Rain and fresh kings both in the forecast

A series of rain storms moved across the North Coast late last week bringing sizable rises to the Chetco and Smith rivers over the weekend. With off and on rain in the forecast, both rivers will be up and down through the week and into the weekend. With the increase in flows, the rivers should see a pretty good influx of new kings, and should push the older fish into their spawning grounds. For the Humboldt rivers, including the Mad, Eel, and Van Duzen, the rain coming over the next few days will put them out of commission for a while. All three are forecasted for dramatic rises beginning Wednesday and more coming late in the weekend.

Weekend weather and forecast
Some pretty decent rainfall totals are expected in the Eel basin on Wednesday according to Ryan Aylward of Eureka’s National Weather Service. “The heaviest rain should fall to our south on Wednesday, and we can expect off and on showers locally here on Thursday. Totals will be anywhere from an inch to a half-inch. The weekend is looking mostly dry, with the next system set to arrive late on Sunday. This system has a chance to be a big one, but we’re seeing conflicting models. The Smith basin could see up to two inches, and an inch and a quarter could fall in the Eel basin. Looking out further, we should continue to see storms coming one after another, but it’s hard to predict how long the breaks will be in between,” Aylward added.

The weekend marine forecast is calling for winds 5 to 10 knots out of the SE on Saturday, with waves NW 4 feet at 9 seconds. Sunday looks a little rougher, with winds out of the SE 10 to 20 knots and S waves 5 feet at 6 seconds and NW 4 feet at 13 seconds. The forecast will likely change, so before you head out, check the marine forecast at www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka and click on the marine tab. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit: www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan

Crabs plentiful for offshore anglers
Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing is reporting excellent crabbing out of Eureka. On an overnight soak, he’s getting between 25 to 30 keepers per pot. According to Klassen, both the north and south side of the entrance are fishing really well, with limits coming easily. “The crabs are still light, but we’ve seen a slight improvement this week,” Klassen added. Crabbing has also been excellent inside of Humboldt Bay. It’s the same story as outside, plenty of crabs, but they’re light.

CA Dungeness crab update
The next round of quality testing is currently being scheduled, and will take place prior to Dec. 7. For more info and test results on commercial Dungeness crabs, visit https://www.psmfc.org/crab/

Domoic Acid testing is continuing, and the latest results show the crabs in the Eel River Area have come back clean. Back to back testing has resulted in zero percent of the samples exceeding action level, which means no more testing is required in that area. To see the latest DA test results, visit https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CEH/DFDCS/CDPH%20Document%20Library/FDB/FoodSafetyProgram/DomoicAcid/CrabDA17-18.pdf

The Rivers:
All North Coast rivers subjected to low flow fishing closures, including the Smith, Eel, Mad, Redwood Creek, and Van Duzen are currently open to fishing. As of Wednesday morning, the South Fork Eel River remained closed to fishing. The low flow closure hotline for North Coast rivers is (707) 822-3164. To see all the forecasted river levels, visit http://www.cnrfc.noaa.gov/index.php?type=ol&product=fcstPointsFcst

Main stem Eel
A few salmon were caught earlier in the week prior to the river becoming muddy on Tuesday. A big rise is predicted for the next couple days, it will likely take a couple weeks of dry weather for it to clear.

Smith River
Conditions continue to be up and down on the Smith reports Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service. He said, “There’s been lots of debris in the river, which makes it tough to fish plugs. Since the weekend, we’re seeing about a fish per boat. I think there’s more fish around than it seems, but it’s been tough to get them to bite and as tough to land them. Another big rise is expected tonight, so we’ll have to wait and see what that brings,” Coopman added.

Reminder: A North Coast Salmon Report Card is required to fish for salmon on the Smith River. The daily bag and possession limit is 1 Chinook salmon and no more than 5 wild Chinook salmon over 22 inches per year.

Fishing the NC photo 11_16

Shannon Lemieux of Junction City, Ore., holds a 47-inch, 48-pound king caught Nov.12 on the Chetco River with guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. The salmon hit a HawgNose FlatFish. Photo courtesy of Andy Martin/Wild Rivers Fishing

Chetco/Elk/Sixes
The Chetco was high and unfishable most of last week, but dropped below 4,000 cfs on Sunday and fished well for a day before blowing out again Monday morning,” said Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. “It hit 10,000 cfs on Monday and was dropping back into shape, but will be out again with the storm expected the middle of the week. Plugs worked well on Monday, with just about every boat getting a fish or two early in the day. There were a lot of fish over 30 pounds caught on Monday. We caught a 47-inch, 48-pound king above Ice Box.”

“The Sixes was the best river on the coast over the weekend, with most boats catching the wild portion of their limits on Saturday and Sunday,” according to Martin. “It blew out again Monday, and even though it was pretty dirty on Tuesday it fished OK. The Elk has been in decent shape but the fishing has been slower there. It will probably be the best bet this week, however, with more rain expected.”

Upper Trinity
The rains earlier in the week really helped get the fish moving reports Steve Huber of Steve Huber’s Guide Service. “It’s starting to get cold, which definitely tells me it’s steelhead season. Fishing was good from Lewiston all the way down into Willow Creek this week. Methods used right now are the fly fishing with a stone and a pin bead. We ran a combination of side drifting roe and mag lips 3.5’s and 3.0 this week. We’re seeing one to three adults per day. The weekend was really busy with the clear weather making pressures extremely tough and watching our counts go down. The forecast of heavy rains will help push more fish from the lower Klamath up to the Trinity,” added Huber.

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

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Posted in Current Fishing Reports

Storms open the door for coastal kings

Fishing the NC_11_9 photo

Keith Bureen of Auburn holds a salmon caught last week on the Chetco River with guide Rye Phillips. All North Coast rivers, including the Chetco, will be on the rise following the storms that are currently hitting the area. Photo courtesy of Rye Phillips

The season’s first real storms are currently drenching the North Coast and putting rivers on the rise, and it looks like there’s plenty more of the wet stuff on the horizon. If the forecast holds, we should see enough rain in the next few days to open all of the rivers to fishing that are currently closed due to low flows. This includes the Eel, South Fork Eel, Van Duzen, Mad and Redwood Creek. The Smith has been open to fishing since last week, but it was low and clear up until Wednesday afternoon. According to Ryan Aylward of Eureka’s National Weather Service, we’re in for some wet days ahead. “Between Wednesday and Friday, the Smith basin could see up to five inches of rain,” said Aylward. “Here locally, the Eel and Mad basins could get up to three and a half inches. Saturday is looking mostly dry, but the rain will return on Sunday and we’ll see some pretty significant rainfall totals into next week.”

With the first big river rise of the season, I would expect there to be lots of debris coming down the rivers, and hopefully a lot of chrome bright kings heading the opposite direction. To see all of the North Coast river levels and predictions, visit http://www.cnrfc.noaa.gov/index.php?type=ol&product=fcstPointsFcst. To get the low flow lowdown on all of the North Coast rivers, call 707-822-3164.

Weekend weather and marine forecast
According to Aylward, we can expect the rain to continue on into next week. “Monday we’re looking at another half to an inch, with the rest of the week looking very wet.”

The weekend marine forecast is calling for winds 5 to 10 knots out of the S on Saturday, with waves W 5 feet at 8 seconds and NW 2 feet at 16 seconds. The wind will pick up on Sunday, blowing out of the S 15 to 20 knots with waves S 5 feet at 6 seconds and NW 4 feet at 12 seconds. The forecast will likely change, so before you head out, check the marine forecast at www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka and click on the marine tab. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan/

Sport crab update
The sport Dungeness crab season kicked off this past Saturday, and those who ventured offshore reported the crabs were plentiful and good-sized, but definitely on the light-side. Captain Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing set gear south of the entrance this week in 100 feet of water and reported 20 to 40 keepers per pot following a two-day soak. “The reports are good for boats fishing both north and south of the entrance,” added Klassen. Opening day reports from Trinidad were about the same as Eureka – plenty of crabs, but they’re light. Up north to Crescent City, Chris Hegnes of Englund Marine reported that the crabs are thick, but also really light. “Straight out of the harbor in 80 to 90-feet of water was one of the top spots along with the full length of South Beach. There is a huge volume of crab out there, and a short soak on the opener produced up to 30 keepers per pot. Crabbers also did well inside the harbor,” Hegnes added.

Pre-season crab quality test results
The first round of meat yield tests are complete, and the crabs are definitely on the light-side. Crescent City came in at 17.6%; Trinidad 15.3%; Eureka 16.1%. Crabs need to be at 25 percent prior to commercial harvest. The next round of testing is scheduled for some time prior to Dec. 7. For more info and test results on commercial Dungeness crabs, visit https://www.psmfc.org/crab/

Willow Creek weir trappings
For the trapping week of Oct 29 through Nov. 4, only one Chinook jack was trapped at the weir. To date, 865 jacks have been trapped compared to 69 for the entire 2016 trapping season. This past week, 11 adult Chinook were trapped, bringing the season total to 1,026. In 2016, only 459 total Chinook were trapped.

The Rivers:
Smith River
Fishing was decent over the weekend, but should really improve as we’re finally getting our first big rise of the season reports Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service. He said, “The river fished really well on Monday, but Tuesday was tough.  Conditions are really going to change over the next few days. The river is going to rise by about 7,500 cfs on Thursday, which should give us a more stable drop. We’ve had some sharp rises, along with sharp drops, which can make for tough fishing. We haven’t seen a lot of big fish yet, hopefully that will change in the next few days. The wind, coupled with a rising river, means we’ll be cleaning a lot of leaves off the lures. Looking at the 10-day forecast, we might see rain on six of those days. The river should really stabilize and I expect the fishing to be really good.”

Reminder: A North Coast Salmon Report Card is required to fish for salmon on the Smith River. The daily bag and possession limit is 1 Chinook salmon and no more than 5 wild Chinook salmon over 22 inches per year.

Chetco/Elk/Sixes
“The rain in the forecast for last weekend was a lot less than expected, so the river stayed low and fairly clear,” said Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. “Fishing was slow for the most part. There are a lot of dark fish up high, and the lower river has plenty of bright fish, but there is not a lot of current for plugs or back-bouncing. Lots of people were anchoring, so the best holes were tied up. The guides on the river late Tuesday got into some nice fresh fish during the afternoon tide. There also was a fair bite in the estuary. We should have really good fishing this weekend with the big storm expected Wednesday and Thursday. The roads are covered with leaves, so plugs will be effective this weekend, but people will need to clean their lures regularly. The Elk and Sixes never got to driftable levels this week. The forecast looks good for the weekend, but expect a crowd, as the first major high water event draws a ton of out-of-the-area boats. This will probably be the best weekend of the season, however, on the Elk.”

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and www.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 crab opens Saturday — domoic acid warning likely

Fishing the NC 11_2 photo

The 2017 recreational Dungeness crab season is set to open on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 12:01 a.m. With several crabs testing over the FDA action level of 30 ppm for domoic acid from Bodega Bay to Crescent City, a health advisory will likely be issued prior to the opener. Pictured above are Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing and Lonnie Dollarhide as they pull crabs from a sport trap last season. Photo courtesy of Kenny Priest

The ever-popular recreational Dungeness crab season is scheduled to open on time this year, and the season’s first crustaceans can be legally hauled from the salty waters of oceans and bays beginning Saturday morning. However, the California Department of Public Health could issue a health advisory on the sport season similar to the start of the 2016 season when they recommended that sport fishermen remove the viscera, or guts, from the crab before cooking, since that’s where domoic acid concentrates. Parts of the West Coast have already seen their share of problems with domoic acid. The recreational crab fishery in southern Oregon is currently closed due to unhealthy levels of domoic acid, and six Dungeness crabs tested from Bodega Bay to Crescent City have exceeded the 30 ppm action level. For updated information on health advisories and shellfish and crab closures, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Health-Advisories

In Del Norte, Humboldt and Mendocino counties, the season runs from Saturday, Nov. 4 through July 30, 2018. The minimum size is five and three-quarter inches measured by the shortest distance through the body from edge of shell to edge of shell directly in front of and excluding the points (lateral spines) and the limit is 10. A valid California sport fishing license is required. For more information regarding recreational Dungeness crab fishing regulations and other crab species, visit http://www.eregulations.com/california/fishing/saltwater/invertebrate-fishing-regulations/

CDFW is reminding crabbers of the new state regulations that went into effect on Aug. 1 2016, regarding the crab fisheries and crab trap requirements. Dungeness crab size and bag limits are now uniform statewide. All crab traps will be required to have a destruct device, must be marked with the GO ID number of the operator of the trap, and may not be deployed during the seven days prior to the opening of the Dungeness crab season. For more info on the new regulations, visit https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=132266&inline

Marine Forecast
Ocean conditions don’t look too bad for the weekend, with no advisories posted as of Wednesday. Saturday’s forecast is calling for SE winds 5 to 10 knots with NW waves 7 feet at 13 seconds. Sunday is looking a little rougher, with winds out of the S 10 to 15 knots with NW waves 9 feet at 12 seconds. The forecast will likely change, so before you head out, check the marine forecast at www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka and click on the marine tab. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit: www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan

Weekend Tides – Humboldt Bay

  • Sat., Nov. 4 (High: 12:29 a.m. and 12:09 p.m.) (Low: 5:59 a.m. and 6:50 p.m.)
  • Sun., Nov. 5 (High: 1:20 a.m. and 11:49 a.m.) (Low: 5:42 a.m. and 6:36 p.m.) (Standard time begins at 2:00 a.m. Sunday)

Woodley Island sport crab trips
Captains Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing and Marc Schmidt of Coastline Charters are both booking crab trips out of Woodley Island beginning Saturday. Trips will generally last two hours. Departure times will depend on the tides, but most often they’ll leave sometime in the morning. To book a trip with Reel Steel Sport Fishing, call 707-499-4925. Coastline Charters can be reached at 707-601-3474. The weekend trips fill up quick, so you’ll want to call early to reserve your spot.

Weekend Weather forecast
Rain is in the forecast off and on through the weekend, with most of the rain falling on Friday and Sunday. According to Karleisa Rogacheski of Eureka’s National Weather Service, the Smith River basin could see up to three-quarters of an inch on Friday from midnight until 10:00 a.m. Humboldt County could see anywhere from a half to three-quarters on Friday. Saturday is looking mostly dry, with a chance of some lingering showers. On Sunday, the Smith basin may see up to three-quarters of an inch while a quarter to a half is predicted for Humboldt County.

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

Smith River
Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine reports a few fish are being caught at the mouth as well as the Sand Hole. He said, “It started to pick up the last few days, I’ve been seeing more fish hooked. 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 750 cfs on Saturday afternoon, but will be back under the 600 cfs threshold by early Sunday morning. The next system is forecasted to push the flows to nearly 5,000 cfs by very early Monday morning. To find out if the river is open to fishing, call the low-flow closure hotline at 707-822-3164.

Chetco
The Chetco has a lot of fish in most of the deeper holes, but with sunny, bright weather and low, clear water not many guides have been out,” said Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. “This week’s expected rain should have the river in near-perfect conditions next week, and maybe as early as the weekend. There was another short commercial salmon season off of Brookings early in the week and they caught a lot of fish, so there is another big group of salmon stacked up near the mouth. Any rain event around the first week of November generally leads to excellent salmon fishing on both the Chetco and Smith.”

The Chetco is open to salmon fishing through Dec. 31 upstream to Nook Creek. The fly angling and salmon bobber angling restrictions will end on Sat., Nov. 4.

Elk
If the Elk gets up to 4 feet, it should have a bunch of fish according to Martin. “Generally the Elk fishes better in November than October so this storm should kick things off.”

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

Late-season coastal king season starts with a bang

Fishing the NC 10_26 photo

Antelope resident Kim Walton Allum landed a beautiful Chinook salmon on Monday while fishing the Chetco River. Both the Chetco and Smith saw a big push of fish enter the rivers following last weekend’s rain. Photo courtesy of Mike Stratman/Redwood Coast Fishing

Last weekend’s rain provided a glimpse into what could be one heck of a late-fall coastal salmon season on the Smith and Chetco rivers. Following last Thursday’s rain, the Smith opened to fishing above Rowdy Creek for the first time this fall. And per usual, that first big rise brought in plenty of big, chrome-bright kings. Sunday was the day to be there, with just about all of the boats landing fish. Monday was the day to be on the Chetco as the river dropped to 3,000 cfs in the morning and brought in a bunch of new kings. Fish were spread throughout the river, and everyone was catching. If these first few days are any indication, we could be in for a fantastic season. All we need is more rain.

Weekend Weather
Enjoy the sunshine while you can as we could see a pattern change late next week. “The next chance for rain is late next week, with a chance of some light showers on Thursday and Friday,” said Ryan Aylward of Eureka’s National Weather Service. “The models are showing a potentially bigger storm next Saturday. We’ll have to see if that materializes, but we should start to see a shift into a wetter pattern,” Aylward added.

Recreational abalone season set to close
Recreational Red Abalone season will come to a close on Nov. 1. CDFW reminds abalone anglers that the law requires them to return their abalone cards to CDFW or report their harvest data online by Jan. 31, 2018 even if they did not try to take abalone. Data may also be submitted online from Nov. 1 until Jan. 31, 2018 at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/lishing#758846-harvest-reporting

Crab harvesting closure extended on Oregon coast
In a press release issued on Monday, the Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the immediate closure of recreational and commercial crabbing from the north jetty of the Coquille River, which includes the bay in Bandon, to the California border due to elevated levels of domoic acid.
This includes crab harvested in bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties. The recreational crabbing season in the ocean closed coast-wide on Oct.15
The announcement extends last week’s recreational closure. Crab harvesting from the north jetty of the Coquille River to the Columbia River remains open in bays and estuaries, and on beaches, docks, piers, and jetties. For more information, call ODA’s shellfish safety information hotline at 800-448-2474 or visit the ODA shellfish closures web page at: http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/programs/FoodSafety/Shellfish/Pages/ShellfishClosures.aspx

Dungeness crab testing
According to Christy Juhasz, an Environmental Scientist with CDFW, the next round of testing for Crescent City and Eureka were sent to California Dept. of Public Health (CDPH) on Friday, Oct. 20. “A fisherman went out today to collect another round of Dungeness crab samples at Crescent City to be shipped this week as well. We are tentatively scheduling preseason quality testing in the next week,” Juhasz added. . For more information regarding recreational Dungeness crab fishing regulations and other crab species, please visit the DFG Marine Region website at https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Invertebrates/Crabs

Dungeness crab sport fishery to open statewide
The popular Dungeness crab sport fishery will open statewide on Saturday, Nov. 4, barring any delays. The daily bag limit is 10 Dungeness crabs per person, except when fishing from a commercial passenger fishing vessel (or party boat) south of Mendocino County, in which case the limit is six. A legal-sized crab must be five and three-quarter inches measured by the shortest distance through the body from edge of shell to edge of shell directly in front of and excluding the points (lateral spines). Crabs taken from party boats must measure six inches minimum distance.

Willow Creek weir trappings
“The rain brought us quite a flush of fish last Friday. It was good to see them after some fairly slow days the rest of the week,” said Mary Claire Kier, an Environmental Scientist on the Trinity For the trapping week of Oct 15 through Oct. 21, 22 Chinook jacks were trapped at the weir. To date, 856 jacks have been trapped compared to 69 for the entire 2016 trapping season. This past week, 114 adult Chinook were trapped, bringing the season total to 990. In 2016, only 459 total Chinook were trapped.

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

The Rivers:
Smith River
The river opened to fishing on Friday, but Sunday was the day. After peaking at 4,200 cfs early Sunday morning, the Smith was full of bright kings, along with some darker fish that have been holding in the lower river for a while. The increase in flows brought in a bunch of new fish, and the boats working the forks all the way down to the Outfitters all landed fish. The bite got a little tougher on Monday as the river was on a pretty steep drop. With no rain since Sunday, the river has dropped out and is closed as of Thursday morning to fishing above the mouth of Rowdy Creek. It looks like it will be closed for a while, with the next rain forecasted to hit the area late next week or weekend. The daily bag and possession limit is one (1) Chinook salmon and no more than five (5) wild Chinook salmon over 22 inches per year.

Chetco/Elk/Sixes
“The Chetco fished well last Friday and again Saturday morning before blowing out Saturday afternoon through Sunday,” said Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. “On Monday, as the river dropped from 4,000 cfs to 3,000 cfs overnight, fishing was really good. There were fish spread throughout the river and everyone on the water was catching fish. Really good plug bite. On Tuesday, once flows got down to around 1,000 cfs, fishing was tougher, although all the guides still got a couple of fish. The river will be low and clear over the weekend.”

According to Martin, the Elk fished okay on Monday, while the Sixes was decent on Tuesday. “The Elk went from 4.2 feet on Sunday to 3 feet on Monday. Both rivers will be too low to drift by the end of the week,” added Martin

Trinity
Upper
Fishing from Douglas City to Del Loma, Steve Huber of Steve Huber’s Guide Service reports it was nice to see rain last week. “We did get some color to the river on Sunday from the fire in Junction City. They released the smolts from the hatchery, so it’s nearly impossible to fish bait. We switched over to plugs, making it a little bit easier to get down to the steelhead. Most the steelhead we are seeing are in the four to six-pound range. There are still a few salmon around and up on their beds. Fly guys are finding success with stones and egg imitations and some of the bank anglers  are out there with nightcrawlers and roe. Most of the fishermen are concentrated in the Junction City to Del Loma stretch.” Huber 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

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

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.

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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