Hot Action Continues for Pacific Halibut Anglers

Hot Action Continues for Pacific Halibut Anglers
Eureka resident Brandi Easter landed a nice Pacific halibut Monday while fishing aboard Reel Steel. Photo courtesy of Brandi Easter.

by Kenny Priest

With no salmon season, Pacific halibut continues to be the focal point out of Eureka, Trinidad and Crescent City after another week of sizzling action. Eureka charter and sport boats fishing a few miles on each side of the entrance in 290 to 300 feet of water are reporting quick limits. The small Trinidad fleet has done equally as well straight out of the harbor. Crescent City has also gotten in on the action with a hot bite reported in 260 feet of water straight out of the harbor. And it’s looking like the only thing that will slow down the onslaught is if you can’t get to the fishing grounds. And that’s exactly what’s happening this week. But that could be a blessing in disguise. The 39,520-pound quota has the potential to get chewed up quickly with the fleet consistently putting halibut in the box. The best case scenario would be for the quota to last at least through the summer. The way our weather pattern is shaping up, the wind may just see to it.

Through May 29, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has projected 7,249 pounds have been caught. To track the quota, visit

Weekend marine forecast
Ocean conditions don’t look good through the work week, with the weekend not looking much better. Friday’s forecast calls for winds out of the north 5 to 15 knots and waves north 7 feet at seven seconds and northwest 3 feet at 11 seconds. Saturday is looking similar, with north winds 10 to 20 knots and waves north 6 feet at seven seconds. Sunday looks worse, with north winds 15 to 25 knots and northwest waves 12 feet at 10 seconds and west 3 feet at 15 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit or You can also call the National Weather Service at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.

Ruth Lake Bass tournament this Saturday
Fortuna Fire Department CO-2’s will be holding the annual “Paul Jadro Memorial Bass Tournament” on Saturday, June 3. Blast off will be at 5:45 a.m. or at first safe light, by draw. The one-day tournament event offers a first prize award of up to $1,000 with payout to 1 in 3 in addition to door prizes and sponsor products. The entry fee is $150 per team with a big fish buy in option of $10. The tournament is catch and release and all competitors must fish from boats that are required to have operational live wells on board. Life jackets are required. Check in at the Marina on Friday June 2 at 4:30-6 p.m. or Saturday 4-5 a.m. For more information, visit

Junior Angler Fishing Day coming June 17
On Saturday, June 17, kids and their families are invited to a fun filled day of surf perch fishing and activities at the Redwood Creek Day Use Area located off of Highway 101 just south of Orick. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All kids under 16 will not need a fishing license. A license is required for those 17 years old and above. Parents are advised to bring water, lunch/snacks, life vest, chairs and sunscreen. Fishing rods and tackle will be provided for participants if needed. The event is put on by the National Parks Service and the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife.

Fish Lake Kid’s fishing derby coming June 17
The 47th annual Kid’s Fish Lake Fishing Derby is taking place on Saturday, June 17 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. Hosted by the Orleans Rod and Gun Club and Six Rivers National Forest with sponsors: Coast Central Credit Union, RMI Outdoors, Bassman Dan Custom Rods, California Deer Association, and our awesome river community. For additional information contact Eric Fieberg, Orleans Rod and Gun Club, at 707-951-4453 or LeRoy Cyr, District Fish Biologist, at 530-262-1790.

Fish for free this weekend in Oregon
Oregon will be having a Free Fishing Weekend June 3 and 4. 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. Visit

Notice of proposed emergency regulations – Chinook salmon sport fishing closures
A notice of proposal for emergency regulations regarding Chinook salmon sport fishing closures in the Klamath, Trinity, Eel, and Smith rivers has been posted to the Commission’s website. The notice and associated documents can be accessed at

California halibut bag limit reduction coming
As of June 1, the California halibut bag and possession limit is supposed to be reduced from three to two in California waters north of Point Sur, Monterey County. However, as of Thursday, the emergency regulation was still within the Office of Administrative Law. The reduced California halibut limit is designed to protect the resource amid increased recreational fishing pressure due to limited fishing opportunities and changes in other ocean fisheries including salmon. For more information, visit

The Oceans:
The Pacific halibut bite continues to be good, with most boats able to score limits, reports Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “Most of the boats are fishing between the 45 and 52-line in 290 to 300 feet of water. I haven’t been to the Cape in a few days, but the boats that have made their way down report a solid rockfish bite, catching a wide variety including blacks, browns, vermilions and canaries.”

“Pacific halibut are the main attraction right now with the majority of my guys coming into town for a shot at one of these fish that most people think they have to travel to Alaska to catch,” said Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. “And the bite’s been really good this week, with limits every time we’ve tried. Some smaller 10 to 15-pound fish are definitely in the mix, but 30-pounders have been common and we’ve had a couple over 50 on Shellbacks deck already.  Early season fishing on the local Trinidad reef is typically a slam dunk for limits of jumbo black rockfish. This year is no exception with fish coming over the rail hot and heavy.
The remote waters lingcod/ rockfish runs kicked out ridiculous quality this week. A beautiful grade of lingcod running up to 30 pounds while old growth canaries up to 7 pounds stole the show on the rockfish front.”

Shelter Cove
According to Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport fishing, rock fishing has been great out of Shelter Cove. “It’s only taking a few drifts to get limits most days,” said Mitchell. “The lingcod are a different story and we’re lucky to get one per rod. Most of the effort on rockfish has been outside the Old Man. A few boats fished Pacific halibut on Friday at Gorda, but it was fairly slow. We had three fish, another boat had four, and I believe only two more were caught between the fleet.”

Crescent City
According to Kevin Hooper of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, all the fisheries are starting to catch fire right now. “The Pacific halibut bite has been crazy good,” said Hooper. “Not a lot of big fish, but the catch rate is pretty high. Straight out in 250 to 260 feet of water has been good. The rockfish bite is excellent per usual at both of the reefs and the Sisters. The redtails are biting well too, with Kellogg beach being the top spot. We’re also seeing quite a few rockfish and lingcod coming off the jetty.”

Lingcod and rockfish have been good out of Brookings reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “Windy weather has limited the opportunity to fish for halibut. Windy weather is expected all week. Ocean salmon opens June 17 out of Brookings for hatchery coho. A large ocean abundance of coho is forecasted this summer.”

Lower Rogue
Anglers on the Rogue River can begin keeping wild king salmon June 1 according to Martin. “Springers continue to move through, but action has slowed. Guides are still getting fish daily. Drift boat fishing in the upper river, meanwhile, near Shady Cove has busted open. Limits of salmon have been caught both on MagLip plugs and back-bouncing roe. June is peak season on the upper river. Don’t expect the bay to heat up until late June or July because of higher flows.”

Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email

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