Halibut continues to be the shining light out of both Eureka and Trinidad as the sizzling bite continues this week. Boats fishing just north of the entrance in 270 to 300 feet of water are boating limits well before 9 a.m. It's looking like the only thing that will slow you down is if you can't get to the fishing grounds. And that's exactly what happened late last week and over the weekend. With a third of the 39,000-pound quota already chewed up, it was nice to give the Pacific halibut a breather. However, following the short break, the halibut bite picked right back up. Hopefully, next Tuesday's salmon opener will take some of the pressure off the halibut. If not, we may be lucky to get through July before the season comes to a close.
Weekend marine forecast
Ocean conditions look plenty fishable through the weekend. As of Tuesday afternoon, Friday's forecast is calling for northwest winds 5 to 10 knots and waves northwest 5 feet at seven seconds and west 4 feet at 13 seconds. Saturday's forecast is calling for northwest winds up to 5 knots and waves west 5 feet at 11 seconds. The winds will be the same Sunday, with waves northwest 5 feet at 11 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. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.
Freshwater Lagoon trout plants
According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website, Freshwater Lagoon has been planted with trout since late May. Reportedly, the fishing has been excellent this month for keeper-sized rainbows. Freshwater is open to fishing year-round and the limit is 5 trout per day and 10 in possession. For more information, visit www.nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FishPlants or call (530) 225-2146.
Ocean sport salmon season opens June 29
Our 2021 ocean sport salmon season runs from June 29 (next Tuesday) through August 1 and is open from the OR/CA border south to the 40°10' line (near Cape Mendocino), (Klamath Management Zone). Fishing is allowed seven days per week for all salmon except Coho, two fish per day and a minimum size limit of 20 inches total length for Chinook. The possession is no more than two daily bag limits in possession while on land. On a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit. No salmon punch card is required for ocean salmon fishing. From the 40°10' line to Point Arena, which includes Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg, will also open June 29 and will remain open through Oct. 31. For complete ocean salmon regulations, please visit the Ocean Salmon webpage at https://wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Salmon#recreational or call the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline (707) 576-3429.
The boats left the Pacific halibut biting last Wednesday after being chased off the water due to high winds and rough seas. According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, boats were back on the water Monday and didn't miss a beat. "The limits didn't come quite as fast but it was still really good," said Klassen. "Tuesday the bite was even better, with plenty of limits reported well before 9 a.m. The Cape is still producing quality rockfish limits. We didn't find a big variety on Monday, mostly due to the choppy conditions. But we managed to put in limits along with some nice lings."
Rough conditions over the weekend kept the charter boats close to port, but conditions improved Monday and boats were back targeting halibut. Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters battled through some heavy currents to put five on board up to 20 pounds. "Conditions look good through the week, so I'd expect the halibut bite to pick right back up," said Wilson. "The rockfish bite between the Head and Patrick's Point continues to be really good, with lots of black rockfish being caught," added Wilson.
The rockfish bite continues to be the main draw out of Shelter Cove. Windy conditions kept most of the boats off the water over the weekend, but the charters are finding quality rockfish close to home. Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sportfishing reports the rockfish bite has been stellar any direction you go. "The lingcod bite has been a little more fickle," said Mitchell. "The Pacific halibut bite is still slow around the cove but we did manage a couple near Gorda last week. We're averaging about one per trip when we put in some effort. Conditions look good through the week."
The wind finally calmed down Monday and the boats were back on the rockfish. "The fishing has been excellent all season, no matter which direction you go," said Britt Carson of Crescent City's Englund Marine. "There were a couple of 30-pound Pacific halibut caught last week, hopefully that fishery will start to pick up. We're back to minus tides this week, so we should see some good clamming. The lowest tide will be Friday at -2.26 feet. The redtail perch bite continues to be excellent off of Kellogg Beach."
"The king opener out of Brookings started with a bang, as good numbers of salmon to 25 pounds were caught close to the jetties," said Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. "The action slowed Sunday with just a handful of kings. Calm weather offshore on Monday allowed the fleet to get to deeper water, where the hatchery coho action has been wide open. Charter got limits or near limits most of last week, and the hot action returned on Monday for boaters trolling flashers and anchovies just below the surface. Good weather this week should lead to more halibut catches."
The Rogue Bay heated up again on Monday, with a bunch of kings caught in front of the Jot's Resort docks according to Martin. "Calm ocean conditions allowed schools of kings to move across the bar, while warm water upriver forced them to halt in the bay," said Martin. "The river temperate near Agness was 73 degrees on Monday. Anything over 70 usually keeps salmon from leaving 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