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Warm waters troubling for Klamath salmon

Fishing the North Caost by Kenny Priest, author badge,

n what could be the beginning of a lethal migration for Klamath and Trinity River salmon, Tribal researchers discovered evidence of a deadly parasite at the mouth of the Klamath River that could potentially harm the fall salmon run according to a news release issued by Yurok Tribe last week. The parasite known as Ich (pronounced “ick”) was discovered by Yurok fisheries crews conducting routine fish disease monitoring in the Klamath River. If allowed to spread, Ich has the capabilities to cause large-scale fish-kills, much like 2002, when more than 35,000 adult Chinook salmon and steelhead died. “Last year, an outbreak of Ich reached high levels, stopping just short of causing a catastrophic fish kill,” the release said. This evidence of an Ich outbreak is occurring one month earlier than last year, according to Craig Tucker, a spokesman for the Karuk Tribe. Low flows and warm water temperatures, both of which are currently present in the Lower Klamath and Trinity Rivers, exacerbate fish diseases, such as Ich. According to Tucker, crews from the Yurok Tribe will continue surveying salmon for the parasite. The Yurok Tribe will work closely with federal, state and tribal partners to determine what management actions are necessary to protect the main portion of the fall Chinook salmon run, which has yet to enter the river.

Weekend Marine Forecast
After some pretty rough seas earlier in the week, the ocean is shaping up nicely for the weekend. Out 10 nautical miles north of the Cape, Friday’s forecast is calling for W winds up to 5 knots and seas out of the NW 4-feet at 8 seconds and SW 2-feet at 15 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the W up to 5 knots and W swells 4-feet at 8 seconds and SW 2-feet at 14 seconds. Sunday is calling for winds out of the NW up to 5 knots with NW swells 4-feet at 8 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit, or you can also verify the conditions as reported by looking at the bar cam at You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Halibut season re-opens August 1
The Pacific halibut season will re-open August 1 and will remain open through August 15. As of July 15, the projected catch is 13,545 lbs. with the quota set at 25,220 lbs. For up-to-date harvest tracking information, visit gov/marine/pacifichalibut.asp#tracking

Abalone season part 2
Abalone season re-opens August 1 along the North Coast from the San Francisco Bay north.

After being closed for the month of July, the season will remain open through November. Diving is legal from 8 a.m. to 30 minutes after sunset. Click here for more information.

10 -year old Austin Scilacci is all smiles after landing his first-ever tuna while fishing near Crescent City. Photo courtesy of Bryan Scilacci
10 -year old Austin Scilacci is all smiles after landing his first-ever tuna while fishing near Crescent City last Friday. Austin , along with his father Bryan, were fishing with Marc Schmidt of Coastline Charters. Photo courtesy of Bryan Scilacci

Tuna update
Tuna conditions are shaping up nicely for the coming weekend from Fort Bragg to Brookings, with the best opportunity possibly being Shelter Cove. There was a pretty decent bite out of Crescent City and Brookings last week, with scores ranging from 10 to 30 albacore per boat. The warm blue water was sitting roughly 20 northwest of Crescent City. There’s also a patch of warm water still sitting 25 miles off of Punta Gorda that has a few Eureka boats interested.

The Oceans:

The story remains the same for the salmon boats fishing out of Eureka ‑— the bite is just about exclusive to Cape Mendocino. The fleet was off the water on Monday and Tuesday due to high seas, but last weekend saw limits for all the charter boats and quite a few sport boats caught fish as well. “Not much has changed, the salmon are still glued to the pinnacles” said Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing. The bite was wide-open and the sizes are all over the place. We’re seeing fish from 22 inches to 30 pounds, with most ranging from 8 to 12 pounds.” Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing had his clients limited early in the morning on both Saturday and Sunday. He said, “It’s only taking a couple of hours to land quality limits as there’s quite a few fish still in the area. Most of the fish are coming in 90-feet of water, but you really need to be careful as there are plenty of high spots to hang your gear on. The water temps are still much cooler down there, 53 degrees compared to 58 to 59 everywhere else.”

Rockfish and lingcod remain the main attraction to the few boats fishing out of Trinidad reports Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “We’ve been fishing some pretty sloppy conditions the last few days and it’s made the bite a little tougher. There’s still plenty of rockfish around, but it’s slowed down slightly. When you find a school of them, you want to stay on them. Same goes for the lingcod. Not very much effort on the salmon as of late, but I did hear of a few caught last weekend off of Mad River in 120 feet of water. That might be a good place to start if you’re targeting salmon,” Wilson added.

Shelter Cove
The salmon bite is outstanding with Captain Trent Slate of Shelter Cove Sport Fishing posting limits of big fish on a daily basis with salmon to 33 pounds on Monday despite the high winds and back again with limits by 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday. They are jigging P-Line Laser Minnows or mooching anchovies near the Hat.

Crescent City
The ocean has been rough and not many boats have been out the last few days reports Leonard Carter of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “The rockfish and lingcod bite are still going strong, weather permitting. I can’t ever remember this many lingcod being caught; it’s been an incredible season. The salmon effort is almost zero due to the warm water and lack of sign. Halibut season opens back up on Saturday, and it was pretty good prior to its closing last month. A few boats ran for tuna last weekend, and they did pretty well. The warm water is still sitting between Crescent City and Brookings roughly 30 miles offshore.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath

There aren’t very many salmon in the river at the moment, but it’s still early reports Alan Borges of Alan’s Guide Service. He said, “The mouth has been sanded over off and on since Saturday, so that’s not helping us. There are a few bright steelhead in the lower river, you just have to hunt around for them. They seem to be in small bunches, where you find one you’ll find a few.”

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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