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

Sizzling Pacific Halibut Bite off Eureka and Trinidad

Mark Nelson of Chester landed this nice Pacific halibut Saturday while fishing out of Eureka aboard the Seaweasel II. Photo courtesy of Gary Blasi/Full Throttle Sport Fishing

The weather isn’t the only thing heating up right now. The Pacific halibut bite on the North Coast is sizzling! With salmon season still a couple weeks away, offshore anglers have honed in on the halibut, and they are coming over the rails at a record pace. Eureka and Trinidad have both experienced some exceptional fishing. And we’re not talking about a couple halibut per boat, we’re talking full limits by early morning. It’s some of the best fishing we’ve seen,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “I think the water clarity has a lot to do with it. Last week the water was really dirty, and the bite slowed. There’s seems to be fish from north of the entrance all the way to Trinidad in 260 to 300 feet of water. We’re starting to see some bigger fish too. They’re running anywhere from 15 to 45 pounds, but we’re seeing more in the 30-to-40-pound class,” added Klassen. The only thing that could cool the bite would be the wind. And that’s exactly what’s headed our way, and plenty of it.

Weekend marine forecast
Northerly winds will ramp up starting Wednesday and will persist through the rest of the work week and through the weekend. Friday’s forecast is calling for 10 to 20 knot winds out of the north and waves north 11 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday looks similar, with north winds 10 to 20 knots and waves north 10 feet at 10 seconds. On Sunday, winds will be out of the north 5 to 15 knots with north waves 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.

Pacific halibut quota update
The CDFW has projected 12,711 net pounds of Pacific halibut has been harvested through June 16. In 2021, the Pacific halibut allocation for California is 39,260 pounds. The Pacific halibut fishery opened on May 1 and will run through November 15, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. To view the latest catch projection information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

The Oceans:
Eureka
Not only are the Pacific halibut snapping, the rockfish bite at Cape Mendocino is also going strong. A few boats have made their way south this week and reported easy limits of both rockfish and lingcod. The California halibut bite is starting to turn on as well. Quite a few were caught by the boats working the middle and third channels over the weekend. Shore anglers are also picking up a few at Fairhaven Beach tossing swimbaits.

Trinidad
The Pacific halibut bite slowed slightly over the weekend, but picked right back up on Tuesday. Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters, who boated limits on Tuesday, reports the best bite is south of Trinidad Head in 250 to 300 feet of water. “The rockfish action between the Head and Patrick’s Point is still really good too,” said Wilson. “We’re catching mostly blacks, with limits coming pretty easily. We’re also catching a few lings, but not a wide variety of rockfish right now.” Crabbing is still good and the charter captains are sending their clients home with limits of fresh Dungeness.

Shelter Cove
Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing took advantage of some nicer weather and made the trip north for Pacific halibut and rockfish combos. “The halibut bite was scratchy at best and we averaged only one per day,” said Mitchell. “The rockfish and lingcod bite on the other hand was fantastic and we had quality and quick limits each day.  We spent a couple days last week fishing rockfish close to home around the Hat and had pretty good results as well. We’ve been seeing a lot of salmon around last few days.” Ocean recreational salmon season opens June 29 and continues through October 31.

Crescent City
Just about any direction you take, the rockfish and lingcod action are outstanding reports Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “The weather was a little better this week, so the boats were able to spend a little more time on the water,” said Carson. “Just about everyone were reporting limits of both rockfish and lingcod. The redtail perch bite really took off this week; anglers were scoring easy limits along Kellogg Beach. The minus tides brought out the clammers, and there were plenty of clams to be had. Lots of limits reported for medium-sized razors. The next set of minus tides begin June 21. A couple Pacific halibut were caught last week, so hopefully that fishery is starting to heat up. Still no California halibut to speak of, and the effort remains low.”

Brookings
According to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters, the salmon fishing has been wide open out of Brookings, where anglers can keep hatchery coho. “Kings can be kept beginning Saturday,” said Martin. “Charter boats caught limits over the weekend and early this week trolling whole anchovies behind Fish Flash flashers. Wild coho and kings outnumbered the hatchery silvers, but with so many salmon off of Brookings right now, limits are still fairly easy. The coho are 15 to 25 feet below the surface in 200 feet of water. Lots of kings are being caught deeper. Halibut fishing was good last week, but poor over the weekend and on Monday. Rockfish are biting everywhere, while the best lingcod fishing is at Point St. George Reef.”

Customers of Brookings Fishing Charters hold limits of hatchery coho salmon caught Monday aboard the Miss Brooke with Capt. Michael McGahan.

Lower Rogue
The decent bite in the Rogue Bay could return this weekend as an expected inland heat wave warms the water again reports Martin. “Fishing was good a week ago as temperatures hit 70 degrees near Agness a week ago. A handful of boats caught a fish per rod before water temperatures dropped back to 60 and the late-arriving springers blasted upstream,” Martin added.

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

2021 Klamath / Trinity Salmon Regulations

2021 Spring Salmon

Klamath Spring season runs July 1 through Aug. 14

The bag limit is one salmon per day any size, with two in possession for Klamath and Trinity Rivers

  • From the Klamath mouth to the Hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec – July 1 through Aug. 14
  • From the Hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec to 3,500 feet downstream of the Iron Gate Dam – Closed to salmon fishing through Aug. 14
Klamath River spring-run Chinook

Trinity Spring season runs July 1 through Aug. 31

  • Downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat – July 1 through Aug. 31
  • Hwy 299 bridge at Cedar Flat to Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar – July 1 through Aug. 31
  • New River (confluence of the East Fork to confluence w/ Trinity– July 1 through Aug. 31
  • Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar to mouth of the South Fork Trinity– July 1 through Aug. 31
  • From the mouth of the South Fork Trinity to confluence w/ Klamath River – Closed to salmon fishing through Aug. 31

2021 Fall- Run Salmon

Klamath / Trinity fall quota – 1,221 adults

Klamath River fall-run Chinook
The daily bag limit is 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 greater than 23 inches.

Klamath Fall season begins on Aug. 15 and closes Dec. 31

  • The Spit Area (within 100 yards of the channel through the sand spit formed at the Klamath River mouth) – 183 adults *
  • From the Klamath mouth to the Hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec – 611 adults
  • From the Hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec to 3,500 feet downstream of the Iron Gate Dam – 208 adults
* Only the Spit Area will close once 183 adults are harvested. The rest of the area below Highway 101 (estuary) will remain open to recreational fishing.
The take of salmon is prohibited from Iron Gate Dam downstream to Weitchpec from Jan. 1 through Aug. 14

Trinity Fall season begins Sept. 1 and closes Dec. 31.

  • Downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat – 201 adults
  • Downstream of the Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar to the confluence with the Klamath – 201 adults
Downstream of the Highway 299 Bridge at Cedar Flat to the Denny Road Bridge in Hawkins Bar is closed to fishing September 1 through December 31.
The take of salmon is prohibited from the confluence of the South Fork Trinity downstream to the confluence of the Klamath from Jan. 1 through Aug. 31.
Once these quotas have been met, no Chinook salmon greater than 23 inches in length may be retained. Anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon under 23 inches in length.
Trinity River spring-run Chinook

Break in the Wind Puts Boats Back on the Water

Paul Malay, of Lovelock, Nevada, landed this nice lingcod Friday while fishing out of Trinidad aboard the Shellback. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Shellback Sport Fishing

The wind and seas finally relented on Tuesday, allowing the Eureka-based fleet of boats to get back on the water. A few of the boats went south, reacquainting themselves with Cape Mendocino. The rockfish bite was good according to the few boats who made the run. The majority had halibut on their minds and headed north to 250 feet of water. Reports coming from the charter boats were good, with limits or close to it for most. That’s good news as the bite had really slowed prior to the last blow. The ocean looks plenty fishable for the next few days, although the dreaded south wind will rear its ugly head beginning Thursday and stick around through the weekend.

Weekend marine forecast
After a few nice days, the winds will shift to the south starting Thursday. Friday’s forecast is calling for 5 to 15 knot winds out of the south and waves southwest 6 feet at nine seconds. Saturday looks a little better, with south winds 5 to 10 knots and waves west 6 feet at 11 seconds. Sunday looks similar, with south winds up to 5 knots and west waves 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.

Pacific halibut quota update
The CDFW has projected 2,825 net pounds of Pacific halibut has been harvested through June 6. In 2021, the Pacific halibut allocation for California is 39,260 pounds. The Pacific halibut fishery opened on May 1 and will run through November 15, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. To view the latest catch projection information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

The Oceans:
Trinidad
Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing reports last week was strong for fishing out of Trinidad. “We lost this Monday due to weather but that was the first one in almost two weeks,” he said. “Our remote waters bottom fish trips have been kicking limits of jumbo rockfish with lots of color. Canaries, coppers, reds, yellowtail, quillback and tigers have been in the daily mix with limits of lingcod up to 30 pounds being the norm. Closer to Trinidad Head, the Pacific halibut bite has been on fire. Limits are the norm, which is always special on these elusive fish. Most have been in the 15-pound range but we had quite a few over 30 this week topped by a 58 pounder.”

Shelter Cove
Choppy ocean conditions caused by stiff winds out of Shelter Cove kept boats from launching over the weekend, according Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “We only made it out twice last week,” said Mitchell. “Conditions were decent last Wednesday and we made it down to Bear Harbor and put in rockfish limits by 9:30 a.m. The lingcod bite was tough and we ended the day with only five. We made it back out on Friday in tough conditions and boated quick limits of rockfish before we were chased off the water at 9:30 a.m. The weekend saw big white caps all the way to the beach. We finally made it back out on Tuesday and headed to Gorda for halibut. We spent a good part of the day with nothing to show for it. We threw in the towel and went rock fishing and had limits, including lings, in about an hour.”

Crescent City
The rockfish and lingcod bite continues to be excellent out of Crescent City, reports Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “Quite a few boats are fishing both the North and South reefs as well as near the Point St. George Lighthouse,” said Carson. “The Pacific halibut bite was slow this week, with only one reportedly caught. During the last round of minus tides, the razor clam diggers did very well. There doesn’t appear to be a shortage, though they are on the small side. Minus tides returned on Tuesday and will run through next Wednesday. The redtail perch has been really good at Kellogg Beach. The beach is loaded with sand crabs. The California halibut is still non-existent but effort remains very low.”

Brookings
Ocean salmon season begins Saturday out of Brookings, according to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Only hatchery silvers can be kept June 12-18, and then wild and hatchery kings and hatchery coho can be kept June 12 through mid-August,” said Martin. “Commercial trollers are catching a few kings in deeper water out of Brookings. With lots of anchovies in close, expect some salmon to be caught near the buoys during this weekend’s opener, although the best fishing in early June is typically three miles offshore in 200 feet of water. The coho will likely be in the top 40 feet of water. Rockfish action has been good, despite windy weather. Lingcod fishing has slowed the past week out of Brookings.”

Lower Rogue
Salmon have made a sudden, and early, showing in the Rogue Bay, reports Martin. “Water temperatures near Agness hit 70 degrees late last week, forcing the tail end of the spring salmon run to hold up in the bay,” said Martin. “Nearly a dozen kings were caught on Saturday by the handful of boat trolling in front of Jot’s Resort. Expect kings to trickle into the bay throughout the month, before the fall run builds in August.”

Send in your fish photos
Land a big lingcod or halibut lately? Or maybe your friend or relative has reeled in their first perch. Email your fishing photo to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com and I’ll run them with the “Fishing the North Coast” weekly column. Just include the name of the angler in the photo, where and when it was taken and any other details you’d like to share.

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

Trinidad, Crescent City Kicking Out Limits of Rockfish

Rockfish, including this nice copper caught by Vern Lyton, of Weed, continue to fly over the rails in Trinidad and Crescent City. Located close to the fishing grounds is a big advantage for these two ports. Photo courtesy of Steve Huber/Crescent City Fishing

The rockfish bite continues to be red-hot out of Trinidad and Crescent City. Both ports have quick access to the rockfish grounds, making it much easier to be on the water even when the ocean is a little snotty. And the fishing has been phenomenal. Limits have been pretty easy to come by. In Trinidad, there are plenty of good spots between the head and Patrick’s Point. Up in Crescent City, there is an abundance of rocky outcroppings whether you head north or south to the Sisters.
The Eureka fleet, having to deal with a dangerous bar crossing as well as a long boat ride south to Cape Mendocino, hasn’t had nearly the amount of time on the water compared with the other coastal ports. For the entire month of May, the fleet has seen less than 10 fishable days. That’s not necessarily good for business or the freezer. It looks like the weather will cooperate for the next few days before the wind pops back up Saturday. If it’s rockfish you’re after, Trinidad or Crescent City are the two best options going.

Weekend marine forecast
The last few days have been decent but the wind is predicted to pick up by the weekend. Friday’s forecast calls for winds out of the north 5 to 15 knots and waves north 6 feet at seven seconds and west 3 feet at 11 seconds. Saturday is not looking good, with north winds 10 to 20 knots and waves northwest 8 feet at eight seconds and northwest 4 feet at 16 seconds. Sunday looks a little better, with north winds 10 to 15 knots and north waves 8 feet at nine seconds and northwest 7 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.

Ruth Lake Bass tournament this Saturday
Fortuna Fire Department CO-2’s will be holding the annual “Paul Jadro Memorial Bass Tournament” on Saturday, June 5. Blast off will be at 5:45 a.m. or at first safe light, by draw. The one-day tournament event offers a first prize award of up to $1,000 with payout to 1 in 3 in addition to door prizes and sponsor products. The entry fee is $140 per team with a big fish buy in option of $10. The tournament is catch and release and all competitors must fish from boats that are required to have operational live wells on board. Life jackets are required. Check in at the Marina on Friday June 4 at 4:30-6 p.m. or Saturday 4-5 a.m. For more information, contact Lon Winburn at 707-725-5021 or 707-725-7880. Free boat inspections will be held at Reynolds R V Repair, 988 Hwy. 36. Inspections are by appointment only, call 707-725-3426.

Fish for free this weekend in Oregon
Oregon will be having a Free Fishing Weekend June 5 and 6. On those two days, no license, tag or endorsement is required to fish, crab or clam anywhere in Oregon. This applies only to waters already open to fishing, crabbing or clamming. All other regulations, such as bag limits, still apply. Visit https://myodfw.com/articles/2021-free-fishing-days-and-events for more information.

Trinidad Pacific halibut contest
Trinidad Harbor and the Seascape Pier are hosting a Pacific halibut contest starting June 1. Sign-ups are at the bait shop and are free. Fish must be caught by boats launched or moored at Trinidad Harbor. Halibut must be weighed and photographed by Harbor crew members. The contest ends when the 2021 quota is met. First place is $100 cash and dinner for two at the Sunset Restaurant. Second place is a Redwood Coast Godfather spreader bar. Third place will win two t-shirts from Migration Clothing.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Wind and rough seas kept the Eureka boats tied up over the holiday weekend. The Pacific halibut fishing was good last week, with the best fishing between Eureka and Trinidad in 250 to 300 feet of water. Several of the charter boats returned to port with limits of halibut averaging 15 to 25 pounds. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing was the lone charter boat drifting for Pacific halibut on Wednesday and reported the fishing wasn’t very good. Ocean conditions look like they will begin to deteriorate starting Friday.

Chris Brown, from Point Reyes Station, landed this 60 pound Pacific halibut while fishing out of Trinidad on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Shellback Sport Fishing

Trinidad
Being within a few miles of the fishing grounds continues to be a huge advantage for boats fishing out of Trinidad. Ocean conditions weren’t great late last week, but the Pacific halibut didn’t seem to mind. Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters was able to put limits on board Friday fishing in sloppy conditions with fish up to 30 pounds. Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing had a similar day Tuesday putting 6 halibut in the box up to 60 pounds. The rockfish bite remains solid, with boats finding no shortage of quality black rockfish just north of Trinidad Head. Crabbing is still good and the charter captains are sending their clients home with limits of fresh Dungeness.

Shelter Cove
Ocean conditions allowed boats to hit Rogers Break last Monday and Thursday, reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “The rockfish and lingcod bite was great as it usually is up there,” said Mitchell. “The weather kept us close to home the rest of the week where we managed limits of rockfish in marginal conditions. A few boats tried for Pacific halibut off Gorda Thursday, but couldn’t find any takers. Windy conditions are in the forecast for most of the week.”

Crescent City
When the boats can get out, the rockfish and lingcod action has been excellent, according to Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “Boats going both directions have been scoring limits of quality rockfish and some nice lings. The Pacific halibut bite is starting to show signs of life as two were caught last week. Most of the effort is on the backside of the south reef roughly six miles from the harbor,” he said. “Skilled diggers have been getting limits of razor clams the past few days, taking advantage of the minus tides. The clams are small to medium in size. The redtail perch bite has really picked back up, anglers are reporting easy limits coming off of Kellogg Beach. The California halibut fishery has yet to take off, mostly due to ocean conditions.”

Brookings
“The ocean salmon openers are just around the corner out of Brookings,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Anglers can begin salmon fishing and keep hatchery coho on June 12. Kings cannot be kept until June 19, when the season opens for both wild and hatchery kings and hatchery silvers. There are big schools of anchovies near the harbor and salmon are being caught and released by bottom fish anglers. Windy weather has kept the fleet in close but limits of rockfish and some lingcod are being caught. A break in the wind is expected this week.”

Lower Rogue
A few boats are trolling the Rogue Bay for salmon, but success is poor according to Martin. “A few salmon are usually caught by mid-June and some years the end of June produces limits. Fishing for springers is poor upriver,” 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 Boats Finding the Halibut

The Pacific halibut bite has been pretty good out of Eureka this week. Pictured is a couple of anglers who boated their limit of halibut while fishing off Eureka Monday. Photo courtesy of Gary Blasi/Full Throttle Sport Fishing

The weather finally cooperated for consecutive days and the Eureka boats took full advantage. Most of the angling effort was on the Pacific halibut grounds but quite a few boats made the trip south to Cape Mendocino. While the halibut bite isn’t wide open, most of the charter boats are putting clients into limits. It can best be described as a grind and you definitely don’t want to forget to pack a lunch. Whether it’s a tidal issue — or just the right time of day — the best bite has been late morning into early afternoon. Those who have the patience and time have been rewarded. “We’ve had some really good conditions this week with very little current,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “We haven’t looked around a whole lot yet; right now most of the effort is from the 48-line north to the 53 line in 280 to 300 feet of water. There seems to be quite a few fish around.” Offshore conditions are looking a little dicey for the holiday weekend. If they improve and the bar at Humboldt Bay is passable, be aware of the minus tides that will go through Monday. Thursday and Friday are the most dangerous as over 8 feet of water will be leaving the bay down to a minus 2-foot low when boats will be heading through the jaws.

Weekend marine forecast
After Thursday, wave heights are forecasted to build through the weekend. Northwest winds blowing 5 to 15 knots are predicted through at least Sunday. Friday, northwest waves will be 8 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for northwest swells 7 feet at nine seconds. Sunday’s prediction is north swells 7 feet at seven seconds. Monday’s forecast is for north waves 7 feet at seven 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 office at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

Ruth Lake Bass tournament coming June 5

Fortuna Fire Department CO-2’s will be holding the annual “Paul Jadro Memorial Bass Tournament” on Saturday, June 5. Blast off will be at 5:45 a.m. or at first safe light, by draw. The one-day tournament event offers a first prize award of up to $1,000 with payout to 1 in 3 in addition to door prizes and sponsor products. The entry fee is $140 per team with a big fish buy in option of $10. The tournament is catch and release and all competitors must fish from boats that are required to have operational live wells on board. Life jackets are required. Check in at the Marina on Friday June 4 at 4:30-6 p.m. or Saturday 4-5 a.m. For more information, contact Lon Winburn at 707-725-5021 or 707-725-7880. Free boat inspections will be held at Reynolds R V Repair, 988 Hwy. 36. Inspections are by appointment only, call 707-725-3426.

Trinity flow releases will increase on Friday
Flows releases from Lewiston Dam will increase to 1,800 cubic feet per second from 1,250 cfs Friday May 28. Flows will then begin to decrease to summer baseflow (450 cfs) by June 18, which continues until September 30. Visitors near or on the river can expect river levels to increase during the flow releases and should take appropriate safety precautions. For more information, visit www.trrp.net/restoration/flows/current/

Pacific halibut quota update
The CDFW has projected 2,499 net pounds of Pacific halibut has been harvested through May 23. In 2021, the Pacific halibut allocation for California is 39,260 pounds. To view the latest catch projection information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

Commercial Dungeness season to close June 1
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Chuck Bonham ordered the state’s commercial Dungeness crab fishery to close at noon June 1 to avoid entangling endangered humpback whales now migrating along California’s coastline. All commercial crab traps must be removed from the fishing grounds by the June 1 closure date. The season typically ends June 30 in central California and July 15 in Northern California. The closure order was based on data from the state’s new Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program. That program was developed in line with a legal agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity, which sued the department in 2017 over increasing whale entanglements. Visit www.cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2021/05/18/cdfw-works-with-diverse-stakeholder-group-to-manage-entanglement-risk-in-the-commercial-dungeness-crab-fishery/ for more information.

The Oceans:
Trinidad
The rockfish bite in Trinidad continues to be red hot and you don’t need to travel far. Captain Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters reports a wide-open bite right out front of Trinidad. “We’ve been staying close, right in front of Flat Iron and finding all the rockfish and lingcod we need,” said Wilson. “There’s a really good variety, too, including coppers, vermilion, canaries, blacks, blues and lings. The fishing is as good as I’ve seen it in a long time. The crabbing is still good, as we’re getting limits for our clients each trip.” Ocean conditions look fishable for the week out of Trinidad, especially if you’re looking to fish half days.

Shelter Cove
Conditions continue to wreak havoc on the Shelter Cove fleet. “Saturday was brutal, but we were able to get our rockfish limits fishing near the buoys and the Old Man,” said Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “Only one other boat was out. The ocean was slightly better on Sunday, but we were still fishing in medium whitecaps. Overall, the conditions have been tough, but the rock fishing is really good when we can get out and hit a variety of spots. The lingcod bite has been a little tougher.” Conditions look good for Thursday but it looks like the wind will return prior to the weekend.

Crescent City
According to Steve Huber of Crescent City Fishing, the rockfish and lingcod bite continues to sizzle. “It hasn’t really mattered which direction you go, there seems to be a good amount and a wide variety of rockfish around,” said Huber. Windy conditions have really hindered both the Pacific and California halibut effort reports Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “Limits of razor clams are being dug but they’ve been on the small size. Minus tides are on tap through Memorial Day, so it should be a good week. The redtail perch bite continues to improve at Kellogg Beach.”

Brookings
Halibut season is off to a good start out of Brookings, with several fish a day being brought in when the weather is calm, reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Fish to 60 pounds have already been caught, with an average size in the mid- to upper 20-pound range. Herring and squid combinations fished in 180 to 230 feet of water are working best. Rockfish are keying on crab spawn, with good topwater action along the inshore reefs. Lingcod fishing has been very good near the Point St. George Reef lighthouse.”

Lower Rogue
According to Martin, the Rogue spring salmon run has been a complete bust. “With low flows and warm weather inland, anglers are hoping the Rogue Bay will kick off early. A few kings are often caught in early June before action picks up in late June or early July.”

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