day, while the majority are picking up one or two. Most of the action is straight out toward the south in 100 to 110 feet of water. A couple California halibut are being caught each day by the kayakers and bank anglers off of South Beach. The rockfish and lingcod bite has been steady all season with limits coming fairly easily. The Sisters and South Reef are two of the top locations.”

Brookings
According to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters, windy weather has limited fishing opportunities out of the Port of Brookings. He said, “A few salmon are being caught near the buoys, but overall action is slow because choppy seas are keeping boats close to shore. Most charters have been cancelling their trips. A few rockfish are being caught south of the harbor and near Chetco Point, but the best reefs have not been accessible because of rough conditions. A break in the wind is expected Thursday, but windy weather is in the forecast again through the weekend. No boats have been able to get offshore for Pacific halibut, which remains open in Brookings. Surfperch fishing has been good at the Winchuck Beach and Crissy Field.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Spring salmon fishing has been good for trollers in the Klamath estuary, where quite a few are being caught each day. Anchovies rigged with a spinner blade has been the top producer so far, but some are being caught on Kastmasters and Cut Plugs. Best fishing has been on the incoming and a couple hours after the high.

Lower Rogue
Salmon fishing heated up on the Rogue Bay last week, with some guides getting limits and most getting a fish or two per boat, reported Martin. “The bite slowed over the weekend, mainly because of strong winds,” he said. “Lots of salmon can be seen splashing in the bay. Hot water upriver is keeping the kings from leaving the estuary. More wind is expected this week.”

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

Reliable Rockfish Catches Keeping Fleet Afloat

McKinleyville resident Rachel Seaman landed a nice black rockfish on a recent fishing trip out of Trinidad. Photo courtesy of Curt Wilson/Wind Rose Charters

With an early closure of Pacific halibut and a slow start to our salmon season, the one steady fishery at the moment is rockfish. From Shelter Cove north to Crescent City, limits of quality rockfish and ling cod have been the norm. In a season with not much left to fish for, they’ve been a blessing. From charters to private boaters, it’s refreshing to know that you can head to where they live and almost count on coming home with a bounty. For the boats that make a living on the water, it’s been a godsend. With our salmon numbers on the decline and a halibut quota that doesn’t seem to match abundance, rockfish has been the one species we can count on. The season in the Northern Management Area for boat-based anglers, which includes Del Norte and most of Humboldt County, runs from May 1 through Oct. 31, seaward of 30 fathoms (180 feet), and Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 rockfish may be taken at any depth. For a complete list of rockfish regulations, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Groundfish-Summary#north.

Weekend marine forecast
Northerly winds and seas will increase beginning Thursday. As of Tuesday afternoon, Friday’s forecast is calling for north winds 5 to 15 knots and waves northwest 6 feet at seven seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for northwest winds 5 to 15 knots and waves northwest 7 feet at seven seconds. The winds will increase Sunday to 10 to 20 knots with waves northwest 9 feet at nine seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

The Oceans:
Eureka
According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, no one has found the salmon as of yet. “The ocean hasn’t been great, so there hasn’t been much effort,” said Klassen. “As far as I know, no one has really ventured south between the stacks and Trinidad. There’s a lot of water that hasn’t been fished yet, so we’re holding out hope they’re out there somewhere. We did find some really good signs outside of False Cape Rock a couple days ago. Tons of birds and bait and the water dipped to 49 degrees, but we couldn’t find any keeper kings.”

Trinidad
The rockfish bite north of the head remains outstanding for black rockfish according to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “The weather has been a little chunky, but we did make it to Reading Rock a few days where we found a wide variety of rockfish and some nice lings,” said Wilson. “A few salmon are being caught daily off of the lagoons in 100 to 180 feet of water. The crabbing is starting to slow down as the crabs are molting.”

Mason Mitchell, left, along with Kanyon Cardoza boxed a couple nice kings on July 4 out of Shelter Cove. Photo courtesy of Jake Mitchell/Sea Hawk Sport Fishing

Shelter Cove
Salmon fishing has been pretty slow the last few days, reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “Boats are averaging about a half a fish per rod,” said Mitchell. “Most of the effort is happening right off the point in 40 to 50 feet of water. The rockfish bite has really been solid all week as well. The black rockfish bite has been wide-open close to the beach.”

Crescent City
Sport salmon season opened last Tuesday and there were a handful of salmon caught, including some bigger ones,” said Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “There’s a handful of salmon being caught daily, mostly coming from the south. The rockfish bite remains solid, with limits reported by just about everyone. The California halibut bite is decent, with guys tossing swimbaits off the rocks and the kayaks catching a few each day.”

Brookings
Rough weather has kept boaters in close while fishing for salmon out of Brookings, reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “Charter boats are getting a fish or more per rod, with some catching limits. Small anchovies trolled just below the surface are working best. Commercial boats are doing well offshore and a break in the weather could cause catch rates to jump for private boaters. Lingcod fishing is slow, but some are catching limits of rockfish near Bird Island and Twin Rocks. Halibut fishing is fair but windy weather is keeping boaters away from the most productive waters.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Spring-run salmon have been caught daily in the estuary since the July 1 opener. Fresh kings are moving in with the tides and starting to stack up as the water temperatures are over 70 degrees. Anchovies rigged with a spinner blade has been the top producer so far. The best fishing has been on the incoming and a couple hours after the high.

Lower Rogue
“Salmon fishing hit peak season form on the Rogue Bay last week, with many guides getting limits and private boaters also getting a fish per rod or better,” said Martin. “Salmon are holding up in the bay because of warm water upriver. The fish are spread throughout the bay, with a good incoming tide bite. A few summer steelhead also are showing in the bay.”

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

Tough Go for Eureka King Opener

For at least the past few weeks, there were all sorts of signs indicating salmon were plentiful off the coast of Eureka and Trinidad. But somehow those signs, and the salmon, all but vanished by the time the sport salmon season opened on Tuesday. While the majority of boats opted for Pacific halibut, a group of boats, including Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, dedicated a good part of the day hunting for salmon. And what they found was pretty disappointing. According to Klassen, there were no keeper kings caught that he had heard of. The overall salmon abundance numbers weren’t projected very high for our area, but there should have been at least a handful caught.
But it wasn’t meant to be. At least not yet. For all we know the fish could be out in deeper water, or they could still be making their way here. Shelter Cove had a decent opener, so that’s encouraging. Until the kings arrive, rockfish will suffice.

Tim Brumley and Rachel Seaman of College City, CA landed a nice Pacific halibut on Tuesday out of Trinidad. The Pacific halibut season closed Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. as CDFW determined the quota has been met. Photo courtesy of Curt Wilson/Wind Rose Charters

Pacific Halibut closed as of June 30
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Tuesday that the recreational Pacific halibut fishery will close Wednesday, June 30, at 11:59 p.m. for the remainder of 2021. Based on the latest catch projections, CDFW expects the 2021 California recreational quota of 39,260 net pounds will be exceeded unless the fishery is closed. Similar to the hot Pacific halibut bite observed in 2020, the 2021 season has proven to be very successful. During the second half of June, CDFW field staff recorded a very high number of Pacific halibut being caught. Visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/News/recreational-pacific-halibut-fishery-to-close-june-30-for-rest-of-the-year# for more information.

Weekend marine forecast
Ocean conditions look fishable through the weekend. As of Tuesday afternoon, Friday’s forecast is calling for north winds at 5 to 10 knots and waves northwest 6 feet at nine seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for northwest winds at 5 to 10 knots and waves northwest 5 feet at 9 seconds. The winds will be the same on Sunday, with waves northwest 5 feet at eight seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

July 3 is statewide free fishing day
On Saturday July 3, 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, www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing/free-fishing-days

The Oceans:
Eureka

The salmon fishing was tough for the sport boats that gave it a whirl on Tuesday’s opener. Some undersized kings and a couple silvers were all the fleet could muster. The majority of the boats opted to fish Pacific halibut and leave the salmon for later. A wise move as it turns out. While the boats were on the water, it was announced that the season would be closing after Wednesday, following a full quota. Hopefully the salmon bite will pick up, otherwise it’s going to be rockfish from here on out.

Trinidad
The salmon opener didn’t produce much, but the rock fishing is still outstanding. Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters, along with the other charters, has yet to come back to port shy of limits. “There’s just a lot of fish between the Head and Patrick’s Point this year,” said Wilson. “It’s been pretty easy to get 10 rockfish per person. The crabbing is still good, we’re sending clients home with limits each day.”

Shelter Cove
The sport salmon opener was decent according to Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “There were probably over 50 kings caught by the 35 or so boats on the water,” said Mitchell. “We opted to put some rockfish on the boat first before salmon. We ended up with only three kings, but a lot of boats did better. Overall, the rock fishing has been great with limits of nice quality fish every day. The lings continue to be a little more stubborn but the grade is good and we got limits all but one day.”

Laytonville resident Jack Kuykendall landed this nice king salmon while fishing out of Shelter Cove. Photo courtesy of Jake Mitchell, Sea Hawk Sport Fishing.

Crescent City
Sport salmon season opened Tuesday and there were a handful of salmon caught, including some bigger ones,” said Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “The rockfish bite remains solid, with limits reported by just about everyone. The California halibut have finally shown up with quite a few being caught daily off of South Beach by boats and kayaks trolling anchovies. Last week’s minus tides produced excellent clamming conditions. Anglers reported limits of razors, and some bigger ones are starting to show.”

Brookings
“Salmon fishing out of Brookings has been good overall, with charters getting better than a fish per rod,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Kings are close to the harbor, while hatchery coho are showing up in the catch near the whistle buoy and in deeper water offshore. Both kings and silvers are biting anchovies and Fish Flash flashers fished just below the surface. The salmon are shallow. The first thresher shark of the season was hooked Tuesday morning. Still no reports of California halibut, but a few Pacific halibut are being caught in 200 feet of water. Rockfish are biting just about everywhere, while lingcod fishing is fair.”

Lower Rogue
According to Martin, the Rogue Bay has heated up as sizzling inland water temperatures have forced late-arriving spring salmon to hold up in the estuary. “Guides are now getting two to four kings a day trolling anchovies from the Jot’s dock to Indian Creek,” said Martin. “A few summer steelhead also have been caught. Dredging operation could begin anytime, as the survey boat has completed its depth soundings.”

Salmon season opens July 1 on parts of Klamath and Trinity Rivers
The spring Chinook salmon fishery on the lower Klamath River (downstream of the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec) and Trinity River (upstream of the confluence of the South Fork Trinity River) opened on July 1 and will run through Aug. 14 on the Klamath River and through Aug. 31 on the Trinity River. The daily bag limit has been set to one Chinook salmon (no size restrictions), and the possession limit set at two Chinook salmon.

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

Wide-Open Pacific Halibut Bite Continues

Justin Plummer 12, Luke Plummer 7 and Julie Plummer 10 all caught their first Pacific Halibut on Wednesday, June 23 fishing aboard the Reel Steel out of Eureka. Photo courtesy of Tim Klassen/Reel Steel Sport Fishing

Halibut continues to be the shining light out of both Eureka and Trinidad as the sizzling bite continues this week. Boats fishing just north of the entrance in 270 to 300 feet of water are boating limits well before 9 a.m. It’s looking like the only thing that will slow you down is if you can’t get to the fishing grounds. And that’s exactly what happened late last week and over the weekend. With a third of the 39,000-pound quota already chewed up, it was nice to give the Pacific halibut a breather. However, following the short break, the halibut bite picked right back up. Hopefully, next Tuesday’s salmon opener will take some of the pressure off the halibut. If not, we may be lucky to get through July before the season comes to a close.

Weekend marine forecast
Ocean conditions look plenty fishable through the weekend. As of Tuesday afternoon, Friday’s forecast is calling for northwest winds 5 to 10 knots and waves northwest 5 feet at seven seconds and west 4 feet at 13 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for northwest winds up to 5 knots and waves west 5 feet at 11 seconds. The winds will be the same Sunday, with waves northwest 5 feet at 11 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

Freshwater Lagoon trout plants
According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website, Freshwater Lagoon has been planted with trout since late May. 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.

Ocean sport salmon season opens June 29
Our 2021 ocean sport salmon season will open next Tuesday, June 29  and run through August 1. It will be open from the OR/CA border south to the 40°10’ line (near Cape Mendocino), (Klamath Management Zone). Fishing is 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. The possession is no more than two daily bag limits in possession while on land. On a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit. No salmon punch card is required for ocean salmon fishing. The sport season from the 40°10’ line to Point Arena, which includes Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg, will also open June 29 and will remain open through Oct. 31. For complete ocean salmon regulations, please visit the Ocean Salmon webpage at https://wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Salmon#recreational or call the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline (707) 576-3429.

Trinidad anglers with a nice pair of Pacific halibut. Photo courtesy of Curt Wilson/Wind Rose Charters

The Oceans:
Eureka
The boats left the Pacific halibut biting last Wednesday after being chased off the water due to high winds and rough seas. According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, boats were back on the water Monday and didn’t miss a beat. “The limits didn’t come quite as fast but it was still really good,” said Klassen. “Tuesday the bite was even better, with plenty of limits reported well before 9 a.m. The Cape is still producing quality rockfish limits. We didn’t find a big variety on Monday, mostly due to the choppy conditions. But we managed to put in limits along with some nice lings.”

Trinidad
Rough conditions over the weekend kept the charter boats close to port, but conditions improved Monday and boats were back targeting halibut. Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters battled through some heavy currents to put five on board up to 20 pounds. “Conditions look good through the week, so I’d expect the halibut bite to pick right back up,” said Wilson. “The rockfish bite between the Head and Patrick’s Point continues to be really good, with lots of black rockfish being caught,” added Wilson.

Shelter Cove
The rockfish bite continues to be the main draw out of Shelter Cove. Windy conditions kept most of the boats off the water over the weekend, but the charters are finding quality rockfish close to home. Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sportfishing reports the rockfish bite has been stellar any direction you go. “The lingcod bite has been a little more fickle,” said Mitchell. “The Pacific halibut bite is still slow around the cove but we did manage a couple near Gorda last week. We’re averaging about one per trip when we put in some effort. Conditions look good through the week.”

Redding resident Max Manning landed a nice lingcod while fishing out of Crescent City on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Steve Huber/Crescent City Fishing

Crescent City
The wind finally calmed down Monday and the boats were back on the rockfish. “The fishing has been excellent all season, no matter which direction you go,” said Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “There were a couple of 30-pound Pacific halibut caught last week, hopefully that fishery will start to pick up. We’re back to minus tides this week, so we should see some good clamming. The lowest tide will be Friday at -2.26 feet. The redtail perch bite continues to be excellent off of Kellogg Beach.”

Brookings
“The king opener out of Brookings started with a bang, as good numbers of salmon to 25 pounds were caught close to the jetties,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “The action slowed Sunday with just a handful of kings. Calm weather offshore on Monday allowed the fleet to get to deeper water, where the hatchery coho action has been wide open. Charter got limits or near limits most of last week, and the hot action returned on Monday for boaters trolling flashers and anchovies just below the surface. Good weather this week should lead to more halibut catches.”

Lower Rogue
The Rogue Bay heated up again on Monday, with a bunch of kings caught in front of the Jot’s Resort docks according to Martin. “Calm ocean conditions allowed schools of kings to move across the bar, while warm water upriver forced them to halt in the bay,” said Martin. “The river temperate near Agness was 73 degrees on Monday. Anything over 70 usually keeps salmon from leaving the bay.”

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