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Plenty of angling options for holiday

Fishing the North Coast by Kenny Priest, author badge,

or anglers across the North Coast, Memorial Day weekend provides an excellent opportunity to get out of the house and do a little fishing. With a multitude of choices on the table, the biggest decision might not be if you want to go -- but where. Here are a few of the options that will hopefully make your decision a little easier this holiday weekend:

• Razor Clam dig – The tail end of the minus tides will be here through Saturday, and Sunday’s tide should be low enough to dig. When the conditions have allowed, the clamming has been excellent this year. Even though the ocean might be a little rough this weekend, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding enough clams to whet your appetite. According to Justin Kelly of RMI Outdoors, plenty of limits were taken this past week during some of the lowest tides of the spring. Friday’s tide will be -0.7 at 7:42 a.m. and Saturday’s low will be -0.2 at 10:29 a.m. Fishing hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. The limit is 20 and the first 20 clams dug must be retained regardless of size or broken condition. In Humboldt, clamming is allowed between Strawberry Creek and Moonstone Beach. In Crescent City, clamming is open North of Battery Point.

• Freshwater Lagoon trout -- Planted regularly in April and May with catchable-sized trout, there should be ample opportunities for shore-based anglers as well as boat fishermen. An easy rig to fish is a Berkley PowerBait with an egg sinker.

• Ruth Lake trout and bass -- Nice weather and a family-friendly atmosphere make this a great spot for the weekend. The lake has plenty of water and the trout and bass fishing is usually in full swing this time of the year.

• Redtail perch -- If it’s perch you’re after and the ocean is too rough, Elk River Beach is a great spot to target redtails. Two hours prior to high tide and an hour after typically are the optimal times. Shrimp, clams, and sand crabs all work. If the ocean is fishable, all the local beaches are loaded with redtails: Centerville, Table Bluff, and Gold Bluff Beach are always reliable spots.

• Trinidad Harbor rockfish -- This is a great option for rockfish, especially if the ocean is rough. Launching a small boat or kayak from the beach is fairly easy. You’ll want to get an early start before the afternoon wind kicks in.

• Abalone -- Memorial weekend is historically one the most popular times to try for Abs, with Mendocino and the Fort Bragg areas the most popular locations. If the ocean is rough, there are plenty of coves and inlets to get away from the heavy surf.

Caption: Arcata resident Jenna Kennedy landed a nice pair of kings on Sunday while fishing out of Eureka aboard the Shellback with Capt. Tony Sepulveda. The salmon bite is heating up and the ocean should be plenty fishable for the Memorial holiday weekend. Photo courtesy of Green Water Fishing Adventures
«Arcata resident Jenna Kennedy landed a nice pair of kings on Sunday while fishing out of Eureka aboard the Shellback with Capt. Tony Sepulveda. The salmon bite is heating up and the ocean should be plenty fishable for the Memorial holiday weekend. Photo courtesy of Green Water Fishing Adventures

Weekend marine forecast
The ocean looks like it will remain fishable through the holiday weekend, at least for the salmon trollers. It may be a little bumpy for those wanting to run to the Cape for rockfish. Saturday’s forecast is calling for N winds 5 to 15 knots and swells to 5 feet at 8 seconds and NW 3 feet at 15 seconds. Sunday’s prediction is NW winds 5 to 10 knots and swells 5 feet at 8 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For up-to-date weather forecast, visit You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit or check out the Humboldt bar cam.

Ruth Lake Bass tournament
Fortuna Fire Department CO-2's will be holding the 22nd annual “Paul Jadro Memorial Bass Tournament” on Saturday, June 6. Blast off will be at 5:45 a.m. 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 $120 per team with a big fish buy in option of $10. Children under 16 years of age can compete in the youth angler awards. The tournament is catch and release and all competitors must fish from boats that are required to have operational live-wells on board. Check in at the Marina on Friday June 5 at 4:30-7 p.m. or Saturday 4-5 a.m. For more information, contact Mike Ransford at 725-6310 or Lon Winburn at 725-5021 / 725-78804.

River openings
Sections of the Eel (South Fork to Cape Horn Dam), Van Duzen, Mad, Mattole and Smith will re-open on Saturday, May 23rd. On most rivers, only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. Click link for a complete list of river openings and regulations.

The Oceans:
Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing reports the salmon bite had been good this past weekend, but has tapered off the past couple days. He said, “Most of the fish have been coming from the east edge of the Eel River canyon, about five to six miles offshore on the 38-line. The area was loaded with whales, krill and herring, and that’s where we found most of the salmon. It was really good fishing on Sunday, with most of the boats limiting out. The fish have been coming in three different size classes; we’re seeing quite a few shakers 20 to 23 inches as well as fish from seven to 10 pounds. There’s also been a few caught in the 15 to 20 lb. class. The rockfish bite at the Cape has been excellent so far. Catching a limit of three lings and five black rockfish has been easy, but filling out those last five with other species has been a little tougher.”

Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters reports the salmon bite has been a little slow out of Trinidad, with just a handful being caught daily. He said, “The water was 47 degrees on Wednesday, which is probably not helping the bite. I did see more life along with more bait the last couple days, so things could be turning around. The rockfish bite has been wide-open, but the lings have been a little tougher to come by at the spots where we’ve found them in the past. Reading Rock is probably the best option for lings at the moment.”

Crescent City
The rockfish have been biting since it opened last Friday according to Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “Most of the boats are getting limits, but the minus tides we’ve had this week has made the bite a little sporadic. It’s been really good during the high afternoon tides. The salmon action has been slow, with not many boats trying yet. It’s been one’s and two’s for the most part,” Hegnes said.

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

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