Fishing the North Coast: Solid Salmon Opener Out of Eureka

Seven year-old Carlie Moore, along with her dad Conan, had a great day together salmon fishing out of Eureka on Monday. The sport salmon season opened on Saturday from the CA/OR border to Horse Mtn. and will run through Sept. 2.
Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Reel Steel Sport Fishing

by Kenny Priest
5-30-2019
Website

Kenny Priest/For the Times-Standard
“In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Had Benjamin Franklin lived on the North Coast, he may have edited his famous quote to include king salmon out of Eureka. The season is only a few days old, but Eureka once again looks like the place to be if you want to consistently catch kings. Saturday’s opener was blown out, but Marc Schmidt of Coastline Charters headed out on Sunday afternoon to test the waters as the ocean was lying down. They quickly put in limits and had a fish on within minutes of putting lines in the water. That obviously got everyone’s blood going for Monday. And the salmon didn’t disappoint. They were chewing up baits from the get go, and it was limit-style fishing for the fleet. Tuesday was even better, with most of the charters limited and headed in by 10 a.m. Fishing was tougher on Wednesday, with the boats having to scatter looking for schools. We’re just at the beginning of a long season, but the stars are in line and hinting that we’re in for a great king salmon season. I can say with utmost certainty that Eureka will be one of the top ports on the West Coast for salmon catching.

Weekend marine forecast
After Thursday, the seas are forecasted to build through the weekend and into next week. North and northwest winds blowing 10 to 20 knots are predicted through at least Monday. On Friday, NW waves will be 8 feet at 8 seconds and NW 2 feet at 14 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for NW swells 9 feet at 9 seconds and W 2 feet at 11 seconds. Sunday’s prediction is NW swells 7 feet at 8 seconds and W 2 feet at 11 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or https://www.windy.com. 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.

California halibut carcasses wanted
California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife is looking for Humboldt Bay anglers to donate their California halibut carcasses to research. You can donate your carcass by giving it directly to CDFW Halibut staff who will be periodically present at Woodley Island and/or public boat launches; you can schedule a drop off at the CDFW field office, 619 2nd St; or pickup by contacting Kathryn Meyer at 707-445-5306. CDFW asks that you remove the fillets, but leave the skeleton and guts intact and on ice and record the date and location of capture.
Each donation will receive an entry to win a custom fishing rod at the end of the season, courtesy of Bassman Dan’s Custom Rods.

California Halibut can be found a from Baja, Mexico to Washington State, but are most common south of Point Reyes. In warm years, we tend to see a lot more Halibut in the Humboldt area, which may become more common in the future. Help us learn more about how quickly they grow, when and if they reproduce here, what they are eating, among other questions important for managing the fishery.

Pacific Halibut quota update The CDFW has projected 4,756 net pounds of Pacific Halibut has been harvested through May 19. In 2019, the Pacific halibut allocation for California is 39,000 pounds. To view the latest catch projection information, visit https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Marine/Pacific-Halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking

Canary rockfish, black rockfish and lingcod bag limit increases effective June 1
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced increases to the recreational canary rockfish, black rockfish and lingcod daily limits. Within the statewide Rockfish Cabezon Greenlings Complex daily bag limit of 10 fish, the sub-bag limit for canary rockfish will increase from two to three fish, and the sub-bag limit for black rockfish will increase from three to four fish. The daily bag limit for lingcod will increase from one to two fish for areas south of 40°10’ N. lat (Mendocino Management Area), returning the statewide bag limit for lingcod to two fish. Within the Northern Management Area, which runs from the CA/OR border to Cape Mendocino, the lingcod bag limit will remain at two fish. Changes are effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, June 1, 2019. For more information regarding groundfish regulations, management and fish identification tools, please visit the https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Groundfish-Summary

Fish for free this weekend in Oregon
Oregon will be having a Free Fishing Weekend on June 1 and 2. On those two days, no license, tag or endorsement is required to fish, crab or clam anywhere in Oregon. This applies only to waters already open to fishing, crabbing or clamming. All other regulations, such as bag limits, still apply. For more information, visit https://myodfw.com/articles/2019-free-fishing-days-and-events.

The Oceans:
Eureka Monday and Tuesday were really good for salmon out of Eureka reports Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “There seems to be quite a few fish around, but they’re spread out,” said Klassen. “The best bite has been between the 47 and 53 out in 38 to 40 fathoms. The fish are really deep, from 180 to 200 feet on the wire. There’s some activity on the inside, but most of the birds and bait have been in deeper water. The salmon are a better grade than last year, with most averaging right around eight to 10 pounds. There’s some shakers around as well as silvers.”

Trinidad
“The salmon aren’t everywhere, but we’re getting a good steady pick of them,” said Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “We haven’t seen a lot of birds or large masses of bait this week. The fish we’re catching have been in 30 to 40 fathoms and the they’re on the bottom. The rockfish continues to be wide-open, there’s black rockfish just about everywhere. We haven’t seen many lings as of yet though. The sport crabbing is still good, the pots have been stuffed with big males.”

Shelter Cove
The salmon bite has been very slow according to Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “There was a decent bite on Sunday with at least one boat getting limits and there were two fish caught that were in the mid-twenties. Other than that, most boats have been lucky to see one fish for a day’s effort. There’s been quite a bit of bait right out front and down inside the Old Man, so hopefully they’ll find it soon. Rock fishing has been good around the Hat. We got a 67-pound halibut while rock fishing down there on Monday. It’s looking like it will be windy the rest of the week and possibly longer.”

Crescent City
There were a few salmon caught over the weekend, but not many reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “There wasn’t a lot of effort, and the ocean wasn’t that nice. I had heard the water looked good about 10 miles out, but the boats this weekend couldn’t get out that far. Conditions really changed on Wednesday afternoon. One of the commercial boats coming in said there was tons of life – birds, bait, whales, sea lions – about four miles offshore in 26-27 fathoms of water. It looked really fishy. The rockfish bite is red hot right now, boats are really doing well at the Big Reef. Plenty of lingcod around too.”

Brookings
Although a few salmon are being caught out of Brookings, fishing is still slow, which is usual for late May reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “Peak season tends to be two to three weeks after it peaks in Eureka, so the strong start there is encouraging. Some kings are being caught five miles offshore from Brookings in 300 feet of water, fishing 90 feet down. There also are Coho already being caught, but they cannot be kept until June 22.”

Lower Rogue The Rogue got a fresh batch of springers last week according to Martin. “Beginning June 1, wild salmon can be kept on the Rogue. Still early for good bay fishing on the Rogue,” 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.


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