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Calm seas provide array of angling options

Fishing the North Coast by Kenny Preist, author badge,

alm seas forecasted for the weekend will provide plenty of options for North Coast saltwater fishermen. The salmon action has been fairly consistent the last couple days, with a pretty good bite reported north of the entrance in 40 to 100 feet of water on Tuesday. Boats were back there again on Wednesday, and it sounded like enough salmon were flying over the rails to keep everyone interested. And the fish were a better grade as well. Rockfish will be another good option this weekend, especially with the flat water making it an easy run to Cape Mendocino for the Eureka boats. On the halibut front, there was reportedly a good bite happening on Tuesday and Wednesday, with quite a few fish being caught straight out of Eureka in 250 to 300 feet of water. And finally, not only is the ocean flat, it’s also warming up, which can only mean one thing — Tuna! Marc Schmidt of Coastline Charters ran roughly 75 miles out of Eureka on Tuesday and boated 13 albacore and a 114-pound pound Opah as a bonus. If you’ve been waiting for weekend where targeting multiple species is a viable option, this would be it. An important reminder when combo fishing, the more restrictive gear and depth restrictions apply. Once salmon are aboard and in possession, anglers are limited to using barbless hooks (barbless circle hooks if fishing south of Horse Mountain) when fishing for other species. When targeting rockfish, cabezon, greenling and lingcod, or once any of these species are aboard and in possession, anglers are limited to fishing in waters shallower than 120 feet when fishing for other species.

Chuck Chastain, pictured left, landed this 114-pound Opah on Tuesday while tuna fishing 75 miles west of Eureka. Chastain was fishing with Captain Marc Schmidt, pictured right, of Coastline Charters. Photo courtesy of Marc Schmidt/Coastline Charters
After an hour and 15-minute battle, Chuck Chastain, pictured left, landed this 114-pound Opah on Tuesday while tuna fishing 75 miles west of Eureka. Chastain was fishing with Captain Marc Schmidt, pictured right, of Coastline Charters. Opahs are typically found in the warm waters off Hawaii and are rarely caught by sport anglers. The meat is said to be rich and tasty and highly sought after, especially in the restaurant trade. Photo courtesy of Marc Schmidt/Coastline Charters

Weekend Marine Forecast
Ocean conditions looks to be ideal for all types of fishing this weekend. Friday’s forecast is calling for south winds up to 5 knots and waves out of the west 3 feet at 14 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the northwest to 5 knots with northwest waves 3 feet at 13 seconds. Sunday is looking flat as well, with winds out of the northwest to 5 knots and west waves 3 feet at 12 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit this webpage. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit this webpage, or you can also verify the conditions as reported by looking at the bar cam. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Clam tides coming
Another round of minus tides begin on Sunday and will run through July 19. The lowest tide will be on the Wednesday at -1.0. With calm seas predicted into next week, the clamming could be good. Some decent reports have been coming from Clam Beach, where clamming is open between Strawberry Creek and Moonstone Beach. The limit is 20, and you must retain the first 20 dug regardless of size or broken condition.

Report derelict crab gear
If any ocean fishermen come across old crab floats across the North Coast, there is a new program aimed at helping to remove old derelict crab gear. When you come across gear in which you believe is old, make a note of the GPS coordinates. From there you can enter the information online or you can email HASA at and they’ll report and input the location for you.

The Oceans:

Salmon, halibut, rockfish, and tuna – it’s all within reach and they are all biting. The past two days has seen the salmon action move north from the Eel River Canyon to a few miles above the entrance to Humboldt Bay. All the charters made the move as well, including Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing, who fished the canyon area on Monday and Tuesday. He said, “It was pretty good on Monday, but the bite slowed down on Tuesday. Overall the salmon fishing has been solid, with a one fish per rod average. Some days are better, some aren’t. It’s more of what you’d expect from a typical salmon season.” The lingcod bite at the Cape remains wide-open according to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, who was there Monday and Tuesday. “Not much has changed down there, it’s been good the entire season and it’s still red-hot. The lings are biting just about anything, and limits are coming easily.” The halibut bite is also good, with calm seas and just the right amount of drift paying off nicely for those willing to put some time in. The tuna water was within reach from Fort Bragg to Crescent City, but the only positive report so far has come out Eureka.

“The report is basically the same as last week” said Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “The lingcod bite continues to be outstanding and the rockfish are snapping just as good. Where you target the lings depends on the drift, if it’s not real fast, you can fish some spots out in deeper water that aren’t fished as heavily. The salmon bite was pretty slow this week; a few smaller fish were caught each day in 250-300 feet of water. A few halibut are being caught, but it might get a little better with the ocean being calm. ”

Shelter Cove
The salmon bite turned on last weekend, and Captain Jared Morris of C’Mon Sport Fishing put in double limits of salmon to 30 pounds. He said, “The action is not hot and heavy, but we have been sticking at it for limits for 12 anglers to 26 pounds on Sunday.” The south wind was coming in on Sunday afternoon. They were trolling hoochies and Pro-Troll E-lures for several bites, losing at least 14 fish to land the limits of salmon. He added, “A private boat was mooching for salmon on Sunday, and they landed limits of both salmon and Pacific halibut to 80 pounds.”

Crescent City
Not much has changed around here; the best action is still from the rockfish reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “The lingcod bite continues to be over the top and the rockfish are biting as well. There’s been a couple salmon caught per day, but it’s not consistent. One or two fish here and there as it’s been all season. We did see a few halibut caught this week outside of the south reef with the biggest being 65-pounds.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath

Most of the salmon action continues to be in the estuary where trollers are hooking one to three per day. The cooler weather should help the water temps, which should move some of the salmon upriver as well as the summer steelhead.

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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