Klamath fall quotas begin Aug. 15

Fishing the NC 8_9 photo

Dick Davis, pictured right, of Crescent City landed a nice early-season Klamath River king salmon on Wednesday. The fall quota will go into effect on the Klamath River for fall-run Chinook salmon beginning Aug. 15. Davis was fishing with guide Mike Coopman, also pictured. Photo courtesy of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service

The salmon rebuilding process is in full swing on the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. Following last year’s complete ocean and fall salmon river closures, we didn’t have anywhere to go but up. And that looks like exactly where we’re headed. The CDFW has forecasted roughly 93,500 adult fall-run kings will return to the Klamath basin this year, which is a big leap from last year’s 31,838 returnees. The rebuilding process was boosted by the 21,903 jacks (two-year old salmon) that also made their way upriver in 2017. If the number of adult kings that were swimming in the estuary the last couple months is any indication, 2018 is shaping up to be a really good season. And with all the shakers being caught in the ocean, the future is looking equally as bright.

2018 fall regulations
Fall regulations go into effect on the Klamath River for fall-run Chinook salmon beginning Aug. 15 and run through Dec. 31. On the Trinity, the fall quota will begin on Sept. 1 and run through Dec. 31. The in-river quota for the entire Klamath Basin is 3,490-adult fall Chinook. The daily bag limit will be two Chinook, no more than one adult (greater than 22 inches) and the possession limit is six, no more than three adults. Two hatchery steelhead or hatchery trout may also be retained, with a possession limit of four each. Spring-run Chinook salmon fishing regulations will run through Aug. 14, with a daily bag and possession limit of two salmon. The Trinity is open to spring-run Chinook salmon fishing from Jan. 1 through Aug. 31. The daily bag and possession limit is two Chinook salmon. The take of salmon is prohibited from the confluence of the South Fork Trinity River downstream to the confluence of the Klamath River from Jan. 1 through Aug. 31.

Klamath Quotas
From the 96 bridge at Weitchpec to 3,500 feet downstream of the Iron Gate Dam, 593 adults will be allowed for sport harvest. The take of salmon is prohibited on the Klamath River from Iron Gate Dam downstream to Weitchpec from Jan. 1 through Aug. 14.

The Lower Klamath from the Highway 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth, 1,745 adults will be allowed for sport harvest.

The Spit Area (within 100 yards of the channel through the sand spit formed at the Klamath River mouth) will close when 15 percent of the total Klamath River Basin quota is taken downstream of the Highway 101 bridge. In 2018, 523 adults can be harvested below the 101 bridge. Only the spit area will close to fishing once this quota is met, fishing will remain open upriver of the spit.

As a reminder, all legally caught Chinook salmon must be retained while fishing the spit. Once the adult component of the total daily bag limit has been retained, anglers must cease fishing in the spit area. Also, the new six-foot leader length restriction went into effect on March 1.

Trinity Quotas
On the Trinity, the quota is set at 1,152 adults. The quota will be split evenly; 576 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat and 576 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar to the confluence with the Klamath.

The main stem downstream of the Highway 299 Bridge at Cedar Flat to the Denny Road Bridge in Hawkins Bar is closed to all fishing September 1 through Dec. 31.

Once these quotas have been met, no Chinook salmon greater than 22 inches in length may be retained (anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon under 22 inches in length). The 2018 sport seasons, dates, locations and bag limits are published in the 2018-2019 Sport Fishing Regulations Supplement, which can be found at http://www.eregulations.com/california/fishing/supplement/klamath-river-basin-regulations/. Additional season information is available on the Klamath-Trinity River hotline at 800-564-6479. All anglers on the Trinity and Klamath rivers must have Salmon Harvest Cards in their possession when fishing for salmon.

Weekend Marine forecast
The ocean looks good through Friday, but will begin to get a little rough by the weekend. Out 10 nautical miles north of the Cape, Friday’s forecast is calling for NW winds 5 to 10 knots and waves out of the NW 2 feet at 4 seconds and W 2 feet at 11 seconds. Saturday is calling for N winds 10 to 20 knots and waves NW 6 feet at 7 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is call for winds out of the N 5 to 15 knots and waves NW 7 feet at 8 seconds. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/.  To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

The Oceans:
Eureka
The Eureka fleet has plenty of options, and right now they’re all producing. The salmon bite is good, and it seems to be getting better according to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “There seems to be more fish around now and they’re in a pretty big area. Fish are being caught from the 46 all the way to the 50 line in 180 to 200 feet of water,” said Klassen. “They’re mostly coming deep, though we did catch a few shallow on Tuesday.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, left, and Glen McMahan of Miranda with a nice albacore caught 50 miles southwest of Eureka on Sunday.

The warm tuna water came close and the weather cooperated enough for Klassen to run for Tuna on Sunday. “The water was about 50 miles southwest of the entrance, straight off the Cape. In about four hours of fishing, we landed 22, with the biggest in the 30-pound range. They averaged a solid 12 to 13 pounds,” added Klassen. The Cape is still providing some excellent rock fishing, “The ling cod are biting like piranhas,” said Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. “The rock fishing remains excellent, we’re catching some big vermilions, coppers and quillbacks. We also caught a couple nice Pacific halibut on the opener, with the biggest weighing 68-pounds.” California halibut remains a solid choice as well, with limits still being taken. “There’s quite a bit of bait in the bay right now, and that’s where you’ll find the halibut,” said Sepulveda.

Trinidad
Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters reports the salmon bite has been really good all week. He said, “They bit all week, but it dried up on Tuesday for whatever reason. But that didn’t last long as we went right back on Wednesday and caught 5, and could have had limits. There’s salmon in both directions from south of the Mad River to Patrick’s Point. We’ve been fishing in 200 feet of water and most of the time they’re right on the bottom. A few have been coming on deep-sixes as well.”

Shelter Cove
The salmon bite picked back up last week, but has really died off again the last couple days reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “We had limits Wednesday through Saturday right at the whistle, with nice fish up to 25 pounds. On Monday we ran north for a halibut and rockfish combo and had two halibut to 53 pounds and limits of rockfish and lingcod. On Tuesday we ended up with only one salmon after trying numerous locations,” added Mitchell.

Crescent City
The salmon remain scattered, but there’s lots of sharks around right now reports Leonard Carter of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “We’re seeing quite a few Threshers off of South Beach, and guys are actually targeting and landing them. I’ve heard there’s quite a few up in Brookings too. A few salmon are being caught, but there really isn’t any large schools around. Guys have been trying for a couple hours in the morning and maybe catching one or two and then they’re off to catch rockfish. And the rock fishing has been really good, still plenty of lings being caught.”

Brookings
The ocean salmon fishing has slowed again off of Brookings, although a few fish are being caught in deeper water reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “Tuna were caught 30 miles out this week, with several sport boats catching a few dozen fish or more. Sunday was the best day.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Fishing on the lower Klamath has picked up and there’s quite a few steelhead as well as kings around reports Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service. He said, “The river is in good shape – the extra flows coming from the Trinity are really putting the fish on the move. There’s a good mix of half-pounders and adult steelhead as well as adult kings and jacks to be had,” Coopman added. The salmon bite in the estuary had slowed down, but the bite reportedly picked back up on Tuesday. Boats trolling anchovies are doing well.

Lower Rogue
Salmon fishing was very good on the Rogue Bay over the weekend but was slower Monday and Tuesday with the smaller tides and warm water according to Martin. “The tides improve this week with a morning incoming and afternoon outgoing, the ideal conditions on the Rogue. Gold and green blades combined with anchovies are working best,” added Martin.

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

Advertisements
Posted in Current Fishing Reports

Variety of saltwater options on tap

 

Fishing the NC 8_2 photo

Louie Damante of Reno landed this beautiful king salmon while fishing out of Eureka on Monday. Photo courtesy of Gary Blasi/Full Throttle Sport Fishing

Salmon, rockfish, Pacific halibut, and California halibut in the bay – a plethora of options are here for the taking for North Coast saltwater fishermen. After a two-week closure, the Pacific halibut season opened back up on Wednesday. Prior to the closure, the halibut action was wide-open, and the fleet left them biting. Conditions weren’t quite as good for Wednesday’s opener, and according to reports, most boats chose another option due to heavy currents and either trolled for salmon or headed south to the Cape. Over the last week or so, the salmon bite has been steady for boats fishing between the Eel River and Table Bluff out in 180 to 300 feet of water. The salmon are coming deep in the water column too, anywhere from 100 to 180 feet on the wire. Most of the charters have scored limits every day, but it hasn’t been fast and furious. “It’s not wide-open, but it’s pretty darn good fishing,” said Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. “We’ve had limits each day we fished, but some days it took a little longer than others. If you grind it out, you’ll end up with your fish.” The rockfish action at the Cape remains red-hot, much like it’s been all season. There’s also been a pretty decent Pacific halibut bite down there in some of same water where the big rockfish and lings live. And if that wasn’t enough, we also have a world-class California halibut fishery that’s absolutely on fire inside of Humboldt Bay. The last few weeks have been stellar, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. If it’s saltwater action you’re after, the North Coast is the place to be.

Important reminder:
When fishing for halibut, rockfish and salmon, or any combination of the three, the more restrictive gear and depth restrictions apply. When targeting salmon, or once salmon are aboard and in possession, anglers are limited to using barbless hooks (barbless circle hooks if fishing south of Horse Mountain) when fishing for other species.

When targeting rockfish, cabezon, greenling and lingcod, or once any of these species are aboard and in possession, anglers are limited to fishing in waters shallower than 180 feet when fishing for other species.

Weekend Marine forecast
The wind will pick up on Friday and Saturday, but the ocean should remain fishable. Out 10 nautical miles north of the Cape, Friday’s forecast is calling for NW winds to 5 to 15 knots and waves out of the NW 6 feet at 7 seconds and NW 3 feet at 11 seconds. Saturday is calling for NW winds 10 to 15 knots and waves NW 5 feet at 6 seconds and NW 2 feet at 10 seconds. Sunday’s conditions are looking much improved, with winds out of the NW up to 5 knots and waves 3 feet at 4 seconds and W 5 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.

Abalone Cook Festival
The 2018 Abalone Cook Festival and Cook Off will be held on August 11 at South Noyo Harbor. Proceeds will go to the Northern California Sea Urchin eradication and Kelp reforestation effort. Tickets are available for purchase to the general public at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/
The Abalone Cook Festival and Cook Off will directly support commercial sea urchin divers in Mendocino County that are already eradicating purple sea urchins. One dive team is almost finished clearing out the north side of Caspar Cove. Abalone is provided by Ocean Rose Abalone Farm located in Cayucos CA. For more information, visit the Abalone Cook Festival event on Facebook.

The Oceans:
Eureka
“The salmon bite to the south off of Table Bluff is still going strong, and we’re getting limits almost every day,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “There’s lots of whales and krill in the area, and the water where the salmon are living is much cooler. We’re also seeing tons of shakers as well as silvers around too. The fish are being caught deep, but the keeper-size kings seem to be mid-level in the water column. The little flurry of salmon action that was happening at the whistle buoy last week looks like it’s dried up for now. The California halibut bite in the bay has been very consistent this week. There’s plenty of bait around, and the fish are spread out. We’ve been catching them in a lot of different places.”

Trinidad
Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters found a pretty good salmon bite on Tuesday just north of Trinidad in 240 feet of water.  He said, “The fish were coming fast and furious, one of the better bites that I’ve seen this year. They were coming deep on the wire – 120 feet. We got a couple that were in the 20-pound range and landed fish of all sizes down to just legal. We lost a few to the sea lions as well, and they were catching them on their own too. There was definitely a lot of fish in the area, and they were still there on Wednesday. The ocean was flat all week and the rockfish were on the chew. South of the Turtles and all the high points produced.”

Shelter Cove
“We had a decent salmon bite going on right out front this past week, but it has really dried up the last couple days,” said Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “Sounds like there are some salmon south of us, but it’s been hard to get a report cause the weather hasn’t allowed too many people to get there. Rock fishing has been pretty good, with most of our effort taking place at The Hat.”

Crescent City
A few salmon are being caught, but the bite has been real spotty reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “Most of the action is still to the south between Round Rock and the Sisters in 60 to 80 feet. The lingcod bite really turned on, especially near the Sisters. The rockfish action continues to be good as well, with most boats having very little trouble getting their limits. The South Reef has been good, but fish are being caught at all the usual spots. There was a lot of halibut effort on Wednesday, but I didn’t hear any scores,” Hegnes said.

Brookings
Salmon fishing has greatly improved out of Brookings reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “The fish are four to six miles offshore in 240 to 320 feet of water. There are a ton of shakers, so bring lots of bait, but there are plenty of nice kings from 10 to 25 pounds. The fish have been at 65 feet down first thing in the morning and then 95 to 130 feet later. Dozens of nice kings are being brought in daily since Saturday.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The fishing has slowed in the estuary the past couple days reports Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service. “With the water that was released from the Trinity, I thought the bite would really turn on, but it’s been tough. The fish that are being caught are nice ones, there’s been a couple in the high twenties caught in the last couple days. With this fishery, you just have to be here. The bite can turn on at any time. There isn’t much happening upriver as of yet, boats fishing from Blue Creek down are catching a few steelhead early in the morning,” Coopman added.

Lower Rogue
The Rogue has been fairly good, but extremely crowded according to Martin. “The bite has switched over to mid-morning on the incoming tide. The jetties and bar are now producing the greatest numbers of fish,” added Martin

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

Posted in Current Fishing Reports

Eureka salmon showing signs of life

Fishing the NC 7_26 photo

Grass Valley resident Larry Elis landed a nice king salmon while fishing out of Trinidad over the weekend. Photo courtesy of Curt Wilson/Wind Rose Charters

If the last couple days are any indication, we may yet have a salmon season out of Eureka. Since the opener on June 1, the fishing – and subsequently the effort – have both been underwhelming. That could all be changing now. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing put in a solid effort on Tuesday down near the Eel Canyon and found a decent school of keeper kings. He put nine salmon in the box for his five customers and could have limited but decided to head in early with a sick passenger. The word spread throughout the fleet, and the boats headed back to that same general area on Wednesday. The fish were still there, and they were in a biting mood. It wasn’t hot and heavy like we’ve seen in year’s past, but it was the best we’ve seen this year. Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing scored first, putting five limits on board. They were nice fish too, all between 10 and 15-pounds. “Once we got on the fish, we were done in under two hours,” said Sepulveda. The other charters were on the bite as well, with most limiting out or just a fish or two short. This is by far the best salmon fishing we’ve seen this year, but the million-dollar question remains – will they be there tomorrow?

Weekend Marine Forecast
The ocean looks like it might be a little bumpy the next couple days but should be plenty fishable. Friday’s forecast is calling for 5 to 15 knot winds out of the NW and NW waves 5 feet at 7 seconds. Saturday is calling for NW winds 5 to 15 knots and waves out of the NW 5 feet at 6 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is a little better, with winds out of the NW 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 3 feet at 5 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Halibut season re-opens August 1
The Pacific halibut season will re-open on Wednesday August 1 and will remain open through August 15. The season will open up again on Sept. 1 and run through Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. Through July 15, the CDFW has projected 13,836 net pounds have been harvested towards a quota of 30,940 pounds. For up-to-date harvest tracking information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

Sport Crab season coming to a close
The 2018 sport Dungeness crab season in Humboldt, Mendocino, and Del Norte counties will close on Monday July 30. The season will re-open on Nov. 3.

37763140_1778904958854063_7901336877867728896_o

Customers of Gary Blasi’s Full Throttle Sport Fishing show off limits of salmon caught Wednesday out of Eureka.

The Oceans:
Eureka
It looks like we may finally have a salmon season out of Eureka. After hearing what Klassen did on Tuesday, the sport fleet beelined for the same area and got into a pretty good bite. Just about everyone caught fish, and quite a few limits were reported. Boats were working near the 43-line in 250 feet of water. Aside from the bite to the south, there’s been a little action right out front just south of the whistle buoy in roughly 80-feet of water. It hasn’t been red-hot, but quite a few have been caught in that area. According to reports, one boat landed six late yesterday. The signs are there, lots of bait and birds. When the weather allows, boats fishing the Cape are reporting some wide-open rock fishing. Not much has changed down there, lots of big vermilion, canaries and quillbacks. Some big lings are coming over the rail too, Sepulveda boated a 38-pounder recently.  The California halibut fishing is as good as it can possibly be according to Sepulveda. “There’s tons of fish around, and there’s lot of bait too. We had 21 keepers in just a few hours on Tuesday. The fish have been here, but the tides have been really good this week,” said Sepulveda.

Trinidad
The Trinidad salmon bite was a little sporadic this week reports Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “There is just enough salmon biting to keep you interested. Most of the action was right on the beach in both directions. A few were caught south of the Mad River on Monday as well. Sunday was our best day when we put four keepers aboard. The ocean was nice on Monday and Tuesday, and the rockfish bit really well. We had some nice canaries, vermilion, and some good-sized lings as well,” Wilson said.

Shelter Cove
Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing has been running south 25 miles down the coast to highway 1 where the salmon fishing is red hot. “The fishing has been great, and we’ve had quick limits the last three times down with a 15-pound average. I stayed close to home last Wednesday cause of weather and mooched up limits of rockfish and four nice salmon to 25-pounds. A few salmon are being caught out front and although it’s not wide open, the ones being caught are very nice. I saw the first 30-pounder on Tuesday. A few boats ran for tuna on Monday towards Gorda Valley and high boat had 20 fish,” added Mitchell.

Crescent City
Boats have been catching a few salmon this week reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “I heard of some limits and there’s been lots of ones and twos. The best bite has been south between Round Rock and the Sisters in 60 to 100 feet. The fish have been a pretty good grade too, over 10-pounds. We’ve also had a pretty good California halibut bite along South Beach. The rockfish have been biting as well, and we’ve seen some real big lings being caught,” Hegnes said.

Brookings
“The Brookings ocean salmon bite really took off on Wednesday according to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Lots of boats had limits or close to it. The best bite was in 90 feet of water 30 feet down,” added Martin.

Klamath Control Zone closure
The Klamath Control zone will be closed the month of August for ocean sport salmon fishing. The closed zone around the Klamath River mouth is bounded on the north by 41°38’48” N. lat. (approximately 6 nautical miles north of the Klamath River mouth); on the west, by 124°23’00” W. long. (approximately 12 nautical miles off shore); and on the south, by 41°26’48” N. lat. (approximately 6 nautical miles south of the Klamath River mouth).

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
On Tuesday, the estuary bite went wide-open for boats trolling anchovies. Lots of salmon were caught, and quite a few boats put on limits. The moss has cleaned up some, and now the best bite has been an hour before high tide and on through the outgoing. On Wednesday, the bite slowed considerably and there were lots of zeros posted. Spring-run regulations are in effect through August 14, with a daily bag and possession limit of two salmon of any size.

IMG_3238

Customers of guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing hold seven of the king salmon they caught July 18 while trolling on the Rogue Bay in Gold Beach.

Lower Rogue
Last week was the best week so far this season for the Rogue Bay according to Martin. “This week’s catch rates are slightly less, mainly because boat traffic has increased to 50 to 75 boats a day. Many guides are getting a fish per rod with big groups, or limiting out with two customers. Anchovies and size 3.5 gold Hildebrandt blades are working best.” According to Martin, fish are averaging between 20 and 22 pounds and a few over 30 were caught on Tuesday.

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

Posted in Current Fishing Reports

Shelter Cove, Fort Bragg boats whack the tuna

Fisihng the NC 7_19 photo

Garberville resident Evan Roemmick landed a nice Albacore tuna last Sunday while fishing 24 miles offshore of Shelter Cove. Photo courtesy of Jake Mitchell/Sea Hawk Sport Fishing

The warm tuna water came within reach of the two ports to our south – Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg – and anglers jumped at the chance to put the season’s first albies on board. Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing out of Shelter Cove targeted tuna on Sunday and Monday and did well both days. “We ran towards Vizcaino Canyon and Vizcaino Knoll and found the break at 24 miles on Sunday,” said Mitchell. “It was a pretty slow pick most of the day, but we ended up with 15 nice tuna to 30-pounds. On Monday, the warm water had pushed out some and it took me a while to get it figured out and find where the fish were. Once we did, they started coming over the rail pretty quickly. We ended up with 25 fish that were mostly peanuts and some up to 15-pounds.”

The weather and water was equally as good out of Fort Bragg on Friday and Saturday. Quite a few boats made the 30-plus mile run northwest out of the jaws and it was game on almost immediately. From all of the reports, every boat out landed double digits, with the top boat landing 41. The seas roughed up by Sunday, but that patch of warm water is still sitting in between the Cove and Fort Bragg. The forecast doesn’t look great through the weekend, but the tuna hunters have their sights set on Monday.

Weekend Marine Forecast
The ocean doesn’t look good for the next few days, but conditions will begin to settle late in the weekend. Friday’s forecast is calling for 10 to 20 knot winds out of the N and NW waves 9 feet at 9 seconds. Saturday is calling for N winds 10 to 15 knots and waves out of the NW 7 feet at 9 seconds and SW 2 feet at 19 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is a little better, with winds out of the NW 10 to 15 knots and waves NW 6 feet at 8 seconds and SW 2 feet at 18 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Skipper Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing ended the latest Pacific halibut session with a bang, landing 71 and 76-pound flatties fishing shallow water near Cape Mendocino.

37161002_1836347699764003_7281088143707602944_n

A 71 and 78-pound halibut caught near Cape Mendocino last week. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Shellback Sport Fishing

But now that halibut is closed until August and the weather is a little too rough for a Cape run, chasing salmon has moved up the ladder as far as options go. Sepulveda spent a couple hours trolling out front in 170 feet of water on Monday, and put four keepers in the box. “I went looking down near the canyon, but I didn’t see any good sign,” said Sepulveda. “We headed back up the hill and dropped the lines in and landed a 17-pounder right away. We picked up three more keepers before heading into the bay to try for halibut. We haven’t spent much time fishing for salmon, it doesn’t seem like there’s any big schools out there. June typically sets the tone for our season, and they just weren’t here in big numbers,” Sepulveda added. The California halibut bite has been good, but not red hot. “We had some really big tide swings, which makes fishing tough,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “They’re much better beginning Thursday, with small tidal exchanges. There hasn’t been fish everywhere, but lots of small schools. And there’s lots of undersized halibut around too. There’s a fair amount of bait in the bay, so it should be good fishing this weekend,” Klassen added. The daily bag limit is three, and the minimum length is 22 inches.

Trinidad
According to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters, there’s been a steady pick of salmon since last week. He said, “The best bite has been in 60 to 100 feet of water in both directions. There’s been quite a bit of squid around, and small schools of salmon. If you find one, you can do pretty well. The weather has been real windy and a little rough on the outside, so we’re having a hard time putting in full rockfish trips. If you put your time in, there’s limits to be had. There’s lots of blues and blacks around, and we’re catching a few lings as well. The crabbing is still going strong, we’ve been sending the customers home with limits of nice big males,” Wilson added.

Shelter Cove
Along with a really good tuna bite, the rockfish action is staying hot as well. Mitchell spent most of last week fishing at Rogers Break, scoring limits each day. There hasn’t been much in the way of keeper kings, so he ran down the coast towards Westport on Tuesday and boated eight quality kings up to 22-pounds.

Crescent City
A few salmon have been caught this past week reports Leonard Carter of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “I’ve heard of some being caught out near the South Reef and also north a mile off of Castle Rock. There’s been lots of little keepers, and I also heard a 20-pounder was caught this week. The bottom fishing has been good when the boats have been out. Most of the guys are getting full limits, including lings,” Carter added.

Brookings
Windy weather has again stalled salmon fishing in the ocean out of Brookings reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “A few fish a day are being caught near the buoys, but most of the fish appear to be offshore, where conditions have not been favorable. A few California halibut were caught last week by anglers trolling close to shore.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The salmon action in the estuary is still going strong, with quite a few fresh salmon being caught daily. There’s been a decent bite first thing in the morning, then it becomes a tidal bite. With all the moss in the river, the incoming tide has been the best. Typically the outgoing tide fishes better, but this year with all the moss in the river, the fish seem to be coming in better on the high tide. During the incoming high, there’s a lot less moss, which gives us about a two-hour window of moss-free fishing. Trolling anchovies behind a Rogue River spinner bait is catching the majority of the fish, but a few are being caught on Kastmasters and spinners.

Lower Rogue
According to Martin, the Rogue Bay has been fair to good. “This week’s tides are tough, as it is an outgoing tide in the morning. There has been a good bite at the beginning of the outflow near Indian Creek, and the bite along the jetties has been best at the beginning of the incoming tide, and then by Jot’s midway through the tide,” added Martin.

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

Posted in Current Fishing Reports

Pacific halibut flying over the rails

Fishing the NC 7_12 photo

Rod Rodriquez of Winters landed this 70-pound halibut on 5-inch swimbait while fishing near Cape Mendocino on Sunday. The big flattie rounded out full limits of shallow water halibut for Skipper Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing and his customers. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Shellback Sport Fishing

The Pacific halibut bite all along the North Coast has been nothing short of spectacular this week. Since last Thursday when the ocean finally calmed, limits have been the rule. “It’s as good as I’ve seen it,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “There’s been quite a few caught at the Cape in shallow water while rock fishing, and the Eel River Canyon area has been good too. They seem to be all up and down the line clear to Trinidad in 250 to 300 feet of water.” Not to short-change the halibut fishery, but there’s a reason it’s grabbing all the headlines – the salmon continue to be MIA from Eureka to Crescent City. With the calendar saying it’s mid-July, it’s no wonder we’re all starting to get a little nervous. Sport and commercial boats have covered a lot of water, and the salmon just don’t seem to be here in big numbers – yet. There were good reports out of Fort Bragg over the weekend, and Shelter Cove is seeing some keeper kings as well. Next week will be the true test. Pacific halibut season will close after Sunday, which should put the focus squarely on the salmon. I know my fingers are crossed.

Marine Forecast
Out 10 nautical miles from Pt. St. George to Cape Mendocino, conditions for the weekend are looking plenty fishable. Friday’s forecast is calling for SW winds up to 5 knots and swells 7 feet at 11 seconds. On Saturday, winds will be out of the NW 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 2 feet at 5 seconds and NW 6 feet at 11 seconds. On Sunday, winds will be out of the NW 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 5 feet at 6 seconds and NW 2 feet at 15 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Pacific Halibut closes after Sunday
The Pacific halibut season will close after Sunday, July 15 and open back up on August 1 and run through the 15th. The remainder of the seasons open dates are: Sept. 1-Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. As of July 8, the CDFW has projected 11,178 net pounds have been harvested towards a quota of 30,940 pounds. For up-to-date harvest tracking information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking.

Sport Crab season coming to a close
The 2018 sport Dungeness crab season in Humboldt, Mendocino, and Del Norte counties will close on Monday July 30. The season will re-open on Nov. 3.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Skipper Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing has been running combo trips since last week, but they aren’t your typical combos. Most of the combos usually include salmon, but not this week. With the salmon yet to show, Sepulveda has been at the Cape targeting both rockfish and Pacific halibut. “I decided to make an effort to try and target Pacific’s in a little different habitat, but in same general area and water depth. The results have been pretty impressive, we’ve landed fish every day, and even put limits for six in the box on Sunday. The fish have been a good grade as well, we had a 58, 64, and a 70-pounder this week. The rockfish bite has been amazing too, with lots of great variety – coppers, vermilions, quillbacks, and canaries – coming aboard. We’re also seeing some big lings, we had a few over 30-pounds this week,” said Sepulveda.

Trinidad
According to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters, the halibut bite was wide-open this past week, with lots of limits reported. “There’s a lot of fish around, but there hasn’t been a ton of effort. There’s some salmon around too, but you’ve got to put in lots of time. A few boats were working south and they did really well. If you find some good patches of bait, you’ll likely catch a few. The rockfish are still biting, and we’re seeing more of a variety now. Some vermilion and canaries have shown up, and there’s more lings around too. The crabbing is still going good, we’re getting lots of big keepers daily,” Wilson added.

Shelter Cove
The salmon bite remains fairly consistent, but you really have to wade through a lot of silvers and shakers to get some keepers reports Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “We’ve been fishing from the Canyon down to The Hat and it’s been pretty much the same story everywhere. The rockfish bite has been a bit slow as of late, with the ling cod being pretty hard to come by. There is some warm tuna water within reach, a friend of mine ran offshore 50 miles last Thursday and boated 13,” said Mitchell.

Crescent City
There’s been a few halibut caught this past week reports Leonard Carter of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “One of the charters did really well on the backside of the South Reef in 200 feet of water. It seems when the boats can get out, they’re definitely catching a few. There are some salmon being caught, I heard of a few around the South Reef in 90 feet of water. Not a lot of effort on the salmon however. The rockfish bite has been really good, there’s lots of lings around,” Carter added.

Brookings
Salmon fishing remains slow to fair out of Brookings according to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “For every good day, when some boats get two or three kings, the next few days are slow.” 

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
With the river still loaded with moss, most of the salmon action continues to be in the estuary where trollers are catching a few salmon each day. The bite has been best on the incoming tide, but it’s been really inconsistent fishing. If you’re there when they come in, you’ll have a real good chance at catching a few.

Lower Rogue
According to Martin, the Rogue Bay busted open this week. “The incoming tide has been fishing well in the morning, then the afternoon runoff has been good. There are a lot of fish along the jetties, and they are suspended, with 2 1/2 ounces fished 35 to 40 feet out working well,” added Martin.

Junction City weir in place
The Junction City weir was installed on June 11 according to Mary Claire Kier, an Environmental Scientist with the CDFW Trinity River Project. “We’ve got a new JC weir configuration this year based on what we tried at Willow Creek last year,” said Kier. “It’s an upriver extension from the weir line to the trap. It seems to entice more fish into the trap. The weir is open for easy passage of fish every weekday afternoon and it is open from Friday afternoon through Sunday evening as well,” added Kier.

Through 18 trap days this year, 765 adult salmon have been trapped along with 19 jacks. A total of 150 adults and 58 jacks were trapped in 2017, so we’re off to a really good start.

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

Salmon anglers curtailed by windy conditions

The north winds – typical for this time of the year – are in full effect here on the North Coast. Since late last week, the wind machine has been on high, and shows no signs of slowing down – at least through the Monday. There’s been very little offshore activity, though a few boats snuck out on Monday in search of salmon but struck out. The end of June should be prime time for salmon, but it’s been anything but. “I was out on Sunday for a little while, and there just isn’t the signs that we had earlier in the season,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “We didn’t see much bait around and very few birds. And we haven’t seen any whales like we did earlier. We’re hoping these strong north winds will kickstart the food chain and bring in some big schools of salmon.”

But just as one fishery is in limbo, another has taken off. As luck would have it, just as the ocean was getting too rough, the California halibut started moving into Humboldt Bay in pretty big numbers. Sport boats, charters, and even the kayakers have all gotten in on the action. Pacific halibut, which has been closed since June 15, is slated to open back up on Sunday. So, when and if the wind dies down, we’ll have a few more options on the table.

Weekend Marine Forecast
The wind is forecasted to blow at least through Monday, so it looks like the ocean will remain unfishable until sometime next week. As of Wednesday afternoon, Friday’s forecast is calling for N winds 15 to 20 knots and waves NW 6 feet at 7 seconds and W 3 feet at 11 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for N winds 15 to 25 knots and swells NW 10 feet at 9 seconds. Sunday’s prediction is similar, with NW winds 15 to 25 knots and waves NW 10 feet at 9 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan

Halibut season re-opens July 1
The Pacific halibut season will re-open on Sunday, July 1 and will remain open through July 15. The remainder of the seasons open dates are: Aug. 1-15 and Sept. 1-Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. Through June 15, the CDFW has projected 6,592 net pounds have been harvested towards a quota of 30,940 pounds. For up-to-date harvest tracking information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

Oregon rockfish daily bag limit reduced to 4 beginning July 1
The daily bag limit for general marine fish (rockfish, greenlings, skates, etc.) will be reduced from 5 to 4 beginning July 1 according to a press release issued on Tuesday by the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. “Participation in this fishery has been really good so far this year with effort higher than even record years seen in two of the past three years,” said Lynn Mattes, Project Leader, ODFW. “Reducing the bag limit to 4 fish on July 1 is necessary to keep black rockfish, other nearshore rockfish and yelloweye rockfish catches within annual limits.”  Cabezon retention also opens on July 1 with a 1-fish sub-bag limit (meaning that of the 4-fish marine bag, no more than 1 can be a cabezon). Bag limits for lingcod, flatfish and the longleader fishery remain the same. Last year, recreational bottomfish closed on Sept. 18 after the annual quotas for several species were met early, the first in-season closure since 2004. To read the entire press release, visit https://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2018/06_June/062618.asp

July 7 is statewide free fishing day
On Saturday July 7, 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. For more information visit, https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing/free-fishing-days

The Oceans:
Eureka
With the ocean too rough, the California halibut fishery inside of Humboldt Bay has taken center stage. “It’s the only game in town right now,” said skipper Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. “We’ve gotten limits just about every day, and the fish are a real good size. They’re averaging from eight to 12-pounds. The fishing should only get better as more and more bait is showing up in the bay. The best way to catch them is live bait, but guys fishing dead bait and even jigs are having plenty of success. We’re very fortunate to have a fishery this good that most of us consider a plan B. There’s lots of fish and very little pressure, and it’s great for the folks who battle sea sickness.”

Trinidad
“It’s been pretty desolate out of Trinidad this week, very few boats have been on the water due to the wind,” said Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “There’s been a few of the bigger boats out trying for salmon, but it’s been tough. Guys who are putting in the effort are maybe getting one per trip. The black rockfish have been biting pretty good, so that’s what we’ve been focusing on. It doesn’t take too long to get limits. The crabbing picked up this week, so we’ve able to send home the customers with some nice crab as well,” Wilson added.

Shelter Cove
Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing spent the early part of the week running rockfish and salmon combos out of the Cove. “The rockfish were biting pretty good outside the whistle, but the ling cod have been harder to come by,” said Mitchell. “There seems to be salmon just about everywhere you go, but they’re mostly shakers and silvers. We’ve only managed a few keeper salmon each day but we did get a few nice ones at the end of the day on Tuesday, so hopefully there’s some more fish moving in. The Hat, Lower Banks, and the Old Man have been the best spots for keeper kings.”

 

Fishing the North Coast 6_28 photo

Garberville residents Albie Rumfelt, left, and Shane Shepherd landed a couple nice salmon early last week while fishing out of Shelter Cove. Strong winds are once again forecasted  through the weekend, which will likely keep the salmon fleet from heading offshore. Photo courtesy of Jake Mitchell/Sea Hawk Sport Fishing

Crescent City
According to Leonard Carter of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, there’s been very little offshore activity this week due to the wind. “There’s been a couple boats that went out very early and fished out front, but I’m not sure how they did. There’s been no one trying for salmon, the oceans been too rough to get out there. The one good report I heard was the perch fishing was really good at the mouth of the Smith River,” Carter said.

Brookings
Windy weather has made fishing tough the past week out of Brookings reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “A few salmon a day are being caught close to port, but not many people are fishing until the wind subsided. Lingcod and rockfish action is good when boaters can get out,” Added Martin.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
With heavy moss still coming downriver, the action has moved to the estuary where boats trolling for fresh kings are doing well. Spinners or anchovies trolled on the incoming tide have been the go to baits. As a reminder, no fishing is allowed from June 15 through September 14 in the Klamath River from 500 feet above the mouth of Blue Creek to 500 feet downstream of the mouth of Blue Creek.

Lower Rogue
According to Martin, salmon fishing was on the slow side the past week on the Rogue Bay, with the best bite late Tuesday morning right in front of the Jot’s dock. “Around a dozen fish were caught. The water temperature is 72 degrees, which should keep any later springers from leaving the bay,” said Martin.

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

Posted in Current Fishing Reports

King action hit and miss off the coast

Fishing the NC 6_21 photo

Josh Carmel of Redding landed a nice Chinook salmon while fishing out of Eureka on Wednesday. The sport salmon bite continues to be hit and miss along the North Coast, but should improve throughout the summer. Photo courtesy of Gary Blasi/Full Throttle Sport Fishing

It’s been awhile since the North Coast has played second fiddle to other parts of the state when it comes to sport salmon fishing, but that’s the reality right now. Unlike the ports to our south, who are enjoying some of the best salmon fishing that anyone can remember, the large concentrations of keeper-size salmon have yet to move into the Eureka/Trinidad area. That’s not to say if you went trolling tomorrow you’d be bored, you’d just likely come home with lots of empty bait trays and maybe a keeper or two. The amount of undersized kings and silvers around right now is exciting for the future – and also a little bit of a nuisance. “There’s lots of areas of shakers, especially offshore,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “The areas that have some of the bigger fish are really small and scattered, if you find one you’ve got to grind away at it. As of Tuesday, there was a better chance for an occasional bigger fish to the south, but there were lots of little ones. To the north, there’s more keepers but they’re really spread out. There just isn’t any large concentrations of bigger fish right now.” With plenty of good sized kings coming over the rails in the southern ports, it should be just a matter of time before we see a convergence of kings right off our front porch.

Weekend marine forecast
The ocean is going to be a little bumpy this weekend, but should be good enough for some of the larger salmon trolling boats. As of Wednesday afternoon, Friday’s forecast is calling for N winds 10 to 20 knots and waves NW 5 feet at 7 seconds and north 2 feet at 11 sconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for N winds 10 to 20 knots and swells NW 9 feet at 9 seconds. Sunday’s prediction is NW winds 5 to 15 knots and waves NW 7 feet at 7 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan

Humboldt Bay Dredging
The 372-foot dredge STUYVESANT is scheduled to arrive Thursday in Humboldt Bay to begin dredging operations in the bar and entrance channels. You can help by spreading the word to all mariners to give the dredge plenty of room to work as it’s a very large boat and is restricted in maneuverability. Mariners should use extreme caution when transiting in the area near the dredge and be aware of the prop wash.

Fish Lake Kid’s fishing derby this Saturday
The 44th annual Kid’s Fish Lake Fishing Derby is taking place on Saturday, June 23 in Orleans. The derby starts promptly at 8 a.m. and runs until noon. It’s open to kids from Pre-K to the 8th grade. Poles and tackle will not be provided and an adult must accompany all children. Hot dogs and lemonade will be provided; adults are encouraged to bring a side dish or salad to share. The Orleans Rod and Gun Club, Orleans Ranger District, Coast Central Credit Union, CA Deer Assoc., Pacific Outfitters, AmeriCorps Watershed Stewards, and Our River Community host the event. For more information, visit https://www.evensi.us/44th-annual-kid-fish-lake-fishing-derby/260187580

Vessel inspections coming to Woodley Island
The Crescent City USCG Auxiliary has arranged to come to Woodley Island Marina on Saturday July 07 from 10 a.m. to 3p.m. to conduct free recreational and commercial vessel examinations. The H and I Parking Lots will be available for vessels who wish to come in by trailer. In-water inspections will also be available. For more information, contact John Knox at 707-218-0162.

The Oceans:
Eureka
With the salmon bite not quite up to speed as of yet, skipper Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing, along with most of the charters, has opted to run some combo trips. “The rockfish bite at the Cape has been incredible this week. We’ve been catching some real big lings, with quite a few in the 30-pound range. The vermilion continue to chew on anything we throw at them, and they’re big too. We haven’t been focused on the blacks as much, we’re rounding out our limits with plenty of coppers and quillbacks. There are lots of salmon around, but it just hasn’t been consistent. We’ve had good fishing, bad fishing, and everything in between. There’s certainly no shortage of small kings, and there’s some pretty big silvers around too,” Sepulveda added.

Given the number of shakers and silvers in the area, it’s always a good idea to make sure you can identify the difference. For identification info, visit https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=36125&inline

king ID

Trinidad
Following a few days of heavy winds, the Trinidad fleet were back on the water on Monday reports Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. He said, “The salmon bit pretty well on both Monday and Tuesday. Most boats reported at least half limits, with plenty of opportunities for full limits. On Monday the fish were right at Pilot Rock where the bait was thick. Most of the action on Tuesday was right out front from the whistle buoy to Pilot Rock in 50 to 60 feet of water. The bite was real steady all morning. We’re still catching some rockfish, especially lot of blacks. The crabbing is a little slow, but we’re getting some real nice-sized males.”

Shelter Cove
The wind and the big minus tides forced us to cancel our trips last week, but conditions are looking good this week reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “On Sunday, we headed right back to where I saw all the bait last week outside The Hat in 50 fathoms. The bait wasn’t as thick, but the fish were there and bit pretty well. We put our 16th fish in the box for limits for clients and crew just before 1 p.m. The fish averaged right around 8-pounds. On Monday, the fish seemed to be a lot more spread out and we covered a lot of territory to put just nine fish on the boat. The grade was a bit better, with a couple fish over 15 pounds.”

Crescent City
The weather has finally calmed down and a few more salmon have started to hit the deck reports Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “They showed up pretty good on Wednesday, Pacific West Coast Ocean Fishing Guide Service boated eight. The hot spot was out in the halibut grounds in 180 to 200 feet of water where there’s a pretty good temperature break. Lots of silvers have showed up as well. There’s quite a bit of bait in close, and I think there’s fish there too. More people are starting to show up, so we should start to get some better salmon reports.” Carson said.

Brookings
After showing signs it was about to bust wide open, salmon fishing slowed this week reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “Strong winds late last week lowered water temperatures to 47 degrees, and although there is a bunch of bait, the salmon are not biting. A few nice halibut were caught in 200 feet of water last Tuesday. The Rogue Bay also is slow, but with water temperatures warming and bait in the bay, salmon fishing should improve soon.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Not much has changed on the Klamath. The hot weather inland continues to push the moss downriver, making it tough for those sitting on the anchor. There seems to be a few fish around but the conditions are hindering the bite. A few boats have started to troll the estuary, but there hasn’t been much action yet. 

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 salmon bite remains inconsistent

Since the opener, the sport salmon season has been somewhat of a roller coaster ride. It started out with a bang, but the fish have been pretty fickle since. With no established pattern or consistent sign, charter and sport boats have been on the hunt almost daily. “Every day has been different,” said Capt. Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. “We haven’t seen any type of pattern as of yet, nothing really to go back to everyday. And we’ve covered a lot of water, from the Cape to Trinidad from 80 to 300 feet. The fishing is good when we find them – we’ve had a few days where we had limits in 45 minutes. But it’s been pretty inconsistent,” added Sepulveda.

The one bit of good news from this week is the fish being caught have been a better grade. After seeing lots of fish in the 20 to 24-inch range, this week’s fish are averaging a solid six to 15 pounds. The wind is forecasted to howl starting today with a gale warning in effect through Saturday night. A few days of wind-driven coastal upwelling could be just what we need to kick our salmon season into high gear.

Weekend marine forecast
The ocean doesn’t look very fishable for the weekend, with high winds and large swells predicted north of Cape Mendocino. Friday’s forecast is calling for N winds 20 to 30 knots and waves NW 9 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for N winds 15 to 25 knots and swells to 11 feet at 11 seconds. Sunday’s prediction is SW winds 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 6 feet at 9 seconds and W 5 feet at 13 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan

Potential dangerous bar crossing
With minus tides lasting through next Tuesday, the Humboldt bar could be a little dicey due to the combination of tides and swells converging. If you’re planning on hitting the bar at daylight, check the conditions first. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan.

Weekend tides
The tidal exchanges will be big once again this weekend, with some very low tides predicted in the morning making for a potentially dangerous bar crossing.

Fri. June 15 –  High: 12:49 a.m. at 8.0 ft. down to a low of -2.1 ft at 7:50 a.m.
Sat. June 16 –  High: 1:39 a.m. at 7.8 ft. down to a low of -2.0 ft at 8:38 a.m.
Sun. June 17 –  High: 2:32 a.m. at 7.4 ft. down to a low of -1.6 ft at 9:28 a.m.

Fishing the NC 6_14 photo

Best known for his outlandish cell phone commercials, Humboldt resident Corky Cornwell is also an avid angler. Here he shows off his 46.5 pound Pacific halibut he boated on a recent trip out of Eureka. Cornwell was fishing in 325 feet of water. The first of four sport Pacific halibut seasons off of California will come to a close after Friday, June 15. The season will re-open on July 1. Photo courtesy of Corky Cornwell

Halibut season closes after Friday
The first of four sport Pacific halibut seasons off of California will come to a close after Friday, June 15. The season will re-open on July 1 and remain open through July 15. The remainder of the seasons open dates are: Aug. 1-15 and Sept. 1-Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. CDFW has projected 6,592 net pounds of the 30,940-pound quota of Pacific Halibut has been harvested through June 3. To view the latest catch projection information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

Recreational Ocean Salmon Season Opens from Horse Mountain to Pigeon Point.
The 2018 sport salmon fishing season opens Sunday, June 17 in coastal waters south of Horse Mountain to Pigeon Point. Recreational anglers will be allowed to catch two salmon of any species except Coho per day, with a minimum size limit of 20 inches. For more information, visit the Ocean Salmon webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon or call the CDFW Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429.

The Oceans:
Eureka
The salmon bite was pretty slow the last couple of days reports Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “The fish seem to be real scattered right now. The common theme is here today, gone tomorrow,” said Klassen. “If you’re in the right place at the right time, you can do well. We’ve been looking and covering a lot of water, but there just isn’t any consistency. Hopefully the wind that’s going to blow for the next few days will shuffle things around a bit and bring in some more fish.” With the salmon bite unpredictable at best, Capt. Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing has spent a few of his days jigging up rockfish at Cape Mendocino. “The rockfish bite hasn’t been wide-open down there, but the fish have been a super high grade. We’ve been catching some real nice vermilions, up to eight or nine pounds and we had three lings over thirty last week. But we’re definitely having to hunt for them, they aren’t coming as easy as usual.”

Trinidad
Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters reports the salmon bite has tailed off since last week’s hot action. He said, “I haven’t seen much sign lately, I think it’s moved on along with the salmon. With the lack of fish being caught, most of the effort has switched over to rockfish where the bite has been fair. We haven’t had any trouble catching our share of black rockfish, but all the other species have been tough to come by lately.”

Shelter Cove salmon opener
The wind backed off over the weekend and we were able to get out Friday through Monday reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “We made a couple runs north to Gorda and the rock fishing was fantastic. We had quick limits with big lingcod to 30 pounds on Friday and Sunday. The halibut also bit pretty well up there on Friday, with every boat getting one to three fish. Saturday it blew pretty good and kept us closer to home. We fished the Old Man and got limits of rockfish pretty quickly but the lingcod didn’t want to play and we ended up a few fish short of limits. On Monday, we fished on the Old Man again and got limits but we really had to work hard for them. A few boats tried for salmon north of the 40’05 line over the weekend, but there wasn’t any caught that I know of. It looks really good for salmon just below the Cove and outside the rocks in 50 fathoms, so hopefully it stays that way through Sunday.”

Crescent City
There were a couple salmon caught out by the second can a few days ago reports Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “The majority of the fish being caught are still roughly six to nine miles straight out. There has been quite a bit of bait around, so maybe the bite will improve. The rockfish bite is still slow and has been for a few days. The water is really off color from the storms, that may have something to do with it,” Carson said.

Brookings
“Salmon moved in closer to shore on Tuesday, with several boats limiting out between the red bell and the whistle, fishing in 60 to 80 feet of water, said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Prior to that, all of the salmon action was 6 to 9 miles offshore. The commercial trollers filled their quota on Monday, with a few boats getting more than 50 fish a trip. Lots of bait close to the harbor should keep the salmon around for a while.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Springer fishing has steadily improved this week, with most boats getting one to three chances per trip. The water is starting to get low, and the moss is starting to make its way down to the lower river. The fishing should continue to improve through the month.

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

Future looks bright — lots of small kings in the sea

Fishing the NC 6_7 photo

Petaluma resident Manny Medeiros landed a nice size king salmon while fishing north of Eureka on Monday. Salmon season is off to a good start out of both Eureka and Trinidad, with lots of kings being caught daily. Photo courtesy of Marc Schmidt/Coastline Charters

One thing we know for sure after the first week of salmon season on the North Coast – the future looks very bright. According to reports, there is no shortage of small kings from Shelter Cove all the way to Crescent City. Boats fishing out of Eureka and Trinidad have been weeding through the undersized fish and filling their boxes with kings ranging in sizes from 20 to 26-inches, with the occasional 7-8-pounder in the mix. Trinidad has been the spot for bigger fish the past couple days, with sport and charter boats scoring easy limits of kings ranging from barely legal up to 10-pounds. According to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters, there are fish in every direction between 200 and 300 feet of water. The CDFW predicted roughly 360,000 Klamath River adult kings would be swimming off our coast this summer, and that may very well be true. But what’s really cool to see are the new crop of two-year-old’s that are scattered the length of the coast. After a few down years, the ocean salmon population is finally headed in the right direction on the North Coast.

Weekend marine forecast
The ocean looks to be fishable through the weekend, at least for those trolling for salmon. On Friday, winds will be out of the E up to 5 knots with W waves 5 feet at 12 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for NW winds 5 to 10 knots and NW swells to 4 feet at 5 seconds and W 6 feet at 12 seconds. Sunday’s prediction is N winds 5 to 10 knots and swells 2 feet at 5 seconds and W 6 feet at 11 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan

Pacific Halibut quota update
The first of four sport Pacific halibut seasons off of California will come to a close after next Friday, June 15. Through May 27, the CDFW has projected 4,891 net pounds of the 30,940-pound quota of Pacific Halibut has been harvested. This season’s open dates are May 1-June 15, July 1-15, Aug. 1-15 and Sept. 1-Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. To view the latest catch projection information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

Free class on baitfish catching
Eureka’s Sportsman’s Warehouse will be holding a free class on “Baitfish Catching Techniques” on Friday June 8 from 5 p.m.to 6 p.m. The class will teach you how to catch your own bait for local fish. They will be going over everything from harvesting sand crabs to anchovies for the best plan for catching the big ones. Sportsman’s Warehouse is located at 3456 Broadway in Eureka.

The Oceans:
Eureka
The first two days of the salmon season were really good right out front reports Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “There were lots of fish around, though mostly small, but most everyone had limits of fish ranging from 20 to 26-inches,” said Klassen. “By Sunday, the conditions really changed and the dirty water, bait, and birds all but disappeared. The ocean was pretty rough, and not very many boats limited out.” Following some reports of a better grade of fish near Trinidad, most of the fleet headed north on Tuesday. “We made it about six miles shy of the head as we were hearing it wasn’t red-hot up there. We stopped and ended up fishing between the 48 and 52-lines in 250 feet of water where a north to south running current rip was holding bait fish – as well as salmon. We worked that area for most of the day and ended just shy of limits. Overall, there seems to be fish as far as the eye can see. There’s tons of shakers, and I don’t think the bigger three-year-old’s have shown up yet. It’s looking like it’s going to be a good season.”

Trinidad
Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters called in a wide-open salmon bite report on Wednesday morning. “The salmon bite is red-hot today,” Wilson said. “The fish are off Patrick’s Point in roughly 240 feet of water. The fish are a little better grade today, with most running 7 to 12-pounds.” Wilson also added a 40-pounder was weighed in at the Trinidad pier on Tuesday, so there are some bigger fish around.

Shelter Cove
The big news coming out of the Cove this week was Jared Morris of C’mon Sportfishing landing the season’s first salmon caught above the 40’05 line out of Shelter Cove. His crew put five kings in the box on Saturday in windy conditions. The fish were a decent grade, all running 7 to 8-pounds. According to Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing, the wind has really been blowing at the Cove. He said, “I fished on Monday with three clients and it was very sloppy. We managed to get limits of rockfish and lingcod before it got unbearable. We also lost a nice halibut at the boat. Looks like the wind might let up a little at the end of the week so we should be able to get back out.”

Crescent City
There were a few salmon caught this past weekend reports Leonard Carter of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “Most of the sport and commercial fleet have been fishing 10 to 12 miles straight out on a 180 to 210 heading. I’m hearing a few being caught, but it’s not been red-hot. Like everywhere else, there’s lots of shakers around. The keepers are averaging 10 to 12-punds. The rockfish bite has been good overall, but the last couple days we’ve had some real heavy current which made the bite tough.” Carter said.

Brookings
Salmon fishing continues to be hit and miss out of Brookings reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “After a couple dozen fish are caught one day, only a handful are caught the next. Most of the fish are still six to 10 miles offshore along the California border. The bait has moved in close, but the salmon are still offshore. The water temperature is 48 to 49 degrees, which may be affecting the bite. Lingcod and rockfish action has been good, but the incoming tide is fishing much better than the outgoing. Red-tail surfperch are just beginning to spawn, so the action is really good at Crissy Field right next to the state line.”

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

Return of the king! Salmon season opens Friday

Fishing the NC 5_31 photo

Sport salmon season opens this Friday along the North Coast, with anglers hoping for plenty of salmon and smiling faces like pictured above. The season will run from June 1 through Sept. 3. Weather conditions look decent for the opener, but winds are forecasted to pick back up on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/ Shellback Sportfishing

It’s been a long wait, but the time is finally here. After suffering through a complete shutdown of our salmon season in 2017, beginning Friday morning sport salmon anglers will once again set their sights on ocean kings. I’m not sure whether it’s the year-long hiatus or the fact that nearly 360,000 adult Klamath kings are said to be swimming off our coast – but there’s a buzz around town like I’ve never heard. It’s all anyone wants to talk about. Standing in the checkout line at the supermarket or waiting in line to get your morning coffee, it’s all about the salmon. And for good reason. It’s clear that last year’s closure left a huge void in our saltwater season that wasn’t filled. There’s really nothing that compares to the thrill, taste, and the tradition of salmon fishing off of our coast. And now the kings have returned, enjoy…

Weekend Marine Forecast
If the forecast holds, salmon anglers may only get a couple days on the water at the most. Friday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the NW 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 6 feet at 10 seconds. The forecast begins to go downhill on Saturday, with NW winds 5 to 15 knots and waves NW 6 feet at 7 seconds and NW 4 feet at 11 seconds. The wind returns in force on Sunday, coming out of the NW 10 to 20 knots with NW waves 9 feet at 8 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

Use extreme caution when crossing Humboldt Bar
For the anglers who aren’t aware, there could be potential early morning hazardous bar conditions beginning on Friday due to the combination of tides and swells converging at the time when most boats will be headed out the mouth of the harbor. Hard charging water flowing out of the bay and running straight into large swells can be extremely dangerous and you should always error on the side of caution — even if it means waiting until the out-flowing water from the bay has slowed, which usually occurs within 30 to 45 minutes prior to the tide bottoming out. For the salmon opener on Friday, 6.6 ft. of water will be flowing out down to an -0.8 when boats will be crossing the bar. Recreational anglers can provide bar reports on VHF channel 68 while the Coast Guard emergency channel is 16 on the VHF. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. The bar cam, located at http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/barCam/?cam=humboldtBayBar, is currently off line.

Weekend tides
The tidal exchanges will be big this weekend, with minus tides in the morning making for a potentially dangerous bar crossing.

Fri. June 1 (High: 1:28 a.m.(6.6 ft.) and 3:24 p.m.) (Low: 8:30 a.m.(-0.8 ft.) and 8:18 p.m.)

Sat. June 2 (High: 2:04 a.m.(6.3 ft.) and 4:08 p.m.) (Low: 9:09 a.m.(-0.5 ft.) and 9:02 p.m.)

Sun. June 3 (High: 2:43 a.m. (6.0 ft.) and 4:53 p.m.) (Low: 9:50 a.m. (-0.3 ft.) and 9:52 p.m.)

General sport salmon regulations:
Our 2018 ocean sport salmon season runs from June 1 through September 3 and is open from the OR/CA border south to Horse Mountain, CA. Fishing is allowed seven days per week for all salmon except Coho, two fish per day and a minimum size limit of 20 inches total length for Chinook.  The possession is no more than two daily bag limits in possession while on land. On a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit. No salmon punch card is required for ocean salmon fishing. For complete ocean salmon regulations, please visit the Ocean Salmon webpage at https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/ocean/regulations/salmon or call the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline (707) 576-3429.

Big Salmon Contest
Don’t forget, Eureka’s Englund Marine will be holding its BIG FISH Salmon Contest again this year. The annual event runs from June 1 to September 3, 2018. There is no entry fee and you can enter as many fish as you’d like. Salmon need to be gutted and gilled. Prizes will be awarded to the top three fish. A complete list of rules and regulations are available at Englund Marine, 2 Commercial St., Eureka, 707-444-9266.

Fish for free this weekend in Oregon
Oregon will be having a Free Fishing Weekend on June 2 and 3. On those two days, no license, tag or endorsement is required to fish, crab or clam anywhere in Oregon. This applies only to waters already open to fishing, crabbing or clamming. All other regulations, such as bag limits, still apply. For more information, visit https://myodfw.com/workshops-and-events/free-fishing-weekend-june-2-3

The Oceans:
Eureka
“The Eureka fleet hasn’t been offshore since last Thursday,” said Skipper Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “The wind has been blowing and it’s just been too rough. But, as luck would have it, it looks like the wind will die down for the salmon opener on Friday. Prior to the wind, it was looking real good straight out in 250 to 300 feet of water. Some really good edges, lots of birds and bait, and salmon boiling on the surface. That’s where we’ll likely start looking on Friday. The wind is predicted to pick back up on Sunday, so we may only get a couple days on the water. And the morning tides don’t look good for crossing the bar, hopefully everyone will error on the side of caution. The California halibut bite inside the bay has been good and is getting better. There’s not tons of bait yet, we should start to see more as we move into summer.” said Klassen.

Trinidad
The rock fishing over the weekend was really good reports Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters out of Trinidad. He said, “There was a lot of fish caught right in the bay, including some real nice lings.  Everyone is geared up for the salmon opener on Friday. The last time we were offshore, the signs looked really good straight out in 300 feet of water. Lots of birds, bait and good looking water. That’s probably a good place to start,” added Wilson.

Shelter Cove
Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing ran a few halibut and rockfish combo trips at Gorda late last week, and had some good success on the rockfish. “The halibut did not cooperate for us, but the rockfish bit pretty well. On Friday, we ran up too Rodgers Break in pretty sloppy conditions and boated limits of lings and plenty of rockfish. Over the weekend, we fished south off the Ranch House and Bear Harbor. The fish bit pretty well and we got limits both days. The crabbing is still going strong, we’re getting limits of every trip. With the wind continuing to blow, it looks like we’ll be off the water for the next few days,” said Mitchell.

Crescent City
The ocean has been too rough to get out this week reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “Like everywhere else, the wind has been howling here. I haven’t seen many boats going out. And if they went out, it wasn’t for long. It will be interesting to see what’s out there when the salmon season opens on Friday. I’d start either above or below the South Reef in 150 to 180 feet of water. There always seems to be fish there. The commercial guys were catching down below the Sisters in 240 feet, that would be another place to look. We’ve got some anchovies in the harbor, which we haven’t had in big numbers in recent years. Hopefully that’s another good sign that there’s salmon around.”

Brookings
Windy weather has made fishing tough this week, but calm seas are expected Friday and Saturday reports Andy Martin, of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “Last Saturday, the boats that ventured 6 to 8 miles offshore, right on the California border, did well for salmon, with several limiting out. Nearly 30 salmon were caught, which was the best day so far this season.  The best fishing was in 250 to 300 feet of water, fishing 80 to 100 feet down. A few more salmon were caught early Sunday before the ocean became unfishable for several days. The kings are running 24 to 26 inches, with a few in the 15- to 20-pound range. Several hatchery fish have been caught, likely Klamath or Sacramento fish since the Rogue fall salmon run is mainly wild fish.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Springer fishing improved over the weekend on the Lower Klamath, with the rain likely spurring them on. The bite slowed down by Monday, with only a few fish being caught. Quite a few boats were on the river for the holiday weekend, but it’s been fairly quiet during the week. The beginning of June is typically when the season takes 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