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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About fishingthenorthcoast

Fishing guide/outdoor writer located in Humboldt Co., Calif.
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