Tuna Water Still Sitting Off of Eureka

Arcata resident Natalie Okun got in on the tuna action out of Eureka this past week, landing this beauty while fishing aboard the Shellback. The warm water is still sitting off of Eureka, and plenty of boats have their sights set on a Friday tuna run.
Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Tony Sepulveda/Shellback Sport Fishing

by Kenny Priest
9-5-2019
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A brief recap of the holiday weekend. An epic offshore bonanza was predicted for the weekend, and boy did it come to fruition. Tuna, salmon, halibut, and rockfish were all flying over the rails at a pretty good clip. Per usual, tuna generated the biggest buzz, and rightfully so. It doesn’t happen often where the ocean is flat calm, and the warm water is within 20 miles. The tuna frenzy began last Thursday, and boats were still chasing them as of Wednesday. Tuna were as close in as 10 miles on Monday, and Matt Dallam of Northwind Charters boated several large ones on his way in. Looking ahead, Friday appears to be the next really calm day. If you haven’t got all the tuna you need, there’s still some time. Salmon season closed as of Tuesday, and it sounded like they bit pretty well right down to the wire. Several Pacific halibut were caught over the weekend in Trinidad, which we haven’t seen in quite some time. Once the tuna water moves out of reach, expect a whole lot more effort on the halibut as there’s plenty of quota left to catch. Through Aug. 25, just 14,853 net pounds have been harvested towards the 39,000 quota.

Weekend marine forecast
Ocean conditions look plenty fishable through the weekend, with Friday looking like the best day for a tuna run. As of Wednesday, the forecast out 10 nautical miles for Friday is calling for winds out of the N up to 5 knots and waves NW 3 feet at 9 seconds. Saturday is calling for NW winds 5 to 10 knots and waves W 5 feet at 7 seconds and SW 2 feet at 19 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is calling for NW winds 5 to 10 knots and waves W 5 feet at 7 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 www.weather.gov/eureka/ or https://www.windy.com. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

Klamath River quota update
The Labor Day weekend is typically the busiest weekend of the fall season on the Klamath River. And this year was no exception. The river was crowded, with plenty of boats and bank anglers trying to land the prized king salmon. Here’s what we know after the dust has settled. Through Sept. 2, 403 adult salmon had been harvested from the Hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth towards the quota of 3,818. Of those, 246 adults were caught below the Hwy. 101 bridge, leaving 899 adult salmon left to catch below the 101 bridge prior to the spit fishery closing. Only the spit area will close to fishing once this quota is met, fishing will remain open upriver of the spit until the 3,818 quota is met. The lower river, from the Hwy. 96 bridge at Weitchpec to the mouth has roughly 3,416 adults remaining for sport harvest. Once the quota has been met, anglers may still retain a limit of Chinook salmon under 22 inches in length. Anglers may keep track of the Klamath and Trinity river quotas by calling 800-564-6479.

The Oceans:
Eureka

The salmon season came to a close on Monday, but it ended on a pretty good note. Conditions were good, and quite a few boats were able to get limits or close to it. “Most of the boats were fishing around the 47 to 48 line straight off the dumpsite. Some nice fish up to 20 pounds were caught,” said Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing. “With salmon closed and the warm water still close, some of the boats are still targeting tuna. As of Tuesday, the water was 13 to 15 miles from the entrance.”  Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing also spent most of the week chasing tuna and reports a solid 20 to 30 fish per trip 25 miles out of Eureka. He said, “Early in the week we focused our attention to the south off cape Mendocino and followed the warm water as it pushed north to straight out front. Fish ranged from six pound peanuts to over 30 pounds,” added Sepulveda.

Shelter Cove
The tuna bite was absolutely wide-open all week long until the wind started blowing on Monday reports Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. He said, “The water and fish pushed in as close as 10 miles from shore. It was a pretty good grade of fish, with many in the 20-pound range. We fished halibut at Gorda on Friday but only got one 50-pounder. The rockfish and lingcod bite was wide-open at Gorda as well. The salmon are still a little spotty, but most boats trying are getting a couple,” added Mitchell. The sport salmon season will remain open from Horse Mountain to Point Arena (which includes Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg) through Oct. 31. The minimum size limit remains at 20 inches total length.

Crescent City
The California halibut bite is still pretty good along South Beach reports Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “They were getting them pretty good off the seawall over the weekend. I heard of six anglers getting their three-fish limits. The rockfish bite has picked back up, and so have the lings,” Hegnes added.

Brookings
Salmon fishing ended on a slow note out of Brookings, with only a couple dozen kings caught during the three-day Labor Day salmon derby reports Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters . “A 20-pounder won. Fishing has been good for Pacific halibut and lingcod,” added Martin.

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
The water released from Lewiston Dam arrived at the lower Klamath on Wednesday, but the river remained in fishable shape reports Alan Borges of Alans’s Guide Service. He said, “It was pretty mossy down low in the morning, but it got better throughout the day. The river should be in great shape the rest of the week. There are some salmon around, not a ton. I’d say most boats are landing a couple adults a day. There’s fish spread throughout the river now, it should only get better.”

Lower Rogue
“The Rogue Bay has improved with guides consistently catching a fish per rod or better, with limits some days,” said Martin. “There are big numbers of jacks holding between Jot’s Resort and Indian Creek. Water temperatures are still above 70 degrees, so most of the adult salmon are holding in the lower portion of the bay, and biting on the incoming tide. Salmon fishing also has been good on the Coos, with a strong early season showing of adult kings and lots of jacks.”

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