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Eureka Still the Place to be for Kings

Kenny priest, fishing the north coast, author badge,
balone season is coming to a close. The salmon may not be flying over the rails in quantities of years past, but Eureka is once again the place to be for king salmon. And unlike last year when the fish were congregated 18 miles to the south, the fish are now nice and close to home. When the boats have been able to get out, they’re finding the largest concentrations of kings just south of the south jetty in 60-feet of water. The fish are kegged there likely due to the tidal influence of Humboldt Bay according to Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “The bay has been absolutely loaded with anchovies and sardines the past couple weeks. And with the minus tides we’re having now, the bait is being flushed out of the bay and deposited right out front. And the salmon are right there waiting for them. The fish have been a pretty decent grade too, ranging between 10 and 18 pounds.” Klassen added. If you’re targeting salmon out of Eureka this weekend, a couple words of advice: Keep an eye on the tides and don’t overrun the fish…

Potential dangerous bar crossing
With minus, or very low tides in effect through the weekend, there could be potential early morning hazardous bar conditions due to the combination of tides and swells converging at the time when most boats will be headed out the mouth of the harbor. Hard charging water flowing out of the bay and running straight into large swells can be extremely dangerous and you should always error on the side of caution — even if it means waiting until the out-flowing water from the bay has slowed, which usually occurs within 30 to 45 minutes prior to the tide bottoming out. If you’re planning on hitting the bar at daylight, check the conditions first. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit or you can also verify the conditions as reported by looking at the bar cam.

Low tides — Sat. June 25 (-0.4 at 10:01 a.m.), Sun. June 16 (0.0 at 10:47 a.m.)

Kevin Jameson scored this nice king while trolling along the north jetty inside of Humboldt Bay, photo courtesy of Kevin James
Eureka resident Kevin Jameson scored this nice king while trolling along the north jetty inside of Humboldt Bay last Thursday. Quite a few salmon have been caught inside the bay and the entrance as the salmon have been following large schools of anchovies and sardines as they move up the channels. Photo courtesy of Kevin Jameson

Marine forecast
The forecast for the weekend is looking a little on the sloppy side, but should be fishable. The big issue will be the outgoing tides out of Humboldt Bay. From the beach out 10 nautical miles, Friday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the north 5 to 15 knots with northwest swells 7 feet at 9 seconds and southwest 3 feet at 20 seconds. Saturday is calling for winds out of the northwest at 5 to 15 knots, with northwest swells 8 feet at 9 seconds and southwest 3 feet at 19 seconds. Sunday looks slightly better. Winds will be out of the north 5 to 15 knots with northwest swells 7 feet at 8 seconds and SW 2 feet at 18 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For an 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.

Statewide free fishing day
On Saturday July 2, people may fish California's waters without a sport fishing license. All regulations, such as bag and size limits, gear restrictions, report card requirements, fishing hours and stream closures remain in effect. On Free Fishing Days, every angler must have the appropriate report card if they are fishing for abalone, steelhead, sturgeon, spiny lobster, or salmon in the Smith and Klamath-Trinity River Systems. For more information visit,

Abalone season closing
Abalone season will close Thursday, June 30 and will be closed for the entire month of July. It will reopen on August 1. For more information, visit Marine/Invertebrates/Abalone.

The Oceans:
Captain Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing reported, “There’s salmon spread up and down the beach from the Cape to the Mad River in 60 to 100 feet of water. If you find the right kind of bait signs on the meter, there have been biters amongst them. The action isn’t wide-open, but if you can keep your lines wet in the right places, you’ll catch em’. We were able to pull together a real good day on Wednesday, finding limits of nice kings close to home.” Taking advantage of a flat ocean a few days ago, Sepulveda gathered the customers an hour earlier than typical and ran all the way south to the Mendocino Canyon on an exploratory salmon trip. “We fished the northern lip and did limits in about 2 hours.”

There’s been a decent salmon bite this week reports Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “Boats have been picking up a few off the mouth of the Mad River in 180 feet. There’s been a bunch of bait there for awhile now. The rockfish action isn’t wide-open, but it has picked up the last few days. We’re starting to see more and more of them on the fish finders,” Wilson added.

Crescent City
Three kings were caught on Wednesday, so that’s a step in the right direction reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. He said, “I didn’t get the location where the salmon were caught, but I did also hear the same boat hooked quite a few silvers too. The rockfish bite is predictably good when the boats can get out.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
There was a pretty good push of fish that went through late last week, but the action has slowed a little since. Boats are still getting three or four real good takedowns per trip. The moss was starting to get a little heavier this past weekend.

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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