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Wide-open rockfish, lingcod action

fishing the north coast by Kenny Priest author badge for

he wide-open rockfish bite continues coast-wide, and boats from Shelter Cove to Crescent City are taking full advantage. With the salmon continuing to be somewhat scarce, limits of rockfish has been a sure bet for both sport and charter boats.

“I’d compare the current lingcod bite to how the salmon bite has been the previous three years,” said Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. “I’m not sure how it can get much better.” It looks like the only thing that could slow the fishing down is to keep the boats tied up, and that looks to be the case for the next couple of days. If the forecast holds, it may be Sunday before the ocean is back to being fishable.

A trio of happy anglers had themselves quite a day on Monday, scoring limits of Pacific halibut, shown here, while fishing out of Eureka, Photo courtesy of Full thrttle Sport Fishing
A trio of happy anglers had themselves quite a day on Monday, scoring limits of Pacific halibut while fishing out of Eureka with Gary Blasi of Full Throttle Sport Fishing. The halibut season opened June 1 and will close again on June 15. Photo courtesy of Full Throttle Sport Fishing

Marine Forecast
The next several days don’t look too promising for saltwater anglers. Friday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the north 15 to 20 knots and waves from the NW 9 feet at 9 seconds and 2 feet at 16 seconds. Saturday is not much better, with NW winds 5 to 10 knots and waves 8 feet at 10 seconds. Sunday looks to be the better day, with NW winds 5 to 10 knots and waves 5 feet at 12 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 bar cam located here.

More clam tides coming
The current set of minus tides will last through Monday, June 8, with the next round beginning on Saturday, June 13. The lowest tides will be June 16 and 17, with tides ranging from -1.4 to -1.5. The clamming has been excellent the last few days according to Justin Kelly of RMI Outdoors in Eureka. “The majority of the clams have been coming in the water, very few are being found in the dry sand,” added Kelly.

Ruth Lake Bass tourney this Saturday
Fortuna Fire Department CO-2's will be holding the 2nd annual “Paul Jadro Memorial Bass Tournament” this 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.

The Oceans:

A red-hot bite and favorable ocean conditions has made Cape Mendocino the focus of attention for most of the boats fishing out of Eureka. Much like the salmon the last few years, it’s about as close to a guarantee as you can get. Gary Blasi of Full Throttle Sport Fishing made a few runs south and reports a wide-open ling bite. He said, “Anytime you can make one drift and catch 15 lings, that’s pretty good fishing.” Blasi also ventured to the halibut grounds on the opener and landed three nice halibut to 40-pounds. And to keep the variety going, while running home from the Cape on Tuesday, he found some fishy water near the mouth of the Eel and quickly boated 4 salmon ranging from 12 to 20-pounds. “It’s all about variety at the moment.” Skippers Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing and Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing have both filled most of their days down at the Cape. “The weather has been decent enough to get down there and the fishing is lights out. It’s tough to pass up,” said Klassen. “We did run a halibut trip on Tuesday, but we had a tough time finding any biters. It’s tough when the season closes every two weeks; you’re forced to start over trying to find out where they are.” As for the salmon fishing, Sepulveda is optimistic. “The signs have been building the last few days. There have been some good patches of birds and bait that have produced fish and it’s starting to look better every day. With what’s going on with the rockfish, no one is really putting in full days fishing for salmon. There was a decent bite to the north on Monday in 140 feet of water and yesterday we saw a little flurry near the Eel River in 50 feet of water. I don’t think there’s a huge volume of fish around, but things are looking better,” Sepulveda added.

There’s been a few small salmon caught out in the deep water, but overall the bite is still pretty slow reports Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters out of Trinidad. He said, “The water has cleared up some, but I’ve seen some very large schools of bait out there, mostly herring. But we just haven’t seen the salmon amongst these big bait balls yet. The rockfish bite is still wide-open with limits coming easily. When targeted, the lingcod bite has been red hot as well. There were three halibut caught on the June 1 opener, and I’ve heard of a couple being caught daily.”

Crescent City
A few salmon are being caught, but the bite is definitely scattered reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “I haven’t heard any specific locations where the salmon fishing is better than others, the fish seem to be spread out. A few halibut were caught on Tuesday, with most coming outside of the South Reef. I think most of the halibut were small, around 25 lbs. The rockfish bite has been solid and the lingcod is absolutely on fire right now,” Hegnes said.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath

The spring salmon bite improved this week, possibly due to the rain showers and cooler temperatures. The river is in good shape, and boats are getting anywhere from 1 to 3 hookups per day.

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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