If the last couple days are any indication, we may have a strong finish to the salmon season out of Eureka. Since the opener June 29, the fishing — and subsequently the effort — have both been underwhelming. But things began to change Saturday. A couple charters and sport boats braved tough conditions and found some nice kings 5 miles north of the entrance. This is exactly what we've been waiting on. After sitting out Sunday due to rough seas, Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing and Gary Blasi of Full Throttle Sport Fishing found enough hungry kings Monday to make a solid day. "The salmon were off of Mad River on the 55-line Monday in 230 feet of water," said Klassen. "The fish were scattered and you had to look around for patches of bait. There wasn't much to key on but there were some nice fish in the mix. They averaged from 7 pounds all the way to 23 pounds," said Klassen. Nice weather is forecast for the rest of the week, so expect the fleet to apply a full-court press on the salmon grounds. The season will come to a close after Sunday.
Weekend Marine Forecast
Calmer winds and seas will most likely persist through the week. Friday's forecast is calling for winds 5 to 10 knots out of the north and northwest waves 4 feet at six seconds. Saturday is calling for north winds 5 to 10 knots and waves out of the north 4 feet at six seconds. Sunday's forecast is similar, with winds out of the northwest 5 to 10 knots and waves 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. 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.
Junior Angler Fishing Day
Saturday, Aug. 7, there will be a Junior Angler Fishing Day held at Freshwater Lagoon Beach for anglers 16 and younger. Loaner fishing equipment is available for those that need it (available on a first-come-first-served basis). Get a Junior Angler program/booklet with which kids can earn a fishing badge, free stickers and other giveaways. Limited to 40 participants who need to be accompanied by an adult. Sign up is required. Call 465-7762 or emailing [email protected].
Sport Crab season coming to a close
The 2021 sport Dungeness crab season in Humboldt, Mendocino, and Del Norte counties will close Friday July 30. The season is expected to reopen Nov. 6.
With the season closing after this weekend, the salmon action is finally starting to heat up. Schools of kings were located off the Mad River Saturday in 230 feet of water and boats were back in that general area on Monday. There were some salmon up to 23-pounds caught.
The salmon bite dipped a little Tuesday according to Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. "Prior to Tuesday, limits were had just about each day," said Sepulveda. "There's a big area of fish from a little north of Patrick's Point all the way to Reading Rock. And there's some nice ones in the mix with some over 20 pounds."
According to Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing, the salmon fishing has been sporadic. He said, "Some days have been really good and the next will be pretty tough. Overall, there are fish to be had, if you're willing to work at it. The grade has been excellent but there are a lot of silvers in the mix as well. Most of the effort has been in close from the moorings down to White Rock. The rock fishing has been awesome but the lingcod were pretty tough to come by last week." Big fish honors for the week went to John Neil, who boated a 30.5-pound king last Thursday.
When they can get out, anglers are finding a few salmon. According to Britt Carson of Crescent City's Englund Marine, the best bite is still between Round Rock and the green can in 100 feet of water. "The fish are close to the bottom, coming at 80 feet on the wire," said Carson. "The California halibut bite really picked up this week along South Beach. Trollers as well as anglers fishing from the rocks are getting a few each day. The rockfish and lingcod bite continues to be excellent. South Reef and the Sisters are a couple of the popular spots."
Salmon fishing has come to a standstill out of Brookings, as very few kings or hatchery coho are being caught reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. "Rough weather has prevented boaters from getting offshore, and the area close to the harbor has been void of salmon," said Martin. "Fishing is decent for rockfish, and slow for lingcod. Very few Pacific halibut are being caught since it's been difficult to reach the deeper water. Surf perch fishing remains good near Gold Beach."
The estuary fishery has been up and down all week and varying from tide to tide. 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 is fair for salmon, with good numbers of kings in the estuary, and the best bite is during the outgoing tide," said Martin. "Anchovies without blades have been working best. The water temperature at Agness is 73 to 76 degrees, forcing salmon to hold up in 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 protected]