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Rough seas may slow Cove salmon opener

s has been the case for the past few years, the North Coast is once again looking at another phenomenal salmon season -- at least on paper. We should find out just how many fish are around come Saturday morning, that is if the weather cooperates.

The recreational salmon season will open from Horse Mountain south to the U.S. - Mexico border this Saturday, April 4. The Pacific Fisheries Management Council has forecasted 652,000 Sacramento River salmon to be swimming in the ocean along with another 423,000 Klamath River salmon -- over a million in all. That’s the good news. The bad news is the ocean may not be fishable out of Shelter Cove or Fort Bragg over the weekend. As of Wednesday, winds were forecasted to blow from 10 to 20 knots on Saturday with NW waves 4 feet at 7 seconds and 9 feet at 14 seconds. Sunday is looking slightly better with a W wind predicted at 5 to 10 knots. Waves will be out of the NW 8 feet at 11 seconds. Visit this weather page for an up-to-date marine forecast.

The daily bag limit will remain at two Chinook salmon, but as of last year, the salmon possession limit is two daily bag limits in possession when on land; however, when on a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit. The minimum size limit is 20 inches total length between Horse Mountain and Point Arena, except for the third alternative. This recommends a 20-inch size limit through April 30, then 24 inches thereafter. For areas south of Point Arena, the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length.

The season south of Horse Mountain will extend through a couple dates in November. The various alternatives can be found at and will be finalized at the PFMC meeting in Rohnert Park, CA on April 10-16.

The sport opener for water above Horse Mountain -- the KMZ -- will be determined at the same meeting. Currently, three options are on the table for Humbug Mountain (OR) to Horse Mountain (which includes Humboldt County).

1. May 1 to Sept. 7, two fish per day, seven days a week, 20-inch minimum size.

2. May 9 to Sept. 7, two fish per day, seven days a week, 20-inch minimum size.

3. May 22 to Sept. 7, two fish per day, seven days a week, 24-inch minimum size.

All options would be for all salmon except Coho, with fishing allowed seven days per week.

Perch’n on the Peninsula coming April 18
The Samoa Peninsula Fire District will be hosting their 6th Annual Perch'n on the Peninsula Surfperch Fishing Tournament and Fish Fry Fundraiser on April 18, 2015.

The fishing tournament begins at sunrise with the check-in deadline at 2:00 p.m., prize presentations will begin at 2:30 p.m. with the fish fry beginning at High Noon. The fish fry fundraiser is open to the public and admission is only $10.00 for Adults and $5.00 for Juniors. Children 6 and under get in free. Adult fishing tournament entry is $20.00 and Junior entry (under 16) is $10.00. Your fishing tournament entry includes admission to the fish fry fundraiser and one door prize entry.

Tournament day registration is available at the Peninsula Elementary School in Samoa beginning at 6 a.m. or you can pre-register at Mad River Bait, Tackle in Arcata, Pacific Outfitters, Englund Marine, or RMI Outdoors in Eureka.

Fishing tournament prizes include guided fishing trips and gear donated by Sweet Trinity Guide Service, Northwind Charters, Patrick’s Point Charters, Wind Rose Charters, Steve Huber Guide Service, Coastline Charters, Pacific Outfitters and RMI Outdoors. For more information, contact Dom at (707) 273-1087 or visit the Samoa Fire website.

Freshwater Lagoon trout plants
According to the CDFW website, weekly trout plants are scheduled for Freshwater Lagoon through April 12. For more information, visit CADFW trout plants page or call 530-225-2146.

Steelhead river closures
Except for the main stem of the Eel, Trinity, Klamath and the Smith, all other coastal rivers, including the Chetco, closed to fishing on March 31. The main stem Eel, from Fulmor Road to the South Fork, will remain open until September 30. Only artificial lures can be used, no bait. The Smith River, from its mouth to the confluence of the Middle and South Forks, will be open through April 30. Barbless hooks are required and bait is legal. The Klamath and Trinity rivers are open year-round. For up-to-date regulations, be sure to pick up the 2014-2015 Supplement or visit the CA DFW Regulations website.

The Rivers:
Main Stem Eel

The recent rain added a little color back to the main stem, but it is back to low and clear conditions. As of Wednesday, it was running at 1,400 cfs on the Scotia gauge. A few boats were out last weekend and averaged between three to five fish.

Smith River
The Smith is also back to low and clear, flowing at 2,000 cfs on the Jed Smith gauge as of Wednesday. Very few boats are still trying, but there should be plenty of spawned-out fish making their way down as well as some fresh ones around.

Send in your fish photos
Land a big steelhead or perch lately? Or maybe your friend or relative has reeled in their first fish. Email your fishing photo to and I’ll run them with the “Fishing the North Coast” weekly column. Just include the name of the person in the photo, where and when it was taken and any other details you’d like to share.

Find “Fishing the North Coast” on Facebook and for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to

Fishing Reports

A Hot Summer’s Day on Chico Creek
A Hot Summer's Day on Chico Creek, Steven T. Callan
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan
07/25/16 -- I’ve been exploring Northern California’s streams -- above and below the surface -- for most of my life. One of my most memorable adventures took place on a hot summer’s day in 1964, not long after my sixteenth...Full Story
Brownie’s Choice
Art work by Isabella Langaman
By Don Webster
Disregard the story’s title. I don’t really have a “first” name. If I did, it would probably be something like Leviathan or Behemoth or maybe Lunker. Officially, I’m a trout. A brown trout. A giant, brown trout. Possibly the biggest, fattest...Full Story
Keddie Ridge
Scouting Deerheart Lake, photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
11/14/15 -- Adjacent to both Lake Almanor and Mountain Meadows, between the towns of Westwood and Greenville, is a seemingly forgotten piece of backcountry; Keddie Ridge – aka Ridge World – where ancient rocks... Full Story
Let’s check out the Upper Sac
Lake Siskiyou with Mt. Shasta standing sentinel. photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
09/06/15 -- The Upper Sacramento River – The Upper Sac – begins at Lake Siskiyou’s Box Canyon Dam and continues ~37 miles downstream to Lake Shasta. It is a classic freestone river born from the Mt. Shasta and Mt. Eddy... Full Story
How to make Tuscan Tuna Salad with Fennel By Frank Galusha
05/04/15 -- OK, you went ocean fishing. If your fish is fresh or if you have processed, vacuum packed and frozen your catch properly, there are many ways to enhance your meals. Almost everything taken from the ocean is not... Full Story
German brown trout afternoon in Modoc
german brown trout in Modoc creek.
By Lea Huetteman
09/04/14 -- Catching a German Brown Trout from the creeks in Modoc County is a fine way to spend an afternoon. There are many creeks in this part of California that drain the Warner Mountains. Stream trout fishing in this region opens...Full Story
Throw the kitchen sink at them
Indian Paintbrush is a favorite wildflower that carpets wilderness landscapes. Phil Flip Akers,
Article and photos by Phil Akers
08/20/14 -- Our wilderness areas are special, where Mother Nature is landlord and natural forces operate freely. Within the wilderness you will find no roads, shelters, picnic tables, toilets, or other conveniences. You enter at...Full Story
Humboldt Bay: Busy port, excellent fishery
Woodley Island Marina, Humboldt Bay, Eureka, California
03/06/04 -- Humboldt Bay, a busy commercial harbor and home port to many charter and private offshore fishing boats, is also popular with shore-based anglers and small boaters seeking bottomfish, sharks, crabs and clams...Full Story
Pulled into the pipes: Green Sturgeon
green sturgeon
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
03/04/14 -- [Posted with permission of FISHBIO] Living in the Sacramento River can be a risky business for juvenile green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris). The young fish must swim through a gauntlet of water... Full Story
Not Just Any Fish
California Golden Trout, California Heritage Trout Challenge, Not Just Any Fish, Phil
By Phil "Flip" Akers
02/14/13 -- Trout have inhabited California waters from the Sierra Nevada and Warner Mountains to the Pacific Ocean since prehistoric times. However, most of the trout caught by anglers are either hatchery raised fish...Full Story


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