Eureka Tuna Bite Grinds to a Halt

Jared Amalong from Sacramento landed a nice albacore tuna on a recent trip out of Shelter Cove. Winds and big swells are in the forecast for the weekend, which will keep the boats from targeting tuna until at least mid-next week.
Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Jake Mitchell/Sea Hawk Sport Fishing

by Kenny Priest
9-24-2020
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After some good days on the tuna grounds, the Eureka bite went belly up on Tuesday. The water temps and color are good, but the water looks like it’s breaking up, leaving smaller pockets of warm water holding fish. Finding those pockets of fish did not come easy on Tuesday. Reportedly there were a couple fish landed by the small group of boats fishing 20 miles straight west of the entrance. Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing was one of the boats on the water and reports a tough bite. “The water temps were good, right around 62 degrees,” said Klassen. “The color was off and on blue, but there wasn’t a lot of life. The water is breaking up now, so we’ll have to see what it looks like after the winds and big swells move through. There’s better water to our southwest off of Cape Mendocino now, so hopefully the south winds will keep pushing that closer to us. The forecast doesn’t look good through the weekend, but mid next week things may begin to settle back down. Hopefully we’ll get another shot at the tuna,” added Klassen.

Weekend marine forecast
After a run of calm ocean conditions, swells will begin to build Wednesday night and stick around through the weekend. Friday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the SW 5 to 10 knots with NW swells 10 feet at 14 seconds and SW 2 feet at 18 seconds. Saturday’s forecast is for NW winds 5 to 15 knots and NW swells 8 feet at 11 seconds. Sunday the winds will be from the N 15 to 25 knots, with N swells 10 feet at 8 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.

Large swells predicted for Thursday
The first significant swell of the season is expected to arrive Wednesday night and into Thursday. This could potentially create hazardous conditions on the beaches and may increase the potential for shoaling. Flat summer beach profiles may see an increase in wave run-up onto the beaches. Swells on Thursday are predicted to be out of the west 15 feet at 15 seconds.  For the most recent for forecast, visit https://www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/marine/

Upper Klamath, Trinity salmon quota update
The upper Klamath and Trinity quotas don’t have closure dates as of yet according to Dan Troxel, an Environmental Scientist on the Klamath River Project. “Typically, the quotas are based off harvest timing, meaning a set amount of days following the closure of the lower Klamath to retention of adult salmon,” said Troxel. “But since we’re not seeing many fish pass the weir in Willow Creek, we may push the dates out a little further. As for the Lower Trinity, we usually used the Hoopa recreational creel as a guide, but since they are not doing a creel this season and the reservation has been closed, I suspect that won’t be much of a concern this year. In short, no closures are on the close horizon, but we’ll be assessing that later this week or early next.”

Willow Creek weir has new location
According to Mary Claire Kier, an Environmental Scientist on the Trinity River, the Willow Creek weir has been installed at its new location. The weir now sits at the upstream-most end of the Kimtu Beach river bar. “We needed to move our location of the past 18 years due to a change in land ownership,” said Kier. “After many attempts to find a suitable site, we think we might have landed in one that will work. There are very few locations that meet the requirements.” The public is welcome to visit the operation once the National Forests in California open back up. If interested, email maryclaire.kier@wildlife.ca.gov.

The Oceans:
Eureka

Taking advantage of some nice conditions, Tony Sepulveda of Shellback Sport Fishing spent some time at Cape Mendocino this past week and reports some really good fishing. “It’s always good fishing down there, but this was particularly easy,” said Sepulveda.  “Lots of lingcod moving into shallow water with fish to 28 pounds coming in less than 80-feet of water. The California halibut bite inside the bay was a little tougher, but we ended up finding some really nice fish between 15 and 22 pounds. I’m sure the big tides and the bait vanishing from the bay had a lot to do with the slowdown. It’s not over for the year, look for this one to bounce right back.”

Shelter Cove
Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing spent all of last week hunting for tuna. He said, “It was pretty good early in the week and we were getting fish as close as 12 miles due south of the Cove. The water really warmed up everywhere and pushed all the way into the beach. As a result, the fishing slowed quite a bit towards the end of the week. The grade was really good earlier in the week, but we started to see some peanuts (small tuna) mixed in on Thursday and Friday. For the week, we averaged about 17 albies per trip. We’re going to try for Tuna on Wednesday, then it looks like the weather will keep us off the water for a few days.”

Crescent City
A few boats ran for tuna on Tuesday, but the fishing was slow. Most of the fleet worked the area north of Crescent City roughly 22 to 25 miles out. One Bluefin was reportedly caught. Overall, scores were in the 5 to 6 fish per boat range. According to Britt Carson of Crescent City’s Englund Marine, the rockfish bite is still really good “Just about all the boats are coming back with limits of rockfish as well as lingcod,” said Carson. “The reefs have been the best producers, including the one right out front of the harbor.”

Brookings
Halibut fishing remains good out of Brookings according to Andy Martin of Brookings Fishing Charters. He said, “Through Sept. 18, nearly 20-percent of the 8,000-pound quota for the Brookings and Gold Beach area remains, with 1,435 pounds left. The halibut are in 200 to 230 feet of water and have been biting herring and squid combos. Lingcod and rockfish action also has been good.”

The Rivers:
Lower Klamath
Salmon fishing remains good on the Klamath, with a mix of fresh jacks and adults entering the river. The cold water that came from the Trinity cooled the water and provided some really good fishing over the weekend. Most of the boats scored limits of jacks, or real close to it. Some steelhead are starting to move in as well as some silvers. As a reminder, the lower river quota has been met and salmon over 23 inches must be released. You can keep two salmon (jacks) 23 inches and under and two hatchery steelhead.

Chetco/Rogue/Coos
Salmon fishing is picking up on the Chetco estuary, with lots of jacks and a few adults to 20 pounds reports Martin. “Some boats are getting two or more jacks per rod, with a few adults mixed in,” said Martin. “A few jacks also have arrived in the tidewater area, and more likely will move up after this week’s rain. Salmon fishing is fair on the Rogue Bay, and slow on the Coos and Umpqua.

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