Klamath remains open for steelhead, closed for salmon

Trinity salmon season open through Aug. 31

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first….

The Klamath River, for the first time that anyone can remember, is completely closed to salmon fishing as of Tuesday, Aug. 15. With only 12,000 adult fall-run Chinook expected to return, an all-time low, the closure was needed to help protect the stocks. The Klamath fall-run Chinook are currently classified under the federal plan as “approaching an overfished condition.” With poor returns of adults the past two years, coupled with returns this fall that are expected to be just as bad or even worse, the stock is expected to be classified as “overfished” in 2018. Saying that every fish counts, especially returning spawners, would be a huge understatement. The Trinity still has a couple weeks left prior to its closing. It will remain open to salmon fishing through Aug. 31 downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the confluence of the South Fork Trinity River. The limit is two kings of any size.

Now the good news….

Both rivers will remain open to steelhead angling through the salmon closure. On the Klamath, fishing is allowed from 3,500 feet downstream of the Iron Gate Dam to the estuary. The daily bag limit is 2 hatchery steelhead. The Spit Area (within 100 yards of the channel through the sand spit formed at the Klamath River mouth) closed to all fishing on August 15 and will remain closed through Dec. 31.

The Trinity is open to steelhead angling from downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the confluence of the Klamath River through Dec. 31. The one exception is the area downstream of the Highway 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat to the Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar. This area is closed to all fishing from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. The daily bag limit is 2 hatchery steelhead.

For the complete list of fall Klamath/Trinity regulations, visit http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=147891

Trinity River releases scheduled for Boat Dance Ceremony
The Bureau of Reclamation will increase releases from Lewiston Dam to the Trinity River in support of the Hoopa Valley Tribe’s biennial Boat Dance Ceremony Aug. 22 in Hoopa according to a press release issued on Aug. 11. To account for travel time of water released from Lewiston Dam, releases will increase above the base summer flow of 450 cfs at 6 p.m. Aug. 20, and will reach a peak flow of 2,650 cfs between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Aug. 21. The releases will then gradually decrease back to the base summer flow about 4 p.m. Aug. 24.

The ceremonial flows are separate from the Trinity River restoration flows. The timing and flow rates from Lewiston Dam are preliminary and subject to subtle changes. People near or recreating on the river can expect river levels to increase and should take appropriate safety precautions. For more information, please contact Reclamation’s Northern California Area Office at 530-275-1554 or visit https://www.usbr.gov/newsroom/newsrelease/detail.cfm?RecordID=60266

Trinity River salmon trappings
As of Aug. 12, 48 adult Chinook salmon had been counted at the Junction City weir. Of those, 8 were hatchery fish. With the release of water from the dam starting next Saturday, the fall run kings should begin to make their way upriver.

Weekend Marine forecast
The ocean conditions haven’t been very pretty this week, and it looks like more of the same through the weekend. Out 10 nautical miles north of the Cape, Friday’s forecast is calling for NW winds 5 to 15 knots and waves out of the NW 7 feet at 8 seconds and NW 4 feet at 12 seconds. The wind picks up slightly on Saturday, coming out of the NW 10 to 20 knots. Waves will be NW 8 feet at 8 seconds. Sunday is looking a little worse, with N winds 10 to 20 knots and waves NW 9 feet at 9 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan, or you can also verify the conditions as reported by looking at the bar cam at www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/barCam/?cam=humboldtBayBar. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Pacific Halibut closed until Sept. 1
The Pacific halibut season closed on August 15 and will open back up on Sept. 1 and run through Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. As of Aug. 13, the CDFW has projected 23,301 net pounds have been harvested towards a quota of 34,580 pounds. For up-to-date harvest tracking information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

Fishing the NC 8_17 photo

Becka Pearcy of Arcata landed this nice Vermilion rockfish on Saturday while fishing with her dad Bill. The father and daughter duo were fishing along the south jetty. The tasty rockfish weighed in at just over 4-pounds. Photo courtesy of Bill Pearcy

The Oceans:
Eureka
The oceans been rough since Sunday, keeping the fleet either tied up or inside Humboldt Bay reports Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. He said, “The Pacific halibut bite was in a gradual decline. We went from limits, to three to two to none by Sunday. We’ve been fishing in the same general area where we got them last week, but for whatever reason, they just went off the bite. The tuna water is still sitting about 45 miles straight out, but we’ll have to see if these winds will start to tear it up. With the ocean being too rough, most of the action has been on the bay for California halibut. The bite has slowed a little, but there’s still plenty of keepers to be had.”

Shelter Cove
“We were able to make it north a few times this week for rockfish and halibut,” said Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “The rock fishing at Rodgers Break was fantastic with limits every day. We also brought home a halibut each day fishing off Spanish Flat. We had a fair amount of salmon action on Tuesday, but only had two keepers to show for it. There were lots of short kings and some really nice silvers that kept us busy. The fish seem to be spread out from the whistle to the Hat. Some boats definitely did better than us, I think the top boat had eight.”

Crescent City
Quite a few halibut were caught over the weekend reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “The ocean was nice, and there was more effort on the halibut grounds. Some nice ones came in, the average size was around 30 to 50 pounds. Most of the action was out near the South Reef in 220 to 250 feet of water. We had a bunch of small anchovies pushed up right on the beach over the weekend, and it was pretty good fishing all around the harbor. The black rockfish were thick, and a few lings were caught as well.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The steelhead bite had been excellent on the Lower Klamath up until Sunday. The river colored up on Saturday night, presumably from the rain in the Trinity area, which made fishing a little tougher on Sunday and Monday. There’s plenty of steelhead in the river, both half-pounders and adults. Fishing should only get better from here on out as more fish enter the system.

A reminder that the Klamath River is now closed to Chinook salmon fishing. The Spit Area is closed to all fishing through the end of the year. 

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

Pacific halibut bite heating up on the coast

Fishing the North Coast 8_10 photo

McKinleyville resident Bob Hoopes landed this 79-pound halibut on a recent trip to Cape Mendocino. The big halibut is the current leader of Englund Marine’s BIG FISH Halibut Contest. Pacific halibut season will close on Aug. 15 and re-open on Sept. 1 and remain open through Oct. 31, or until the 34,580-pound quota is projected to have been taken, whichever is earlier. Photo courtesy of Sherry Klassen

Triples, doubles, limits, back to the dock by 10 a.m.!

No folks, we’re not talking about salmon or California Halibut we’re talking Pacific Halibut.

The bite was fast and furious over the weekend out of Eureka, the type of action that is rarely seen in this neck of the woods. Charter and sport boats alike were landing on large schools of flatties, making for some short days and big smiles. The bite was, and has been, equally as good in Trinidad. Limit-style fishing has been going on there pretty much since the season opened back up on the first. Good reports have also been coming out of Shelter Cove and Crescent City. They don’t have quite the number of boats, but they’ve put up some pretty impressive scores this week. If you need a halibut fix, you better make it quick. The season will close again on Aug. 15 and re-open on Sept. 1 and run through Oct. 31, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. With the amount of fish that have been flying over the rails lately, I’m guessing the quota took a pretty good hit. For up-to-date harvest tracking information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

Weekend Marine forecast
After a week of beautiful ocean conditions, we’re going to start to see a little more wind and swell. Out 10 nautical miles from Pt. St. George to Cape Mendocino, Friday’s forecast is calling for NW winds 5 to 10 knots and waves out of the N 4 feet at 4 seconds. Saturday’s forecasts is calling for NW winds 5 to 15 knots and waves NW 4 feet at 5 seconds. Sunday is looking similar, with winds out of the NW 5 to 15 knots and waves NW 6 feet at 6 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.

North Coast tuna
Late last week and over the weekend, ocean conditions were about perfect for tuna. Quite a few boats ran offshore from Shelter Cove, Eureka, Trinidad and Crescent City. Shelter Cove seemed to be the top port, with boats coming back with 30 to 60 albacore. According to the Humboldt Tuna Club, the Eureka fleet scores were ranging from 10 to 30 fish per boat, but were hampered by the longer run to the fish. One boat from Crescent City boated 26 on Friday. The weather is definitely looking better out of the northern ports this week, with quite a few launching out of Brookings on Thursday and Friday.

Shelter Cove/Fort Bragg salmon seasons set to reopen
The recreational salmon season from Horse Mtn. to Point Arena will reopen next Tuesday, Aug. 15 and remain open to Nov. 12. The minimum size limit is 20 inches total length with a daily bag limit of 2 salmon of any species except Coho. For more information, please visit the Ocean Salmon webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon or call the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at 707-576-3429.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Halibut and rockfish have been the two main targets this week according to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. He said, “The halibut bite finally slowed down on Monday after a few days of red hot fishing. The last few days boats were averaging about three fish per trip. Most of the action is happening just south of Trinidad in 150 feet of water. I’m not sure what slowed the bite, but it likely has something to do with the tides. The rockfish bite at the Cape is still really good, with lots of variety to be had. We’re still getting limits of quality ling cod, and we’re seeing quite a few quillbacks around.”

Trinidad
According to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters, the Pacific halibut bite out of Trinidad was wide-open this week. He said, “Almost all of the Trinidad boats have been scoring limits each day. They’ve been in shallower water, with most of the action coming in 100 to 150 feet of water. It hasn’t really mattered if you went north or south. The rockfish and lingcod bite has been really good as well. We’ve been getting limits or close to it just about every trip. There’s fish from outside Flat Iron all the way to Patrick’s Point.”

Shelter Cove
“We ran a halibut and rockfish combo trip on Wednesday up near Rodgers Break area,” said Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “We landed two halibut to 47-lbs and had limits of rockfish, but fell a couple of lings short. Thursday through Saturday we fished albacore and put 140 fish on the boat in those three days. Our best day was Friday with 60 fish by 1:30 p.m. Most of our tuna success was on the edge of the Vizcaino Canyon. The weather doesn’t look good for tuna for the rest of the week, but it’s been a lot nicer that I was expecting the last couple days. Sunday we were back on the halibut grounds but we weren’t able to bring any on board. We switched over to bottom fish and got limits of lings and rockfish in just a couple hours. I spent the last two days down at the Hat for quality limits of rockfish and lingcod. Looks like it will mainly be rock fishing and halibut this week unless the forecast changes.”

Crescent City
According to Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, the Pacific halibut bite really picked up this week. He said, “I saw a half-dozen come in on Wednesday, and there’s definitely more anglers out fishing. The best bite has been outside the South Reef in 220 to 250 feet of water. We had a pretty decent albacore bite over the weekend too. A couple boats came back with 21-26 fish and another came in with 60. I’m not sure the weather will hold for this weekend, it looks a little better to our north.” Hegnes said.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The steelhead action picked up the last couple days on the Lower Klamath as a group of adults and half-pounders made their way through the mouth over the weekend. The salmon bite is still sporadic, but there’s definitely more salmon in the estuary at the moment. The key is to be there when they go on the bite. Both Kastmasters and spinners have worked well.

A reminder that the Klamath River will close to Chinook salmon fishing after Aug. 14. This includes the Spit Area. During the salmon season closure, steelhead angling will still be allowed. For more info, visit http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=147891

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

Calm seas provide plenty of offshore options

Fishing the NC 8_3 photo

Fortuna resident Nathan Graham landed a nice pair of female Rock greenlings on a recent trip to the south jetty. In the Northern Management Area, which runs from the CA/OR border to Cape Mendocino, rock fishing is open year-round to shore-based anglers and divers. Photo courtesy of Joe Graham

Rockfish, Pacific halibut, tuna, and even salmon.

It’s been an arduous wait, but we finally have a variety of offshore options to choose from along the North Coast. And a pretty nice ocean to boot. The Pacific halibut season opened back up on Tuesday, but the ocean and the halibut weren’t fully cooperating for the Eureka boats. They were reportedly biting pretty good in Trinidad however. After being stuck inside the bay or not fishing, boats finally made their way easily to the Cape, where the fishing remains lights-out. Tuna is currently all the rage from Fort Bragg to Eureka. A few Fort Bragg boats did really well on Tuesday, with a much larger fleet expected on Thursday and Friday. The warm water is currently sitting about 28 miles off of Noyo Harbor. There’s also a good chunk of warm water sitting about 20 miles off of Cape Mendocino, which is where you’ll find the Shelter Cove and Eureka boats on Friday. The recreational salmon season for Fort Bragg and Shelter Cove is on the horizon, opening back up on Aug. 15. Always good to have options…

Klamath and Trinity regulations reminder
A reminder that there will be no fall-run Chinook fishery on both the Klamath and Trinity rivers in 2017. The Klamath River is closed to Chinook salmon fishing between August 15 and December 31. The Trinity River is closed to Chinook salmon fishing between September 1 and December 31. This fall, roughly 12,000 spawners are predicted to return, an all-time low. To help protect the stocks, all fishing for Klamath River Fall-Run Chinook Salmon, including jacks (salmon less than 22 inches) is prohibited.

Additional regulations include:

  • The Spit Area (within 100 yards of the channel through the sand spit formed at the Klamath River mouth) is closed to all fishing from August 15 to December 31.
  • 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.
  • No fishing is allowed from September 15 through December 31 in the Klamath River within 500 feet of the mouths of the Salmon, the Shasta and the Scott rivers and Blue Creek.

In the meantime, spring-run regulations are in effect on both rivers. Chinook fishing will be allowed through Aug. 14 on the Klamath downstream of the Highway 96 bridge. On the Trinity, fishing is open downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the confluence of the South Fork Trinity River through August 31. The limit is two kings of any size on both rivers. After these dates, both fisheries will be closed for salmon for the remainder of the calendar year. Important Reminder: During the salmon season closure, steelhead angling will still be allowed in both the Klamath and Trinity rivers. Where fishing is allowed, the daily bag limit is two hatchery steelhead. For the complete list of Klamath/Trinity regs, visit http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=147891

Shelter Cove/Fort Bragg salmon seasons set to reopen
The recreational salmon season from Horse Mtn. to Point Arena will reopen on Aug. 15 and remain open to Nov. 12. The minimum size limit is 20 inches total length with a daily bag limit of 2 salmon of any species except Coho. For more information, please visit the Ocean Salmon webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/oceansalmon or call the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at 707-576-3429.

Weekend Marine forecast
We finally have some decent ocean conditions, which should stick around through the weekend. Out 10 nautical miles north of the Cape, Friday’s forecast is calling for NW winds to 5 knots and waves out of the NW 3 feet at 8 seconds. Saturday is calling for NW winds 5 to 10 knots and waves NW 3 feet at 4 seconds and NW 3 feet at 9 seconds. Sunday’s conditions are looking similar, with winds out of the NW 5 to 10 knots and waves 4 feet at 5 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 verify the conditions as reported, by looking at the bar cam at www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/barCam/?cam=humboldtBayBar. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

The Oceans:
Eureka
Another weekend of rough ocean conditions are in the books, but that’s all starting to change. Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing broke the ice and made his way to the Cape on Monday in so-so conditions. The fishing, as usual, was wide-open with limits of big lings and rockfish reported. More boats headed that way on Tuesday and Wednesday and the reports were more of the same. Pacific halibut opened back up on Tuesday, and it sounds like the few who fished didn’t put much of a dent in the quota. Look for the bite to pick up as the ocean continues to improve. “The warm tuna water is sitting off of Gorda about 45 miles from the jaws,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “Conditions look great for Friday, I’m sure a lot of boats will be running from Eureka. Hopefully the water will continue to move a little closer to us. The California halibut bite is still going strong in Humboldt Bay, there still seems to be lots of them around.”

Trinidad
Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters reports the rockfish and halibut bite is getting good with the improved ocean conditions. He said, “The ocean has laid down, and the fish are biting. When it’s calm, we’ve been able to score a pretty wide variety of rockfish, including lots of blues. We should start to see the ling bite improve as well. The halibut fishing has been really good since the opener, with plenty of limits to be had. Most of the fleet are fishing straight out and maybe a little south in 100 to 200 feet of water.”

Shelter Cove
“Rock fishing was mediocre this week and it took us some time to get limits,” said Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “I ran for tuna on Tuesday and found the edge at 30 miles. We only boated eight, it just didn’t seem to be our day. They were getting them pretty good off of Fort Bragg, but by the time I figured it out it was too late for me to run down there. The weather looks great the rest of the week, so we’ll be chasing tuna.”

Crescent City
“I haven’t heard of any halibut caught the last couple days, but we should see more effort now that the ocean is calm,” reports Leonard Carter of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “The rock fishing continues to be excellent when the boats have gotten out. The weekend should be really good. We also have some 60-degree water sitting offshore about 25 miles just outside the 125-line. I’m guessing we’ll see a few boats venture out for tuna.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The bite on the Lower Klamath was hit and miss this week for both salmon in the estuary and steelhead upriver. It seems to be feast or famine at the moment. The salmon bite in the estuary was pretty good on Monday and Tuesday, then fell flat on Wednesday. The summer steelhead bite has been decent, with boats getting three to five hookups per day working the river from Blue Creek down to the Glen. Water temps are on the rise, and in some locations, it’s approaching 75 degrees.

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

Gamble pays off for Shelter Cove tuna seekers

Fishing the NC 7_27 photo

Hayfork resident Zac Scott landed a nice albacore tuna on Tuesday while fishing out of Shelter Cove. Scott and a couple of other anglers, along with Skipper Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing, took a chance and ran 42 miles to the Gorda Valley and landed a total of 26 tuna for the day. Photo courtesy of Jake Mitchell/Sea Hawk Sport Fishing

Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing had a hunch, and it paid off in a big way. On Tuesday, despite a mediocre forecast, he ventured from Shelter Cove out to the Gorda Valley where the water was warm, and hopefully loaded with tuna. “The wind was forecasted to stay outside of the 125 line, so I figured it was worth a shot,” said Mitchell. “I had some pretty salty clients and let them know there was a good chance we may not make it out to the warm water. They didn’t care, they wanted to catch a tuna. They’ve been coming to the Cove for eight years and have never caught one.” Mitchell pounded his way through some pretty sloppy conditions, and contemplated turning around at one point. But the weather slowly improved the further out they went. “Eventually we made it to the edge, which had pushed out a couple more miles then I expected. We trolled out through the break and into clear-blue 61degree water. We trolled for an hour and a half with no biters, and no signs of life, before we finally got a single. We spent the next couple hours boxing that area for four more singles and one double. Eventually that area dried up, so we moved on. Finally at about noon, we saw our first jumpers and got an eight-way out of them and landed seven. We finished up our day there with a couple more quads and a few singles. For the day, we boated 26 mid-grade albacore about 42 miles from the Cove on the edge of Gorda Valley.” Sometimes it pays to follow your hunch…

Weekend Marine Forecast
Not a lot of inshore wind this weekend, but the ocean conditions will be marginal at best. Friday’s forecast is calling for 5 to 15 knot winds out of the N and NW waves 5 feet at 6 seconds. Saturday is calling for NW winds 5 to 15 knots and waves out of the NW 7 feet at 7 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is roughly the same, with winds out of the NW 5 to 15 knots and waves 6 feet at 7 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan, or you can also verify the conditions as reported by looking at the bar cam at www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/barCam/?cam=humboldtBayBar. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Halibut season re-opens August 1
The Pacific halibut season will re-open on Tuesday, 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, the CDFW has projected 11,664 net pounds have been harvested towards a quota of 34,580 pounds. For up-to-date harvest tracking information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

Abalone season part 2
Abalone season re-opens on Tuesday, August 1 along the North Coast from the San Francisco Bay north. After being closed for the month of July, the season will remain open through October. Diving is legal from 8 a.m. to 30 minutes after sunset. The daily bag and possession limit is three. For complete list of regulations, visit http://www.eregulations.com/california/fishing/saltwater/invertebrate-fishing-regulations/

Sport Crab season coming to a close
The 2017 sport Dungeness crab season in Humboldt, Mendocino, and Del Norte counties will close on Sunday July 30. The season will re-open on Nov. 4.

Tuna update
Shelter Cove wasn’t the only local port where tuna was caught on Tuesday. A boat from Fort Bragg made a 37-mile run to Noyo Canyon and loaded the boat with 47 albies. The warm water that had been sitting off of Eureka has reportedly broken up, but there’s a warm patch sitting off of Crescent City. When the wind and seas calm down, it should be game on with the tuna water in range of multiple ports.

The Oceans:
Eureka
The ocean conditions out of Eureka continue to be borderline, with Friday and the weekend looking much the same according to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “We were able to get offshore last Thursday, but that’s been it. The fishing was excellent at the Cape as always, and the quality of lings was outstanding. Limits came easy, with about a 15-pound average. The rock fishing is still lights out, and we landed some of the biggest blacks and vermillion I’ve seen. Most of the action has been in Humboldt Bay the last week, where the California halibut bite is still wide-open. The only time they’re a little finicky is when they are some big tide swings. They seem to bite better on the moderate tides. Drifting live anchovies in the middle and north channels is still the ticket.”

Trinidad
Before the weather picked up on Sunday afternoon, the ling cod bite had been epic reports Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters out of Trinidad. “Late last week and up until Sunday, the lings were biting like crazy. We had some pretty decent conditions, which helped. All the boats were getting limits. The rockfish are still going strong. On the flatter days, we seem to get a much wider variety. We haven’t had any problems catching our limits of blacks. The crabbing has slowed as they’ve started to molt. But we’re still able to send the customers home with ten each,” Wilson said.

Crescent City
The wind has been blowing and the oceans been rough, so it’s been pretty quiet up here reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “A few of the local guys have gone and stayed close to the harbor, but it hasn’t been that good. Those in-close places get fished pretty hard. There hasn’t been many, if any, boats headed offshore. Once the wind quits we’ll start to see the effort pick back up, especially with halibut season opening back up on Aug. 1.” Hegnes said.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The summer steelhead bite picked up this week for the few boats side-drifting roe, with the best bite happening from Blue Creek down. The salmon action in the estuary also picked up on Wednesday, with quite a few more fish caught. It’s been on the slow side, but now and then a boat will pick up three or four a day. Like any estuary fishing, you have to be there when they’re biting. There seems to be a decent bite first thing in the morning, then it becomes a tidal bite. The best time is typically a couple hours prior to high tide, but not always.

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

Posted in Current Fishing Reports

Tuna fever hits Humboldt

Lonnie Tuna

Lonnie Dollarhide with a nice albacore landed on July 19th off the coast of Eureka. Photo courtesy of Tim Klassen/Reel Steel Sport Fishing.

Tuna fever is spreading quickly among Humboldt County saltwater fishermen. There’s warm water sitting off the coast of Eureka, and there’s patches lined up all the way to Charleston, OR., giving anglers a few different options. A small three-day weather window opened up for Eureka on Wednesday, and a few boats made the 27-mile run straight west to the where the water turned 60 degrees. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing was one of the boats to venture out and boxed 11 albacore in the 12 to 20-pound range. Most of the other boats fishing in the same location landed a few fish as well.

Quite a few local boats opted to tow to Charleston on Tuesday, taking advantage of some really good fishing and calm seas. Boats put up some good scores over the weekend, prompting anglers to head for more of a sure thing. All signs are pointing to a really good tuna season along the North Coast. After a couple of subpar years, it feels good to get the fever back. 

Marine Forecast
Following a short reprieve from the wind, it looks like it will be back for the weekend. Out 10 nautical miles from Pt. St. George to Cape Mendocino, Friday’s forecast is calling for 5 to 15 knot winds out of the NW and NW waves 3 feet at 5 seconds. Saturday is calling for NW winds 10 to 20 knots and waves out of the NW 7 feet at 7 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is a little worse, with winds out of the NW 10 to 15 knots and waves 8 feet at 9 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan, or you can also verify the conditions as reported by looking at the bar cam at www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/barCam/?cam=humboldtBayBar. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

California halibut remains wide-open
The California halibut action is still wide-open within Humboldt Bay, with limit-style fishing the norm. Boats drifting live anchovies in the north and middle channels are finding easy limits. Reportedly, there’s quite a few more keepers around now as well. The daily bag and possession limit is 3 per person. The minimum size limit is 22 inches total length.

Fishing the NC 7_20 photo

Humboldt Crabs baseball coaches Robin Guiver, left, and Ryan Dettman made the most of their day off on Monday. The angling duo scored limits of California halibut while fishing in Humboldt Bay. Photo courtesy of Mike Stratman/Redwood Coast Fishing

Crabs close/Abalone opens
The 2017 sport Dungeness crab season in Humboldt, Mendocino, and Del Norte counties will close on Sunday July 30. Recreational abalone season will re-open on August 1, following a July closure. For more information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Invertebrates/Abalone

The Oceans:
Eureka
The wind has been the story out of Eureka this past week reports Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “We haven’t been able to get offshore this week. It’s been too rough to make it all the way to the Cape, and with halibut closed, there isn’t much going on. The California halibut inside Humboldt Bay is still producing limits for boats, with more keepers starting to show up. The ocean is forecasted to lay down Wednesday through Friday, so we’ll be trying to find some Tuna,” Klassen added.

Trinidad
The rockfish and ling cod are really on the bite reports Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “The weather and ocean has been pretty good up here, so we’ve been able to get out into some deeper water where the fishing has been excellent. Straight out in 100 to 120 feet of water has produced some quality lings in the 20-pound range as well as a variety of rockfish,” Wilson added.

Crescent City
Ocean conditions have improved the last couple days, and the rockfish bite is still going strong reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “It’s been kind of quiet, but the locals are still catching some nice rockfish and lings at all the usual spots. We did weigh in a 34-pound ling this week, so there’s definitely some big ones out there. I also heard some good Redtail perch reports coming from the mouth of the Klamath.” Hegnes said.

Shelter Cove:
The rockfish bite has been a bit inconsistent with Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing saying,One day we’ll get limits of rockfish and lings fairly quickly, and the next day we’ll struggle a bit. It seems the only thing consistent lately has been the wind as it’s forced us to stay pretty close to home. There have been a few California halibut showing in the harbor as well lately. After getting our limits of rockfish and lings on Tuesday, we spent an hour and a half in the harbor and landed three halibut to 12 pounds while losing a couple others.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Most of the action has now moved to the estuary where a handful of salmon are being caught each day by boats trolling Kastmasters. The number of fish and the bite seems to be improving each day. The best action has been at first light and then an hour prior to high tide.

Junction City weir update
The Junction City weir will be installed on Monday, July 24 in the same location as previous years, near Evan’s Bar. The first TRP weekly trapping summary should be out one or two weeks after installation. Installation dates for the Willow Creek weir have yet to be determined. Questions about the weirs should be directed to John.Hileman@wildlife.ca.gov

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

Posted in Current Fishing Reports

California halibut — more than an offshore alternative

Fishing the NC 7_13 photo

Redding resident Kinsey Hansen, along with son Clark, landed a nice pair of California halibut on a recent trip to Humboldt Bay. The recreational fishery for California halibut is open year-round. The daily bag and possession limit is three fish north of Point Sur, Monterey County. Photo courtesy of Matt and Lisa Dallam/Northwind Charters

Having a backup plan — whether in life or in fishing — is always a good idea.

In fishing, having a solid plan B can sometimes save the day, or even a season. For Eureka anglers, heading offshore to fish for salmon, halibut or rockfish is always plan A. With no salmon season and lots of wind and rough seas to squash any thoughts of heading out the jaws, we’re pretty darn lucky to have the California halibut fishery within Humboldt Bay as our offshore alternative. It has certainly saved a lot days for the charter fleet, and it’s been blessing for the smaller boats and kayaks that can’t or don’t want to venture offshore. Currently the bay is full of both shaker and keeper-size halibut. According to Fish and Game, they typically migrate into bays and estuaries during warmer water periods associated with El Niño events, which we had in 2015. With the numbers of juvenile halibut in the bay, the fishery should continue to be productive for the next few years.

The preferred angling method is drifting using live anchovies or shiner perch. Artificial lures and drifting or trolling dead bait both work well at times, although not always as effective.

Recreational Regulations
22 in. minimum total length. Total length: tip of the snout to the longest lobe of the tail without tail manipulation.
3 fish bag and possession limit north of Pt. Sur, Monterey County
5 fish bag and possession limit south of Pt. Sur, Monterey County

The 22 in. minimum size limit protects immature CA Halibut from fishery take.
No more than one daily bag limit may be taken or possessed by any one person, regardless of whether the fish are fresh, frozen, or otherwise preserved. For more information see: www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions/marine

Best methods for handling short undersize (AKA a ‘shaker’) halibut that don’t need to be measured:

  • Leave the fish in the water or dangling over the water, and shake the fish off the hook. If necessary, hold the leader line and use pliers to unhook the fish without touching it.
  • If handling the fish is necessary to remove the hook, gently clamp down on the gill cover with one hand. Remove the hook using your other hand, while the fish is held over the side of the boat.

If the Halibut is close to the minimum size and it must be brought onboard to be measured:

  • Wet your net/measuring device/hands/cloth before handling the fish.
  • Use a soft, knotless landing net with small-mesh and avoid contact with the deck.
  • Handle the fish by supporting both the head and tail. Place the fish on top of the measuring device.
  • Ease the fish back into the water if it is short.

What to avoid when handling short Halibut:

  • Do not allow the fish to come into contact with the deck or any other rough surface. This can cause boat rash, which makes the fish more susceptible to infection.
  • Do not let fingers or pliers come into contact with the gills.
  • Do not hold the fish only by the tail without supporting the head or body.
  • Do not use large-mesh nets to land short Halibut. These nets cause tail-splitting which makes the fish more susceptible to infection.

Tip: If the Halibut is gut-hooked, cut the leader line and leave the hook. Attempts at hook removal may increase the chance of death. However, if the Halibut is mouth-hooked attempts should be made to remove the hook instead of cutting the line.

Marine Forecast
If the forecast holds, it looks like it may be another windy weekend. Out 10 nautical miles from Pt. St. George to Cape Mendocino, Friday’s forecast is calling for NW winds 5 to 15 knots and NW waves 4 feet at 6 seconds and NW 4 feet at 10. For Saturday, winds will be out of the N 10 to 20 knots and waves N 6 feet at 6 seconds. On Sunday, winds will be out of the NW 10 to 20 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, or you can also verify the conditions as reported by looking at the bar cam at www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/barCam/?cam=humboldtBayBar. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Pacific Halibut closes after Saturday
The Pacific halibut season will close on 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 if July 9, the CDFW has projected 11,190 net pounds have been harvested towards a quota of 34,580 pounds. For up-to-date harvest tracking information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

The Oceans:
Eureka
“Not much has been happening offshore as there doesn’t appear to be an end to the wind,” said Skipper Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “Late last week and over the weekend the Pacific halibut bite was excellent, with lots of limits reported. We haven’t been able to get back out there since Saturday, and the long range forecast doesn’t look to promising. I’ve heard the tuna water is about 24 miles off of Eureka, but it doesn’t look like we’ll get a shot at it until maybe late next week. Hopefully it will still be in range once the wind stops.”

Trinidad
According to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters, the halibut bite was wide-open earlier this week. “It was fairly easy limits for boats fishing 40 fathoms straight out of the harbor last week and over the weekend. There wasn’t much current, and there seems to be a lot of fish out there. The rockfish continue to bite when the ocean conditions are good. It looks like we won’t be going offshore for halibut this weekend due to the wind, but we may be able to sneak in a rockfish trip,” Wilson added.

Shelter Cove
“Despite the wind, the rock fishing has been great the past couple weeks,” said Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “We’ve been getting limits just about every trip, mainly fishing the Old Man and the Hat. The weather has kept us off the halibut grounds for the most part, but we have been getting a couple while rock fishing. Some boats ran for tuna last week and they all got pretty good scores. Also, the salmon have shown up and we’ve hooked and released a couple this week on shrimp flies.” The recreation salmon season will re-open in the Shelter Cove/Fort Bragg area on Aug. 15 and remain open through Nov. 12.

Crescent City
Ocean conditions have been pretty sloppy since the weekend reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “We had a decent halibut bite last week, including one that came in around 105 pounds. Most of the halibut success has been outside of the South Reef in 300 feet of water. The lingcod and rockfish bite has been good when the boats are able to get out and the current is good.” Hegnes said.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The handful of boats still sitting on the anchor are catching a few spring salmon each day, but the scores haven’t been great. A couple fish have been caught in the estuary by boats trolling Kastmasters and that fishery should heat up any time. There’s a few more steelhead around now, flows are low enough to start side-drifting some of the riffles.

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

Bumpy ocean predicted for the holiday weekend

Fishing the NC 6_29 photo

Chico resident Scott Brewer, along with his son Brody, landed this 51-pound halibut out of Trinidad on June 15. The Pacific halibut season, which has been closed the last two weeks of June, will re-open on Saturday July 1 and will remain open through July 15. Photo courtesy of Scott Brewer

On one of the most popular holidays for anglers looking for a little offshore adventure, it looks like the ocean may be a little lumpy for the weekend. Inland anglers who are considering making the long trek to Humboldt to enjoy our beautiful, coastal weather and to hit the ocean will want to pay close attention to the marine forecast just in case it changes for the worse. Saturday marks the re-opening of the Pacific halibut season, but conditions are looking less than ideal with seven-foot seas forecasted. And making the trip south to Cape Mendocino for some rockfish looks iffy. If you’re hellbent on halibut and rockfish, Trinidad is likely your best bet. There’s no bar crossing to worry about, and it’s a short run to the fishing grounds. Targeting California halibut within Humboldt Bay is also a good alternative if it’s too rough to get outside. The Klamath River is producing a few spring salmon, and we have three lagoons that offer a variety of trout and bass. Don’t let a little wind and rough seas spoil your long holiday weekend.

Weekend Marine Forecast
According to National Weather Service, Friday’s marine forecast is calling for winds out of the NW 5 to 15 knots and NW waves 5-feet at 6 seconds and NW 2 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday forecast is for N winds 5 to 15 knots, with waves out of the NW 7-feet at 7 seconds and W 3-feet at 11 seconds. Sunday the wind is forecasted to blow 5 to 15 knots out of the NW. Waves will be NW 7-feet at 7 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan, or you can also verify the conditions as reported by looking at the bar cam at www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/barCam/?cam=humboldtBayBar. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Halibut season re-opens July 1
The Pacific halibut season will re-open on Saturday, 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. To date, the CDFW has projected 7,833 net pounds have been harvested towards a quota of 34,580 pounds. For up-to-date harvest tracking information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

Saturday is statewide free fishing day
On Saturday July 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 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

Abalone season closing
Abalone season will close Friday, June 30 and will be closed for the entire month of July. It will reopen on August 1. For more information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Invertebrates/Abalone

Fort Bragg tuna
A few boats made the run out of Fort Bragg on Sunday and Monday and were rewarded with the season’s first albacore. The warm water was roughly 30 to 40 miles straight out, but was an easy ride across a flat ocean. Scores ranged from 5 to 22 with most of the fish in the 12 to 20-pound range. The wind started to blow late Monday and the weather window is closed for now. The next opportunity could come towards the middle of next week.

The Oceans:
Eureka
“Fishing remains excellent down at the Cape, with easy limits of both rockfish and lings coming on every trip,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “The lingcod fishing is fantastic, and we’re catching a wide variety of rockfish too. A few halibut were also caught and released this last weekend. The weather for the halibut opener on Saturday isn’t looking great. Seven-foot seas are predicted, which is almost too big to effectively fish for halibut. When it’s that bouncy, it’s tougher to keep your bait in the strike zone long enough for them to bite. Inside Humboldt Bay, the California halibut are still biting, with lots of undersized ones around with some nice keepers mixed in.”

Trinidad
“There’s lots of rockfish around, and the lings are biting too,” said Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “We’ve been spending most our time south of Patrick’s Point. There’s definitely some good spots out there, we’ve caught some nice lings and a pretty good variety of rockfish this week. The crab traps are still stuffed with keepers, and the customers are going home with limits every trip,” Wilson added. 

Shelter Cove
“We spent the last few days targeting rockfish at Rodgers Break and Gorda,” said Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “Overall the fishing was pretty slow, but the quality was really good. We had 17 vermillion on Sunday. We managed limits the first two days, but came up a few rockfish short of limits on Monday. The three black limit has been making it a bit more challenging to achieve a ten-fish limit and we really had to work for them this weekend.”

Crescent City
According to Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, the rockfish bit really well over the weekend, but fell flat on Tuesday. “I heard good reports from the weekend, and I was out there myself and it was good. Boats fishing the Sisters, South and Big Reefs all found good action on a variety of rockfish and lings. And for whatever reason, the bite just died on Tuesday. The wind was picking up on Wednesday, but I’m hoping the ocean will be nice enough for the halibut opener this weekend,” Hegnes said.

Klamath/Trinity regulations
A reminder that spring-run regulations are still in effect on both rivers. Chinook fishing will be allowed through Aug. 14 on the Klamath downstream of the Highway 96 bridge. On the Trinity, fishing is open downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the confluence of the South Fork Trinity River through August 31. The limit is two kings of any size on both rivers. After these dates, both fisheries will be closed for salmon for the remainder of the calendar year. Important Reminder: During the salmon season closure, steelhead angling will still be allowed in both the Klamath and Trinity rivers.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The springer action for boats anchored on the lower river has slowed down since the beginning of the week, but some fish are still being caught daily. Hopefully we’ll see a few more spurts of fish move through. Now is typically the time when boats start switching over and begin trolling the estuary. I haven’t heard of any fish caught as of yet, but it should take off soon.

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

Rockfish on the rebound

Fishing the NC photo

Illinois resident John Bonk, right, landed a monster lingcod on a recent trip to Cape Mendocino with Skipper Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing, pictured left. After a week of heavy winds and rough water, the weekend ocean conditions are finally looking fishable. Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Shellback Sport Fishing

There’s finally some good news coming out of the West Coast Fisheries. Two important West Coast groundfish stocks that were formerly overfished have now been rebuilt according to a news release issued this week by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC).
Bocaccio and darkblotched rockfish, which are managed by the PFMC, were under strict rebuilding plans that have constrained West Coast fisheries for more than a decade. Bocaccio was declared overfished in 1999, and darkblotched rockfish in 2000; both were rebuilt well before their original target dates.

“The rebuilding strategies used to achieve this conservation success, coupled with favorable environmental conditions for groundfish productivity, have paid huge dividends in rebuilding our overfished groundfish stocks and resurrecting West Coast groundfish fisheries,” said Council Chair Herb Pollard.

The successful rebuilding of these species reflects the support and sacrifice of West Coast ports and fishermen who recognized the difficult actions and fishing cutbacks necessary to restore the stocks. The rebuilding of bocaccio and darkblotched rockfish will lead to increased harvest opportunities beginning in 2019.

Between 1999 and 2017, ten West Coast groundfish stocks were declared overfished, as surveys documented their declining numbers. Pacific whiting, for example, was declared overfished in 2002. The Council, working with NOAA Fisheries and the fishing industry, reduced commercial harvests. Combined with strong reproduction and recruitment, the fishing cutbacks led to the rapid rebuilding of Pacific whiting by 2004. The Council and NOAA Fisheries developed rebuilding plans for the other nine overfished stocks —bocaccio, darkblotched rockfish, lingcod, canary rockfish, cowcod, Pacific ocean perch, widow rockfish, petrale sole, and yelloweye rockfish.

Lingcod was declared rebuilt in 2005, and widow rockfish in 2012. Both petrale sole and canary rockfish were declared rebuilt in 2015. Rebuilding plans remain in place for three remaining overfished species: cowcod, Pacific ocean perch, and yelloweye rockfish. New assessments for Pacific ocean perch and yelloweye rockfish will be reviewed this summer and may be adopted in September. Cowcod is expected to be rebuilt by 2019. To view the entire report, visit http://www.pcouncil.org/2017/06/48752/two-important-groundfish-stocks-rebuilt/

Minus tides could create bar crossing and boat ramp issues
With minus tides in effect through the weekend and most of next week, there could be potential early morning hazardous bar conditions due to the combination of tides and swells converging at the time when boats will be headed across the Humboldt bar. 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 or you can also verify the conditions as reported by looking at the bar cam at www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/barCam/?cam=humboldtBayBar

The minus tides will also be problematic for bay and ocean anglers launching at Eureka’s two public boat ramps. The Eureka public boat ramp off of Waterfront and the Samoa Bridge ramp are both tough, or impossible, to navigate at minus tides. This weekend’s lowest tides fall right when most boats will be trying to launch.

Low tides — Fri. June 23 (-1.8 at 5:55 a.m.) Sat. June 24 (-2.1 at 6:44 a.m.), Sun. June 25 (-2.1 at 7:32 a.m.)

Weekend Marine forecast
Conditions will finally start to improve by the weekend, and are looking plenty fishable through early next week. From the beach out 10 nautical miles, Friday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the N 10 to 15 knots with NW waves 9 feet at 9 seconds. Saturday is looking better, with winds out of the SW up to 5 knots and NW waves 5 feet at 8 seconds and NW 2 feet at 16 seconds. Sunday looks slightly better. Winds will be out of the SW 5 to 10 knots with NW waves 4 feet at 8 seconds and W 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/. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Statewide free fishing day coming July 1
On Saturday July 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. For more information visit, https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing/free-fishing-days

Abalone season closing
Abalone season will close Friday, June 30 and will be closed for the entire month of July. It will reopen on August 1. For regulation information, visit http://www.eregulations.com/california/fishing/saltwater/invertebrate-fishing-regulations/

The Oceans:
Eureka
It’s been a little too lumpy to make the trip south to the Cape since last Friday, but that should change by the weekend. “Last week was really amazing down at the Cape,” said Captain Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. “More big lingcod than I’ve ever seen and we’ve had them patterned pretty tight. Clouds of widow rockfish have moved in on a few spots and giant lings followed them in out of the deep to feed. Every day last week I had at least one over 30 pounds with countless in the mid to high twenties. As soon as the weather comes down on Saturday, I have a feeling we’ll be right back on them.”

“The halibut fishing in the bay has been pretty good,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “With the ocean being rough, we spent a couple days in the bay targeting a California halibut. There’s lots of shakers, only about 15 percent of the fish we’re catching are keeper size. Live bait is definitely a good choice if you have it, but the guys trolling anchovies behind a herring dodger have done really well. We’ve been spending most of our time in the middle channel from Englund Marine to just above the bridge. The ocean is coming back down this weekend, so we’ll be back to the Cape for rockfish.”

Trinidad
The rockfish bit pretty well earlier in the week reports Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “The ocean has been pretty rough the last couple days, but we did have some good trips early in the week with quite a few rockfish and limits of lings for the passengers. The crabs are really biting too, we’re able to get easy limits every trip,” Wilson added.

Shelter Cove
“We were able to get Sunday and Monday in before getting blown off the water,” said Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “We had limits of lings and a few handfuls of snappers on Monday before getting blown off around 10:30. We also caught two halibut to about 60 pounds that were carefully released. On Sunday, we had limits of lings and 43 snappers for the five people on board. We mainly fished around the Whistle and Old Man due to rough conditions. It looks like we’ll be able to get back on the water on Saturday.

Crescent City
Not much happening this week with all the wind reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “A few boats tried to make it out last Sunday and thought better of it. No one’s been out since, but the weekend looks much better.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Fishing was pretty tough over the weekend with only a handful of fish being caught. It’s improved slightly this week, with boats still getting a chance at one to three springers a day. There’s plenty of zeros in the mix as well.

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

Posted in Current Fishing Reports

Two-week halibut closure begins Friday

Fishing the NC 6_15 photo

Eureka resident Neil Butler landed a healthy 50-pound Pacific halibut last Wednesday while fishing out of Eureka. The halibut fishing out of both Eureka and Trinidad has been excellent since the opener on May 1. The first installment of the halibut season will close after Thursday, June 15 and will re-open on July 1. Photo courtesy of Gary Blasi/Full Throttle Sport Fishing

The first of four sport Pacific halibut seasons off of California will come to a close after today, June 15. So far, the halibut fishing has been spectacular out of Eureka and Trinidad. The North Coast has always been known for its salmon, but it’s quickly becoming a halibut mecca as well. The first season, which opened on May 1, saw plenty of sport and charter boats alike haul in their limit of one fish per angler. It’s not uncommon to go out and catch a few, but to put five or six on board is pretty special. But now it’s time shift our focus over to rockfish and give the halibut a two-week breather. 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 6,490 net pounds of the 34,580 pound quota of Pacific Halibut has been harvested as of June 11.To view the latest catch projection information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

For information about the seasons and regulations, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670771-pacific-halibut-regulations

Weekend Marine Forecast
The ocean is forecasted to get a little more wind this weekend, but may remain fishable. Out 10 nautical miles north of Cape Mendocino, Friday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the W up to 5 knots with W waves 7 feet at 11 seconds. Winds will increase on Saturday, and the forecast is calling for 10 to 20 knots out of the N and W waves 7 feet at 10 seconds. On Sunday, N winds are predicted to be 10 to 20 knots, with waves N 7 feet at 9 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For up-to-date weather forecast, visit http://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.

CDPH Lifts Warning About Certain Shellfish from Del Norte and Marin Counties
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) lifted health advisories on June 2 related to certain sport-harvested bivalve shellfish in Del Norte and Marin counties. For Del Norte County, the advisory is being lifted for whole scallops and clam species other than razor clams. For Marin County, the advisory is being lifted for whole scallops and all clams. The health advisories were issued due to elevated levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins. Recent tests show that PSP toxins have decreased to safe or undetectable levels. There have been no reported illnesses associated with these PSP events. The CDPH warning against eating sport-harvested razor clams from Del Norte and Humboldt counties due to dangerous levels of another toxin, domoic acid, remains in effect, as does the statewide annual quarantine on sport-harvested mussels.

North Coast Fishing Communities meeting coming June 21
The California Fish and Game Commission invites interested stakeholders to join a discussion to explore what may contribute to resiliency and long-term prosperity of fishing communities in northern California. The discussion is part of an ongoing dialogue to help clarify common concerns throughout the state, and help inform future Commission discussion or action. The meeting will be held on June 21 from 3:00 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Howonquet Hall Community Center, 101 Indian Ct., in Smith River, CA. For more information about the Commission, visit www.fgc.ca.gov

Fish Lake Kid’s fishing derby coming June 24
The 43rd annual Kid’s Fish Lake Fishing Derby is taking place on Saturday, June 24 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, contact LeRoy Cyr at (530) 627-3262.

The Oceans:
Eureka
“Up until Tuesday, conditions on the halibut grounds were about perfect,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “Conditions definitely changed, the surface water temps went from 52 to 56 degrees, and there isn’t the sign of life that has been there since the season opened. It looks like some new water pushed in from somewhere, probably a good time for the season to close. But it’s been a great season so far. More bait is showing up in the bay, and a few more keeper California halibut are being caught. There are still lots of shorts, about a third are keeper size,” said Klassen.

With so many undersized California halibut currently in the bay, it’s a good practice not to bring the fish in the boat if you don’t have too. Releasing the fish on the side of the boat is the best option. If you do net a “shaker”, be sure and use a soft, rubberized net with the smallest mesh available to avoid splitting the tail. Tail splits, if not severe, will heal, but will make the fish susceptible to fin rot. California halibut must be a minimum of 22 inches in length and the bag and possession limit is three.

Trinidad
Halibut fishing has been pretty good this past week according to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters out of Trinidad. He said, “There are a few boats that fish regularly that do really well. The rockfish bite, at least for black rockfish, is wide-open from Redding Rock to Patrick’s Point. We’re catching a handful of vermillion, coppers, and cabezon, but the majority have been blacks. There are also a few nice lings around, but it isn’t on fire,” Wilson said.

Crescent City
The halibut bite was pretty good on Wednesday according to Leonard Carter of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “I didn’t hear where the guys were fishing, but sounds like a few were caught. The rockfish action has been really good at all the usual spots when the boats have been able to get out. And the perch are still biting at both Kellogg and South beaches,” Carter added.

Shelter Cove:
“The rockfish bite has been awesome at both Gorda and Rogers Break,” said Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “I fished Gorda on Saturday with two guys who had booked the whole boat and got limits of halibut to 46 pounds and limits of lingcod and rockfish. Locally, the rockfish bite has been a little slow. There’s been plenty of lingcod, but it’s been tough getting limits of snappers. We fished all around the Old Man on Friday and did ok. Wednesday we got a pretty decent variety at the Hat along with limits of crab.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Last weekend’s rain definitely kick-started the spring salmon run as the fishing was the best it’s been this season. The boat pressure is sporadic, but most are getting a chance at one to three fish per trip. 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

Low tides troublesome for Eureka boat ramps

Fishing the NC 6_8 photo

Springdale, Arkansas resident Preston Stevens was all smiles after landing a pair of black rockfish while fishing out of Trinidad on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Curt Wilson /Wind Rose Charters

This weekend’s minus tides could be problematic for ocean anglers launching at Eureka’s two public boat ramps. As most boaters are aware, the Eureka public boat ramp off of Waterfront is a muddy mess at low tide. And this weekend’s minus tides fall smack dab in the middle of when the boat launching traffic is typically the heaviest. Saturday’s low of -0.8 falls at prime launching time, right around 7:15 a.m. Sunday isn’t much better, with a -0.8 right around 8 a.m. Reportedly, it will take at least a couple feet of water to get across the mud flats. Your best bet is to launch as early as possible and wait for first light, or launch later in the morning. Keep in mind the afternoon lows return around 2 p.m., but they aren’t minus tides. The mud situation at the Samoa Bride boat ramp is similar to Eureka’s public ramp, so that’s not necessarily a good alternative. The ramp at Fields Landing is your best bet, with no mud all the way to the end of the docks. The tradeoff is the ramp isn’t as steep and you may have to get your truck in the water, depending on the length of your boat.

The minus tides could also create early morning hazardous bar conditions this weekend due to the combination of tides and swells converging at the time when most boats could 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. 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 or you can also verify the conditions as reported by looking at the bar cam at http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/barCam/?cam=humboldtBayBar.

Marine Forecast
After the front blows through on Thursday, the ocean looks like it will be fishable at least through Saturday. Friday’s forecast is calling for S winds 5 to 10 knots and S waves 2 feet at 4 seconds and W 5 feet at 9 seconds. Saturday is calling for SW winds 5 to 10 knots with SW waves 3 feet at 5 seconds and W 5 feet at 10 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is calling for NW winds 5 to 15 knots with W waves 7 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.

Youth fishing derby this Saturday
The 10th annual SkyCrest Lake Youth Fish Derby & Firewise Day will be held Saturday, June 10. The free event for youths 3 to 15 years old will be held at SkyCrest Lake, Burnt Ranch-Underwood Mountain Road and is hosted by the Willow Creek Fire Safe Council. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and fishing will be from 9 a.m. to noon. There is a free hot lunch for all from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Shore fishing only and no pets or alcohol. For more information, call 707-499- 0767 or 530-629-2770, or email barbaradarst@yahoo.com

The Oceans:
Eureka
“After being tied up at the dock for a few days, we finally got back on the water Tuesday,” said Skipper Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “The halibut are still biting; we hooked four and landed three, so the fishing is still pretty good. There’s also lots of petrale and sand dabs around as well. Inside Humboldt Bay, a lot more bait has started to show up and the California halibut action is starting to improve. It looks like we may have some decent weather ahead. Other than Thursday, the ocean looks to be fishable through at least Saturday.”

Trinidad
From Trinidad Head to Patrick’s Point is loaded with black rockfish reports Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters out of Trinidad. He said, “I’ve only been out a few days as we’re just getting our season started. There doesn’t seem to be a lack of fish, but it’s a little tougher when you can only keep three blacks. I heard quite a few halibut were caught last week, but it’s been quiet this week, likely due to the rough ocean outside. The crabbing remains really good, we’re getting lots of keepers in 100 feet of water.”

Shelter Cove
“We finished up the first salmon season last Tuesday and Wednesday with limits both days,” said Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “On Thursday we went down to the Ranch House and had limits of rockfish and lings by 11:00. We were off the water until Tuesday due to the conditions, but we picked up where we left off with early limits of both rockfish and lings near Bear Harbor. We’ve also been pulling crab pots, but it’s been slow. We’re only averaging about four keepers per pot. No halibut have been caught this week and very few so far down here this year. It’s been pretty rough, so there really hasn’t been much effort.’

Crescent City
The rockfish are biting pretty good reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “The hot spot this week has been the Big Reef. The fishing has been really good, and quite a few big lings are being caught as well. The halibut bit pretty well last week, though I haven’t heard of any being caught this week. The perch fishing remains red hot at South Beach,” Hegnes said.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Springer fishing on the Lower Klamath picked up a slightly this week, with a handful of salmon reportedly caught by boats anchored on the lower river. As of Wednesday, flows were down to 17,000 cfs, but will jump back up to 21,000 by Friday afternoon due to the rain. Hopefully this bump in flows will kick-start the run and not blow out the river.

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

Posted in Current Fishing Reports