Back in mid-March when the recreational salmon season alternatives were released to the public, it was a pleasant surprise to see some fairly generous season options on the table. And one of these options will be selected at the Pacific Fishery Management Council Meetings being held this week in Seattle. Currently, the three alternatives within the California KMZ, which runs from the Oregon-California border to latitude 40°10' N and includes umboldt County, are: Alternative 1: May 1-31; Aug. 1-Sept. 5
Alternative 2: May 1-31; July 1-4; Aug. 1–31
Alternative 3: July 1–24
The recreational allocations, or quotas for the Klamath/Trinity are also tied to the three alternatives. For Alternative 1, the quota is expected to be 2,152, Alt 2 will be 2,125, and Alt 3 will be 2,546. The PFMC meetings will run from April 7-13 and will be live streamed starting April 8. To access the meetings, visit www.pcouncil.org/council_meeting/april-6-13-2022-council-meeting/.
Fish and Game Commission meeting coming April 20-21
The California Fish and Game Commission meeting will be held at Monterey County Fair & Event Center, Seaside Room 2004 Fairground Road in Monterey. You can also view the meeting at the Trinidad Rancheria, Administrative Office Conference Room 1 Cher-Ae Lane. The meeting will also be live streamed for viewing and listening purposes only. The meeting will start at 8:30 a.m. to adopt and discuss changes to the upcoming sport fishing seasons.
On the agenda, the commission will consider whether to make the emergency low-flow regulations, which were adopted in December, permanent as part of the upcoming sportfishing rulemaking. This includes implementing a low-flow angling restriction on the section of the Eel River from the mouth to Fulmor Road, at its paved junction with the south bank of the Eel River, Sept. 1 through April 30. During this time period, the section will be closed to hook and line fishing until flows reach 350 cubic feet per second at the gauging station near Scotia.
Proposed changes to the Klamath River Basin sport fishing will also be discussed. For a complete agenda and comment submission, and viewing information, visit https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=199047&inline
Ocean conditions don't look promising for the weekend if you plan on fishing off the beach or jetties. Friday is calling for north winds 15 to 25 knots and north waves 9 feet at nine seconds and west 5 feet at 12 seconds. Winds are forecast to increase on Saturday, coming from the north 20 to 25 knots. Waves will be north 12 feet at 10 seconds. Sunday's forecast is calling for north winds 10 to 20 knots with north waves 9 feet at nine 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.
Brookings ocean update
Rough ocean conditions have kept the Brookings fleet at the docks for the most part this past week reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. "Limits of rockfish are common on calm weather days, and lingcod are biting best when swells are below four feet," Martin said. "Sport crabbing has been slow out of Brookings. Ocean salmon seasons will be finalized next week, with a June coho opener likely out of Brookings, and the bulk of the king season taking place in July."
Reminder: The South Fork Eel, Van Duzen, Mattole, Mad, Redwood Creek and the Chetco rivers are all closed to fishing.
Eel River (main stem)
As of Wednesday, flows were down to 800 cfs at Scotia. There are a few fish around, the majority of which are downers. Fishing pressure is light, but anglers are getting a couple chances per trip. The main stem Eel, from its mouth to the South Fork is open to fishing all year. From April 1 through Sept. 30, only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used.
The Smith went well overflow predictions, hitting 5,400 cfs Tuesday. Fishing reports are hard to come by as the pressure has been light. This big rise should have flushed the majority of spawners down and brought in the last of the fresh steelhead. The main stem of the Smith will remain open through the end of April from its mouth to the confluence with the Middle and South Forks. The Middle Fork will also remain open through April from its mouth to Patrick's Creek. The South Fork is open through April as well, from its mouth upstream approximately 1,000 feet to the County Road (George Tryon) bridge and Craig's Creek to Jones Creek.
According to Martin, a few spring salmon are being caught on the Rogue River but overall fishing has been slow. "A slight bump in flows early this week could draw more springers in from the ocean, where bottom fish anglers are encountering salmon fairly frequently between Brookings and Gold Beach. Water temperatures are an ideal 52 degrees on the lower Rogue, so salmon moving through should bite well. Steelhead fishing is slow on the lower Rogue and fair to good on the middle Rogue below Grants Pass."
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