California halibut bite keeps rolling

Fishing the NC 10_19 photo

Five year-old Corabella Pagliuco of McKinleyville had her hands full landing this nice-sized California halibut last weekend on Humboldt Bay. She had a little help from her dad Bob, as well as Skipper Tim Klassen, pictured right, of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. Photo courtesy of Bob Pagliuco

If you thought the California halibut season was belly up, you may want to reconsider.

The effort has definitely tapered off over the past few weeks, but the bite remains as strong as it’s been all season. “We fished over the weekend, and it was as good then as it’s been all season,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “It’s every bit as good now as it was two months ago. There are still lots of shakers in the mix, but they are plenty of keepers as well. The one consistency we’ve had all season is bait in the bay. There’s been a good mix of anchovies and sardines around, which is one of the reasons the halibut have stuck around. We’ve been fishing further up in the channels, but I think they are still spread throughout the bay. The one thing I’ve seen all season is they bite much better when we have the smaller tide swings, which we had last weekend.” According to Klassen, about the only thing that can slow the bite is the rain. Once the freshwater infiltrates the bay, both the halibut and the bait will likely head back to the ocean. The recreational fishery for California halibut is open year-round. The daily bag and possession limit is three fish, with a minimum size limit of 22 inches total length.

Rain on the way
According to Ryan Aylward of Eureka’s National Weather Service, we should see some rain beginning on Thursday. “We’ll see most of the rain on Thursday, but showers will likely linger into early Friday. Another weak system is forecasted for Saturday, but it shouldn’t amount to much rainfall. Rainfall totals for Thursday through Saturday should reach two inches in the Crescent City area, with more falling in the hills. In the Eel basin, we should see anywhere from a half to an inch of rain. Right now, next week is looking dry, with a weak system potentially forecasted for next weekend,” Aylward added.

Weekend Marine Forecast
As of Wednesday, the weekend marine forecast isn’t looking very fishable. Saturday, SE winds are forecasted 10 to 15 knots with waves W 12 feet at 14 seconds. Winds will decrease quite a bit on Sunday, up to 5 knots coming out of the NW with W waves 11 feet at 13 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, or you can also verify the conditions as reported by looking at the bar cam at www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/barCam/?cam=humboldtBayBar. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Chetco bubble season wrap-up
The Chetco Bubble Season ended up being a big success according to Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. “According to ODFW, 530 fish were kept during the four-day season,” said Martin. “That’s is above the 300-fish allocation, but a sign a lot of fish are holding off the mouth right now. The first weekend had 1,009 anglers, a substantial effort, and big economic boost for Brookings.

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

Chetco
With the bubble season closed, anglers are now focusing on the estuary reports Martin. “I ran a trip Monday and my crew hooked five kings and landed three. We lost one to a sea lion. On Tuesday, ODFW seined the Chetco at Social Security Bar for the hatchery collection. There are a ton of fish there. There were 34 adult kings kept for the hatchery and another 50 released from a single pull of the net. There are a few hundred more fish in that hole alone. There should be a lot of fish upriver this weekend after the expected rain,” added Martin.

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
Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine reports the mouth of the Smith is giving up quite a few salmon. He said, “I’ve seen quite a few caught this past week, with a gold/copper 3/4 oz. cleo being the top producer. The Sand Hole has a few fish in it as well, and guys are catching a few there tossing cleo’s and kastmasters. Even with the low flows, there’s a few fish as far as Ruby Park. With the rain coming later in the week, the salmon should really be on the move.”

The Smith is predicted to rise to just over 800 cfs on Friday morning, but will be back under the 600 cfs threshold by late evening. The next system is forecasted to push the flows to 1,300 cfs by noon on Sunday. To find out if the river will open to fishing, call the low-flow closure hotline at 707-822-3164.

Trinity
“There are definitely some fish in the system, with a mix of both salmon and steelhead,” reports Steve Huber of Steve Huber’s Guide Service “I’m seeing a few salmon up on beds for the first time in a couple years, and we’re seeing good numbers showing up to the hatchery. Even with the river dropping to 300 cfs over the weekend, the river is fishable from the top all the way down to the Klamath. Quite a few steelhead are being taken on flies, we’re catching most of our fish on natural cured roe and plugs. There’s still some one-way controlled traffic in the Junction City area due to the fires, making things a little slow to move around. Some weather’s coming in this week, which will definitely help the fishing. The flows are predicted to go up to about 500 cfs.

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 season rebounds after slow start

Fishing the NC 10_12 photo

Customers of guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing hold limits of Chinook salmon caught Oct. 8 in the ocean just off the mouth of the Chetco River. Photo courtesy of Andy Martin/Wild Rivers Fishing

After a slow start to the Chetco bubble season on Saturday, the bite really picked up on Sunday. According to guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing, the ODFW fish checkers reported 40 kings for 250 boats on Saturday. “We landed three kings on Saturday, but only one was over the minimum keeper size of 28 inches. On Sunday, we limited out with four kings and lost another four. Most of the other guide boats also limited out. Plug-cut herring was the bait of choice over whole anchovies. The best bite was out in 50-feet of water near the red buoy, where trolling with 12 ounces of lead out 30 feet on the linecounters did the trick.” Martin added. The bubble season will wrap up this Sunday, Oct. 15. According to Martin, the second weekend of the bubble season usually produces more fish — and bigger fish. 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. Saturday’s forecast is calling for a mixed swell to 7 to 8 feet and 2-foot wind waves. Sunday looks better, with a mixed swell to 6 feet and 1 to 2-foot wind waves. For a complete list of regulations, visit http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/salmon/Regulations/docs/2017_Chetco_State_Waters.pdf

Marine forecast
As of Wednesday, the marine forecast doesn’t look great for the weekend. Saturday, north winds are forecasted 10 to 20 knots with waves NW 7 feet at 10 seconds. Winds will decrease slightly on Sunday, with north winds 10 to 15 knots and NW waves 7 feet at 10 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, or you can also verify the conditions as reported by looking at the bar cam at www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/barCam/?cam=humboldtBayBar. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Potential storm brewing next week
The first significant cold front of the season is forecasted to hit Del Norte and Humboldt sometime mid next week bringing with it some potential rainfall according to Brad Charboneau of Eureka’s National Weather Service. “It’s still a little ways off, but the models are showing rain beginning possibly Wednesday evening and lasting into Thursday. It’s hard to predict this far out, but right now models are showing two to four inches of rain potentially for the Smith basin and one to three inches in Humboldt,” Charboneau added.

Recreational groundfish regulations changes effective Oct. 16
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced new restrictions on recreational fishing for groundfish in waters north of Point Conception to the Oregon/California border in a press release issued on Oct. 5. Changes to authorized fishing depths described below take effect Monday, Oct. 16 at 12:01 a.m., and will remain in place through the remainder of 2017.

The recreational groundfish fishery depth restrictions will be as follows: for the Northern Management Area, which runs from the Oregon/CA border to Cape Mendocino.

Take is prohibited seaward of 20 fathoms (120 feet) in depth. The ‘all-depth’ groundfish fishery slated for November and December 2017 in this area is canceled. For a complete list of areas of depth restrictions, visit https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2017/10/05/changes-to-recreational-groundfish-regulations-effective-oct-16/

Dungeness crab testing in progress
According to Christy Juhasz, an Environmental Scientist with CDFW, “The recent Domoic Acid test results indicate that we may not have any delays this season, but we are still waiting on northern port results which could come in late this week or early next week. We also plan on conducting preseason testing for the north coast at the end of Oct. or early Nov. Depending on these results we will learn more about whether any delays will happen.” Juhasz added. Since July 1, areas within Bodega Bay and Half Moon/SF have been tested, with zero percent of the samples exceeding action levels. For more information regarding recreational Dungeness crab fishing regulations and other crab species, visit the DFG Marine Region website at https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Invertebrates/Crabs

Trinity flows dropping
Flows coming out of Lewiston Dam will be reduced beginning Saturday, going from 450 cfs down to 300 cfs by Monday.

Willow Creek weir trappings
“We trapped more Chinook than steelhead at Willow Creek weir this past week, but the steelhead are real beauties,” said Mary Claire Kier, an Environmental Scientist on the Trinity “We also picked up another pink (humpy) salmon. The Coho we are seeing are still both small in number and size.” For the trapping week of Oct 1 through Oct. 7, 107 Chinook jacks were trapped at the weir. To date, 779 jacks have been trapped compared to 69 for the entire 2016 trapping season. This past week, 165 adult Chinook were trapped, bringing the season total to 777. In 2016, only 459 total Chinook were trapped.

The Oceans:
Eureka
The ocean’s been rough, right now there isn’t much going on reports Skipper Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “The last day we were able to get out was Friday, and that turned out to be a tough day. The fish were really off the bite, likely due to the big groundswells. Looking at the forecast, we may be able to get out on Sunday, but that looks iffy,” Klassen said.

The Rivers:
Chetco
According to Martin, there’s quite a few jacks and about four dozen adult salmon at Social Security Bar now. He said, “Those were likely the fish that were holding in the estuary last week. Fishing was good in the estuary along the jetties early last week prior to the weekend ocean opener.”

Smith River
A few fish are reportedly being caught at the mouth tossing Kastmasters and Cleo’s. If the rain comes as predicted next week, we should see a decent push of fish enter the lower river. The river is currently closed to fishing above the mouth of Rowdy Creek.

Middle Trinity
We’re finally starting to see more anglers on the upper Trinity, and seeing more steelhead caught as well reports Tim Brady of Weaverville’s Trinity Outdoors. He said, “From what I’ve heard, things are starting to pick up. More fish are starting to move into the upper section, and with that comes more anglers and better reports.

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

Depth changes begin Oct. 16 for remaining 2017 groundfish season

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Photo courtesy of CDFW

On Sept. 18, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) voted to bring groundfish depth restrictions for the balance of 2017 back to 2016 depths in California from Pt. Conception to the Oregon border according to an Oct. 3 article in the Fish Sniffer Magazine. The reason behind the depth restriction is the yelloweye rockfish is predicted to exceed harvest guidelines. By allowing anglers to target deeper water, more yelloweye were caught and likely misidentified, leading to an over-harvest.

The restrictions will go into effect after the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) publishes an official notice of the regulation changes, which is expected to be Oct. 16 according to the CDFW website. The CDFW states on its website: “In-season changes to recreational regulations are pending, and expected to take effect in mid-October. Please check this webpage or call the regulations hotline at (831) 649-2801 for updates before engaging in fishing for groundfish.
The article states that CDFW data suggests recreational anglers are in danger of exceeding their allowable take of 3.9 metric tons of yelloweye rockfish, due to the mortality of fish released or those kept by mistake. The groundfish depth restrictions in each region will revert back to those in the 2016 regulations. For the Northern Management Area, which includes all of Del Norte and most of Humboldt County, depth restrictions will go back from 30 fathoms (180 feet) to 20 fathoms (120 feet) for the remainder of the season ending December 31. For more information and a complete list of the restrictions, visit the CDFW Marine Region Groundfish Central website at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Groundfish.

Weekend marine forecast
As of Wednesday, the ocean forecast for the weekend doesn’t look very fishable. Friday, NW winds are forecasted 5 to 10 knots with waves N 6 feet at 5 seconds and S 2 feet at 20 seconds. Winds will increase on Saturday, coming out of the NW 10 to 20 knots and NW waves 8 feet at 10 seconds and S 3 feet at 16 seconds. Sunday is looking a little worse, with N winds 15 to 25 knots and NW waves 12 feet at 14 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.

2017 Chetco River bubble fishery opens Saturday
The Chetco River fall Chinook bubble season, which will once again be halved and split over two weekends in 2017, opens on Saturday, Oct 7. The recreational season will be Oct. 7-8 and Oct. 14-15 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 Chinook per angler per day. Minimum length is 28 inches and the terminal tackle is limited to no more than two single point barbless hooks. For more information, visit www.dfw.state.or.us/mrp/salmon/Regulations/docs/2017_Chetco_State_Waters.pdf

 

Fishing the NC 10_5 photo
Eleven year-old Owen Peterson, of Arcata, nailed this dandy California halibut on Sunday while fishing with his father Andy. The big fish was caught on a live sardine and measured 44-inches and weighed 36-pounds. Photo courtesy of Andy Peterson

The Oceans:
Eureka
After some decent weather on Wednesday and Thursday, it looks like we’ll be off the water for the weekend reports Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “After not fishing for quite a few days, we finally got a break on Wednesday and were able to make it to the Cape. Friday is looking iffy right now, so we may be fishing in the bay for California halibut. There hasn’t been much effort in the bay lately, but the last report I heard was there’s still plenty of fish around,” Klassen added.

Another good week of salmon trapping in Willow Creek
“A big push of Chinook through the Willow Creek weir this past week, and they were not all jacks,” said Mary Claire Kier, an Environmental Scientist on the Trinity River who manages the Willow Creek weir. “We saw the first Coho of the season, and a couple of pinks as well. For the trapping week of Sept. 24 through 30, 337 Chinook jacks were trapped at the weir. To date, 673 jacks have been trapped compared to 69 for the entire 2016 trapping season. This past week, 295 adult Chinook were trapped, bringing the season total to 612. In 2016, only 459 total Chinook were trapped. Numbers picked up at the hatchery too, and Junction City is going to be trapping for one last week, the weir will be removed this Friday for 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 http://wp.me/p3Qr6S-JM

The Rivers:
Smith River
Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine reports there are a few salmon being caught every day at the mouth of the river. He said, “I haven’t heard anything about the Piling and Sand holes, but I know fish are being caught at the mouth tossing Kastmasters and Cleo’s on the outgoing tide”

Lower Klamath
According to reports, there’s almost zero effort on the lower river right now, but the occasional boat is still getting into a few fish. Reportedly, they are having to work really hard for them. The few boats that are out are mostly fishing flies and spinners. There’s some moss around, but it doesn’t appear to be anything out of the ordinary.

Middle Trinity
There still aren’t many anglers out steelhead fishing, but I am hearing a few steelhead are being caught from Junction City to Douglas City reports Tim Brady of Weaverville’s Trinity Outdoors. He said, “The highway closures are making it tough for people to get to the upper sections from down river. The usual steelhead anglers are starting to trickle in, so we should start to hear more reports. The river is in great shape, so hopefully we’ll start to see some of the fish that are going through the Willow Creek weir start to show up.”

Lower Trinity
Fishing in the lower Trinity is probably your best bet for steelhead right now. Reportedly bank anglers fishing in the Willow Creek area over the weekend were putting up some pretty good numbers. There’s quite a few adults around as well as half-pounders. Lots of hatchery fish in the mix 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

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

 

1200px-EelRiverHumboldtFrom 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, 2018

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

North Coast tuna still on the bite

Fishing the NC 9_28 photo

Mike Kelly of Bayside landed a 25-pound albacore tuna on Wednesday 30 miles west of Reading Rock while fishing aboard the Reel Steel. Photo courtesy of Tim Klassen/Reel Steel Sport Fishing

With the warm water still within reach and a flat ocean forecasted for Wednesday, that’s all it took to spark the interest of some late-season tuna die-hards. Or at least one die-hard. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing and a crew of anglers took a gamble and ran to the patch of water that’s held fish for a while now, roughly 50 miles northwest from the Humboldt Bay entrance. And the gamble paid off handsomely. I didn’t get the exact numbers, but they landed close to 25 and left the fish biting. According to Klassen, there were lots of jumpers and they even hooked a Blue Fin. Thursday’s ocean forecast looks even better, and when Klassen’s report hit the marina, you can bet they’ll be a fleet of boats chasing tuna come Thursday.

Weekend marine forecast
After a couple of tuna-worthy days on Wednesday and Thursday, the wind is forecasted to return on Friday and stick around through the weekend. Friday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the NW 10 to 15 knots with NW swells to 4 feet at 5 and W 4 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday looks a little worse, with NW winds 10 to 20 knots and NW swells 5 feet at 5 seconds and NW 5 feet at 10 seconds. Sunday the winds will be from the NW 10 to 15 knots, with NW swells 5 feet at 5 seconds and NW 5 feet at 9 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.

Salmon numbers at Willow Creek weir encouraging
According to Mary Claire Kier, an Environmental Scientist on the Trinity River who manages the Willow Creek weir, a high number of jacks continue to make their way through the Trinity. For the trapping week of Sept. 17 through 23, 146  jacks were trapped at the weir. To date, 335 jacks have been trapped compared to 76 for the entire 2016 trapping season. A fair number of fall-run adult kings are also showing up. This past week, 188 kings were trapped, bringing the season total to 317. In 2016, 383 were trapped.

The Oceans:
Eureka
With no salmon and halibut done for the year, it’s been a little quiet according to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing.  “We ran to the Cape on Sunday in pretty rough conditions and still landed a decent amount of fish. The water was really sloppy, but we almost got limits of rockfish and everyone got at least on ling before we headed back after only an hour and a half of fishing. Humboldt Bay has really been the only option due to weather. And I think that’s beginning to slow down. There’s still a lot of fish around, but it seems there’s fewer keepers around now,” Klassen added.

IMG_1951

Patrick Warner of Laytonville with a nice tuna caught on Wednesday with Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing.

Shelter Cove
“It was my day in the barrel,” said Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “We had great conditions for tuna on Wednesday, including 63-degree water and we just could not get them to bite. We ended up with eight, but the grade was really good. Our biggest was about 35 pounds. We ended up 35 miles out at the Vizcaino Canyon.”

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. “From what I’m hearing, the rockfish bite hasn’t changed much, when the weather cooperates, the fishing is really good,” Hegnes added.

Low Flow River Closures begin Oct. 1
North Coast rivers regulated by low flow closures, including the Eel River, Mad River, Mattole River, Redwood Creek, Smith River and Van Duzen River will begin angling restrictions on October 1, except for the Mad River, which went into effect September 1.
The Department of Fish and Game will make the information available to the public by a telephone recorded message updated, as necessary, no later than 1 p.m. each Monday, Wednesday and Friday as to whether any stream will be open or closed to fishing. The rivers can be opened up at any time. The low flow closure hotline for North Coast rivers is (707) 822-3164. NOTE: The main stem Eel from the South Fork to Cape Horn Dam and the Mattole River will be closed until January 1, 2018. For more information, visit http://www.eregulations.com/california/fishing/freshwater/low-flow-restrictions/

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.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The steelhead bite on the Klamath has slowed down this week as the fish are really starting to spread out. If you happen to find a school, you can make a good day of it. According to reports there’s a pretty good mix of both half-pounders and adults in the river. The fly fishermen have been catching a few, as well as the boats side-drifting the riffles.

Trinity
There hasn’t been much angling effort this past week reports Tim Brady of Weaverville’s Trinity Outdoors. He said, “Without a salmon season, a lot of anglers won’t be coming to the Trinity this year. And the guys who fish steelhead haven’t shown up yet. We’re still dealing with lots of traffic issues. The river is in great shape, and I’m hearing a few steelhead are being caught by a few anglers. Almost all of the fishing is taking place between Lewiston and Junction City right now.”

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

Freshwater regulation changes coming in 2018 

On September 1, The California Fish and Game Commission released to the public a list of proposed freshwater regulation changes for 2018. The changes coming down the pipeline are fairly significant, and could impact several angling user groups on the North Coast. The regulation changes will be voted upon at the Commission meeting begin held in San Diego on December 6-7. For more information and a complete list of the proposed changes, visit http://www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/2017/1_05ntc.pdf

Restrict leader lengths to less than six feet to reduce salmon and steelhead snagging
This is a big one for anglers who like to fish the Klamath. The DFG Commission have struggled for years to eliminate and/or regulate snagging salmon. This has proven difficult given some of the spawning aggregations, habitat, and creative snagging techniques that have evolved over time. Water operations, changes in angling ethics, and population growth likely have also contributed to this ongoing problem. After struggling with these issues statewide, the Commission directed the Department to find a solution. In 2014, the Department formulated a snagging working group to help evaluate the issue through a structured decision-making process. Department staff and angling stakeholders participated in multiple meetings. One action resulting from this effort was a directed study to assess the efficacy of a reduced leader length in relation to the “flossing” fishing techniques based angling/snagging rig. Although this technique/rig is not the only gear that can be used to purposefully foul-hook salmon, it is currently legal and very effective when used in the right habitat (Feather, American, Sacramento, Yuba, and Klamath rivers) with high densities of spawning/migrating salmon. The results of the study showed a significant correlation with foul-hooking (82-94%) regardless of the leader length and a reduction in landing rates for the shortest leader.

Artificial lure and bait definition
The purpose of the regulation change is to clarify that no scents or flavors shall be used on lures on waters where only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used.

By clarifying this definition, enforcement will have a lesser problem enforcing this rule and the public will have a clearer description of this rule. The definition of a lure would be removed from the Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulations and only “artificial lure” would be used. With this change, three substitutions in the current regulations would need to be made: (1) Angling; (2) Non-buoyant Lure; and (3) Hook and Weight Restrictions. In all three sections, lure would be changed to artificial lure. In addition, the definition of artificial lure would be amended to clarify that only non-scented and non-flavored lures may be used. Lastly, there is currently no definition of bait in Title 14. A definition of bait is needed to help clarify when scents and flavors can be used. Proposal:  Repeal Section 1.60, Amend Section 1.11, Artificial Lure, and add Section 1.18, Bait Amend the current definition of artificial lure and add a definition of bait.

Steelhead report and restoration card requirements
Department staff reassessed the fisheries management objectives of the Steelhead Report and Restoration Card and determined that the data being collected, location codes, and reporting instructions and requirements can be simplified. Proposal: Remove reference to “wild” steelhead because it is not legal to retain a wild steelhead, and remove the requirement to report the number of hours that were fished for steelhead.

Sport fishing report card requirements
CCR Section 1.74 establishes guidelines for report card regulations including reporting harvest authorized by a report card; however, this section does not include a mechanism for confirmation that data from a report card has been reported.  This proposal requires report card holders who submit data online to write the provided confirmation number on their report card and retain the report card until for 90 days after the reporting deadline.

When a report card is lost, a licensee may wish to obtain a duplicate, or may simply need to fulfill the harvest reporting requirement before the reporting deadline. Section 1.74 does not currently provide guidelines for licensees who have lost their report card and need to report their harvest, but do not need to obtain a duplicate report card. This proposal updates procedures regarding lost report cards to provide guidelines for obtaining a duplicate report card, and also for reporting harvest from a lost report card without obtaining a duplicate report card.

Fishing Community planning meeting to be held
A fishing community planning meeting will be held next Wednesday, September 27 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka. A research team, led by Humboldt State University, will be taking input from the public on ideas about the future of the fishing community on Humboldt Bay. All are welcome. Questions can be directed to Rob Dumouchel at rjd255@humboldt.edu. For more information, visit http://www.humboldtfishplan.com

Weekend marine forecast
As of Wednesday, the forecast isn’t looking too promising for the weekend. Out 10 nautical miles from Eureka, Friday’s forecast is calling for N winds 5 to 10 knots, with waves NW 8 feet at 9 seconds. Saturday, winds are predicted to blow 5 to 15 knots out of the N with waves N 5 feet at 6 seconds and NW 4 feet at 10 seconds. Sunday the wind is forecasted out of the N 5 to 15 knots, with waves N 6 feet at 7 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, or you can also verify the conditions as reported by looking at the bar cam at www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/barCam/?cam=humboldtBayBar. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Eureka tuna
Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, along with a host of sport boats, made the 35-mile run to the tuna water last Sunday and reported a pretty good bite. “The warm water was off of Trinidad about 35 miles out, which is where most of the boats were working. We landed 29, and the bite really turned on in the afternoon. The boats that were able to stick around longer did even better. I haven’t seen any new shots of the water, but it hasn’t moved much in the last couple months. Hopefully we’ll get a few more opportunities,” Klassen added.

Fishing the NC 9_21 photo

Carl Casale, of Eureka, landed this 35-pound California halibut last Thursday while fishing in Humboldt Bay. The California halibut fishery is still going strong, with lots of fish in the 30-pound range taken the last couple weeks. Photo courtesy of Mike Stratman/Redwood Coast Fishing

The Oceans:
Eureka
“I’m amazed at how well the California halibut fishery has held up,” said Klassen. “There’s still lots of fish around. Right now, it seems the bigger fish are holding in the deeper water and the smaller ones are further up the bay. There’s still lots of bait in the bay, and it’s moving with the tides. I’m not sure if the halibut are chasing the bait, or are waiting for it to come to them. We did get in one rockfish trip this week at the Cape, and not much has changed down there. The ling bite is off the charts, and it was pretty easy to get limits on the other varieties as well.”

Shelter CoveThe rockfish are really biting according to Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “We’ve been fishing mostly at the Hat, and have been able to get limits every day before noon. We did spend one day fishing around the whistle where the ling cod bit really well. I haven’t tried for salmon lately, but there were a few caught last week between the cans.”

Crescent City
The rockfish effort has been pretty light the last couple weeks according to Chris Hegnes of Englund Marine in Crescent City. He said, “I thought we may see some more boats with Oregon being closed, but it hasn’t happened yet. The ocean has been pretty rough, so that’s part of the reason. There were a few locals out over the weekend, and they said the rockfish bit really well at the South Reef.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Fresh steelhead are moving through the lower river and boats side-drifting the riffles are getting up to 10 hook-ups per trip. Quite a few fish, both half-pounders and adults have made their way into the mid-Klamath around Weitchepec. With the rain providing a slight bump in the flows, we should see another push of fresh steelhead enter the river.

Upper Trinity
Without the salmon anglers and with the fires, it’s been pretty quiet up here reports Tim Brady of Weaverville’s Trinity Outdoors. He said, “Most of the steelhead anglers have been restricted to the upper river due to the fires. I believe they are letting folks back in around Junction City, so we should start to see more guys out fishing. I’ve been hearing of a few steelhead caught, but it’s not red hot by any means.”

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

Pacific halibut closes — rockfish and tuna it is

Fishing the NC 9_14 photo

Lonnie Dollarhide, right, of Fortuna along with skipper Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing teamed up to land this 81.5-pound Pacific halibut on Sept. 4 out of Eureka. The big fish took first place in Englund Marine’s “Big Halibut” contest, scoring Dollarhide a gift basket provided by B2 Squid. Photo courtesy of Nick Johnson

Offshore options became a little scarcer this week with the closing of the Pacific halibut season. Without a salmon season, we’re down to rockfish and tuna along the North Coast. Unfortunately, both of these options require some pretty good ocean conditions, especially if you’re fishing out of Eureka, where the rockfish grounds are nearly 20 miles to the south. The ocean was decent a couple days this week, and a handful of the bigger boats motored their way to the Cape. But it wasn’t nearly good enough to head offshore for tuna. But now there’s talk of a one-day weather window on Sunday that has the tuna anglers excited. We’ll see if that comes to fruition, or if Mother Nature has other ideas. And let’s not forget about the California halibut fishery inside Humboldt Bay. It’s been an amazing season, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. Some slugs approaching 30 -pounds were caught this week.

Pacific Halibut season cut short
The recreational Pacific halibut fishery closed on Sunday, Sept. 10 at 11:59 p.m. for the remainder of 2017. Based on the latest catch projections, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife expected to have met the 2017 California recreational quota of 34,580 pounds. For more info, visit https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2017/09/08/recreational-pacific-halibut-fishery-to-end-sunday-sept-10/

Oregon recreational rockfish closed as of Monday
Oregon’s recreational bottomfish season will close to all species but flatfish as of Sunday, Sept. 17 at 11:59 p.m. because the quotas for several species have been reached according to a press release issued on Tuesday. As of Monday morning, Sept. 18, anglers may no longer catch or retain lingcod, any species of rockfish, cabezon, greenling, or other bottomfish. There is a new opportunity for anglers to fish for flatfish (except Pacific halibut) at all depths, also starting Monday.
Good weather in spring and summer, as well as fewer opportunities for other fisheries, have led to more boats and anglers fishing for bottomfish this year. For more information on Oregon’s marine resources and fisheries, please see: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/

Weekend marine forecast
After some rough seas earlier in the week, the ocean looks like it will begin to lay down by the weekend. As of Wednesday, the forecast out 10 nautical miles for Friday is calling for winds out of the N 5 to 15 knots with NW swells 5 feet at 7 seconds. Saturday looks similar, with winds from the NW 5 to 10 knots and NW swells 5 feet at 7 seconds. Sunday the winds will be from the SW 5 to 10 knots and NW swells 3 feet at 7 seconds and NW 4 feet at 11 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.

Good showing of jacks at Willow Creek weir
According to Mary Claire Kier, an Environmental Scientist on the Trinity River who manages the Willow Creek weir, quite a few jacks are making their way through the Trinity. For the trapping week of Sept. 3 through 9, 79 jacks were trapped. The total number of jacks, both wild and fin-clipped, trapped for the entire 2016 season was 84. Finally some encouraging salmon news.

Youth Fishing Tourney this Sunday
The Trinidad Pier Youth Fishing Tourney will take place this Sunday, Sept. 17 from 9:30 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

The Oceans:
Eureka
With the closure of the Pacific halibut season, we’re down to two offshore options — rockfish and tuna. According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, the tuna water is still straight out of Eureka, but it’s moved out slightly. “It looks like it’s about 30 miles out now compared to 20 last week,” said Klassen. “The ocean hasn’t been good enough to make the run, though Sunday may be doable. We made our way to the Cape on Tuesday, where the rockfish continue to bite anything and everything. Limits are coming easy, with lots of big lings, coppers and quillbacks in the mix,” Klassen added.

Shelter Cove
Rock fishing has been great when we can get north, but it’s been quite slow when we have to stay close,” said Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “I ran for tuna on Thursday up off the Cape and ended up with 28. We should of had more, be we had a tough time hanging on to them. On Tuesday, we ran to Vizcaino Knoll for tuna and fished rockfish on the way home. We ended up with eight albacore, 14 lingcod and 20 rockfish. The weather for more tuna days doesn’t look good for the foreseeable future.”

Crescent City
There hasn’t been much effort on the rockfish this week reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “We’ve had a little bit of wind, so that kept most of the boats off the water. There’s been a few going out, and the fish are definitely biting. Hopefully we’ll see an uptick in boats and business with the rockfish closure happening in Oregon.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The steelhead action slowed on the lower river this week as the first big push of fish have moved up river. Boats and shore anglers were reporting a really good bite on half-pounders and adults up to eight pounds last week. There should be plenty of fish in the middle Klamath now as the fish are on the move. The river rose roughly 400 cfs late last week, so that should bring in some fresh steelhead into the lower river.

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

Eureka boats slam the tuna

Fishing the NC 9_7 photo

Anderson resident Alicia Henthorn landed a nice albacore tuna while fishing out of Eureka on Wednesday. Eureka was the place to be this week for tuna as the warm, blue water was only 20 miles offshore. Photo courtesy of Tim Klassen/Reel Steel Sport Fishing

Calm seas and 60-degree water within 20 miles — the ideal scenario that will make any fanatical tuna angler go nuts — or not show up to work. North Coast fishermen have been devoid of an ocean salmon season this year, but the current tuna frenzy has helped ease that pain. Screaming drags will do that. Since Saturday, boats have set their sights on the warm, blue water, which has been moving steadily closer to shore. The water was 30 miles out over the weekend, but was only 20 miles offshore as of Tuesday. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, who’s been on the tuna grounds almost daily, reports the bite isn’t quite wide-open, but everyone is catching fish. “We haven’t had this good of water this close in several years, which has allowed more boats to get in on the fun,” said Klassen. “Most of the action has been between the 38 and 48-lines, where the water temps are ranging between 61 and 64 degrees.

DSCN1684

Larry Biggs, left, from McKinleyville and John Anderson from Fortuna landed a few albacore this week aboard Reel Steel Sport Fishing

I don’t think there’s big schools of fish, it seems we’re just running into random patches of fish, and they all want to bite. If you can keep the fish around after catching a few on the troll, you can put some big numbers onboard quickly using live bait.” According to Klassen, scores are ranging from six to 30 fish per boat and the fish are anywhere from peanuts (6 to 8 lbs.) to 25 pounds. While it’s been great to have a tuna window that’s lasted for a week, it looks like its’s about to close. The wind is forecasted to blow up to 15 knots on Friday, which will likely bring about rougher seas. Let’s hope this is only a temporary setback.

Marine forecast
It’s looking like the tuna window is about to slam shut for now. Thursday still looks fishable out 20 or so miles, but that will change on Friday. Inshore, Friday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the NW 5 to 15 knots and waves NW 4 feet at 5 seconds and NW 4 feet at 14 seconds. Saturday is calling for NW winds 5 to 15 knots and waves N 6 feet at 6 seconds and W 5 feet at 12 seconds. Sunday is looking very similar with N winds 5 to 15 knots and waves N 6 feet at 6 seconds and W 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, or you can also verify the conditions as reported by looking at the bar cam at www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/barCam/?cam=humboldtBayBar. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Klamath and Trinity both closed to salmon fishing
A reminder that both the Klamath and Trinity Rivers are currently closed to salmon fishing. During the salmon closures, both rivers will remain open to steelhead fishing and no salmon punch card is required for either river. On the Klamath, steelhead fishing is allowed from 3,500 feet downstream of the Iron Gate Dam to the estuary. The daily bag limit is 2 hatchery steelhead. The Trinity is open to steelhead angling from downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the confluence of the Klamath River through Dec. 31. The one exception is the area downstream of the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat to the Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar. This area is closed to all fishing from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. The daily bag limit is 2 hatchery steelhead. When you’re fishing for steelhead and you catch a salmon, it’s a good idea to either move or change up your gear or method. If you do hook a jack or an adult salmon, it is illegal to remove them from the water by any means. For the complete list of Klamath/Trinity regulations, visit http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=147891

The Oceans:
Eureka
The halibut opener came and went last Friday without too much fanfare. Warm water loaded with albacore sitting 25 miles offshore will do that. The focus has been almost entirely on Tuna this week, and rightfully so. Pacific and California halibut, as well as rockfish, will all still be there when the wind and rough seas return. A few halibut were caught this week, including an 81.5 pounder caught by Lonnie Dollarhide while fishing with Klassen near the Eel River Canyon. The big flattie is currently atop the leaderboard of the Englund Marine “Big Halibut” contest. With non-tuna weather expected to return on Friday, look for boats to turn their attention back to halibut and rockfish.

Shelter Cove
“Salmon fishing has been very mediocre, most days you can grind up a few and then some days it will go wide-open,” said Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “Last Wednesday we had limits of salmon to 25 pounds by 11 a.m. fishing just south of the whistle. On Thursday, we had four salmon onboard before the clients decided they’d like to rockfish. The rock fishing remains solid, with limits coming pretty easily. The warm tuna water is within 40 miles, but it seems the water that’s holding fish is a bit further at about 50 miles. There’s been tuna both to the north and south, but the water straight out hasn’t had many fish. My plan for now is to fish tuna on Thursday.

Crescent City
The rockfish and halibut are both going off right now reports Leonard Carter of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “The ocean hasn’t been great, but guys are coming in with rockfish limits daily. All the usual spots are giving up fish, both north and south. The halibut bite is going strong, fish are being caught every day, and some boats are coming in with limits. Most of the action is coming from the backside of the South Reef in 180 to 210 feet of water,” Carter added.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
A little tougher to get reports with salmon season being closed, but I’m hearing the lower river is full of fresh steelhead. Anglers tossing spinners, spoons, and flies are catching quite a few steelhead from half-pounders up to eight-pounds. Blakes riffle has been one of the better spots, but fish are being caught all the way past Blue Creek.

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

Tuna hitting the decks up and down the coast

Fishing the NC 8_31 photo

Robbie Young, left, of Roseville and Rocklin resident Chris Baptista were pretty stoked to land this 27-pound albacore while fishing off the coast of Eureka on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Marc Schmidt/Coastline Charters

Free Fishing Day on Saturday

Calm seas and warm water has descended on the North Coast, and boats headed offshore from Fort Bragg to Gold Beach, and all ports in between, were coming home with coolers full of albacore. Fort Bragg was the place to be last weekend. Flat calm water made for an easy run to where the tuna were schooled up, and the boats put the hurt to em’. Some of the top boats put in over 30, and a lot of boats ended with well over 20 fish. Monday was just as good, with the most of the action coming 45 to 55 miles west of Noyo Harbor. A couple boats fishing out of Eureka got in on the action on Monday. The ocean was a little sloppy, but one of the boats put 40 albies on board while fishing roughly 47 miles from the entrance. With good intel in hand, Captain Marc Schmidt of Coastline Charters set his sights on the finger of warm water sitting roughly 30 miles west of the pinnacles. After a relatively slow start to the day, they found the motherlode in the early afternoon. They boated a total of 46 albacore ranging in size from peanuts to 27 pounds. “There is an inside finger and an outside finger of warm water pushing north “said Schmidt. It sounded like a few fish were caught in the inside break at 30 miles, but it was worth the trip to the outside for us today.” Fish were also caught out of Crescent City as well as Gold Beach on Monday and Tuesday. If you’re looking to chase some tuna, now is the time. The next weather window is shaping up to be Labor Day, but the weekend looks like it may be doable as well.

Marine forecast
The ocean looks like it will be plenty fishable for the long holiday weekend, with NW winds forecasted at 5 to 10 knots through Monday. Out 10 nautical miles, Friday’s forecast is calling for waves N 5 feet at 11 seconds. Saturday is calling for waves NW 5 feet at 8 seconds. Sunday is looking very similar with waves NW 5 feet at 7 seconds. Waves will be out of the N 5 feet at 6 seconds on Labor Day. 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, or you can also verify the conditions as reported by looking at the bar cam at www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/barCam/?cam=humboldtBayBar. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Saturday is statewide free fishing day
On Saturday September 2, 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 abalone, steelhead, sturgeon, spiny lobster, or salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity River Systems. As noted above, salmon punch cards are not required for anglers fishing for steelhead on the Klamath and Trinity Rivers during the salmon closure. For more information visit, https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Fishing/Free-Fishing-Days

No salmon punch cards required for Trinity/Klamath Rivers
According to the CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, during the salmon closures on both the Klamath and Trinity Rivers, you do not need to have a salmon punch card while angling for steelhead. But you will need one if you plan on fishing the Smith River, per usual. As a reminder, the Klamath is currently closed to salmon fishing and the Trinity will close beginning Sept. 1. Both rivers will remain open to steelhead fishing. For the complete list of Klamath/Trinity regulations, visit http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=147891

Halibut season re-opens Friday, Sept. 1
The Pacific halibut season will re-open Friday, September 1 and will remain open through Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. Through August 20, the CDFW has projected 27,989 net pounds have been harvested towards a quota of 34,580 pounds, leaving only 6,591 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. Regulations can be found here, https://wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/pacific-halibut#31670771-pacific-halibut-regulations

Anglers are reminded to avoid Yelloweye rockfish
In a news release issued on Friday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife would like to remind anglers to avoid yelloweye rockfish when engaging in recreational ocean fishing over the Labor Day holiday weekend. CDFW urges anglers to avoid fishing in areas where yelloweye rockfish are known to occur (e.g., rocky outcrops and pinnacles). If taken, yelloweye rockfish should be immediately returned to the water with a descending device to minimize injury and mortality. CDFW also encourages anglers who encounter them to change fishing locations to prevent catching additional yelloweye rockfish. For more information, visit https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2017/08/25/anglers-reminded-to-avoid-yelloweye-rockfish/

The Oceans:
Eureka
Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing has been making his way to the Cape since the weekend and reports the rock fishing remains excellent. “The fishing has been really good, per usual”, said Klassen. “We’re getting limits of big lings just about every trip, and a nice mixed bag of coppers, vermilions, and cabezon. California halibut fishing in the bay is still going strong, with limits coming pretty easily. There’s a bunch of bait in the bay, so it’s been pretty easy for the boats to load up in the mornings. The bait has been thick from the Simpson dock all the way to the Samoa Bridge, depending on which way the tide was going. We’re seeing mostly sardines, but there are some anchovies mixed in.”

Shelter Cove
“We’ve been running all different directions chasing tuna, rockfish and salmon since last week,” said Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “Last Wednesday through Friday, we ran rockfish and salmon combo trips. All of the days except one we had limits of rockfish and a handful of salmon. On Saturday, we fished salmon all day and ended up with five. On Sunday, we ran for tuna north off the Cape and boated 18. On Monday, we went down below Fort Bragg, just south of Moho Canyon, and landed 25. There were plenty of fish in both locations, we just didn’t get a whole lot of time on them due to the long run and sloppy conditions.”

Crescent City
The rockfish bite was pretty good this week reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “I know some guys who went out to South Reef and caught a few limits of a wide variety of rockfish. I also heard of a couple thresher sharks caught this week. One off the beach and one out front by someone who was rock fishing. There’s quite a bit of interest in Pacific Halibut, so we should see some more boats on the water beginning Friday.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
With only steelhead fishing available, the boat pressure has been fairly light on the Klamath. A good push of steelhead came in with the pulse of water last week, but the bite seemed to slow down on the lower river over the weekend as the fish likely moved up. As steelhead continue to enter the river, the schools will likely be scattered from the Weitchpec area to the Glen.

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

Solid salmon action at Shelter Cove, Fort Bragg

Fishing the NC 8_24 photo

A group of happy anglers landed their limits of salmon while fishing out of Shelter Cove on Tuesday. Since the weekend, the salmon bite has picked up out of Shelter Cove as well as Fort Bragg. Photo courtesy of Jake Mitchell/Sea Hawk Sport Fishing

Our neighbors to the south are currently enjoying a pretty good salmon bite. Charter and sport boats alike have scored limits since the weekend on some very nice sized kings. Out of Shelter Cove, Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing mooched up limits of salmon for his customers on Tuesday fishing in 60 feet of water. A few sport guys also did well mooching over the weekend. The bite out of Fort Bragg has been good since the opener, with quite a few limits being reported. Most of the action has been from the Whistle north to Laguna Point. The fish are hugging the bottom, with the successful boats fishing in 80 to 100 feet of water and their downriggers nearly bouncing off the bottom

Watching from the sidelines as kings are flying over the rails from the Bay Area north to Shelter Cove hasn’t been an easy pill to swallow. It really makes you appreciate how good we had it the past five or six seasons. With any luck, we’ll know that feeling again soon.

Marine forecast
The ocean conditions weren’t very pretty last weekend and that trend continued early this week. The ocean did come down on Wednesday, but it looks like it’s on its way back up for the weekend. Out 10 nautical miles north of the Cape, Friday’s forecast is calling for NW winds 5 to 15 knots and waves out of the NW 7 feet at 8 seconds. The wind decreases slightly on Saturday, coming out of the NW 5 to 10 knots. Waves will be NW 6 feet at 9 seconds. Sunday is looking similar, with NW winds 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 5 feet at 8 seconds and NW 3 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, or you can also verify the conditions as reported by looking at the bar cam at www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/barCam/?cam=humboldtBayBar. 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 next Friday, September 1 and will remain open through Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. Through August 20, the CDFW has projected 27,989 net pounds have been harvested towards a quota of 34,580 pounds. For up-to-date harvest tracking information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

Trinidad Rockfish Wars coming Aug. 26
If you plan on fishing out of Trinidad this Saturday, expect to see quite a few kayaks. Pacific Outfitters will be hosting the 7th annual Trinidad Rockfish Wars kayak fishing tournament. The tournament is open to Kayak, Canoes and SUP’s. For more information and complete details of the tournament, visit http://pacificoutfitters.com/tournament-trinidad-rockfish-wars-7-trw7-082617

Klamath/Trinity regulations
A reminder that the Klamath River is currently closed to salmon fishing, and the Trinity will be closed as of Sept. 1. During the salmon closures, both rivers will remain open to steelhead fishing. A couple of good rule of thumbs with regards to the salmon closure. When you’re fishing for steelhead and you catch a salmon or two, it’s a good idea to either move or change up your gear or method. If you do hook a jack or an adult salmon, it is illegal to remove them from the water by any means. Trolling the estuary, fishing red-cured bait in deep holes, or backtrolling large Kwikfish are some of the methods employed to catch Chinook. These techniques, while not technically illegal, will be frowned upon during the closure and will likely increase your chances of contact with law enforcement. For the complete list of Klamath/Trinity regulations, visit http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=147891

Trinity River salmon trappings
For the week of Aug. 13 through Aug. 19, 27 Chinook salmon were counted at the Junction City weir. Of the 27, 10 were jacks and 17 were adults. To date, this trapping season, which began on July 23, 65 adults and 18 jacks have been counted. The Junction City weir was taken out by a large tree on Monday night, which likely means no trapping will take place this week. The Willow Creek weir is not yet in the water, but could be back in business this week with trapping starting on Aug. 27.

The Oceans:
Eureka
It’s more of the same for the Eureka boats. Pacific halibut is still closed and the ocean’s been too rough for a Cape run. The saving grace continues to be the California halibut fishery within Humboldt Bay according to Tim Klassen of the Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “There’s still a lot of fish around, including lots of undersized fish. The bite slowed a little this week, due largely to the big tide swings. I don’t think they bite as well when there’s a lot of water moving, it seems like they hunker down until the heavy current subsides. It looks like the ocean might be good enough this weekend for a Cape run, but we’ll have to wait and see. The tuna water that had been sitting straight west of Eureka has broken up, hopefully the water that sitting off of Fort Bragg will move south so we can get another shot at some tuna.”

Trinidad
Trinidad has been pretty quiet lately reports Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters.  He said, “The weather hasn’t been great, the tourism has slowed, and halibut won’t open until next Friday. There isn’t a whole lot going on, but the regulars are still going out and catching a few rockfish and some lings. Once halibut opens back up, we should see some more activity.”

Shelter Cove
“Salmon fishing had been pretty slow this past week for us,” said Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “We had been averaging about 3 fish per day until Tuesday. On Tuesday, the fish finally turned on and went on the bite. We had our 10-fish limit by 1 p.m. We have been mooching them up in Bread N’ Butter in 60 feet of water. The fish have been a pretty fair grade with about a 12-pound average. Rock fishing was pretty mediocre this week but we also didn’t spend as much time on them with more of the effort concentrated on salmon. Conditions look a bit rough until Saturday, but should still be fishable.”

Crescent City
“With the ocean being rough and the halibut closure in effect, it’s been pretty quiet here”, said Leonard Carter of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “I don’t think there was much happening over the weekend. The ocean laid down on Wednesday and some boats went out, but I didn’t hear how they did. Things should start to pick back up a little once the ocean comes down.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The water coming down from the Trinity hit the lower river, peaking at 5,200 cfs early Wednesday morning. The steelhead fishing was excellent over the weekend, and it will likely pick back up once the river settles. With the salmon closure, fishing pressure has been light. The few boats that are out have reported really good steelhead fishing while fishing the riffles from Blue Creek down to Blakes. Reportedly there’s quite a few adults around, with some nice hatchery fish in the mix 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