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Generous recreational salmon season set

Fishing the North Coast by Kenny Priest

he most anticipated opener of the year for ocean anglers is a lot closer than we had thought. On Wednesday morning, the Pacific Fishery Management Council adopted the most generous of the three alternatives for ocean recreational salmon season for Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, giving anglers a whopping 130-day season. The season will run from May 1 through September 7 from the CA/OR border south to Horse Mountain. It will be open 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 area from Horse Mountain south to Point Arena, which includes Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg, opened April 4 and will run through November 8.

 The lower Rogue River produced Culver, OR resident Kari Nelson’s first-ever salmon on Tuesday. The springer was caught on an anchovy. Photo courtesy of Steve Huber’s Guide Service

The Lower Rogue River produced Culver, OR resident Kari Nelson’s first-ever salmon on Tuesday. The springer was caught on an anchovy. Photo courtesy of Steve Huber’s Guide Service

Hopes are once again high on the North Coast and Southern Oregon as strong returns are expected for both the Sacramento and Klamath rivers. Over 650,000 Sacramento and another 423,000 salmon are said to be swimming off our shores. The lengthy season will also be a nice shot in the arm for our local economies. Motels, tackle shops, restaurants, and all the businesses that have a hand in the fishing and tourism industry are likely to see additional money funnel through both Humboldt and Del Norte counties.

For a complete list of the 2015 salmon regulations, visit this website.

Weekend marine forecast
If the forecasts are correct, it may be a little breezy this weekend. Friday’s forecast is calling for winds 5 to 10 knots with NW swells 10 feet at 15 seconds. The wind is predicted to pick up on Saturday, blowing out of the NW 5 to 15 knots. Swells are predicted at 8 feet at 10 seconds. Sunday is looking better, with winds coming out of the west up to 5 knots. Waves will be 7 feet at 10 seconds coming out of the NW and SW 3 feet at 15 seconds. These conditions can and will change. For an up-to-date forecast, visit this weather page.

Weekend tides good for razor clammers
The upcoming set of minus tides will run from Friday April 17 through April 24, with the lowest tides being Sunday through Tuesday, ranging from -1.2 to -1.3. You’ll want to pay close attention to the surf forecasts and be on the beach one to two hours prior to low tide.

Perch'n on the Peninsula this Saturday
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.

HASA dinner coming up
The 7th annual HASA fundraiser dinner will be held Saturday April 25 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Redwood Acres Fair grounds in Eureka. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under. Dinner, auction, and raffle tickets are available from any HASA board member or from the following merchants: Englund Marine, RMI Outdoors Mad River Bait and Tackle, Bucksport Sporting Goods, and W&W RV & Sporting Goods.

Free vessel examinations
The Coast Guard auxiliary is coordinating with Humboldt Area Saltwater Anglers (HASA) to perform free vessel inspections. The two dates for free safety checks completed on your vessel are Sunday April 26 at the Eureka Marina (front of Wharfinger) and Sunday May 3 at Woodley Island Eureka in Lot I. Times for both dates have yet to be determined. If you’re interested, call (707) 445-2401 or email or

Additionally, the Humboldt Yacht Club is having a flare demonstration on May 2, at 11:00 a.m. and you can bring your expired flares to this event and shoot them off or dispose of them. Coast Guard personnel will be doing the demonstration.

The Rivers:
Main Stem Eel

The main stem Eel was in good shape this past weekend, with some nice color added from the last week’s rain. There’s very little fishing pressure, but there are quite a few fish around. The water is dropping slowly and clearing, fishing the deeper holes that have current is your best bet.

Smith River
The Smith is in great shape, though the lack of anglers means no fishing reports according to guide Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service. “The river looks great, but there isn’t anyone fishing it, including myself. I haven’t heard any reports in the past week,” Coopman said.

Lower Rogue
Boats are having to work hard on the Lower Rogue for their fish reports Steve Huber of Steve Huber’s Guide Service. He said, “The springer action has been up and down each day. Boats are seeing anywhere from zero to two fish per day, with most boats in the zero to one range. The water temps had been cold, running around 51 degrees. On Wednesday it rose up to 53 degrees, which should help the bite. Spinner blades and anchovies have been the most consistent producers. The boat pressure has been heavy at times, with everyone looking for a hatchery springer, which is all you can keep until June1.”

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

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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
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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
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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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