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Long run to the salmon for Eureka boats

Fishing the North coast by Kenny Priest, author badge,

his has been one abnormal salmon season for Eureka. The north wind that blew in late last week should have been our saving grace, bringing with it the much-needed cold water salmon love. Such wishful thinking on our part! The water temps did drop a few degrees, but not nearly enough to entice the salmon to pick up stakes and come running closer to shore.

On the other hand, the big pod of fish that have been sitting off of Cape Mendocino in 52-degree water didn’t budge. When the weather laid down on Sunday, the fleet ran full steam to the pinnacles, and the salmon were there waiting. The boats that made the 20-mile run south limited quickly, and it was more of the same for Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, the ocean lumped up and kept the boats from making their way back south. Looking ahead, the forecasted weather looks decent for Thursday and much-improved on Friday and Saturday. My guess is the fish are still down off the Cape, but if they weren’t, I wouldn’t be surprised. It’s been that kind of season.

Ron Wallace, right, of Sebastopol needed a little help in holding the large salmon he landed on Tuesday out of Eureka. Wallace was fishing aboard the Reel Steel, skippered by Tim Klassen, pictured left. The big fish weighed 29-pounds gutted and gilled and is the current leader in Englund Marine’s Salmon Derby. Photo courtesy of Reel Steel Sport Fishing
Ron Wallace, right, of Sebastopol needed a little help in holding the large salmon he landed on Tuesday out of Eureka. Wallace was fishing aboard the Reel Steel, skippered by Tim Klassen, pictured left. The big fish weighed 29-pounds gutted and gilled and is the current leader in Englund Marine’s Salmon Derby. Photo courtesy of Reel Steel Sport Fishing

Marine Forecast
Following Wednesday’s crummy weather, it looks like the rest of the week and weekend should remain fishable. Out 10 nautical miles from Pt. St. George to Cape Mendocino, Friday’s forecast is calling for 5 to 10 knot winds out of the north and waves to 4 feet at 11 seconds. Saturday is calling for north winds 5 to 15 knots and waves out of the northwest 5 feet at 13 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is roughly the same, with winds out of the north 10 to 15 knots and waves 6 feet at 12 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit this weather webpage. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit this webpage or you can also verify the conditions as reported by looking at the Humboldt Bay Bar Cam. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Boating Safety Class
The US Coast Guard Auxiliary is offering a one-day Boating Safety class on Saturday, August 1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The class will be held at the Woodley Island Marina Conference Room. For more information, contact Thom O’Connor at 707-954-4481 to pre-register. The cost is $20 per person.

CA F&G Commission meeting coming to Fortuna
The upcoming California Fish and Game Commission meeting will be held at the River Lodge in Fortuna on August 4-5. A public forum will be held each morning beginning at 8:30 a.m. where the public can address the Commission regarding the implementation of its policies or any other matter within the jurisdiction of the Commission. Issues to be discussed should not be related to any current agenda items. On Monday, August 3 from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., Commission staff will host office hours at the River Lodge to answer questions about Commission meetings, the rulemaking process, and how the public may participate in both. The meeting will be live streamed at View the complete agenda here.

Crabs close/Abalone opens
The 2015 sport Dungeness crab season in Humboldt, Mendocino, and Del Norte counties will come to a close on Thursday July 30. Recreational abalone season will re-open on August 1, following a July closure. For more information, visit this CA DFW webpage.

The Oceans:

The lone salmon holding water remains near Cape Mendocino, roughly 20 miles south from the entrance. Boats working the “pinnacles” since Sunday have enjoyed really good fishing, with most boats able to score limits by noon. And the fish have been a real good grade too, averaging between 12 and 25-pounds with a few toads being landed as well. According to Capt. Matt Dallam of Northwind Charters, these fish have been there consistently for at least three weeks. He said, “It’s really the only place that’s holding any cold water for us, and the fish are there and they want to bite. And there’s lots of real fish there too, with most in the high teens and quite a few well over 20 pounds.” The wind didn’t really help cool the inshore water temps reports Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “It’s still roughly 57 degrees out front, which is why very few fish are being caught, and fewer boats are even trying. All the action has been south, where the water is 52 to 53 degrees – much more salmon friendly. And there seems to be plenty of feed down there, the salmon are full of juvenile rockfish,” Klassen added.

A few salmon were caught earlier in the week reports Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “I heard about a dozen were caught on Monday between four or five boats. Most were working south in 140 feet of water. Since that little bite we had, it’s been quiet due to the rough ocean. The rockfish bite is still steady, but it was a little tougher on Wednesday having to fight the rough water. Limits are still the rule when the conditions are good,” Wilson added.

Crescent City
On Monday, the warm water moved within range and the tuna started hitting the decks. Marc Schmidt of Coastline Charters in Eureka trailered his boat north and put in 14 albacore fishing 30 miles offshore. Inshore, a few salmon were caught over the weekend according to Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “I heard a half dozen were caught on Sunday and another four or five on Monday. Most of the fish were caught around the Big Reef by anglers targeting rockfish, so there must be some cold water there. The rockfish and ling action remains steady, the only thing slowing it down is the lumpy ocean,” Hegnes said.

Shelter Cove:
It’s still wide open for salmon in Shelter Cove with Captain Trent Slate of Shelter Cove Sport Fishing saying, “There have only been two days since July 2nd when they didn’t bite, and we are putting in limits of quality salmon on a daily basis.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath

There’s been a few summer steelhead caught upriver, but most of the action remains in the estuary where boats are picking up between one to four fish per trip trolling Kastmasters and spinners.

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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