Some of the best steelhead fishing in recent years on the Klamath has kept anglers busy as we await the arrival of the fall kings. There's been flurries of fish moving in the estuary and below the U.S. Highway101 bridge, but not many are choosing to head upriver as of yet. The water temperatures cooled by a couple degrees Monday and quite a few fresh steelhead and jacks moved into the lower river. The big kings should start to move any time, especially with the water starting to cool down. According to Dan Troxel, an environmental scientist on the Klamath River Project, only 47 adult salmon had been harvested from the State Route 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the Klamath mouth toward the quota of 611 for the week ending Thursday Aug. 19. Of those, 20 adults were caught at the spit area of the mouth. As of last Friday, 163 adults remained of the 183-adult sub-quota for the mouth. If the fishing doesn't bust open soon, there is some help on the way. Reportedly, flows coming out of the Trinity are scheduled to increase Sept. 3 for the ceremonial Hoopa Boat Dance. Flows are predicted to peak at 2,800 cubic feet per second on the Hoopa gauge Sept. 5 or Sept. 6 and then ramp back down by Sept. 8.
Gale force northerly gusts are forecast to develop Friday across the outer waters north of Cape Mendocino. Winds nearshore will generally be lighter. However, seas will grow steeper through the end of the week and over the weekend. Out 10 nautical miles north of the Cape, Friday's forecast is calling for north winds 15 to 25 knots and waves out of the north 9 feet at nine seconds. Saturday is calling for north winds 5 to15 knots and waves northwest 8 feet at eight seconds. Sunday, winds will be out of the north at 5 to 15 knots and waves northwest 8 feet at eight seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/ or 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 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.
Trinity River quotas begin on Sept. 1
Fall regulations for Chinook salmon fishing on the Trinity River will go into effect Sept. 1 and run through Dec. 31, with a sport quota of 402 adults. The quota will be split evenly; 201 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the State Route 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat and 201 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar to the confluence with the Klamath. The main stem downstream of the State Route 299 Bridge at Cedar Flat to the Denny Road Bridge in Hawkins Bar is closed to all fishing Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. Anglers may keep track of the Klamath and Trinity river quotas by calling (800) 564-6479. For Klamath and Trinity fishing regulations, visit www.nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=169262&inline
Wind and rough ocean conditions have kept the Eureka boats tied up for well over a week. There is a brief weather window for Wednesday and Thursday before the wind returns by the weekend. According to Tim Klassen, of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, the tuna water is still within reach. "The warm water is roughly 40 to 45 miles from Eureka," said Klassen. "We just need some decent weather."
Curt Wilson, of Wind Rose Charters, reports the black rockfish action remains steady between the Head and Patrick's Point. "We're catching a few lingcod everyday along with the blacks, but not a ton of other variety are in close right now," he said.
The salmon bite has been pretty good this week, reports Jake Mitchell, of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. "We had limits most days of nice quality kings up to 32 pounds," Mitchell said. "We've been getting them just south of the harbor around the bell buoy. The rock fishing was stellar, as well, as we limited on rockfish a few days after our salmon. The lingcod bite remains inconsistent with about a fish per rod average."
Windy conditions have slowed the offshore fishing out of Crescent City. A few boats are getting out early in the morning and hitting spots close to the harbor for limits of rockfish and some lingcod. The Sisters continues to be one of the better locations. The tuna water is still sitting 30 miles straight out of Crescent City, but conditions don't look great for the remainder of the week and the weekend.
Rough, windy weather kept the fleet at the docks out of Brookings last week and over the weekend, according to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, "The ocean finally calmed enough for inshore bottom fishing on Monday. Thursday looks like the next opportunity for tuna, with 60-degree water a little less than 30 miles straight out. King season is closed, while hatchery coho may be kept through Aug. 28. Fishing was good for Pacific halibut a week ago, and should be good again this calmer weather mid-week."
The stellar steelhead fishing is still going strong on the lower Klamath. The river is full of half-pounders, along with lots of adults running 3 to 6 pounds. More jacks entered the river Monday and quite a few boats were getting limits. Very few adults are being caught, but that could change at any time, especially with the water temps starting to cool. The estuary fishery isn't red-hot, but a few are being caught by boats trolling anchovies. Most of the fishing pressure has moved upriver.
The Rogue Bay fished very well last week before increases flows from Lost Creek Dam sent many of the salmon help up in the estuary upriver according to Martin. "After a slow weekend, the bite improved again Monday," he said. "Summer steelhead are being caught from Lobster Creek to Agness. A few wild coho also are now being caught in the bay."
Kenny Priest (he/him) operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email firstname.lastname@example.org