With the number of ocean kings destined for the Klamath River trending upwards, Klamath/Trinity river anglers will have a few more fall Chinook salmon to harvest this fall. During last month's meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission adopted bag and possession limits for the Klamath Basin based on a quota of 2,119 fall-run adults. On the Klamath, the fall season begins Aug. 15 and closes Dec. 31. The fall season on the Trinity begins Sept. 1 and closes Dec. 31.
On the Lower Klamath, from the State Route 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth, 1,060 adults will be allowed for sport harvest. The section above the State Route 96 bridge at Weitchpec to 3,500 feet downstream of the Iron Gate Dam will get 360 adults.
The Spit Area (within 100 yards of the channel through the sand spit formed at the Klamath River mouth) will close when 15 percent of the total Klamath River Basin quota is taken downstream of the U.S. Highway 101 bridge. In 2022, 318 adults can be harvested below the bridge before the closure at the mouth is implemented. The rest of the area below U.S. Highway 101 (estuary) will remain open to recreational fishing.
On the Trinity side, the quota is set at 699 adults. The quota will be split almost evenly; 350 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Old Lewiston Bridge to the State Route 299 West bridge at Cedar Flat and 349 adults for the main stem Trinity downstream of the Denny Road bridge at Hawkins Bar to the confluence with the Klamath.
The daily bag limit will be two Chinook salmon, no more than one of which may be greater than 23 inches, and a possession limit of six, of which only three may be greater than 23 inches. Once these quotas have been met, no Chinook salmon greater than 23 inches in length may be retained (anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon less than or equal to 23 inches in length).
Klamath/Trinity spring salmon fishery
The spring Chinook salmon fishery on the lower Klamath River (downstream of the State Route 96 bridge at Weitchpec) and Trinity River (upstream of the confluence of the South Fork Trinity River) will open July 1 and will run through Aug. 14 on the Klamath River and through Aug. 31 on the Trinity River. The daily bag limit has been set to one Chinook salmon (no size restrictions), and the possession limit is set at two Chinook salmon.
Additional season information can be found on CDFW's ocean salmon webpage or by calling CDFW's ocean salmon hotline at (707) 576-3429 or the Klamath-Trinity River hotline at (800) 564-6479. All anglers on the Trinity and Klamath rivers must have Salmon Harvest cards in their possession when fishing for salmon.
Weekend marine forecast
Fishable conditions are in the forecast at least through Saturday. Friday, winds will be from the northwest up to 5 knots with west waves 6 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday's forecast is calling for north winds 5 to 10 knots and west swells 5 feet at nine seconds. On Sunday, north winds will begin to increase and predicted to blow 10 to 15 knots. Waves will be from the north 6 feet at six 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 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.
Pacific halibut quota update
The CDFW has projected 3,449 net pounds of Pacific halibut have been harvested through June. 5. In 2022, the Pacific halibut allocation for California is 38,740 pounds. The Pacific halibut fishery will run through November 15, or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. To view the latest catch projection information, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/pacific-halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking.
Minus tides this week
Minus tides that began last Sunday will continue through Monday. These are some of the lowest tides of the year and could create a dangerous Humboldt Bay bar crossing. Local boat ramps will also be affected. Thursday June 16: Low: 8:09 a.m. (-2.3 feet); Friday June 17: Low: 9 a.m. (-2.0 feet); Saturday June 18: Low: 9:50 a.m. (-1.5 feet); Sunday June 19: Low: 10:41 a.m. (-.9 feet).
Boats have been off the water since Saturday due rough water. According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, the Pacific halibut fishing was good prior to the latest blow. "Boats were still working in the same 9- or 10-mile area, from the 42 to 51-line," said Klassen. "The biggest issue remains the number of black cod that you have to deal with. There doesn't seem to be any shortage of halibut."
According to Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters, the halibut bite is still good out of Trinidad. "We had one tough day last week when we didn't get limits, but it's been good since," said Wilson. "The best bite is still straight out of the harbor in 250 to 300 feet. The rockfish bite is red-hot, we're catching lots of black and blue rockfish. The ling bite has tapered off a little. The crabbing is really good and the crabs are an excellent quality right now."
"Rock fishing has been really good this week, but the salmon are nowhere to be found," said Jake Mitchell, of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. "Some silvers showed up, so hopefully the kings are behind them. The Hat and Ranch House are two of the better spots for rockfish. When we can get north to Rogers Break, there's plenty of halibut to be had. We were able to put in limits on Saturday. Salmon fishing out of Fort Bragg has been wide-open since late last week."
It's been quiet the last few days due to rough ocean conditions, reports Britt Carson of Crescent City's Englund Marine. He said, "It looks like we'll see some calmer water the next few days. When the boats can get out, the rockfish bite continues to produce some good numbers. Either one of the reefs and the Sisters have been good. The big news of the week is a couple California halibut were caught off the rocks at South Beach. Hopefully we'll start to see them show up in better numbers."
Ocean salmon season opens June 18 out of Brookings for hatchery coho. Anglers can begin keeping wild or hatchery kings, along with the hatchery silvers, June 25. According to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters, there's lots of bait near the harbor and anglers are anticipating good fishing. "Limits of rockfish and a few lingcod are being caught, but Pacific halibut action is still slow," said Martin. "Sport crabbing has improved."
According to Martin, the first few salmon of the season are being caught by trollers in the Rogue Bay. "Warmer weather this week in the Rogue Valley could make fishing even better, as late spring kings are quickly moving through the estuary and blasting upriver. Typically, an early start to the bay fishery indicates an above-average run."
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.