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Eureka/Trinidad: Summer fishing roundup

he fishing has been good lately in all the coastal areas. Wind has been a problem with a high pressure ridge offshore causing some lump and large swell, but that is now coming down. Smaller boats struggle with the short period swell, but it’s starting to moderate. The wind has held on longer than usual, but the water is improving.

Salmon fishing
Salmon fishing has been spotty but some nice fish are being landed. The Charter boats are doing well and the early morning fishing is shallow in the 25-foot range until about mid-morning when the fish start to work deeper to the 100 foot depth. The silvers have moved into the area, as have many smaller king salmon. If you are patient and move from the areas where you are catching silvers and shorts, a nice grade of fish can be found.

Tom Marking, Eureka Salmon, Eureka-Trinidad Summer Fishing roundup
Photos courtesy of the author

I was fortunate to pick up a couple of nice kings at 120 feet of depth last week using an anchovy with a chrome flasher. Some prefer hardware, or a flasher; others a hoochies or some bait and a few prefer to mooch. All are successful at various times. Look for bird activity on the surface of the water, since that will locate bait for you. Currently, there is a lot of krill, some herring and anchovy schools that the fish are feeding upon. The early morning seems to have the best bite with more scratch fishing as the day progresses. Schools are moving through the area, so while one day can produce really well, you may have to move with the fish the following day as the school moves up or down the coast. Generally, you need not go further than about 6-7 miles above or below the Eureka Jetty entrance or straight out of Trinidad. Most fishing this year has been in the 200 feet of water range with fish being caught 30-130 foot depth, too.

Rock fishing
Rock fishing is red hot right now. The Charter Boats in Trinidad are landing daily limits with lots of black rockfish and ling cod available. The Eureka Charters have a much longer run to get to the Cape, so with the weather conditions a bit rough lately they have focused on salmon and halibut. When the weather cooperates, limits are easily picked up at Cape Mendocino with some large lings being landed. You would need to contact the various Charters as to their schedules. As the weather calms down, and the salmon fishing slowing down, more trips to the Cape will be scheduled by the Eureka fleet. Speaking of the Fleet, Eureka now has close to a dozen of larger six-pack boats now, so there are many to choose from. Below is picture of two of the Trinidad Charters and handling their bag limits at the end of the trip.

Trinidad Harbor, Tom Marking, Eureka-Trinidad Summer Fishing roundup

The Trinidad Area has completely rebuilt their pier. This is a very nice facility with all aluminum rails and planking. It’s a first class facility and very easy access for all. The rest rooms and parking facilities are also brand new and greatly expanded. There is a very convenient restaurant at the Pier with excellent faire of fresh fish and crab.

Halibut fishing
The halibut fishing has been terrific this year. The fish have moved in to the shallow water and are readily caught from 200 to 350 feet of depth.

Tom Marking, Eureka halibut, Eureka-Trinidad Fishiing roundup

The typical rig is a heavy wire spreader that has a 2 pound ball on one end and a 3-4 foot heavy mono leader on the other end with 12/0 to 16/0 circle hook. Bait can be herring, salmon belly, B2 squid, lights, etc., or any combination of these. Everybody seems to have their favorite setup. It’s important to keep in contact with the bottom on a slow drift (1/2 mph) and not too much wind to deal with. Calmer weather is nice as you can do a lot of rolling around with wind and seas. Its slow fishing, but if you are patient you will likely be rewarded. The average size fish is about 30 pounds. Halibut fishing will be shut down for the month of August but will resume on September 1 until October 30.

The weather is looking better, so pick up the phone and make a reservation, or hitch up and tow and get in some fishing before your summer is over. At any time the weather will calm down, and maybe we can get in some Tuna Fishing off the Eureka Area. We are all anxiously awaiting the opportunity to hunt for albacore off-shore in the next few weeks.

Tom Marking is a Board Member of the Humboldt Area Saltwater Anglers with a membership of about 500 local anglers. In addition, he is also a member of GAP the Groundfish Advisory Subpanel, serving as the CA Sportfishing Representative.


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