Sport crab season set to open Saturday

Fishing the NC 11_1 photo
The 2018 sport Dungeness crab season will open on Saturday along most of the North Coast. State waters from Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County (41° 8.00’ N. Latitude) north to the California/Oregon state line will remain closed due to unhealthy levels of domoic acid. Photo courtesy of Kenny Priest/Fishing the North Coast

The always-popular recreational Dungeness crab season will open state-wide this Saturday, with one big exception. State waters from Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County (41° 8.00’ N. Latitude) north to the California/Oregon state line will remain closed due to unhealthy levels of domoic acid. This closure, which will keep Crescent City anglers off the water, will remain in effect until domoic acid no longer poses a significant risk to public health. CDFW will continue to coordinate with CDPH and OEHHA to test domoic acid levels in Dungeness crab to determine when the Dungeness crab recreational fishery in this area can safely be opened.

South of the closure, the season’s first traps can legally be deployed at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday morning. Anglers will get their first peak into the health and weight of this season’s crop as the results from the pre-season quality tests have not been made public. Word on the street is there’s plenty of crab, but they aren’t as meaty as we’d like. A typical year will find the meat content at around 20 percent, with the theory being that crabs will add one percent of meat a week and reach the 25 percent mark for the commercial opener of Dec. 1. Meaty crabs or not, we’re just happy that the season is opening on time for the majority of the North Coast.

In areas where season isn’t delayed, including parts of Humboldt and Mendocino, the season runs from Saturday, Nov. 3 through July 30, 2019. The minimum size is five and three-quarter inches measured by the shortest distance through the body from edge of shell to edge of shell directly in front of and excluding the points (lateral spines) and the limit is 10. A valid California sport fishing license is required. For more information regarding recreational Dungeness crab fishing regulations and other crab species, visit http://www.eregulations.com/california/fishing/saltwater/invertebrate-fishing-regulations/

CDFW is reminding crabbers of the new state regulations that went into effect on Aug. 1 2016, regarding the crab fisheries and crab trap requirements. Dungeness crab size and bag limits are now uniform statewide.

1) Crab trap buoys must display the “GO ID” number of the operator of the trap.

2) Crab traps must contain at least one destruct device made from a single strand of untreated cotton twine size No. 120 or less that creates an unobstructed opening anywhere in the top or upper half of the trap that is at least 5 inches in diameter when this material corrodes or fails.

3) Crab traps must not be deployed or fished seven days prior to the opening of the Dungeness crab season.

4) Every crab trap must be outfitted with two rigid circular escape openings that are a minimum of 4.25 inches in diameter and located so that the lowest portion is at the most five (5) inches from the top of the trap. This is to allow small crabs to easily escape from the trap.

For a complete list of crab trap regulations, visit https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=150181&inline

Crabbing locations

If you’re planning on heading offshore out of Eureka and leaving pots overnight, your best bet is to start setting gear in 100 to 150 feet of water. Historically, crabs tend to be in deeper water at the beginning of the season and will move in towards the beach later in the year. If you’re soaking for just a few hours and don’t have the equipment to go deep, dropping pots just outside the entrance in 50 feet is a good option.

If you don’t have means to head offshore, you can still find plenty of crab. One of the top spots to soak a few rings is Crab Park, located at the end of Cannibal Island Rd., in Loleta. There’s access to launch a kayak or canoe in the estuary of the Eel River. You can also launch your boat at Pedrazzini Park at the end of Cock Robin Island Rd., and make your way up the estuary towards the mouth of the Eel.

Humboldt Bay also has a few good locations to catch some crab. Out in front of the PG&E plant is a good spot as well as the flat off of the South Jetty parking lot. Another top location is either side of the channel leading into the South Bay. Up north, inside Trinidad Harbor is another popular spot among the locals. You can launch your small boat, kayak or canoe right off the beach and head out to Prisoner Rock, where the bottom is sandy and 40 to 50-ft deep. Launching here requires a relatively calm ocean, which looks to be the case this weekend.

Woodley Island sport crab trips

Captains Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing and Gary Blasi of Full Throttle Sport Fishing are both booking crab trips out of Woodley Island beginning Saturday. Trips will generally last two hours. Departure times will depend on the tides, but most often they’ll leave sometime in the morning. To book a trip with Reel Steel Sport Fishing, call 707-499-4925. Full Throttle can be reached at 707 498-7473 The weekend trips fill up quick, so you’ll want to call early to reserve your spot.

Marine Forecast

Ocean conditions don’t look too bad for the weekend, with no advisories posted as of Wednesday. Saturday’s forecast is calling for N winds 5 to 10 knots with N waves 3 feet at 5 seconds and W 5 feet at 11 seconds. Sunday is looking similar, with winds out of the NW 5 to 10 knots and NW waves 3 feet at 5 seconds and NW 8 feet at 13 seconds. The forecast will likely change, so before you head out, check the marine forecast at www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka and click on the marine tab. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit: www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan

Weekend Tides – Humboldt Bay

  • Sat., Nov. 3 (High: 9:23 a.m. and 9:20 p.m.) (Low: 2:36 a.m. and 3:24 p.m.)

Standard time begins at 2:00 a.m. Sunday

  • Sun., Nov. 4 (High: 9:05 a.m. and 9:24 p.m.) (Low: 2:29 a.m. and 3:18 p.m.)

Weekend Weather forecast

“We may see a little bit of rain this Sunday, but it won’t be much,” said Kathleen Zontos of Eureka’s National Weather Service. “The Smith basin may see a tenth, and less than that will fall in Humboldt. Next week is looking dry as well, though we will see some weak fronts trying to move into the area. Until the high pressure breaks down off the coast, it looks like all of the storms will be pushed to the north.”

River Closures

As of Thursday morning, all the North Coast rivers subjected to low flow fishing closures, including the Eel, Mad, Redwood Creek, Smith and Van Duzen are closed. Sections of rivers that are open include the main stem Eel River from the paved junction of Fulmor Road to its mouth, the main stem Mad River from the Hammond Trail Railroad Trestle to its mouth and the main stem Smith River from the mouth of Rowdy Creek to its mouth. The Department of Fish and Game will make the information available to the public no later than 1 p.m. each Monday, Wednesday and Friday as to whether any river will be closed to fishing. The rivers can be opened up at any time. The low flow closure hotline for North Coast rivers is 707-822-3164.

Klamath re-opens above I-5

On Monday, Oct. 29, the Klamath River between Interstate 5, near Hornbrook, and 3,500 feet below the hatchery reopens to the take of Chinook salmon over 22 inches. The Iron Gate Hatchery has met the 8,000 adult fish number needed for spawning purposes. Recreational anglers will be able to harvest two Chinook Salmon, but no more than one adult greater than 22 inches, per day in this reach. The possession limit is six Chinook Salmon with no more than three adults. Reopening this stretch of the Klamath River is designed to allow anglers to catch surplus hatchery Chinook salmon now that the number of adults needed for spawning has been achieved at the hatchery. For more information, visit https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2018/10/26/klamath-river-upstream-of-interstate-5-to-reopen-to-adult-chinook-salmon-harvest-on-monday-oct-29/

Smith River

Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service reports quite a few fish are being caught at the Sand Hole by boats and bank anglers. He said, “The fishing has been pretty good first thing in the morning, and then it gets a little tougher when the sun hits the water. It’s been fairly crowded, with up to 20 boats a day and an equal number of bankies. The rain we had last weekend was enough to move the fish out of the lower river and bring in some new ones. I’ve heard there’s fish as far up as Gasquet.” The Smith remains closed to fishing above Rowdy Creek due to low flows.

Chetco

“There were big numbers of salmon in the Chetco tidewater before Monday’s rain, but many appear to have shot upriver above the fishing deadline at Nook Bar,” said Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. “They could be seen splashing through the riffles as they quickly moved upstream throughout the day on Monday. A few salmon are holding at Social Security Bar and the Highway Hole. From there to Nook, fishing has been spotty. The river was high enough for drift boats to get down Monday and Tuesday. Overall fishing was slow. ODFW netted 30 salmon for the hatchery on Tuesday at the Highway Hole. The bobber-only regulations will continue until a major rain. ODFW announced the bobber regulation could continue into December, but also assured guides and other anglers the special anti-snagging regulation will be lifted with the first major rise in flows. Biologists are concerned about salmon being held up at Social Security Bar by low water and the snag fest that could ensue if the bobber regulation was lifted.”

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

Sport crab opener delayed north of Trinidad

Fishing the NC 10_25 photo
Tim Klassen, left, and Lonnie Dollarhide sort through a pot of sport-caught Dungeness crab in 2017. Due to dangerous levels of domoic acid, the California Department of Public Health is recommending a delay in the opening of the recreational crab season near Patrick’s Point north to the Oregon border. Photo courtesy of Kenny Priest/Fishing the North Coast

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a press release on Wednesday advising recreational anglers not to eat Dungeness crab caught between Patrick’s Point North and the Oregon border. This warning is due to the detection of elevated levels of domoic acid, a naturally occurring toxin.

The statewide recreational Dungeness crab season is scheduled to open on Saturday, Nov. 3 and the commercial season on Dec. 1. The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), in consultation with CDPH, has recommended a delay in the opening of the recreational crab season near Patrick’s Point North to the Oregon border.

On Thursday, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham enacted the delay to the opening of the recreational Dungeness crab fishery from Patrick’s Point, Humboldt County (41° 8.00’ N. Latitude) north to the California/Oregon state line. The recreational fishery for Dungeness crab will open for remaining areas as scheduled on Saturday, Nov. 3.

The recreational crab season in Oregon was halted on Oct. 15 due to high levels of domoic acid. It remains closed from Cape Blanco south to the California border.

Dangerous levels of domoic acid have been detected in the body meat and internal organs of Dungeness crab from this region. Cooking crabs neither decreases nor destroys the toxin. To date, five of the six crabs tested out of Crescent City (George Reef) were above the FDA action level of 30 parts per million. The six crab tested near the Klamath River were clean. In Trinidad, six crab were tested in the north region, and another six in the south region. The Trinidad north crabs ranged from 3.3 to 46 ppm, resulting in 33 percent exceeding the action level of 30 ppm. The Trinidad south crabs fell below the action level. Elevated levels of domoic acid was also found in Bodega Bay, but San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, Monterey and Morro Bay regions were clean in the first round of testing.

CDPH will continue to coordinate its efforts with the CDFW and the fishing community to collect and test Dungeness crab samples from the impacted areas until domoic acid levels have dissipated. Test results are updated as laboratory results become available and can be viewed at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CEH/DFDCS/Pages/FDBPrograms/FoodSafetyProgram/DomoicAcid.aspx

Weekend Weather


“A weak front will pass through on Friday, but most of the precipitation will fall to our north,” said Kathleen Lewis of Eureka’s National Weather Service. “We don’t expect much rain to fall in the Smith basin, maybe a few hundredths of an inch. The next chance for rain will be on Sunday and into Monday morning. The Smith could see from a quarter to three-quarters, and possibly more in the mountains. Here locally we could see up to a half-inch and up to three-quarters in some areas. There will be a few weak glancing systems coming next week, but none are expected to raise the river levels,” Lewis added.

Eel River salmon movie showing on Saturday


The Eel River Recovery Project has produced a new movie that will be shown at the Monday Club in Fortuna on Saturday, October 27. The film debut is part of the annual ERRP Volunteer Awards Dinner, which will follow the movie. The movie is entitled Signs of Resilience: 2012-2017 Eel River Fall Chinook Salmon Trends and documents the fact that there have been between 10,000 and 50,000 Chinook annually since surveys began.

The movie was produced by Sirius Studios and provides a window on the beauty of the Eel River watershed in all seasons.  The movie will be shown at 3 PM and will be followed by an hour of acoustic music during which appetizers and beer and wine will be served.  There is a $10 charge for dinner, which starts at 5:30 PM and includes delicious rock fish from Pacific Choice Seafoods and oysters from Coast Seafood.  For more information, see www.eelriverrecovery.org, follow ERRP on Facebook or call 223-7200.

Willow Creek weir counts


For the trapping week of Oct 15 through Oct. 21, 10 jacks were trapped at the weir. To date, 275 jacks have been trapped compared to 865 for the entire 2017 trapping season. This past week, 129 adult Chinook were trapped, bringing the season total to 1,112. In 2017, 1,030 total adult Chinook were trapped. There were no adult Coho trapped last week, the season total remains at 14. In 2017, 30 adult Coho were trapped. The steelhead numbers slowed way down this week as well compared to the previous week. A total of 5 adult steelhead were trapped during the week of Oct. 15 through 21. The previous week 68 were trapped. For the season, 467 have been counted compared to 689 for the entire 2017 season.

Upper Trinity closing to the take of adult kings


According to Dan Troxel, Environmental Scientist with the CDFW Klamath River Project, the upper Trinity River, from the Old Lewiston Bridge down to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat, will be closed to adult Chinook salmon harvest as of Monday October 29. He said, “The Department estimates that the quota for this sector will have been met as of 11:59 p.m. Monday, October 28. As with the other sectors in the basin, it will remain open to recreational angling for jack Chinook (22” or less) and hatchery marked steelhead.” The daily bag limit is two jacks and two hatchery steelhead. For more information, visit https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2018/10/24/upper-trinity-river-quota-met/

IMG_4126

Ben and Jared Boorman holds some of the late-season lingcod and rockfish they caught last week off the coast of Brookings. Photo courtesy of Brookings Charter Fishing

Brookings Harbor


According to Andy Martin, who runs Brookings Fishing Charters, rough weather conditions have limited ocean trips to a day or two a week out of Brookings. “This weekend’s big swell may keep boats at the dock. Fishing is very good for rockfish, but slower for the lingcod, in part because of the large swell,” added Martin.

The Rivers:


River Closures


Currently, all the North Coast rivers subjected to low flow fishing closures, including the Eel, Mad, Redwood Creek, Smith and Van Duzen are closed. Sections of rivers that are open include the main stem Eel River from the paved junction of Fulmor Road to its mouth, the main stem Mad River from the Hammond Trail Railroad Trestle to its mouth and the main stem Smith River from the mouth of Rowdy Creek to its mouth.

The Department of Fish and Game will make the information available to the public no later than 1 p.m. each Monday, Wednesday and Friday as to whether any river will be closed to fishing. The rivers can be opened up at any time. The low flow closure hotline for North Coast rivers is (707) 822-3164.

Lower Klamath


A few bright fish are still being caught, but the run is definitely at the tail end. The boat pressure is light, most anglers are now waiting for rain to open up the Smith and Chetco. The daily bag limit is two jack Chinook 22-inches or less and two hatchery steelhead.

Smith


Quite a few salmon are being caught between the mouth and the Sand Hole reports Britt Carson of Englund Marine. “We started out seeing lots of jacks, but now we’re seeing some really nice salmon. There’s been some pretty big ones caught already. Most of the fish are coming on gold and copper Cleo’s, but some are being caught on sand shrimp too,” added Carson

Chetco


Salmon fishing is fair in the Chetco estuary, as fish move from the ocean into the upper tidewater reports Martin. He said, “Lots of fish are stacking up at the head of tide, but fishing is tough with low, clear conditions. ODFW collected fish for the hatchery program by netting the deep hole Social Security Bar. Nearly 70 kings were transported to the hatchery for the broad stock program. Anglers are having fair success with bobbers and roe or anchovy tails.”

The Chetco is currently open to salmon fishing to Nook Creek. From the power line crossing at RM 2.2 upstream to Nook Creek (RM 14) from Sept. 1 through Nov. 3, angling is restricted to fly angling and bobber angling only, with 1 single point hook. Fly angling gear must include a strike indicator. Bobber angling gear must include a bobber and a leader no longer than 36 inches in length. Any weight (except the bobber or strike indicator) may be no more than 36 inches from the hook when suspended vertically. The leader below the bobber or strike indicator must remain suspended in the water column and not resting on the river bottom. The daily/seasonal bag limit is 2 Chinook daily, only one may be unclipped. 20 seasonal, no more than 5 may be unclipped.

Upper Trinity


The fishing pressure remains heaviest in the Junction City area, but there are fish spread throughout the Trinity reports guide Steve Huber. “Our trips have been a combination of both salmon and steelhead, there’s plenty of both around ” said Huber. “We’re catching some salmon that are in really good, shape, but there’s also quite a few that are past their prime. There’s quite a few jacks around, but most of them are dark. With the water level now at 300 cfs, there’s a few spots that are pretty shallow. You’ll need to drag your boat through a couple areas. Plugs, roe, spinners and flies are all catching fish,” added Huber.

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

Rockfish, tuna still viable options out of Eureka

Fishing the NC 10_18 photo
Eureka resident Dee Lehman landed a nice albacore tuna on Oct. 5 while fishing out of Eureka. Photo courtesy of Tim Klassen/Reel Steel Sport Fishing

Even though the calendar is creeping towards November, there’s still a few viable options for Eureka offshore anglers. A few boats ran for tuna out of Eureka on Monday, and even more made the trek out of Crescent City. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing made the run from Eureka and found good conditions roughly 45 miles from the Humboldt Bay entrance. “The water color and temperature were good, but we didn’t find any big concentrations of fish,” said Klassen. “We got a handful on baits stops and the rest came on the troll. We ended the day with 10, and one of the other boats landed 15.” The scores coming from Crescent City weren’t as good, the top boat reportedly boated three. The warm water is still out there, and weather conditions look good through the weekend. I won’t be surprised if more boats give it a go. The calm weather also opened the door for easy trips down to Cape Mendocino, where the ling cod continue to chew up any and all baits. The rockfish bite is still going strong as well, but the 20-fathom depth limit has made it a little tougher to find the bigger fish. And to top it all off, the California halibut are still roaming the bay. Klassen spent Saturday morning in the middle channel and boated limits for his crew. “The bite wasn’t wide-open, but it was pretty good. We had limits before noon after a late start. We didn’t land anything big, most of the fish were right around 24-inches,” added Klassen. With our weather pattern potentially changing next week, this could be one of the last opportunities for offshore adventures.

Rain coming next week

According to Kathleen Lewis of Eureka’s National Weather Service, we could see a pattern shift beginning next week. “We have a couple systems moving in, with the first one arriving on Tuesday and Wednesday. In the Smith basin we could see about a half inch to an inch over the course of two days. Here locally we’ll see less, with up to a half-inch forecasted. The next system will arrive for Thursday and Friday. Right now, the models are conflicting, one is showing dry conditions and the other wet. The wet model is predicting from one to two inches of rain along the North Coast, including the Smith and Eel basins,” Lewis added.

Weekend Marine Forecast

As of Wednesday, the weekend marine forecast is looking very fishable, possibly good enough for a tuna run. Friday’s forecast is calling for N winds 5 to 10 knots and waves out of the N 3 feet at 5 seconds and W 5 feet at 13 seconds. Saturday, NW winds are forecasted up to 5 knots with waves NW 3 feet at 7 seconds and NW 3 feet at 13 seconds. Winds will be similar on Sunday, up to 5 knots coming out of the S with N waves 2 feet at 6 seconds and NW 5 feet at 12 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. 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.

Crabs being tested for domoic acid

The season’s first domoic acid crab survey was taken in Trinidad on Sept. 27. Six crab were tested in the north region, and another six in the south region. The Trinidad north crabs ranged from 3.3 to 46 ppm, resulting in 33 percent exceeding the action level of 30 ppm. The Trinidad south crabs fell below the action level. For current test results, visit https://bit.ly/2J5X2Gj. Results of future testing can be found here: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CEH/DFDCS/Pages/FDBPrograms/FoodSafetyProgram/DomoicAcid.aspx

Fishing the NC 10_18 photo salmon
Timi Schleiger of Sacramento landed a beautiful Chinook salmon while fishing outside of the Chetco river on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Steve Huber/Steve Huber’s Guide Service

Chetco bubble season wrap-up

There were some quality kings caught during the Chetco Bubble season, but the last two days were really hampered by windy conditions. Some big fish were weighed in, with a 42-pounder the largest fish reported. There were quite a few in the 25 to 30-pound class, but overall, the number of fish landed wasn’t great. According to Eric Schindler of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the four-day bubble season in the ocean off of Brookings produced 427 adult salmon. There were 288 caught Oct. 6-7 with 796 angler trips during the opening weekend. There were also 129 salmon released. Effort was up and catches were down the second weekend, with 140 salmon kept out of 1,312 angler trips.

Willow Creek weir counts

For the trapping week of Oct 8 through Oct. 14, 26 jacks were trapped at the weir. To date, 265 jacks have been trapped compared to 865 for the entire 2017 trapping season. This past week, 157 adult Chinook were trapped, bringing the season total to 983. In 2017, 1,030 total adult Chinook were trapped. Also last week, 11 adult Coho were trapped, bringing the season total to 14. In 2017, 30 adult Coho were trapped. The steelhead numbers slowed down this week as well compared to the previous week. A total of 68 adult steelhead were trapped during the week of Oct. 8 through 14. The previous week 176 were trapped. For the season, 462 have been counted compared to 689 for the entire 2017 season.

The Rivers:

Lower Klamath

Bright kings are still being caught on the lower Klamath, but most of the boats are finding better success above Blue Creek. There isn’t much pressure this time of the year, but the fishing can be lights out as some of the late-run kings start to stage in front of the bigger creeks. The daily bag limit is two jack Chinook 22-inches or less and two hatchery steelhead.

Chetco

The Chetco estuary fished well on Monday and was fair on Tuesday, with mostly jacks reports Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. He said, “Big numbers of salmon have already moved upriver, with fish from the Highway 101 bridge all the way to Social Security Bar. There is a decent bobber bite at first light, but with sunny, warm weather, the action is short lived. We have rain coming next week, and early indicators show it could be enough to make the river driftable.”

The Chetco is currently open to salmon fishing to Nook Creek. From the power line crossing at RM 2.2 upstream to Nook Creek (RM 14) from Sept. 1 through Nov. 3, angling is restricted to fly angling and bobber angling only, with 1 single point hook. Fly angling gear must include a strike indicator. Bobber angling gear must include a bobber and a leader no longer than 36 inches in length. Any weight (except the bobber or strike indicator) may be no more than 36 inches from the hook when suspended vertically. The leader below the bobber or strike indicator must remain suspended in the water column and not resting on the river bottom. The daily/seasonal bag limit is 2 Chinook daily, only one may be unclipped. 20 seasonal, no more than 5 may be unclipped.

Smith

A few salmon are being caught at the mouth reports Chris Hegne’s of Englund Marine. “Cleo’s and Kastmasters have been the ticket, and they’re getting a few at the Sand Hole using the same gear,” added Hegnes

Upper Trinity

You’ll find fish from Lewiston all the way down to Willow Creek reports guide Steve Huber. “We’re finding plenty of salmon, and the steelhead action is improving. With the water down to 300 cfs, most of the salmon are now sitting in the holes. This week we’re seeing more salmon in the 10-pound range and we’re hooking up to five per trip. The steelhead are running three to five pounds, and we’re getting a chance at two to four per day.  We’ve been running plugs for the salmon and side-drifting roe for the steelhead,” said Huber. The Trinity remains open to the retention of one adult king and one jack, (or two jacks) and two hatchery steelhead.

Lower Trinity

Curt Wilson of Curt Wilson CA Fishing Guides reports the lower Trinity is still seeing a constant push of bright kings moving in. “The bite isn’t wide-open, but it’s been pretty easy to get your one adult limit There hasn’t been very many jacks around lately. There’s lots of half-pounders in the river, and we’re catching the occasional adult steelhead,” Wilson added.

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

Chetco Bubble fishery kicking out some big kings

Fishing the NC_10_11 photo
Paul Bochner of Reedsport, OR holds a 30-pound king salmon caught Oct. 7 off the mouth of the Chetco. The Chetco Bubble fishery will close this Sunday, Oct. 14. Photo courtesy of Andy Martin/Wild Rivers Fishing.

The Chetco bubble season got off to another slow start, but quickly rebounded with plenty of big kings hitting the net over the weekend. “Fishing was fair on Saturday and good on Sunday once everyone figured out where the fish were,” said Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing out of Brookings. “Big swells to 10 feet and strong northwest winds made trolling tough at times, but good numbers of salmon were holding between Salmon Rock and the red buoy. Sand was churned up from the swell, so Fish Flash flashers were more effective with the dirty water. A few salmon to 40 pounds were weighed in, but most were 15 to 25 pounds. There also were a lot of jacks and small adults landed. The minimum keeper size is 28 inches.” According to Martin, the forecast looks better this weekend, with a smaller swell and lighter winds, especially on Sunday. “With less swell, the areas near the beach and right at the mouth of the Chetco will be more productive, added Martin.”

The bubble season will wrap up on Sunday, Oct. 14. The daily bag limit is one (1) Chinook per angler. If you plan on making the trip to Brookings for the weekend, make sure and check the forecast prior to leaving home. For a complete list of regulations, visit https://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/salmon/Regulations/docs/2018_Chetco_State_Waters.pdf

Weekend marine forecast


The gusty north winds and steep seas will gradually diminish during Thursday, leaving good conditions beginning on Friday. Northeast winds are forecasted for Friday up to 5 knots with waves NW 3 feet at 5 seconds and NW 2 feet at 13 seconds. Saturday forecast is calling for N winds up to 5 knots and waves N 7 feet at 7 seconds and NW 2 feet at 12 seconds. Sunday is looking a little better, with N winds up to 5 knots and NW waves 5 feet at 9 seconds and SW 3 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/. 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.

Free recreational vessel exams


On Saturday October 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be free recreational vessel exams at Woodley Island Marina. H and I parking lots will be available for people wishing to bring their vessel in on a trailer for an inspection. If you would like to schedule an inspection for another date and time, you may contact Floyd Spencer at 707-677-2077.

Upper Klamath quota update


In a press release issued on Wednesday, the CDFW projects the recreational catch of fall Chinook salmon will meet the Upper Klamath adult fall Chinook Salmon quota below Iron Gate Dam for the 2018 season as of 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Oct.14. This triggers the closure of the adult Chinook Salmon fishery on the main stem of the Klamath River from 3,500 feet downstream of the Iron Gate Dam to the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec. All reaches on the main stem Klamath (except the within 100 yards of the mouth) remain open for harvest of jack (two-year-old) Chinook Salmon (22 inches or less). All adult Chinook salmon caught must be immediately released and reported on the angler’s report card. Anglers may still fish for adult Chinook salmon in the Upper and Lower Trinity River sub-quota areas. You can monitor the quota status of open and closed sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers by calling the information hotline at (800) 564-6479.

Trinity flows dropping


Flows coming out of Lewiston Dam will be reduced beginning Sunday, Oct. 14, going from 450 cfs down to 300 cfs by next Tuesday.

Willow Creek weir trappings


“We had some success at the Willow Creek weir this past week, but it wasn’t quite what we were hoping for,” said Mary Claire Kier, an Environmental Scientist on the Trinity. “The steelhead showed up and we got a few Coho, but the Chinook numbers dropped from the prior week, partially due to bear damage to the weir.” For the trapping week of Oct 1 through Oct. 7, 39 Chinook jacks were trapped at the weir. To date, 239 jacks have been trapped compared to 865 for the entire 2017 trapping season. This past week, 169 adult Chinook were trapped, bringing the season total to 826. In 2017, 1,895 total adult Chinook were trapped.

The Oceans:


Eureka


Rough water since the weekend has kept the ocean fleet tied up. Last Friday a few boats took advantage of a short weather window and ran for tuna. Among the boats was Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “The warm water was roughly 30 miles from the entrance, west of Trinidad,” said Klassen. “There were two good patches about a mile and a half apart that both had tuna. We worked those areas for 25 albacore, with sizes ranging from 12 to 25 pounds. We had some really good live bait stops, and got a few on the troll as well. The next weather window looks to be early next week, we’ll just have to see where the warm water ends up after the wind comes down.”

The Rivers:


Lower Klamath


The mouth has sanded over, but it’s not completely plugged reports Alan Borges of Alan’s Guide Service. “There isn’t a lot of fish on the lower river right now. The fish that are there are moving quickly. The bigger concentrations of fish are upriver now, and all the ones we’re catching are bright. This time of the year, you really need to chase the fish, they aren’t holding at any of the spots very long. We’re starting to see some nice adult steelhead around and some Coho have shown up” Borges said.

Upper/Middle Trinity


According to guide Steve Huber, the slide on Deadwood Creek blew out the upper Trinity earlier in the week. He said, “That was one of the creeks impacted by the fire. Once the water started to clear, the fishing picked right back up. There’s plenty of both salmon and steelhead on the upper and middle sections. All methods – pulling plugs, roe, and fly fishing – are catching fish. There’s a lot of salmon already on their spawning beds, which is a really good sign. The water levels will be dropping starting on Sunday, so we could use a good shot of rain,” added Huber. The Trinity remains open to the retention of one adult king and one jack, (or two jacks) and two hatchery steelhead.

Lower Trinity


Curt Wilson of Curt Wilson CA Fishing Guides reports the Trinity has been really good, with lots of fish on the lower end. “The river was pretty dirty on Monday due to a slide up river, but it cleared back up by Tuesday,” said Wilson. “We’re catching our share of adult kings, and there’s lots of jacks around as well. All of the kings are coming on Kwikfish or back-bounced bait. We’re starting to see some nice steelhead show up too,” Wilson added.

Lower Rogue


The Rogue Bay has slowed with only a few fish a day being caught according to Martin. “Many of the silvers also have moved upriver. Boat pressure is now light on the Rogue,” said Martin

Chetco


Jacks are being caught on bobbers and roe at Social Security Bar up the Chetco reports Martin. “Last week’s rain was not enough to raise the river enough for drift boats to navigate the river,” 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

Weather, water lining up for Friday tuna run

Fishing the NC 10_4 photo
Jeffery Holland of Eureka landed a nice albacore tuna back on Sept. 14 while fishing on the boat “Fire Escape” captained by Dick Woolsey. If the ocean conditions hold, boats will be headed offshore on Friday chasing tuna. Photo courtesy of Michael Holland

Humboldt tuna fisherman looking for a little redemption may soon get another opportunity. The ocean on Friday is looking good, and the warm water is close – roughly 30 miles northwest of the Eureka entrance. The middle of September produced some of the best tuna fishing anyone can possibly remember, but the fishing since has been mostly a bust. A fleet of boats ventured out last Thursday, but the scores weren’t very encouraging. Especially considering the few fish caught were roughly 70 miles offshore. After that trip, most everyone was beat up and tired, and probably ready to throw in the towel on the season. But the warm water has again pushed in close to shore, and memories of those 12-hour fish-less days has faded. Marc Schmidt of Coastline Charters did some exploring on Tuesday and found good signs and 61-degree water 38 miles out of Eureka. That was just enough to peak some interest. With winter weather on the way, you don’t miss out on what could be the last opportunity of the year.

Weekend marine forecast

Northerly winds are expected to ramp up this weekend and possibly approach gale force strength on Saturday. Friday looks to be the best day and possibly nice enough for a tuna run with winds forecasted up to 5 knots with waves N 2 feet at 5 seconds and W 5 feet at 14 seconds. Winds will increase on Saturday, coming out of the N 10 to 20 knots and NW waves 9 feet at 9 seconds and NW 7 feet at 15 seconds. Sunday doesn’t look much better, with N winds 10 to 20 knots and NW waves 7 feet at 9 seconds and NW 7 feet at 17 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Salmon trapping on the upswing in Willow Creek

We’re finally starting to see some bigger numbers of salmon showing up at the Willow Creek weir. “Last week we had two days with 200-plus fish and an additional day of over a hundred,” said Mary Claire Kier, an Environmental Scientist on the Trinity River who manages the Willow Creek weir. “It was a Chinook show last week, but this week we’re finally starting to see some steelhead.” Since the week of Aug 27, 200 jacks have been trapped compared to 865 for the entire 2017 trapping season. This past week, 583 adult Chinook were trapped, bringing the season total to 942. In 2017, 2,114 Chinook were trapped during the season.

Low Flow River Closures now in effect

North Coast rivers that are regulated by low flow closures, including sections of the Eel, Mad, Redwood Creek, Smith and Van Duzen are all closed to fishing as of Oct. 1 due to low flows. The Mattole, also falls under low flow regulations, but doesn’t open to fishing until Jan. 1. For more information and up-to-date closure info, call the North Coast low-flow closure hotline at 707-822-3164 or visit https://bit.ly/2QsZUQ9

2018 Chetco River bubble fishery opens Saturday

The Chetco River bubble fishery will open this Saturday, Oct. 6. The recreational season will be Oct. 6-7 and Oct. 13-14 so more anglers can take advantage of the weekend dates. The fishable area is within three nautical miles of shore between Twin Rocks and the Oregon/California border. The bag limit is one (1) Chinook per angler. Minimum length is 26 inches and the terminal tackle is limited to no more than two single point barbless hooks. For more information, visit https://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/salmon/Regulations/docs/2018_Chetco_State_Waters.pdf. According to Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing, weather conditions are not favorable at the mouth of the Chetco, but the ocean will still be fishable. “Don’t get too close to the beach with the big swell as breakers can form unexpectedly. Plug-cut herring generally works well during the bubble,” added Martin.

The Oceans:

Eureka

The rockfish bite at the Cape is still really good reports Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “We were down there on Monday and the fish bit really well, which is nothing new. The ling cod bite remains excellent. It looks like we may have a tuna window on Friday before the ocean gets nasty over the weekend,” Klassen added.

Crescent City

The rockfish bite has really turned on reports Chris Hegne’s of Englund Marine. “There’s been quite a bit of effort lately, and I’m hearing it’s red-hot. The ling bite is wide-open, and they’re catching some big ones too. Most of the action has been out near the South Reef and north. I haven’t heard of anyone fishing the Sisters lately,” Hegnes added.

The Rivers:

Chetco Estuary

The Chetco estuary has been fair to good, with a lot of kings staging at the tips of the jetties reports according to Martin. He said, “The mouth of the river is plugged with anchovies, so the best action is at the edge of the bait balls. A few dozen fish a day are being caught on the better days, with fish to 40 pounds. The appears to be a lot of fish around, as boats bottom fishing have been releasing salmon as well.”

Smith River

There are a few salmon being caught every day at the mouth of the river according to Hegnes. He said, “There was a 35-pounder reportedly caught on Tuesday. Most of the fish are being caught tossing Kastmasters and Cleo’s on the outgoing tide.”

Lower Klamath

There are still plenty of fresh salmon pouring into the Klamath according to guide Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service. “The fishing is still unbelievable, and there’s a good mix of jacks and adults. I’d say roughly two-thirds of the fish we’re catching have sea lice. We keep waiting for it to slow down, but they’re still coming in good numbers,” Coopman added.

Lower Rogue

The Rogue Bay is still producing, although it is hit and miss according to Martin. He said, “The salmon are blasting upriver, but new fish are entering the bay every day, with the best bite along the north jetty. Expect the Rogue to produce until the first big rain of fall.”

Middle Trinity

The fishing remains steady on the middle Trinity reports Tim Brady of Weaverville’s Trinity Outdoors. He said, “The little bit of weather helped out over the weekend. The reports I’m getting are anglers are catching enough fish, and there’s enough fish in the river, to keep everyone interested. I wouldn’t say it’s red-hot, but it’s pretty solid for both salmon and steelhead. Most of the action for bank anglers is still between Cedar Flat and the North Fork.”

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

Low-Flow Restrictions begin Oct. 1 for North Coast rivers

From September 1 for the Mad River only and October 1 for all other streams through January 31, any of the stream shall be closed to all angling on Tuesday and Wednesday when the department determines that the flow on the previous Monday at any of the designated gauging stations is less than the minimum flows. Any of the streams shall be closed to all angling on Thursday and Friday when the department determines that the flow on the previous Wednesday at any of the designated gauging stations is less than the minimum flows. any of the streams shall be closed to all angling from Saturday through Monday when the department determines that the flow on the previous Friday at any of the designated gauging stations is less than the minimum flows.

The department may close or keep a stream reach closed to fishing when the minimum flow is exceeded on the scheduled flow determination day if the department is reasonably assured that the stream flow is likely to decrease below the minimum flow as specified in subsections (a)(1)-(7) of Section 8.00 before or on the next flow-determination date.

In addition, the department may reopen a stream at any time during a closed period if the minimum flow as specified in subsections (a)(1)-(7) of Section 8.00 is exceeded and the department is reasonably assured that it will remain above the minimum flow until the next scheduled Monday, Wednesday, or Friday flow determination.

The department shall make information available to the public by a telephone recorded message updated, as necessary, no later than 1:00 p.m. each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday as to whether any stream will be open or closed to fishing. It shall be the responsibility of the angler to use the telephone number designated in the sport fishing regulations booklet to obtain information on the status of any stream.

The number to call for information is (707) 822-3164.

NOTE: The main stem Eel from the South Fork to Cape Horn Dam and the Mattole River will be closed until January 1, 2019

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Areas subject to low flow closures:

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

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

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

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

Mattole River: The main stem of the Mattole River from the mouth to Honeydew Creek.

Minimum flow: 320 cfs at the gauging station at Petrolia.

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

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

Klamath River seeing good return of kings

Fishing the NC 9_27 photo
Mike Walton, left, and Niko Mirante from Tracy hold a couple of salmon they landed on the Klamath River back on Sept. 9. Fishing remains red-hot on the Klamath, with fresh kings being caught throughout the river. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Green Water Fishing Adventures

In case you haven’t heard, the Klamath River is chocked full of salmon. And it has been for quite a few weeks now. What makes this story remarkable is this is coming on the heels of the river being completely closed to fishing after Aug. 15 last year due to the projected low returns. The CDFW predicted roughly 93,500 fall-run adults were set to return this year, and it appears they may have been right. On average, 122,000 adult fall-run kings return to spawn. In 2017, only 18,410 were predicted, which was the lowest on record. Turns out 31,838 actually returned, which provided some hope for this year.

The first sign that we knew this could potentially be a good year was back in June. Towards the end of that month the estuary was loaded with kings, likely a mixture of springers and early fall-run salmon. The fishing was as good as I’ve ever seen for about six weeks straight. Around the middle of August the fall run started to push upriver, and that’s when the real party started. And it’s been happening ever since.

I’m sure there’s all kinds of scientific reasons for the season we’re having, but a couple stand out. First, the number of jacks that returned to the Klamath last year was sizeable, 21,903 to be exact. History tells us when we have a good return of jacks, the following year should see a healthy return of three year-olds. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing. The condition and placement of the river mouth was much improved this year. It has started to move back towards the north and was much shorter. This allowed for the channel to remain deep and not sand over. Another factor that could have played a part is the extra water coming down from the Trinity. Flows went from 450 to 700 cfs back in July due to emergency releases out of Lewiston Dam due to the Carr fire. Flows were just recently adjusted back down to 450. Whatever the reasons, the Klamath has made a tremendous recovery. And all the signs are pointing towards some epic fishing in the coming years.

Klamath/Trinity quotas

As a reminder, the fall Chinook quota was met on the lower Klamath River on Wednesday, Sept. 12. Fishing is still open from the Hwy. 96 bridge in Weitchpec to the estuary, with the daily bag limit being two jacks (Chinook less than 22 inches) Fishing is closed from 100 yards around the river mouth  (spit area). The quota on the Upper Klamath should remain open until Oct. 10. Closing dates for the Trinity have yet to be determined. Anglers may keep track of the status of open and closed sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers by calling 800-564-6479.

Weekend marine forecast

Winds and seas will continue to diminish this week, though a southerly swell will gradually build this weekend. Friday’s forecast is for winds out of the S up to 5 knots, with NW swells 4 feet at 8 seconds. Winds will blow out of the S up to 5 knots on Saturday, with SW swells 2 feet at 4 seconds and NW 3 feet at 8 seconds. Sunday is looking similar, with winds out of the S 5 to 10 knots and S swells 3 feet at 4 seconds and N 2 feet at 8 seconds. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

The Oceans:

Eureka

With salmon and halibut both closed, rockfish at the Cape has taken center stage. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing has ventured down that way a couple days this week and reports the fishing has been excellent, especially the ling cod. “On Saturday, we probably had the best ling cod bite I’ve ever seen. It was wide open and we kept limits of fish ranging from 15 to 20 pounds and released plenty more. The rockfish bit well too, but not quite as good. We’re still catching a wide variety and landing limits or very close to it.” Klassen added. Other than rockfish, tuna is the other option this week. Boats were planning on running Thursday and Friday if the weather holds. As of Tuesday, the warm blue water was straight out of Eureka roughly 40 miles. Humboldttuna.com is a great resource if you’re planning on making the run.

Crescent City

Not much happening out of Crescent City, with most of the effort coming from a few of the locals reports Chris Hegne’s of Englund Marine. “We did talk to some guys who were out over the weekend and it sounded like the rockfish bite was red-hot,” Hegnes added.

Shelter Cove

With salmon fishing slow, we’ve spent most of our time rock fishing reports Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “The fishing has been fantastic. The ling cod really went on the chew and we boated easy limits. We spent most of our time fishing the Hat. With warm water within reach and the weather coming down, we’ll be chasing tuna for the next couple days.”

Brookings

Rough weather made ocean fishing tough over the weekend and early this week out of Brookings reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Winds are expected to die down later this week. Crabbing has been very good. Salmon are being caught daily at the mouth of the Chetco. Some days more than two dozen fish are caught by the 20 or so boats trolling the estuary. Good early fishing generally means a big run during peak season in October and early November,” added Martin.

The Rivers:

Lower Klamath

Salmon fishing remains wide-open on the lower Klamath. There’s fish in just about every hole and riffle from the Glen all the way up. There’s still a good mix of adults and jacks, as well as some adult steelhead around. As a reminder, salmon larger than 22 inches must be released from the Hwy. 96 Bridge at Weitchpec downriver to the estuary . Please remember that during closures to the take of adult salmon, it’s unlawful to remove any adult Chinook Salmon from the water by any means.

Lower Rogue

The Rogue Bay has been good one day and slow the next according to Martin. He said, “On the good days, most boats are getting multiple fish. Lots of jacks showed up last week. Tuesday was especially good on the Rogue Bay.”

Trinity

There’s quite a few salmon in the river, and both the bank anglers and boats are doing well  reports Tim Brady of Weaverville’s Trinity Outdoors. He said, “Most of the boats are fishing from Lewiston to the North Fork, and doing well on both salmon and steelhead, The majority of the bankies are fishing from the North Fork to Cedar Flat. It sounds like they’re doing pretty well tossing spinners. The fish that are coming in the river now are in good shape, the meat is nice and red.”

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

Catch em’ while you can – Pacific halibut season closes after Friday

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Matt Dallam, left, along with Parliament-Funkadelic legend George Clinton, are all smiles after Clinton reeled in his first-ever Pacific Halibut on a recent trip out of Eureka. Photo courtesy of NorthWind Charters

North Coast offshore anglers will have one less option come Saturday morning as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced on Monday the closing of the recreational Pacific halibut fishery on Friday, Sept. 21 at 11:59 p.m. for the remainder of 2018. The quota of 30,940 pounds will be surpassed according to CDFW unless the fishery is closed based on the latest catch projections. California’s 2018 quota is approximately 4,000 pounds less than the 2017 quota.

Beginning in 2015, CDFW committed to in-season tracking of the fishery to ensure catch amounts would not exceed the California quota. The quota amount is determined annually in January through an international process, and is largely driven by results from the annual stock assessment conducted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC).

Throughout the season, CDFW closely tracks the progress of the fishery each year to ensure catch amounts do not exceed the California quota. CDFW field staff sample public launch ramps and charter boat landings to monitor catches of Pacific halibut throughout the season, along with other marine sportfish species.

CDFW conferred with NMFS and IPHC on a weekly basis to review projected catch amounts and determine when the quota 2018 would be attained using this information. For current information about the Pacific halibut fishery, science or management, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut

Weekend marine forecast
After a few days of sloppy weather, the ocean looks to be lying down slightly prior to the weekend. Friday, the last day of the Pacific halibut season, looks fishable with winds out of the NW 5 to 15 knots and NW swells 5 feet at 6 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for N winds 5 to 15 knots and NW swells 4 feet at 5 seconds and NW 5 feet at 11 seconds. Seas and wind will both increase on Sunday. Winds will be from the N 10 to 15 knots, with N swells 7 feet at 8 seconds. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Klamath/Trinity quota updates
According to Dan Troxel, Environmental Scientist on the Klamath River Project, the remaining quota on the Upper Klamath should remain open until October 10. “Both the Upper Klamath and Trinity are managed based upon harvest timing. The Upper Klamath is closed approximately 28 days after the lower river quota is met,” said Troxel.

On the Trinity side, according to Troxel, creel surveys are in progress, with a closing date yet to be determined. Just a reminder, the lower Klamath quota for adult Chinook salmon has been met from the Hwy. 96 Bridge at Weitchpec downriver to the ocean. The section is open to fishing with a daily bag limit of two salmon 22 inches or less. Salmon larger than 22 inches must be released. Please remember that during closures to the take of adult salmon, it shall be unlawful to remove any adult Chinook Salmon from the water by any means.

2018 Chetco River recreational season
The Chetco River fall Chinook State Waters Terminal Area Recreational Season will again be halved and split over two weekends in 2018. The recreational season will be Oct. 6-7 and Oct. 13-14 so more anglers can take advantage of the weekend dates. The fishable area is within three nautical miles of shore between Twin Rocks and the Oregon/California border. The bag limit is one (1) Chinook per angler. Minimum length is 26 inches and the terminal tackle is limited to no more than two single point barbless hooks. For more information, visit https://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/salmon/Regulations/docs/2018_Chetco_State_Waters.pdf

Fishing the NC 9_20 photo

Carl Casale landed this monster California halibut last Friday on Humboldt Bay while fishing with guide Mike Stratman. The halibut measured 45.25 inches and weighed 35 lbs. California halibut remains open year-round. The daily bag and possession limit is three fish and the minimum size limit is 22 inches total length. Photo courtesy of Bruce Seivertson

The Oceans:
Eureka
Tuna has been the talk of the town since last Wednesday when Marc Schmidt of Coastline Charters got the tuna party started. He found miles of fish roughly 55-60 nautical miles from the entrance, and put 70 albies on board. That was just the start, the weather was magnificent through Sunday and boats galore made their way to the warm, purple water. “This is the best tuna fishing we’ve had in a long time,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, who made the run on Friday and Sunday. “There were big areas of fish about 50 miles off of Patrick’s Point. The majority of the fish were peanuts, but everyone had some medium-sized fish along with a few in the 20-30-pound class.” Scores ranged from the 40’s to up to 70 fish per boat. High boat belonged to Schmidt, he put a whopping 96 tuna on board on Friday. Needless to say, everyone caught all they needed.

Shelter Cove
Like the rest of the North Coast, tuna took center stage last week at the Cove. Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing was in on the action Thursday, Saturday and Sunday boating a total of 98 albacore. “On Thursday, we ran out to Gorda Valley but didn’t do extremely well,” said Mitchell.  “The boats that went south did much better, so the next couple days we ran down towards Noyo Canyon and saw much better numbers. Friday and Monday, we fished rockfish and it was much better than last week. We scored limits pretty quickly both days fishing mostly around the Old Man.”

Brookings
Lingcod and rockfish continue to provide good fishing out of Brookings when the wind isn’t blowing reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “The black rockfish limit increased this week from four to five fish. Lingcod remains two.  A few salmon a day are being caught in the Chetco estuary. Two hours before and two hours after high tide has been best. The early arrival of fish in the estuary usually indicates a big run during peak season,” added Martin.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Salmon fishing is “as good as it gets” right now on the lower Klamath reports guide Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service. “It’s been really good for a while now, we’re seeing fish in every spot from the Glen on up. There’s a good mix of adults and jacks around, I’d say it’s roughly three adults for every jack we catch. Most everyone is having little trouble getting their two-jack limit,” Coopman added.

Lower Rogue
Fishing on the Rogue Bay remains good with limits common for many guides most days according to Martin. He said, “Even though cooler water temperatures are allowing salmon to quickly continue upriver, enough new fish are arriving on each tide to maintain good fishing. The Rogue continues to be the best bet on the entire Oregon Coast.”

Trinity
Not much has changed since last week, we’re still seeing quite a few salmon in the upper Trinity reports Tim Brady of Weaverville’s Trinity Outdoors. He said, “The drift boats are doing well side-drifting roe and on plugs wrapped with sardines. More bank anglers have shown up, with most of them targeting the water below the north fork. The water is still a little high for this time of the year, so it’s been a little tougher on the bank guys. We’re still seeing bright kings, but some are starting to color. There’s a few steelhead being caught as well.”

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

Adult quota met, jacks only on the Lower Klamath

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced on Wednesday that the adult fall Chinook quota has been met and the lower Klamath River from the Hwy. 96 bridge in Weitchpec to the estuary will go into a size restriction as of 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12. Fishing will remain open on the lower river (with the exception of the full closure from 100 yards around the river mouth), for jack Chinook (less than 22 inches). Anglers may keep two (2) jacks and two (2) hatchery steelhead per day.

The quota for the Klamath River above Weitchpec will remain open until 593 adult Chinook salmon are caught. “In general, we had a slow start to the year, but fish moved into the river in late August/early September, and catch rates for recreational anglers skyrocketed,” said Dan Troxel, Environmental Scientist with the CDFW Klamath River Project. “We met the quota for closing the fishery at the mouth as of Labor Day Weekend, and nearly perfectly met our harvest goals for that sub-quota. The second weekend in September brought a strong run of fish into the river, and fishing above Highway 101 Bridge turned on in a big way. Limits for boaters and shore anglers around Terwer were not uncommon. The remainder of the quota was caught within about a week’s time. Final estimates of adult harvest for the 2108 season will be made next week.”

According to Troxel, they are seeing a large proportion of jacks, so there should be no shortage of angling opportunities in the coming weeks. “Coupling that with the high numbers of jacks reported in the ocean fishery, we have good indications for a stronger return for 2019,” added Troxel.

“Coming off the full closure last year, having a successful fishery this year, and the outlook for next, it’s probably safe to say we are well into the upswing for salmon fishing on the Klamath, and we look forward to effectively managing our fishery and providing exceptional recreational opportunities to anglers who live on, and visit the beautiful Klamath River,”

For more info, visit https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2018/09/12/lower-klamath-river-quota-met. Anglers may keep track of the status of open and closed sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers by calling 800-564-6479.

Trinity River fish tags wanted

In a press release issued on Wednesday, the CDFW is reminding Trinity River anglers to return Coho salmon, Chinook salmon and steelhead tags in a timely manner. According to the release, tag return information is used each year to calculate harvest and help biologists estimate population size of steelhead and salmon runs. This information feeds into the Klamath basin fall Chinook salmon run-size estimate and informs the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s creation of regulations and quota sizes for the Klamath fishery. The data also allows CDFW to determine if progress is being made toward the goals of the Trinity River Restoration Program. CDFW will no longer be paying rewards for Trinity River tags returned from previous seasons, according to CDFW Trinity River Project Environmental Scientist Mary Claire Kier. As a reminder, anglers must immediately release all Coho salmon and wild steelhead (those with an intact adipose fin). Tags may be removed from these species, but the fish must remain in the water during tag removal. Please use scissors or a sharp knife to remove the tag. For more information on where to send the tags, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/inland/fish-tags

Weekend marine forecast

The forecast looks great for the weekend. Halibut, rockfish and tuna should all be an option out of Eureka. Out 10 nautical miles, Friday’s forecast is calling for NW winds up to 5 knots with waves NW 4 feet at 7 seconds. Northwest winds to 5 knots are forecasted for Saturday, with waves N 3 feet at 4 seconds and NW 2 feet at 12 seconds. The wind will pick up slightly on Sunday coming out of the NW 5 to 10 knots and waves out of the N 3 feet at 4 seconds and N 2 feet at 17 seconds. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Pacific halibut quota update

With decent weather predicted through the weekend, now’s the time to get back on the halibut grounds and take advantage of what’s left of the quota. The California Recreational Fisheries Survey has estimated that 27,024 pounds have been caught towards the 30,940 -pound quota as of September 9. A few days of good fishing could bring an early close to the season. For up-to-date harvest tracking information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

The Oceans:

Eureka

With salmon season wrapped up in the Northern Management Area, the focus now is on halibut, rockfish and possibly tuna. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing has been targeting both rockfish and halibut this week, and both have been good. He said, “The halibut bite was excellent last week, we fished three days and had limits on two of them. The best bite was slightly north of the entrance in 250 to 300 feet of water. The rockfish bite at the Cape has been good as well. It was a little bit of a tough bite on Tuesday, but I think that was due to the long swells. It looks like we’ll have some good weather for tuna late this week and the weekend. As of Tuesday, the warm water was 45 miles to the southwest and roughly 65 miles to the north.”

Shelter Cove

Salmon fishing was very slow this last week reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, ” I only heard of a couple legal fish being landed. We fished Gorda last Wednesday for halibut/rockfish combo. The halibut bite was slow and we only landed one 20-pounder, but the rockfish bit really well and we had easy limits. The rest of the week we’ve stayed close and fished from the whistle to the Hat for rockfish. Overall fishing was pretty slow. We fell short of limits a couple days, but we did get some nice lings up to 30-pounds.”

Brookings

Lingcod fishing has improved steadily out of Brookings according to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Lots of fish are moving into shallow water to stage before spawning,” said Martin. “Most are males but there are some larger females. Fishing for rockfish has been good as well.”

Fishing the NC photo caption
Fortuna residents William and Jody Honsal are all smiles after landing a nice adult king salmon while fishing on the lower Klamath River. The quota for adult fall-run salmon on the lower river was met on Wednesday, but fishing will remain open (with the exception of the spit area), for Chinooks less than 22 inches. Photo courtesy of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service

The Rivers:

Lower Klamath

Salmon fishing had been wide-open on the Klamath reports Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service. He said, “There’s lots of adult kings spread throughout the river. But now that the adult quota has been met, we’ll be targeting jacks, and there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of those. There’s also some adult steelhead and some half-pounders around too.”

Lower Rogue

The Rogue bay is hit and miss now reports Martin. He said, “With cooler water temperatures the fish are shooting upstream. There is still a good outgoing tide bite at the jetties as new fish move in.”

Trinity

Tim Brady of Weaverville’s Trinity Outdoors reports there’s salmon from Lewiston all the way down. He said, “It’s not plugged full, but there are lots of salmon in the river. Boats pulling plugs and side-drifting bait are doing really well. There also catching a couple steelhead per trip. Not many bank anglers have showed up yet. Currently, there’s no issues getting up here and the smoke hasn’t been an issue,” Brady added.

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 Klamath salmon left to catch

Fishing the NC 9_6 photo
Ron Ruchong and Margie Cook from Hamilton, Montana landed a pair of nice kings on a recent trip to the Klamath River. The spit area closed to fishing as of Monday, but upriver from the estuary to the Hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec remains open to the retention of adult king salmon. Photo courtesy of Brice Dusi/Brice Dusi’s Guide Service

The Labor Day weekend is typically the busiest weekend of the fall season on the Klamath River. And this year was no exception. The river was crowded, with plenty of boats and bank anglers trying to land the prized king salmon. Here’s what we know after the dust has settled. The Klamath “spit area”, which is within 100 yards of the channel through the sand spit formed at the Klamath River mouth, closed to fishing as of Monday, Sept. 3 at 11:59 p.m. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) predicted they would meet Area 1 quota (below the 101 bridge) of 524 adult salmon by the end of the day on Monday. And they were pretty darn close. After Monday’s fishing ended, the CDFW counted 519 adult kings. As a reminder, the only the spit area is closed to fishing, the estuary will remain open until the entire lower river quota is met. And speaking of the lower river, or Area 2, we still have some adult kings available for harvest. As of Monday, Sept. 3, 1,189 of the 1,745 quota of adults have been harvested from the hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth. This leaves roughly 556 adults remaining for harvest. With the big crowds mostly gone, hopefully we’ll get another couple of weeks out of the quota. Once the quota has been met, anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon under 22 inches in length.

Young Anglers Tournament this Sunday

The Trinidad Pier Youth Fishing Tourney will take place this Sunday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The free event is open to all children ages 6 to 15. Prizes will be awarded in each category and fishing gear and bait will be provided. An adult must accompany children. Hot dogs and refreshments will be served following the event. Catch and release is encouraged and no fishing license is required. Look for the sign-up table on the Trinidad Pier. For more information, contact Ken Jones at kenjones@pierfishing.com.

Marine forecast

The high north winds are finally laying down and will remain low through Thursday. However, gusty north winds and steep seas will redevelop south of Cape Mendocino by this weekend. As of Wednesday, the forecast out 10 nautical miles for Friday is calling for winds out of the NW 5 to 10 knots and waves N 3 feet at 5 seconds and SW 2 feet at 12 seconds. Saturday is calling for NW winds 5 to 15 knots and waves N 3 feet at 5 seconds and NW 3 feet at 10 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is calling for NW winds 5 to 10 knots and waves N 5 feet at 5 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For up-to-date weather forecast, visit http://www.weather.gov/eureka. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

The Oceans:

Eureka

The salmon season came to a close on Monday, but it ended on a pretty good note. Conditions were a little too rough to get out on Sunday and Monday, but late last week the fish bit as good as they have all year. “Most of the boats fishing around the 38-39 line scored limits of nice salmon,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “The fish were good ones, with some bigger fish in the 12-15-pound class landed. Boats have been off the water since Saturday due to rough seas, but a few were planning on heading out on Wednesday. Hopefully the halibut bite will pick up where it left off. The California halibut bite is still good, with lots of limits being reported. The bigger concentrations of fish have been in the main, deeper channels. There’s still plenty of bait in the bay,” added Klassen.

Shelter Cove

The tuna fishing out of the Cove was pretty good last week reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “On Wednesday, we ran to Gorda Valley and put in 19 albacore to 30 pounds. On Thursday, we boated 34 to 15-pounds outside of the Knoll. I wasn’t on the water this weekend, but the salmon bite out front was reportedly spotty. I know some were caught inside the bell. The rock fishing was excellent over the weekend. A couple boats made it to Rogers and they had limits in a couple drifts.”

Crescent City

The harbor was quiet over the weekend due to the rough ocean reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “There weren’t many boats out over the holiday weekend, the ocean has been pretty bumpy. The last reports I heard was the rockfish bite slowed down. A few boats were out on Wednesday, and it looks like the ocean will be fishable through the weekend,” Hegnes added.

Brookings

The ocean out of Brookings has been fair for bottom fish, and should get better later this week as the wind dies down according to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Some California halibut are being caught.  A few kings were caught in the Chetco estuary over the weekend. That will improve as more fish arrive in the coming weeks,” added Martin

The Rivers:

Lower Klamath

Salmon fishing remains steady on the Klamath reports Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service. He said, “The fishing is good, and it held up pretty well through the holiday weekend. There’s lots of fish around right now from the top to the bottom, and they’re spread out. The fish are bright, and they’re moving quickly. There’s a nice mix of adult and jack salmon, and there’s plenty of steelhead around as well.”

Lower Rogue

Water temperatures have cooled on the Rogue, so the salmon are not holding as long, but enough new fish are coming in each day to keep fishing good reports Martin. He said, “Most guides are getting two to five kings a day. Some silvers are starting to show and the steelhead are biting upriver.”

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