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All eyes on Klamath River salmon

he 2015 recreational ocean season ended on Monday much like it began –- quietly. A handful of sport boats weathered the choppy seas, spending a few hours fishing around the entrance of Humboldt Bay. As has been the case the entire season, there were plenty of birds and bait around, but the salmon were nowhere to be found. And just like that, it’s over.

So now the salmon action will shift to the Klamath River, where the salmon are starting to arrive in bigger numbers. According to Sara Borok, an Environmental Scientist on the Klamath River, after Tuesday’s tally, 2,687 adults have been harvested below the Hwy 96 bridge since August 15. Of those, 1,545 were harvested below the 101 bridge. Anglers above the 101 bridge have harvested 897 to date. “We have about 575 left to catch at the spit, which should keep it open through the weekend, but it will likely close early next week. The number of adult salmon left to harvest below the 96 bridge is 4,380.” Borok added. The estuary will remain open to fishing after the spit closes. For more information on the Klamath regulations, visit

Ron Wallace of Sebastopol, pictured right, landed the winning salmon in Englund Marine’s Big Salmon Contest. The first place fish weighed in at 29 lbs gutted and gilled and was caught on July 21. Wallace was fishing with Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, pictured left. Photo courtesy of Englund Marine, Eureka
Ron Wallace of Sebastopol, pictured right, landed the winning salmon in Englund Marine’s Big Salmon Contest. The first place fish weighed in at 29 lbs gutted and gilled and was caught on July 21. Wallace was fishing with Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, pictured left. Photo courtesy of Englund Marine, Eureka

More water for Klamath salmon
The Bureau of Reclamation released additional water from Lewiston Dam on Tuesday evening to help protect returning adult fall-run Chinook salmon in the lower Klamath River. The flows increased from the current rate of 1,100 cubic feet per second for one day only and peaked at approximately 3,300 cfs on Wednesday morning. Flows will begin ramping down until reaching 1,100 cfs on Thursday. Flows are predicted to peak in Hoopa on Thursday around 2 p.m. On the lower Klamath, the river should begin to rise Thursday afternoon, with flows peaking very early Friday morning.

The one-day pulse flow is a secondary preventative measure implemented because of the continued presence of low-level infections of adult salmon by Ich. The public is urged to take all necessary precautions on or near the river while flows are high. For more information on this project, visit this webpage.

Weekend marine forecast
The forecast looks decent through Saturday, with Sunday looking a bit rougher. Out 10 nautical miles, Friday’s forecast is calling for NW winds 5 to 10 knots with waves NW 5 feet at 9 seconds and SW 2 feet at 15 seconds. N winds 5 to 10 knots are forecasted for Saturday, with waves NW 5 feet at 8 seconds. Sunday doesn’t look good offshore, with N winds up to 15 knots forecasted. Waves will be out of the NW 8 feet at 10 seconds. For up-to-date weather forecasts, call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

Trinidad Rockfish Wars V event details
On Friday, Sept. 11, a pre-tournament meeting will be held at 4:00 Pacific Outfitters in Eureka. Tournament details will be discussed and goodie bags handed out. If you can't make it to the pre-tournament meeting, please email There will be a pre-tournament social gathering at 6:30 p.m. at the Emerald Forest in Trinidad. The tournament begins on Saturday at 5:45 a.m. on the protected side of Trinidad. Check in with an event coordinator for boat inspection and sign-off before departure. Event coordinators will be signing your hand if you plan on doing catch and release. Parking will be in the parking lot closest to State Beach, furthest from the boat launch area. You must park on the dirt due to restrictions set by the land owners and out of respect for the commercial fishermen and their boats. The tournament ends at 2:00 p.m. and you’ll need to be on land with your fish in hand. If you are still in the water by 2:00 p.m., you will be disqualified. A potluck will begin at 4:30 p.m. where the winners will be announced and prizes will be given away.

The Oceans:

With salmon season wrapped up in the Northern Management Area, the focus will be on rockfish, and hopefully tuna. The charters will continue to run south to the Cape, depending on the conditions and the interest. According to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing, the warm tuna water is roughly 15 miles off of Eureka. He said, “There’s some really good looking water straight out, but I doesn’t look like the weather will cooperate anytime soon.” Live bait is still available at Woodley Island, but make sure and call 498-1904 to set-up an appointment.

Crescent City
Ocean angling has really slowed down, especially now that the salmon season has closed reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “The wind has been blowing pretty good this week, so not many boats have been out. A few went out last weekend and I heard the bite was still going strong for rockfish,” Hegnes added.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath

The lower river has fished excellent the last few days according to Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service. “There’s been plenty of bright fish around and we’ve been able to get limits or close to it daily. The fish are ranging from Jacks to adults up to 25 pounds, and we’re still catching quite a few steelhead too. Conditions will definitely change on Friday morning when the added flows hit the lower river. It’s hard to say what’s going to happen with the water, we may see a lot of debris for a day or so. On the plus side it should bring in a bunch of new fish,” Coopman added.

Middle Klamath
There weren’t many adult salmon on the middle Klamath this past weekend, but there were plenty of steelhead around to keep you busy. The river is in great shape and the salmon are likely moving through quickly. Quite a few new fish made their way into the lower river early this week, so fishing should only get better. The increase in flows should help as well.

Upper Trinity
The high water made a mess of the upper Trinity on Wednesday according to Tim Brady of Weaverville’s Trinity Outdoors. He said, “Prior to Tuesday’s increase in flows, boats working from the top down to Junction City were doing well. Bank anglers, on the other hand, were having a tough time. The fish aren’t going to travel in the same places as they normally would when the waters flowing at 1,100 cfs. It will be interesting to see if there are fish around and what shape the river will be in when the water comes back down,” Brady added.

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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