Much like the Pacific halibut opener a couple weeks ago, Monday's rockfish season debut was curtailed by rough ocean conditions. Luckily the delay lasted just a day as boats were headed to the rockfish grounds first thing Tuesday morning. And as expected, wide-open rock fishing was reported from Shelter Cove north to Crescent City. Expect more of the same, as this region is home to some of the best rock fishing on the West Coast. The same could be said for Pacific halibut. This fishery has started off strong, as over 2,000 pounds towards a 39,520 net pound quota were projected to have been caught during the first seven days of the season. With no ocean or river salmon season in 2023, both fisheries will be extremely popular. For current rockfish regulations, which had multiple adjustments this season, visit wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Groundfish-Summary#north. To keep an eye on the in-season Pacific halibut catch rate, visit wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/marine/pacific-halibut#31670772-in-season-tracking.
Ocean condition are looking favorable through the weekend, though the wind will pick up Sunday. As of Wednesday, Friday's forecast is calling for north winds 5 to 15 knots with waves northwest 5 feet at six seconds and south 2 feet at 16 seconds. Saturday, the winds will be out of the north 10 to 15 knots and waves will be out of the north 6 feet at seven seconds. Sunday, winds will increase and come from the north 15 to 25 knots with waves out of the north 5 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.
Kids free fishing derbies this Saturday
On Saturday, May 20, 2023, all kids 15 years old and younger are invited to the Ruth Lake Marina for the Kids Free Fishing Derby. The event will be from 8 a.m. until noon. Kids must bring their own fishing poles and must be accompanied by an adult. There will be a hot dog feed at noon. For more information, call the Ruth Lake Community Services District at 707-574-6332 or visit ruthlakecsd.org/kids-free-fishing-derby/.
On Saturday, May 20, 2023, all kids age 4 to 15 are invited to the Carrville Dredger Pond for the 49th annual Trinity Lake Lions Fish Derby. The pond is located five miles north of the Trinity Center. Registration is from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. The fishing derby will last until 11 a.m. Free fishing tackle will be provided to the first 100 kids registered. Kids must bring their own fishing poles, and only bait will be allowed. Prizes will be awarded in many categories, along with a grand prize. Free hot dogs, chips and drinks for everyone. For more information, visit trinityjournal.com/calendar/sport/event_691c2422-b481-11ed-bd66-c73a9d26ca40.html.
The Pacific halibut bite was good over the weekend, according to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. "It's not wide-open, but the fishing is really good," said Klassen. "The majority of the boats are fishing straight out of the entrance and up to the stacks in 260 to 320 [feet] of water. Herring and salmon bellies have been the top bait choices." After being tied up due to rough seas for Monday's rockfish opener, boats were making their way south to the Cape for rockfish Tuesday. Reports were typical for the Cape, pretty wide-open for rockfish and lingcod.
The boat launch is currently closed for maintenance. For updates and current information, you can call the bait shop at 677-3625. Tuesday's ocean conditions allowed small boats and kayaks to try for rockfish.
The weather kept boats off the water most of last week, reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. "We were only able to get out twice for halibut but couldn't make it up to Gorda," said Mitchell. "We fished around Big Flat and landed one each day up to 30 pounds along with limits of crab." After not being able to get out Monday, Mitchell was on the rockfish grounds Tuesday morning and reported a hot bite.
Boats were able to get out Tuesday and Wednesday for rockfish after sitting out the opener, reports Britt Carson of Crescent City's Englund Marine. He said, "There have been some Pacific halibut caught, but not a lot of effort. I heard some boats scored limits last Thursday at the South Reef fishing in 230 to 250 feet of water."
"Halibut fishing is slow out of Brookings, but a 62-inch, 100-plus-pounder was caught last week," said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. "Lingcod and rockfish action is good on calm weather days. Crabbing is slow, although some boaters are finding limits when they can distance themselves from commercial pots. Nice weather is expected this week."
According to Martin, this year's spring salmon season on the Rogue continues to go down as the best in recent memory, rivaling the epic fishing of the mid-1990s, when 80,000 springers crossed Gold Ray Dam. "Guides continue to catch limits anchoring close to shore and fishing anchovies. Plenty of hatchery fish are still arriving daily on the tides. Boats bottom fishing out of Brookings also are encountering salmon. Wild kings may be kept beginning June 1."
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