Catch em’ while you can – Pacific halibut season closes after Friday

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Matt Dallam, left, along with Parliament-Funkadelic legend George Clinton, are all smiles after Clinton reeled in his first-ever Pacific Halibut on a recent trip out of Eureka. Photo courtesy of NorthWind Charters

North Coast offshore anglers will have one less option come Saturday morning as the California Department of Fish and Wildlife announced on Monday the closing of the recreational Pacific halibut fishery on Friday, Sept. 21 at 11:59 p.m. for the remainder of 2018. The quota of 30,940 pounds will be surpassed according to CDFW unless the fishery is closed based on the latest catch projections. California’s 2018 quota is approximately 4,000 pounds less than the 2017 quota.

Beginning in 2015, CDFW committed to in-season tracking of the fishery to ensure catch amounts would not exceed the California quota. The quota amount is determined annually in January through an international process, and is largely driven by results from the annual stock assessment conducted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC).

Throughout the season, CDFW closely tracks the progress of the fishery each year to ensure catch amounts do not exceed the California quota. CDFW field staff sample public launch ramps and charter boat landings to monitor catches of Pacific halibut throughout the season, along with other marine sportfish species.

CDFW conferred with NMFS and IPHC on a weekly basis to review projected catch amounts and determine when the quota 2018 would be attained using this information. For current information about the Pacific halibut fishery, science or management, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut

Weekend marine forecast
After a few days of sloppy weather, the ocean looks to be lying down slightly prior to the weekend. Friday, the last day of the Pacific halibut season, looks fishable with winds out of the NW 5 to 15 knots and NW swells 5 feet at 6 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for N winds 5 to 15 knots and NW swells 4 feet at 5 seconds and NW 5 feet at 11 seconds. Seas and wind will both increase on Sunday. Winds will be from the N 10 to 15 knots, with N swells 7 feet at 8 seconds. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Klamath/Trinity quota updates
According to Dan Troxel, Environmental Scientist on the Klamath River Project, the remaining quota on the Upper Klamath should remain open until October 10. “Both the Upper Klamath and Trinity are managed based upon harvest timing. The Upper Klamath is closed approximately 28 days after the lower river quota is met,” said Troxel.

On the Trinity side, according to Troxel, creel surveys are in progress, with a closing date yet to be determined. Just a reminder, the lower Klamath quota for adult Chinook salmon has been met from the Hwy. 96 Bridge at Weitchpec downriver to the ocean. The section is open to fishing with a daily bag limit of two salmon 22 inches or less. Salmon larger than 22 inches must be released. Please remember that during closures to the take of adult salmon, it shall be unlawful to remove any adult Chinook Salmon from the water by any means.

2018 Chetco River recreational season
The Chetco River fall Chinook State Waters Terminal Area Recreational Season will again be halved and split over two weekends in 2018. The recreational season will be Oct. 6-7 and Oct. 13-14 so more anglers can take advantage of the weekend dates. The fishable area is within three nautical miles of shore between Twin Rocks and the Oregon/California border. The bag limit is one (1) Chinook per angler. Minimum length is 26 inches and the terminal tackle is limited to no more than two single point barbless hooks. For more information, visit https://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/salmon/Regulations/docs/2018_Chetco_State_Waters.pdf

Fishing the NC 9_20 photo

Carl Casale landed this monster California halibut last Friday on Humboldt Bay while fishing with guide Mike Stratman. The halibut measured 45.25 inches and weighed 35 lbs. California halibut remains open year-round. The daily bag and possession limit is three fish and the minimum size limit is 22 inches total length. Photo courtesy of Bruce Seivertson

The Oceans:
Eureka
Tuna has been the talk of the town since last Wednesday when Marc Schmidt of Coastline Charters got the tuna party started. He found miles of fish roughly 55-60 nautical miles from the entrance, and put 70 albies on board. That was just the start, the weather was magnificent through Sunday and boats galore made their way to the warm, purple water. “This is the best tuna fishing we’ve had in a long time,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, who made the run on Friday and Sunday. “There were big areas of fish about 50 miles off of Patrick’s Point. The majority of the fish were peanuts, but everyone had some medium-sized fish along with a few in the 20-30-pound class.” Scores ranged from the 40’s to up to 70 fish per boat. High boat belonged to Schmidt, he put a whopping 96 tuna on board on Friday. Needless to say, everyone caught all they needed.

Shelter Cove
Like the rest of the North Coast, tuna took center stage last week at the Cove. Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing was in on the action Thursday, Saturday and Sunday boating a total of 98 albacore. “On Thursday, we ran out to Gorda Valley but didn’t do extremely well,” said Mitchell.  “The boats that went south did much better, so the next couple days we ran down towards Noyo Canyon and saw much better numbers. Friday and Monday, we fished rockfish and it was much better than last week. We scored limits pretty quickly both days fishing mostly around the Old Man.”

Brookings
Lingcod and rockfish continue to provide good fishing out of Brookings when the wind isn’t blowing reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “The black rockfish limit increased this week from four to five fish. Lingcod remains two.  A few salmon a day are being caught in the Chetco estuary. Two hours before and two hours after high tide has been best. The early arrival of fish in the estuary usually indicates a big run during peak season,” added Martin.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Salmon fishing is “as good as it gets” right now on the lower Klamath reports guide Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service. “It’s been really good for a while now, we’re seeing fish in every spot from the Glen on up. There’s a good mix of adults and jacks around, I’d say it’s roughly three adults for every jack we catch. Most everyone is having little trouble getting their two-jack limit,” Coopman added.

Lower Rogue
Fishing on the Rogue Bay remains good with limits common for many guides most days according to Martin. He said, “Even though cooler water temperatures are allowing salmon to quickly continue upriver, enough new fish are arriving on each tide to maintain good fishing. The Rogue continues to be the best bet on the entire Oregon Coast.”

Trinity
Not much has changed since last week, we’re still seeing quite a few salmon in the upper Trinity reports Tim Brady of Weaverville’s Trinity Outdoors. He said, “The drift boats are doing well side-drifting roe and on plugs wrapped with sardines. More bank anglers have shown up, with most of them targeting the water below the north fork. The water is still a little high for this time of the year, so it’s been a little tougher on the bank guys. We’re still seeing bright kings, but some are starting to color. There’s a few steelhead being caught as well.”

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

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Posted in Current Fishing Reports

Adult quota met, jacks only on the Lower Klamath

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced on Wednesday that the adult fall Chinook quota has been met and the lower Klamath River from the Hwy. 96 bridge in Weitchpec to the estuary will go into a size restriction as of 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12. Fishing will remain open on the lower river (with the exception of the full closure from 100 yards around the river mouth), for jack Chinook (less than 22 inches). Anglers may keep two (2) jacks and two (2) hatchery steelhead per day.

The quota for the Klamath River above Weitchpec will remain open until 593 adult Chinook salmon are caught. “In general, we had a slow start to the year, but fish moved into the river in late August/early September, and catch rates for recreational anglers skyrocketed,” said Dan Troxel, Environmental Scientist with the CDFW Klamath River Project. “We met the quota for closing the fishery at the mouth as of Labor Day Weekend, and nearly perfectly met our harvest goals for that sub-quota. The second weekend in September brought a strong run of fish into the river, and fishing above Highway 101 Bridge turned on in a big way. Limits for boaters and shore anglers around Terwer were not uncommon. The remainder of the quota was caught within about a week’s time. Final estimates of adult harvest for the 2108 season will be made next week.”

According to Troxel, they are seeing a large proportion of jacks, so there should be no shortage of angling opportunities in the coming weeks. “Coupling that with the high numbers of jacks reported in the ocean fishery, we have good indications for a stronger return for 2019,” added Troxel.

“Coming off the full closure last year, having a successful fishery this year, and the outlook for next, it’s probably safe to say we are well into the upswing for salmon fishing on the Klamath, and we look forward to effectively managing our fishery and providing exceptional recreational opportunities to anglers who live on, and visit the beautiful Klamath River,”

For more info, visit https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2018/09/12/lower-klamath-river-quota-met. Anglers may keep track of the status of open and closed sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers by calling 800-564-6479.

Trinity River fish tags wanted
In a press release issued on Wednesday, the CDFW is reminding Trinity River anglers to return Coho salmon, Chinook salmon and steelhead tags in a timely manner. According to the release, tag return information is used each year to calculate harvest and help biologists estimate population size of steelhead and salmon runs. This information feeds into the Klamath basin fall Chinook salmon run-size estimate and informs the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s creation of regulations and quota sizes for the Klamath fishery. The data also allows CDFW to determine if progress is being made toward the goals of the Trinity River Restoration Program. CDFW will no longer be paying rewards for Trinity River tags returned from previous seasons, according to CDFW Trinity River Project Environmental Scientist Mary Claire Kier. As a reminder, anglers must immediately release all Coho salmon and wild steelhead (those with an intact adipose fin). Tags may be removed from these species, but the fish must remain in the water during tag removal. Please use scissors or a sharp knife to remove the tag. For more information on where to send the tags, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/fishing/inland/fish-tags

Weekend marine forecast
The forecast looks great for the weekend. Halibut, rockfish and tuna should all be an option out of Eureka. Out 10 nautical miles, Friday’s forecast is calling for NW winds up to 5 knots with waves NW 4 feet at 7 seconds. Northwest winds to 5 knots are forecasted for Saturday, with waves N 3 feet at 4 seconds and NW 2 feet at 12 seconds. The wind will pick up slightly on Sunday coming out of the NW 5 to 10 knots and waves out of the N 3 feet at 4 seconds and N 2 feet at 17 seconds. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Pacific halibut quota update
With decent weather predicted through the weekend, now’s the time to get back on the halibut grounds and take advantage of what’s left of the quota. The California Recreational Fisheries Survey has estimated that 27,024 pounds have been caught towards the 30,940 -pound quota as of September 9. A few days of good fishing could bring an early close to the season. For up-to-date harvest tracking information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

The Oceans:
Eureka
With salmon season wrapped up in the Northern Management Area, the focus now is on halibut, rockfish and possibly tuna. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing has been targeting both rockfish and halibut this week, and both have been good. He said, “The halibut bite was excellent last week, we fished three days and had limits on two of them. The best bite was slightly north of the entrance in 250 to 300 feet of water. The rockfish bite at the Cape has been good as well. It was a little bit of a tough bite on Tuesday, but I think that was due to the long swells. It looks like we’ll have some good weather for tuna late this week and the weekend. As of Tuesday, the warm water was 45 miles to the southwest and roughly 65 miles to the north.”

Shelter Cove
Salmon fishing was very slow this last week reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, ” I only heard of a couple legal fish being landed. We fished Gorda last Wednesday for halibut/rockfish combo. The halibut bite was slow and we only landed one 20-pounder, but the rockfish bit really well and we had easy limits. The rest of the week we’ve stayed close and fished from the whistle to the Hat for rockfish. Overall fishing was pretty slow. We fell short of limits a couple days, but we did get some nice lings up to 30-pounds.”

Brookings
Lingcod fishing has improved steadily out of Brookings according to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Lots of fish are moving into shallow water to stage before spawning,” said Martin. “Most are males but there are some larger females. Fishing for rockfish has been good as well.”

Fishing the NC photo caption

Fortuna residents William and Jody Honsal are all smiles after landing a nice adult king salmon while fishing on the lower Klamath River. The quota for adult fall-run salmon on the lower river was met on Wednesday, but fishing will remain open (with the exception of the spit area), for Chinooks less than 22 inches. Photo courtesy of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Salmon fishing had been wide-open on the Klamath reports Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service. He said, “There’s lots of adult kings spread throughout the river. But now that the adult quota has been met, we’ll be targeting jacks, and there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of those. There’s also some adult steelhead and some half-pounders around too.”

Lower Rogue
The Rogue bay is hit and miss now reports Martin. He said, “With cooler water temperatures the fish are shooting upstream. There is still a good outgoing tide bite at the jetties as new fish move in.”

Trinity
Tim Brady of Weaverville’s Trinity Outdoors reports there’s salmon from Lewiston all the way down. He said, “It’s not plugged full, but there are lots of salmon in the river. Boats pulling plugs and side-drifting bait are doing really well. There also catching a couple steelhead per trip. Not many bank anglers have showed up yet. Currently, there’s no issues getting up here and the smoke hasn’t been an issue,” Brady added.

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

Posted in Current Fishing Reports

Plenty of Klamath salmon left to catch

Fishing the NC 9_6 photo

Ron Ruchong and Margie Cook from Hamilton, Montana landed a pair of nice kings on a recent trip to the Klamath River. The spit area closed to fishing as of Monday, but upriver from the estuary to the Hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec remains open to the retention of adult king salmon. Photo courtesy of Brice Dusi/Brice Dusi’s Guide Service

The Labor Day weekend is typically the busiest weekend of the fall season on the Klamath River. And this year was no exception. The river was crowded, with plenty of boats and bank anglers trying to land the prized king salmon. Here’s what we know after the dust has settled. The Klamath “spit area”, which is within 100 yards of the channel through the sand spit formed at the Klamath River mouth, closed to fishing as of Monday, Sept. 3 at 11:59 p.m. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) predicted they would meet Area 1 quota (below the 101 bridge) of 524 adult salmon by the end of the day on Monday. And they were pretty darn close. After Monday’s fishing ended, the CDFW counted 519 adult kings. As a reminder, the only the spit area is closed to fishing, the estuary will remain open until the entire lower river quota is met. And speaking of the lower river, or Area 2, we still have some adult kings available for harvest. As of Monday, Sept. 3, 1,189 of the 1,745 quota of adults have been harvested from the hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth. This leaves roughly 556 adults remaining for harvest. With the big crowds mostly gone, hopefully we’ll get another couple of weeks out of the quota. Once the quota has been met, anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon under 22 inches in length.

Young Anglers Tournament this Sunday
The Trinidad Pier Youth Fishing Tourney will take place this Sunday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The free event is open to all children ages 6 to 15. Prizes will be awarded in each category and fishing gear and bait will be provided. An adult must accompany children. Hot dogs and refreshments will be served following the event. Catch and release is encouraged and no fishing license is required. Look for the sign-up table on the Trinidad Pier. For more information, contact Ken Jones at kenjones@pierfishing.com.

Marine forecast
The high north winds are finally laying down and will remain low through Thursday. However, gusty north winds and steep seas will redevelop south of Cape Mendocino by this weekend. As of Wednesday, the forecast out 10 nautical miles for Friday is calling for winds out of the NW 5 to 10 knots and waves N 3 feet at 5 seconds and SW 2 feet at 12 seconds. Saturday is calling for NW winds 5 to 15 knots and waves N 3 feet at 5 seconds and NW 3 feet at 10 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is calling for NW winds 5 to 10 knots and waves N 5 feet at 5 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For up-to-date weather forecast, visit http://www.weather.gov/eureka. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

The Oceans:
Eureka
The salmon season came to a close on Monday, but it ended on a pretty good note. Conditions were a little too rough to get out on Sunday and Monday, but late last week the fish bit as good as they have all year. “Most of the boats fishing around the 38-39 line scored limits of nice salmon,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “The fish were good ones, with some bigger fish in the 12-15-pound class landed. Boats have been off the water since Saturday due to rough seas, but a few were planning on heading out on Wednesday. Hopefully the halibut bite will pick up where it left off. The California halibut bite is still good, with lots of limits being reported. The bigger concentrations of fish have been in the main, deeper channels. There’s still plenty of bait in the bay,” added Klassen.

Shelter Cove
The tuna fishing out of the Cove was pretty good last week reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “On Wednesday, we ran to Gorda Valley and put in 19 albacore to 30 pounds. On Thursday, we boated 34 to 15-pounds outside of the Knoll. I wasn’t on the water this weekend, but the salmon bite out front was reportedly spotty. I know some were caught inside the bell. The rock fishing was excellent over the weekend. A couple boats made it to Rogers and they had limits in a couple drifts.”

Crescent City
The harbor was quiet over the weekend due to the rough ocean reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “There weren’t many boats out over the holiday weekend, the ocean has been pretty bumpy. The last reports I heard was the rockfish bite slowed down. A few boats were out on Wednesday, and it looks like the ocean will be fishable through the weekend,” Hegnes added.

Brookings
The ocean out of Brookings has been fair for bottom fish, and should get better later this week as the wind dies down according to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Some California halibut are being caught.  A few kings were caught in the Chetco estuary over the weekend. That will improve as more fish arrive in the coming weeks,” added Martin

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Salmon fishing remains steady on the Klamath reports Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service. He said, “The fishing is good, and it held up pretty well through the holiday weekend. There’s lots of fish around right now from the top to the bottom, and they’re spread out. The fish are bright, and they’re moving quickly. There’s a nice mix of adult and jack salmon, and there’s plenty of steelhead around as well.”

Lower Rogue
Water temperatures have cooled on the Rogue, so the salmon are not holding as long, but enough new fish are coming in each day to keep fishing good reports Martin. He said, “Most guides are getting two to five kings a day. Some silvers are starting to show and the steelhead are biting upriver.”

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

Posted in Current Fishing Reports

Sport ocean salmon season winding down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Young Anglers Tournament coming Sept. 9
The Trinidad Pier Youth Fishing Tourney will take place on Sunday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The free event is open to all children ages 6 to 15. Prizes will be awarded in each category and fishing gear and bait will be provided. An adult must accompany children. Hot dogs and refreshments will be served following the event. Catch and release is encouraged and no fishing license is required. Look for the sign-up table on the Trinidad Pier. For more information, contact Ken Jones at kenjones@pierfishing.com.

Fishing the NC 8_30 photo

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_1404

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

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

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

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

Posted in Current Fishing Reports

Wide-open tuna bite off the North Coast

 

Fishing the NC_8_23 photo

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

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

Marine forecast
The northerly winds will return on Thursday, and it looks like they’ll stick around through the weekend.  Friday’s forecast for coastal waters from Point St. George to Cape Mendocino out 10 nautical miles is calling for N winds 5 to 15 knots with 6 foot swells at 7 seconds out of the NW. The forecast for Saturday is calling for N winds up to 10 to 20 knots, with swells to 6 feet at 7 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is for NW winds 5 to 15 knots and N waves 6 feet at 6 seconds and NW 2 feet at 12 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boats leave the halibut biting

Fishing the NC 8_16 photo

Santa Maria residents Anthony Fuller, left and his father David enjoyed a great day on Tuesday fishing for Pacific halibut out of Eureka. Pacific halibut season closed on Wednesday, Aug. 15 but will re-open on Sept. 1. The season will run through Oct. 31 or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. Photo courtesy of Matt Dallam/Northwind Charters

It’s almost a blessing that the Pacific halibut fishery will be closed for the next two weeks. If allowed to stay open, there’s a real good chance the quota would’ve been gobbled up fairly quickly. The halibut have been on the chew for over a week now, with the only thing slowing down the catch rate is the heavy currents. When fishable, they’ve been flying over the rails at a pretty decent clip out of both Eureka and Trinidad. There were quite a few limits reported this week by the charter and sport boats. The halibut will now get a break as the season closed on Wednesday, Aug. 15. The season will open back up on Sept. 1 and run through Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. The in-season tracking information, which is supplied by the California Recreational Fisheries Survey, shows 18,146 pounds of halibut has been caught through Aug. 5 towards the quota of 30,940. That number is sure to rise, but we should have plenty of days on the halibut grounds come September.

Wide-open tuna bite out of Eureka
A nice flat ocean and warm water within reach is all the tuna fleet needed. A few boats made the 40-mile run on Friday, and they all came home with tuna. Boats averaged nearly 20 tuna for the day, with the top boat landing 38 mixed-grade albacore. The ocean wasn’t forecasted to be as good on Saturday, but a couple boats took the chance and headed back to Friday’s numbers. One of the boats had an epic day, landing 68 albies between three anglers. The ocean calmed down again on Wednesday and a whole slew of boats launched from Eureka and Trinidad. The bite was said to be wide-open, with lots of boats landing between 40 and 60 albacore.

Changes coming for recreational groundfish
The CDFW announced on Wednesday new recreational fishing restrictions will soon go into effect for groundfish in waters north of Point Conception to the CA/OR border. The changes to the authorized fishing depths will take effect Saturday, Aug. 25 at 12:01 a.m. In the Northern Management Area, which runs from the CA/OR border to Cape Mendocino, take will be prohibited outside of 120 feet (20 fathoms) through Dec. 31. These changes are based on recent bycatch estimates for yelloweye rockfish from the California sport fishery. The CDFW projects that the harvest guideline specified in federal regulation for 2018 (3.9 metric tons) will be exceeded unless changes are made. To see all of the area regulation updates, visit https://cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2018/08/15/changes-to-recreational-groundfish-regulations-effective-aug-25/

Marine Forecast
The ocean was beautiful on Wednesday, but steep seas will build Thursday night through Friday and continue through the weekend in response to stronger northerly winds. Friday’s forecast is calling for N winds 10 to 20 knots and waves NW 9 feet at 9 seconds. On Saturday, winds will be out of the NW 10 to 15 knots and waves NW 9 feet at 9 seconds. On Sunday, winds will be out of the NW 5 to 15 knots and waves NW 7 feet at 8 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.

DSCN1868

A good of happy anglers with Pacific halibut caught on Wed. Aug. 15 near Cape Mendocino. Photo courtesy of Reel Steel Sport Fishing.

The Oceans:
Eureka
The salmon bite has slowed again, but the great halibut bite more than made up for it. “When the current has allowed, the fishing has been really good,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. The best action has been straight out in 300 feet of water. A few of the charters had limits, and most of the boats caught fish.” The salmon continue to be a mystery. The bite is slow to the point where the effort is dwindling quickly. According to Klassen, the fish are really spread out and they’re at all different depths. “There’s no big concentration of fish, and there’s not pattern whatsoever,” added Klassen. The one consistent fishery remains rockfish at the Cape. “The rockfish bite is as good as it gets,” said Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. “We’re catching lings over 30 pounds as well as a great variety of rockfish. The halibut bite was pretty good down there as well, there was only one day where we didn’t land at least one.”

Trinidad
According to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters, the halibut bite was wide-open this week, with lots of limits reported. “There’s a lot of fish around, with most boats starting straight out in 200 or so feet of water. There’s some salmon around too, but the bite definitely slowed down from last week. The fish that are being caught are still really deep, right on the bottom. The rockfish action is pretty much the same, limits of blacks are coming easy,” Wilson added.

Shelter Cove
The salmon bite has been really up and down this past week reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “On Tuesday, the salmon the bit pretty good and we had our limits by 11:30.  We did a couple halibut/rockfish combos up at Rodgers Break last week and we ended up with four halibut the first day but none the second. The rockfish and lings bit good both days and we got limits pretty easily. A couple boats ran out for tuna on Tuesday and did really well just 22 miles out. One boat had 47 and the other had 52, along with a few Bluefins.”

Crescent City
A few salmon were caught this week reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “There isn’t a lot of effort, but I heard some fish were caught off the Sisters in 200 feet of water. One boat had limits and another was pretty close. The rockfish bite was a little slower this week, likely due to the morning minus tides and the big swings. The ling cod bite has slowed down south past the Sisters as well. The Thresher bite is over, but there were quite a few caught last week. One boat landed six,” Hegnes added.

Brookings
Salmon fishing continues to be fair off of Brookings according to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Bigger fish have now moved close to shore, but anglers are having to put in several hours per fish. Lingcod and rockfish has been good. There were some albacore caught last week,” said Martin.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The fishing has been good this week reports Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service. He said, “The river is full of steelhead, both adults and half-pounders. We’re also starting to see more and more kings show up. Overall, there’s lots of fish around and the bite is really good. We’re seeing some nice steelhead caught, up to 12 pounds. The average is right around 5 -pounds however,” Coopman added. A reminder that the fall regulations went into effect on Wednesday, Aug. 15. The daily bag limit is 2 Chinook salmon, of which no more than 1 may be more than 22 inches in length.

Lower Rogue
The Rogue Bay has entered peak season reports Martin. He said, “The weekends are extremely crowded but the weekdays are fine. Fishing is good, with Monday and Tuesday producing some of the best action of the season, including limits for most guides. The bay is full of fish 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

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.

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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