Until recently, it had been somewhat of a slow start to the salmon season on the lower Klamath. And that's to be expected. The late spring rains that fell in June increased flows and cooled the water. Both scenarios did wonders for the spring salmon, allowing them to make their way upriver to their spawning grounds. And by the looks of it, they have arrived at the upper Trinity in good numbers. To date, the Junction City weir has trapped 26 days and collected a robust 1,666 kings, including 46 jacks. Comparing that to last year, the same weir trapped for a total of 109 days for 1,848 kings. By all accounts, it appears the spring run, so far, is better than the previous few years. But now as the warm inland temperatures begin to warm the water flowing to the estuary, the salmon will likely slow down and hold. This is just what the anglers have been waiting for. Since it opened to fishing July 1, boats trolling near the mouth have caught just a handful of fish. But that is slowly starting to change. Spring-run regulations are in effect through Aug. 14, with a daily bag and possession limit of one salmon of any size. The fall quota won't begin until Aug. 15.
Strong northerly winds in the outer waters will continue to bring steep seas to the inner waters. Northerlies will push closer to the coast Tuesday afternoon through midweek, then weaken late in the week. As of Wednesday afternoon, Friday's forecast is calling for north winds 5 to 10 knots and waves northwest 5 feet at five seconds. Saturday's forecast is calling for north winds 10 to 15 knots and waves northwest 7 feet at six seconds. Winds are forecast to increase Sunday, blowing 10 to 20 knots from the north with waves north 7 feet at seven 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. You can also call the National Weather Service at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.
King tides coming this week
Nighttime King tides will be in effect through early next week with minor flooding possible around high tide beginning Tuesday. The tide prediction for Wednesday is for a low tide of -2.09 feet at 6:17 a.m. and a high tide of 8.39 feet at 11:57 p.m. Thursday will see a -2.17-feet low at 7:05 a.m. and a high of 8.23 feet at 12:50 a.m. Friday. Areas most likely to see minor flooding are King Salmon and the Arcata bottoms.
Redtail perch/California halibut
The redtail perch bite has really picked the past couple weeks on the local beaches. One of the top spots has been Centerville Beach but you can catch them at just about any beach. Another top producer has been the mouth of the Klamath. The California halibut bite is also heating up. A few limits were reported this week, along with a lot of shorts. The minimum size is 22 inches and the daily bag and possession limit is three.
The Pacific halibut action is still really good, reports Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. He said, "Monday they didn't bite great due to the conditions but prior to that it's been pretty easy limits. They've moved in a little shallower lately but some are still being caught out in 300 feet of water. The black cod are still prevalent; we've been having better luck using sand dabs. The fish are a good size, with 25 to 30 pounds very common. And some bigger ones are being caught as well."
The Pacific halibut bite has slowed quite a bit, according to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. "The action has been hit and miss this week, with a few halibut being caught in shallow water. The rockfish are still on the chew, with plenty of black rockfish to make for great days. We're also seeing some nice lings. I've been fishing between Cone Rock and Patrick's Point and it's been really good. When the weather switched, the crab bite definitely slowed down. Hopefully that will pick back up when the ocean settles down."
"We're still getting easy limits of rockfish," said Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. "The lings have been a little tougher to come by. The boats that made it to Gorda for Pacific halibut averaged about a half fish per rod." Recreational ocean salmon fishing from the 40°10' line, which includes Fort Bragg and Shelter Cove to Point Arena, is closed until July 22. The season will resume July 22-Sept. 5.
"Thresher sharks have showed up on South Beach this week and quite a few were caught," said Britt Carson of Crescent City's Englund Marine. "Anglers slow trolling a herring or anchovy did really well. A few California halibut are being caught along the beach as well, but it's not red-hot. The rockfish bite, however, is on fire. Limits of rockfish and lingcod are coming easily by anglers. The South Reef has been really good this year."
Salmon fishing slowed off of Brookings over the weekend, as warm water led to poor catch rates, reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. "Windy weather this week has already started to cool temperatures, which could give fishing as boost as the weather calms," said Martin. "Some anglers are considering tuna trips Thursday or Friday. So far, no tuna have been landed out of Brookings. Halibut fishing has been good for Brookings-based boats fishing Point St. George Reef."
Spring salmon fishing improved quite a bit for trollers in the Klamath estuary Tuesday. Anchovies rigged with a spinner blade has been the top producer so far, but some are being caught on spinners and Cut Plugs. Best fishing has been on the incoming and a couple hours after the high.
According to Martin, the salmon fishing improved early this week on the Rogue Bay. "Monday was the best day so far this season. Fishing has been good in front of the Jot's dock. Some of the kings are more than 20 pounds. Hot weather inland will keep water temperatures above 70, forcing salmon to hold up 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 email@example.com