Pacific Halibut Fly Over the Rails

Pacific Halibut Fly Over the Rails
Hank Moore, of Chico, landed a nice Pacific halibut on a recent trip out in Eureka aboard the Seaweasel II.
Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Gary Blasi/Full Throttle Sport Fishing

by Kenny Priest

A nice long stretch of fishable weather provided some pretty good Pacific halibut action from Eureka up to Crescent City. Private, and especially charter boats, have been putting a lickin’ on the halibut since last weekend. There were plenty of days where boats were back in port well inside of 10 a.m. with a box full of flatties. This time last year, the fishing was wide-open, and it looks like we’re on the same pace this season. Unlike last year, we don’t have a salmon season to take the pressure off the halibut, so there’s a good chance our season will come to an end early. So, if you haven’t yet gotten in on the action, you better make it quick. This fishery won’t last long. Through June 25, CDFW projected 20,573 pounds had been caught. But those numbers are sure to skyrocket after the wide-open bite last week. To view the latest catch projection information, visit

Weekend marine forecast
Northerlies will continue to strengthen through the week as well as advisory level winds and seas. As of Wednesday afternoon, Friday’s forecast is calling for north winds 5 to 15 knots and waves north 6 feet at seven seconds. Saturday forecast is forecast for north winds 10 to 20 knots along with northwest waves 10 feet at 11 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is calling for north winds 10 to 15 knots and waves northwest 10 feet at 10 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 (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

Upcoming events
The National Parks Service and the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife are hosting a Veterans Fishing Day on Saturday, July 1. Family members are also invited for a fin-filled day of surf perch fishing. The event will be held at the Redwood Creek Day Use area off U.S. Highway 101 just south of Orick. No fishing license is required as it’s a free fishing day in California. Participants are encouraged to bring water, lunch/snacks, life vests, chairs and sunscreen. Fishing rods and tackle will be provided if needed.

Shelter Cove Fishing Preservation, Inc. is holding a Fish and Chips Fundraiser on Monday, July 3. The event will start at 11 a.m. at the tractor launch area and donation is $20 per person. For more information, visit

July 1 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 steelhead, sturgeon, spiny lobster, or salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity river systems. For more information, visit

The Oceans:

Halibut is still the focus out of Eureka, and when the weather cooperates, limits are coming easily. Most of the action continues straight out of the entrance in 270 to 300 feet of water. The charter fleet is scoring early limits of flatties up to 60 pounds while sitting on the anchor. Last week provided some calm seas and boats made the run south to Cape Mendocino where the rockfish are devouring baits. The offshore weather ahead doesn’t look great heading into the weekend.

Shelter Cove
“There hasn’t been much fishing effort lately,” said Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “However, the rock fishing and crabbing remain excellent with limits of both daily. The lingcod bite is still slow, but we have managed limits a couple days of smaller grade fish. We’ve spent most of our time outside the Hat. There hasn’t been much effort on halibut this week.”

Crescent City
“When the boats can get out, they’ve been loading up on rockfish and lingcod,” said Chis Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “The Sisters and South Reef are giving up good numbers. After a decent bite last week, the Pacific halibut bite has slowed down. Same with the California halibut. A few have been caught off the jetty and along South Beach, but it has slowed. There’s been a pretty good perch bite for a while now at Kellogg Beach.”

“Halibut action has improved out of Brookings, with a fish-per-rod average on the good weather days,” said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. “Lots of fish were caught over the weekend. The coho salmon opener was a dud, with just a handful of hatchery silvers caught. Salmon fishing has been decent out of Coos Bay and Winchester Bay, an indication the coho run may have already moved up the coast prior to the opener out of Brookings. Lingcod fishing has been fair, while boaters are getting limits of rockfish.”

Lower Rogue
According to Martin, salmon fishing has been slow in the Rogue Bay, while boats anchoring above Lobster Creek are catching a few late-arriving springers. “Water temperatures are on the verge of hitting 70 degrees at the Agness gauge, which should force kings to begin holding up in the bay and jump start the troll fishery.”

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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