The ocean sport salmon season re-opened Friday in the Fort Bragg Management Area, which extends from 40°10'00" N. latitude to Point Arena, including Shelter Cove, and the reports weren't great. During Friday's opener, roughly 15 to 20 salmon were reported by the 20 to 25 boats. Though the numbers weren't robust, there were some nice size fish caught, including a 29-pounder.
"The bite was slow over the weekend," said Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. "We're seeing less than a fish per boat average, but the few being caught are a pretty decent grade. The water color and temperature are perfect, but there's just not a lot of bait around. The local commercial guys even gave up after just a couple days. It doesn't sound like Fort Bragg has been any better either." The sport salmon season out of Shelter Cove will run through Sept. 5.
Weekend Marine Forecast
Gentle to light breezes will persist through midweek, with seas mostly hovering in the 4 to 5 feet range. Moderate northwest winds will likely return by Friday with some isolated gusts possible. Friday's forecast is calling for winds 5 to 10 knots out of the north and northwest waves 4 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday winds will be from the north 5 to 10 knots with northwest waves 3 feet at four seconds and northwest 2 feet at nine seconds. Sunday's forecast is calling for north winds 5 to 10 knots and waves out of the northwest 5 feet at eight 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.
The first tuna of the season was caught last Thursday out of Brookings by Brookings Fishing Charters. Conditions were good on Monday and Tuesday and boats were fishing out of Fort Bragg, Shelter Cove, Eureka, Trinidad and Crescent City. Fort Bragg had the nearest run, with warm water sitting offshore approximately 31 miles. Top boats reportedly put eight fish in the box while a boat out of Shelter Cove returned with nine. On Wednesday, Eureka was the top port. A few boats ran southwest roughly 40 miles and found a good bite. One of the local charter boats had at least 20 on board.
Sport Crab season coming to a close
The 2022 sport Dungeness crab season in Humboldt, Mendocino and Del Norte counties will close Saturday, July 30. The season is expected to reopen Nov. 5.
Sport salmon season within KMZ reopens Aug. 1
The local sport salmon season within the KMZ, which runs from the 40°10'00" N. latitude to the California/Oregon border, will open back up Monday, Aug.1, and run through Sept. 5. For more information on the sport salmon seasons, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Salmon#recreational.
Ocean salmon closures begin Aug. 1
Klamath River mouth
The Klamath Control Zone will be closed the month of August for ocean sport salmon fishing. The closed zone around the Klamath River mouth is bounded on the north by 41°38.80' N. lat. (approximately 6 nautical miles north of the Klamath River mouth); on the west, by 124°23.00' W. long. (approximately 12 nautical miles off shore); and on the south, by 41°26.48' N. lat. (approximately 6 nautical miles south of the Klamath River mouth).
Eel River mouth
No salmon may be taken during the months of August and September in ocean waters at the Eel River mouth bounded on the north by 40°40.40' N. lat. (approximately 2 nautical miles north of the Eel River mouth), on the west by 124°21.40' W. long. (approximately 2 nautical miles offshore), and on the south by 40°36.40' N. lat. (approximately 2 nautical miles south of the Eel River mouth).
Pacific Halibut quota update
The CDFW has projected 30,155 net pounds of Pacific halibut have been harvested through July 26. In 2022, the Pacific halibut allocation for California is 38,740 pounds. The Pacific halibut fishery will run through Nov. 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.
"When the conditions are good, the Pacific halibut bite is good," said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. "The ocean forecast for this week looks excellent, so we should see some better scores. Most of the boats are around the 51 line in 215 feet of water. The tuna water is close and a few boats are making a run this week. Friday looks to be the best day. The California halibut bite is heating up in the bay with quite a few limits now being reported."
"The Pacific halibut bite is still raging on, with limits the norm," said Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. "They're straight out and all the way to Patrick's Point, with some coming as shallow as 150 feet. "The rockfish action is still excellent, with Patrick's Point being one of the good spots. We're also catching the occasional ling cod. Crabbing is still showing signs of life and we're getting quite a few this week."
According to Britt Carson of Crescent City's Englund Marine, the rockfish bite is still wide-open when the boats can get offshore. He said, "The Sisters and the South Reef continue to provide limits. The California halibut bite slowed way down this week; it might have something to do with the water temperatures. August is typically when it gets good. A few Pacific halibut were caught this week, mostly coming from the South Reef. A handful of boats ran for Tuna on Tuesday."
"A few salmon are being caught in the ocean out of Brookings, but overall action is slow," said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. "The coho have moved north and the kings appear to be elsewhere. Lingcod and rockfish action has been very good, while halibut are also being caught in 200 feet of water just north of the border. The tuna water has moved offshore, about 45 miles out of Brookings. The first fish of the season was caught last week. Calm conditions this week will allow more boats to get offshore in search of albacore. Cloudy weather has prevented anglers from getting a good satellite image so far this week."
The estuary fishery remains slow and the bite varies from tide to tide and day to day. A small handful of adult kings are being caught daily. It will likely be this way until we see the first big push of fall salmon enter the river. Spring-run regulations are in effect through Aug. 14, with a daily bag and possession limit of one salmon of any size.
The Rogue Bay continues to fish well for salmon, as hot weather inland has warmed river temperatures and forced early fall kings to hold up in the estuary, reports Martin. "Several kings topping 30 pounds have been caught," he said. "Most guides are getting at least a fish per rod. Anchovies trolled with small blades are working best. Summer steelhead fishing is slow upriver."
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.