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Calm Seas Put Boats Back on the Water

Kenny priest, fishing the north coast, author badge,
he rough ocean conditions that persisted this past week provided a nice little break for most of the charter and sport boats fishing out of Eureka and Trinidad. But with the ocean lying down just enough on Wednesday, the fleet was able to get back on the water. Halibut and rockfish are what’s on the menu now as the recreational salmon season closed last week and won’t open again until July 16. Quite a few halibut were reportedly landed on Wednesday out of both Eureka and Trinidad ports. And the action should only get better as the ocean conditions improve.

An important reminder when combo fishing for halibut and rockfish; the more restrictive gear and depth restrictions apply. 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. It’s a good idea to get those halibut first.

Weekend marine forecast
Ocean conditions aren’t looking to bad for the weekend. Friday’s forecast is calling for northwest winds up to 5 knots and waves out of the northwest 5 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the northwest 5 to 10 knots with northwest waves 6 feet at 12 seconds. Sunday isn’t looking as nice, with winds out of the northwest 5 to 10 knots and northwest waves 7 feet at 10 seconds and southwest 2 feet at 18 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. You can also call the National Weather Service at 707-443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at 707-443-6484.

Kayak demo day coming July 23
Mad River Tackle and Kayak Trinidad are teaming up to host a Free Kayak Demo day at Big Lagoon County Park on Saturday, July 23. The event will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Come and test-paddle the latest and greatest fishing kayaks from FeelFree, Viking, Emotion, and the 2016 Slayer Propel from Native Watercraft. Try paddles from Werner and Bending Branches. Free clinics will be offered where you can learn to rig your kayak for fishing and rescue and recovery for kayak anglers. For more information, call 707-826-7201.

Report derelict crab gear
If any ocean fishermen come across old crab floats across the North Coast, the California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project is still active and looking for help in removing 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 and location at

The Oceans:
With the closing of the recreational salmon season, it’s all about the halibut and rockfish until July 16 when the season opens back up. And it looks like we’ll finally have some decent weather to actually fish for both. Captain Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing spent the past week or so fishing in some less than ideal conditions, and he pretty much had the ocean to himself. “The forecast wasn’t always as bad as predicted, and we were even able to make a couple trips all the way to the Cape. The rockfish bite was stellar as usual, with easy limits flying over the rails. We spent a couple days on the halibut grounds as well, with our best day landing four flatties for five customers,” Sepulveda added.

“After fishing some really crummy weather this last week, it looks like we’re finally going to get a break” said Curt Wilson of Wind Rose Charters. “The water is starting to clear up and the halibut bit pretty well on Wednesday. The rockfish were snapping pretty good too, and if you target the lings, you’ll get em. ”

Shelter Cove
Captain Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing reports the salmon bite has been decent, with most boats averaging about a fish per rod. He said, “On Tuesday we had limits of rockfish and lings before we switched over to salmon. We put five nice ones onboard to 21 pounds and lost a few other good ones. The best bite has been at the Old Man.”

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 oceans been a little snotty, so not many boats have been out this week. It looks like we’ll finally have some better conditions the next few days. The rockfish bite is still good, with quite a few lings around too. Not much has been happening with halibut due to the weather, but that should change now. The salmon season, which temporarily closed last Thursday, never did materialize.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Early July means transition time on the Klamath. The majority of the spring salmon have made their way upriver, and now the fall kings are beginning to mill around the estuary. Boats are also beginning to side-drift the riffles targeting 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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