Last Friday and Saturday produced some of the best ocean sport salmon fishing we've seen in years — or maybe ever. It was nearly impossible not to get limits if you were anywhere near the right spot. And then the winds blew in and the seas turned rough, keeping the fleet tied up Sunday and Monday. Ocean conditions were much improved Tuesday, the last day of salmon season until Aug. 1., and the small fleet made the run to the last known location of a large school of kings, hoping for the magic to strike again. And it did. The fish weren't in that exact location but they didn't go far. After a little scouting and the schools located, it was whack and stack. What a way to end the first half. So now with salmon closed for a couple months, the focus will be squarely on the white meat variety: Pacific halibut and rockfish.
Weekend marine forecast
Ocean conditions look excellent through the work week before the wind picks Saturday. Friday's forecast calls for winds out of the southwest up to 5 knots and waves west 4 feet at 11 seconds and southwest 2 feet at 18 seconds. Saturday is looking a little rougher, with south winds 10 to 20 knots and waves south 5 feet at five seconds and southwest 2 feet at 17 seconds. Sunday looks a little better, with southwest winds 5 to 10 knots and west waves 5 feet at eight seconds and southwest 2 feet at 16 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.
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 4. 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 one in three, in addition to door prizes and sponsor products. The entry fee is $140 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 3 at 4:30 to 6 p.m. or Saturday 4 to 5 a.m. For more information, contact Cody Waddell at (707) 496-1717.
Fish for free this weekend in Oregon
Oregon will be having a Free Fishing Weekend June 4 and 5. 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 www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2022/05_May/052622b.asp.
Trinidad Big Fish and Photo Contest
Trinidad Harbor and the Seascape Pier are hosting a big fish (salmon and halibut) and photo contest starting June 1. Sign-ups are at the bait shop and are free. Fish must be caught by boats launched or moored at Trinidad Harbor. Halibut and/or salmon must be weighed and photographed by Harbor crew members. The contest ends when the 2022 quota is met. The Best Fish Photo can include lingcod, rockfish, salmon, halibut and albacore. Send your photos to email@example.com. Prizes include items from Redwood Coast Spreader Bars and Migration Clothing.
Boats looking for salmon got back on the water Tuesday after a couple days off due to rough seas and wind. The salmon were in roughly the same spot as when they left them biting Saturday. It was limit-style fishing for the fleet that wanted another shot prior to the salmon season closing until Aug. 1. There were some Pacific halibut caught last Friday while conditions were ideal. Not many have ventured to the Cape but, with salmon closed, that will likely change. Ocean conditions look good through at least Friday.
The salmon bite was good over the holiday weekend out of Trinidad. According to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters, there was a good bite on the 00 line in 240 feet of water on Friday. He said, "Some halibut were also caught, with most coming straight out in 250 to 275 feet of water. The rockfish bite remains excellent and the ling cod have showed up in good numbers. The crabbing is good, with limits or close to it for the boats fishing rings/nets." Salmon season will close after May 31 and open again Aug. 1.
According to Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport fishing, the salmon fishing has slowed down a little bit with boats getting about a fish and a half per rod. "There hasn't been any concentration of fish," said Mitchell. "Boats are getting them from the whistle to the Hat. You don't have to go far for rockfish, it has been pretty good just south of the whistle to the Old Man." Salmon season will run through July 4, reopening on July 22 and running through Sept. 5.
According to reports, the salmon bite went belly up on Tuesday after having consistent bite for the entire month of May. The water temperatures could have slowed it down, it was a chilly 48 degrees Tuesday. The rockfish bite remains excellent and there were some big lings to 30 pounds caught prior to the wind picking up. There have only been a few Pacific halibut caught but there should be much more effort now that salmon season has closed until Aug. 1.
Lingcod and rockfish action has been good out of Brookings, while just a few Pacific halibut are being caught, reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, "Catch rates for halibut improve in June and peak in July and August. Anchovies have arrived in the Port of Brookings and are thick outside the harbor, a good sign for the June 18 coho salmon and June 25 king salmon openers out of Brookings. The later-than-normal ocean salmon openers in Brookings coincide with what is typically the peak season. May and early June are closed on the Oregon side to reduce harvest of salmon bound for the Klamath River."
Wild salmon can be kept on the Rogue River beginning June 1, according to Martin. "Although this year's springer run has been much better than recent seasons, most of the spring kings have already moved through. High flows and cool water will allow late-arriving fish to blast through, keeping the summer bay fishery from heating up for several more weeks. Springers are now being caught in the upper river near Shady Cove."
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.