The weather finally cooperated for consecutive days and the Eureka boats took full advantage. Most of the angling effort was on the Pacific halibut grounds but quite a few boats made the trip south to Cape Mendocino. While the halibut bite isn't wide open, most of the charter boats are putting clients into limits. It can best be described as a grind and you definitely don't want to forget to pack a lunch. Whether it's a tidal issue — or just the right time of day — the best bite has been late morning into early afternoon. Those who have the patience and time have been rewarded. "We've had some really good conditions this week with very little current," said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. "We haven't looked around a whole lot yet; right now most of the effort is from the 48-line north to the 53 line in 280 to 300 feet of water. There seems to be quite a few fish around." Offshore conditions are looking a little dicey for the holiday weekend. If they improve and the bar at Humboldt Bay is passable, be aware of the minus tides that will go through Monday. Thursday and Friday are the most dangerous as more than 8 feet of water will be leaving the bay down to a minus 2-foot low when boats will be heading through the jaws.
Weekend marine forecast
After Thursday, wave heights are forecasted to build through the weekend. Northwest winds blowing 5 to 15 knots are predicted through at least Sunday. Friday, northwest waves will be 9 feet at 11 seconds. Saturday's forecast is calling for northwest swells 7 feet at eight seconds. Sunday's prediction is north swells 6 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. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service office at 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 443-6484.
Ruth Lake Bass tournament coming June 5
Fortuna Fire Department CO-2's will be holding the annual "Paul Jadro Memorial Bass Tournament" on Saturday, June 5. Blast off will be at 5:45 a.m. or at first safe light, by draw. The one-day tournament event offers a first prize award of up to $1,000 with payout to 1 in 3 in addition to door prizes and sponsor products. The entry fee is $140 per team with a big fish buy in option of $10. The tournament is catch and release and all competitors must fish from boats that are required to have operational live wells on board. Life jackets are required. Check in at the Marina on Friday June 4 at 4:30-6 p.m. or Saturday 4-5 a.m. For more information, contact Lon Winburn at 707-725-5021 or 707-725-7880. Free boat inspections will be held at Reynolds R V Repair, 988 Hwy. 36. Inspections are by appointment only, call 707-725-3426.
Trinity flow releases will increase on Friday
Flows releases from Lewiston Dam will increase to 1,800 cubic feet per second from 1,250 cfs Friday May 28. Flows will then begin to decrease to summer baseflow (450 cfs) by June 18, which continues until September 30. Visitors near or on the river can expect river levels to increase during the flow releases and should take appropriate safety precautions.
Commercial Dungeness season to close June 1
California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Chuck Bonham ordered the state's commercial Dungeness crab fishery to close at noon June 1 to avoid entangling endangered humpback whales now migrating along California's coastline. All commercial crab traps must be removed from the fishing grounds by the June 1 closure date. The season typically ends June 30 in central California and July 15 in Northern California. The closure order was based on data from the state's new Risk Assessment and Mitigation Program. That program was developed in line with a legal agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity, which sued the department in 2017 over increasing whale entanglements. Visit www.cdfgnews.wordpress.com/2021/05/18/cdfw-works-with-diverse-stakeholder-group-to-manage-entanglement-risk-in-the-commercial-dungeness-crab-fishery/ for more information.
The rockfish bite in Trinidad continues to be red hot and you don't need to travel far. Capt. Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters reports a wide-open bite right out front of Trinidad. "We've been staying close, right in front of Flat Iron and finding all the rockfish and lingcod we need," said Wilson. "There's a really good variety, too, including coppers, vermilion, canaries, blacks, blues and lings. The fishing is as good as I've seen it in a long time. The crabbing is still good, as we're getting limits for our clients each trip." Ocean conditions look fishable for the week out of Trinidad, especially if you're looking to fish half days.
Conditions continue to wreak havoc on the Shelter Cove fleet. "Saturday was brutal, but we were able to get our rockfish limits fishing near the buoys and the Old Man," said Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. "Only one other boat was out. The ocean was slightly better on Sunday, but we were still fishing in medium whitecaps. Overall, the conditions have been tough, but the rock fishing is really good when we can get out and hit a variety of spots. The lingcod bite has been a little tougher." Conditions look good for Thursday but it looks like the wind will return prior to the weekend.
According to Steve Huber of Crescent City Fishing, the rockfish and lingcod bite continues to sizzle. "It hasn't really mattered which direction you go, there seems to be a good amount and a wide variety of rockfish around," said Huber. Windy conditions have really hindered both the Pacific and California halibut effort, reports Britt Carson of Crescent City's Englund Marine. "Limits of razor clams are being dug but they've been on the small size. Minus tides are on tap through Memorial Day, so it should be a good week. The redtail perch bite continues to improve at Kellogg Beach."
Halibut season is off to a good start out of Brookings, with several fish a day being brought in when the weather is calm, reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. "Fish to 60 pounds have already been caught, with an average size in the mid- to upper 20-pound range. Herring and squid combinations fished in 180 to 230 feet of water are working best. Rockfish are keying on crab spawn, with good topwater action along the inshore reefs. Lingcod fishing has been very good near the Point St. George Reef lighthouse."
According to Martin, the Rogue spring salmon run has been a complete bust. "With low flows and warm weather inland, anglers are hoping the Rogue Bay will kick off early. A few kings are often caught in early June before action picks up in late June or early July."
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 protected]