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

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Posted in Current Fishing Reports

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

Posted in Current Fishing Reports

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

Posted in Current Fishing Reports

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

IMG_2191

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.

 

Posted in Current Fishing Reports

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

Posted in Current Fishing Reports

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

Posted in Current Fishing Reports

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

Posted in Current Fishing Reports

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

Posted in Current Fishing Reports

Sport ocean salmon season winding down

The finish line is right around the corner for what can best be described as a very unfulfilling recreational salmon season on the North Coast. It began back in June with tons of excitement and optimism ­­— having zero opportunity in 2017 will do that. The year-long hiatus and the fact that roughly 360,000 Klamath River adult kings were said to be swimming off the coast had the saltwater community buzzing. The season started off with the ocean completely loaded with small kings and silvers, and they were still here as of Wednesday. There were plenty of times where a good bite materialized, but they never lasted longer than a couple days. The one positive that can be taken away from this season is the number of undersized kings. While the 360,000 Klamath adults never did really show themselves in big schools, it’s hard not to feel good about the future. The sheer volume of small kings bodes well not only for next years ocean season, but also for the rivers.

The ocean sport salmon season will be closed after Monday, Sept. 3 from the CA/OR border to Horse Mtn. The season will remain open through Oct. 31 from Horse Mtn., which includes Shelter Cove, south to Pigeon Point. For more info, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/regulations/salmon.

Saturday is statewide free fishing day
On Saturday September 1, people may fish California’s waters without a sport fishing license. All regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect. On Free Fishing Days, every angler must have the appropriate report card if they are fishing for steelhead, sturgeon, or salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity River Systems. For more information visit, https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Fishing/Free-Fishing-Days

Weekend marine forecast
Ocean conditions for the long weekend aren’t looking great as stronger northerly winds and steep seas are expected to return Friday and Saturday. Friday’s forecast for coastal waters from Point St. George to Cape Mendocino out 10 nautical miles is calling for N winds 5 to 10 knots with 3-foot swells at 5 seconds and 4 feet at 10 seconds out of the NW. The forecast for Saturday through Monday is fairly consistent, with NW winds 5 to 15 knots and swells 6 to 7 feet at 7 to 8 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Halibut season re-opens Sept. 1
The Pacific halibut season will re-open on Saturday, Sept. 1 and will remain open through Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. Through August, the CDFW has projected 23,781 net pounds have been harvested towards a quota of 30,940 pounds, leaving only 7,159 pounds left to catch.  For up-to-date harvest tracking information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking.

Klamath River quota update
According to Dan Troxel, an Environmental Scientist on the Klamath River Project, 639 adult salmon have been harvested from the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the Klamath mouth towards the quota of 1,745 as of Sunday, Aug. 26. Of those, 226 adults were caught below the Hwy. 101 bridge. The spit fishery will close when 524 adults are caught below the 101 bridge. Only the spit area will close to fishing once this quota is met, fishing will remain open upriver of the spit until the 1,745 quota is met. Field samplers will be surveying below highway 101 bridge on Monday and Thursday according to Troxel. Counts will be monitored closely as the holiday weekend approaches and necessary decisions will be made on Friday if needed.

Anglers may keep track of the Klamath and Trinity river quotas by calling 800-564-6479. For Klamath and Trinity fishing regulations, visit http://www.eregulations.com/california/fishing/supplement/klamath-river-basin-regulations/.

Trinity River quotas begin on Sept. 1
The Trinity River will open to fall-run Chinook salmon fishing Sept. 1 and run through Dec. 31, with a sport quota of 1,152 adults. The quota will be split evenly; 576 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat and 576 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar to the confluence with the Klamath. The main stem downstream of the Highway 299 Bridge at Cedar Flat to the Denny Road Bridge in Hawkins Bar is closed to all fishing September 1 through Dec. 31.

Young Anglers Tournament coming Sept. 9
The Trinidad Pier Youth Fishing Tourney will take place on 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.

Fishing the NC 8_30 photo

Julie Rofman, left, along with Colleen May Madden have plenty of reason to smile after catching a couple of large California halibut while fishing in Humboldt Bay last weekend. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Green Water Fishing Adventures

The Oceans:
Eureka
The ocean has been rough since last Friday, and there hasn’t been much activity on the outside according to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sportfishing. “There was a pretty good salmon bite last Wednesday and Thursday just north of the Eel Canyon. There were some limits reported, and some nice fish were landed. Since then, it’s been California Halibut inside Humboldt Bay where the fishing remains excellent. We’ve been able to catch limits on the last three trips, but we’ve had to bounce around a bit. You’re getting one to two per spot before it dries up, there doesn’t seem to be any big concentrations of fish,” Klassen added.

Shelter Cove
After last weeks tuna runs, Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing has been fishing for salmon out front of Shelter Cove since the weekend. He said, “It hasn’t been red hot, but we’ve gotten our limits every day but one. The limits aren’t coming quick, you have to be willing to put in the time, but there are some fish around.”

Crescent City
According to Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, Thresher sharks remain the focus for anglers fishing out of Crescent City. “There’s been about 10 boats every day trolling along South Beach. From what I’m hearing, high tide has been the most productive. Guys are trolling green label herring behind a banana weight. The weather hasn’t been great on the outside, so not many boats have been out for rockfish or salmon,” Hegnes added.

Brookings
Salmon season on the Oregon side of the KMZ closed on Sunday according to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Windy weather made fishing tough the last week of the season. The ocean out of Brookings is expected to finally settle down on Thursday and Friday,” added Martin.

IMG_1404

Dalynn, AJ, and Fiero Calgeri of Redding landed a nice adult salmon on the Klamath River. Courtesy of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The river came up quite a bit this week from releases at Iron Gate, and the river got pretty mossy reports Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service. “Most of the boats saw a decline in scores due to the moss, but there’s plenty of fish around. Pushes of fresh salmon have been coming daily, but they’re moving really fast. The best bite has been first thing in the morning, and you’ll want to find that spot that no one has beat on. The fishing and boat pressure have been really putting them off the bite. Along with a mixture of jack and adults, we’re still caching our share of adult and half-pound steelhead,” Coopman said.

Lower Rogue
The Rogue Bay slowed somewhat as many of the kings holding in the bay shot upriver with cooler water temperatures according to Martin. He said, “Fresh salmon showed up Sunday, Monday and Tuesday but it took a few hours per fish for the guide boats to get a fish a rod. The bite began to switch over to a morning bite on Tuesday.”

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

Posted in Current Fishing Reports

Wide-open tuna bite off the North Coast

 

Fishing the NC_8_23 photo

Jack Kuykendall of Laytonville landed this jumbo Albacore tuna while fishing near Fort Bragg on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Jake Mitchell/Sea Hawk Sport Fishing

Tuna fishing remains all the rage on the North Coast. While Eureka took their turn at the tuna last Wednesday, boats launching from Fort Bragg and Shelter Cove have had their way with the longfins the last couple days. The warm water was as close in as 20 miles from Fort Bragg on Tuesday, but it sounds like the fish were found in big numbers roughly 30 miles from the entrance. Scores ranged from 20 fish per boat all the way to the high 50’s. Most everyone caught all they could handle. A few of the Shelter Cove boats got in on the action as well, but it was a much longer boat ride to the fish. Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing started out south of the Cove at Vizcaino Knoll where the fishing was decent. They had a few in the box, but the radio chatter coming from Fort Bragg sounded too promising. So they picked up and ran another 20 miles south to where the Bragg boats were doing some heavy conking. Arriving around noon, they started really catching and put 31 albacore to 31-pounds on board over the next few hours. Looking to get in on the tail end of the warm water, Marc Schmidt of Coastline Charters ran west out of Eureka on Tuesday to where the boats left em’ biting last week. The warm water had pushed out and up to roughly 50 miles from the entrance. They were rewarded for their efforts with 24 nice albacore, with most in the 11 to 15 pound range. A couple other boats were planning on running out of Eureka on Wednesday, but I didn’t hear any scores. This looks to be the end of the week-long tuna spree as the wind is forecasted to blow through the weekend. Hopefully it won’t be too long before the tuna water comes within reach, again.

Marine forecast
The northerly winds will return on Thursday, and it looks like they’ll stick around through the weekend.  Friday’s forecast for coastal waters from Point St. George to Cape Mendocino out 10 nautical miles is calling for N winds 5 to 15 knots with 6 foot swells at 7 seconds out of the NW. The forecast for Saturday is calling for N winds up to 10 to 20 knots, with swells to 6 feet at 7 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is for NW winds 5 to 15 knots and N waves 6 feet at 6 seconds and NW 2 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/. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Klamath River quota update
According to Dan Troxel, an Environmental Scientist on the Klamath River Project, 190 adult salmon have been harvested from the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the Klamath mouth towards the quota of 1,745. Of those, 105 adults were caught below the Hwy. 101 bridge. The spit fishery will close when 523 adults are caught below the 101 bridge. Only the spit area will close to fishing once this quota is met, fishing will remain open upriver of the spit until the 1,745 quota is met. Anglers may keep track of the Klamath and Trinity river quotas by calling 800-564-6479. For Klamath and Trinity fishing regulations, visit http://www.eregulations.com/california/fishing/supplement/klamath-river-basin-regulations/.

Willow Creek weir installation begins
Installation of Willow Creek weir for the 2018 trapping season began on Wednesday, August 22 according to Mary Claire Kier of the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife – Trinity River Project. “The weir will be in the same location as last year,  just upstream of Trinity River Farms,” said Kier. “We have a new submerged boat gate this year which we believe we have designed to allow rafts and boats to float over. There is signage indicating where it is, and it is the only part of the weir line that doesn’t stick up a couple of feet. We have located the boat gate on the Hwy 96 side of the river (river left, headed downstream), and believe that we’ve left enough space for boaters to comfortably navigate the culvert that is stuck in the riverbed below us. There will be a fish trap in the river upstream of the weir line, but just river right of the gate. The weir site will be staffed 24/7 for the duration of the season, so if you need help please ask,” said Kier.

Trinity flow reductions
On Friday Aug. 24, flows released from Lewiston Dam into the Trinity River will be reduced from 800 to 700 cfs.

The Oceans:
Eureka
A fairly quiet week for the Eureka fleet due to rough weather on the outside. The best option was the California halibut inside Humboldt Bay. “The halibut were back on the rip now that we have some good tides,” said Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. There’s plenty of fish around, and some big ones too. We’ve seen a few 30-pounders this week. It seemed there were more fish up in the North Bay, but they tended to be smaller. The bigger fish were coming from the deeper channels. When the weather has allowed, the rockfish bite is still wide-open at the Cape. The lings have been really big, we had six over 20 pounds on a recent trip,” added Sepulveda. A few boats found some salmon out of Eureka on Wednesday south of the entrance on the 40-line in 175 feet of water. Reportedly the fish were a pretty good grade. That’s the first real good salmon report in over a week and should give the boats a pretty good starting point for Thursday.

Trinidad
The salmon bite has all but dried up, but the rock fishing remains strong reports Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters.  He said, “It’s been pretty easy to get your 10 rockfish, with a nice mix of blacks, blues and yellowtails. We’re seeing a real good variety lately.  The ling cod bite remains tough, I don’t think there’s a ton of them around.”

Shelter Cove
The salmon bite has slowed down since late last week according to Mitchell. “We did really well on salmon last Thursday, had limits of 12 by 10:30. The water was flat that day so we came in filleted the salmon and went back out with my dad and caught 11 tuna. Friday and Saturday we did salmon and rockfish combos. The rock fishing was good down off the Ranch House, but the salmon bite slowed significantly and we only got a few over those few days.”

Crescent City
There aren’t many salmon around, but the rockfish bite has been really good this week reports Leonard Carter of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “There hasn’t been any effort on the salmon lately. It closes on Sept. 3, so I think it’s about over. The rockfish action has been good at all the usual spots. The lings have come back on bite too. There’s also been a real good perch bite at South and Kellogg beaches as well as the mouth of the Smith River. A few sharks were caught earlier in the week, but that has slowed since,” Carter added.

Brookings
Rough weather kept boaters close to Brookings for the weekend and early part of the week reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “The ocean was flat on Wednesday. A few salmon are being caught just off the mouth of the Chetco,” added Martin.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The steelhead fishing remains solid and we’re catching a few salmon reports Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service. He said, “There are quite a few salmon around, but I think with all the pressure, they aren’t in the biting mood. There’s still some moss coming down and the lots of boat pressure – I think that has a lot to do with the salmon not biting as well as they should be. The number of adult steelhead and half-pounders around however, is more than making up for the lack of salmon,” Coopman added.

Lower Rogue
The Rogue fished well over the weekend with limits for most guides according to Martin. He said, “Scores were down to a fish per rod Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday the morning incoming tide took off. Anchovies with green blades are working best. Some salmon have now moved above the bay.”

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Posted in Current Fishing Reports