Halibut opener slowed by heavy currents

Sisters Isabelle, left, and Michaela Ellsmore of Ferndale caught these nice redtail perch last weekend. According to their father Scott, they caught these and quite a few more.
Photo Credit: Scott Ellsmore

by Kenny Priest
5-4-2017
Website

Despite some pretty tough fishing conditions, a good number of halibut were landed out of Eureka earlier this week. On Monday, only a couple boats made it across a very nasty bar. Gary Blasi of Full Throttle Sport Fishing and Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing each stuck it out and landed two and three halibut respectively. A few more boats made it out on Tuesday, and most of them landed at least one halibut. “Conditions are definitely challenging right now — the current is absolutely ripping which makes it difficult to keep your baits in the strike zone,” said Klassen. “The fact that this many fish were caught despite the conditions tells me there’s quite a few fish around. Unfortunately, the ocean is looking to get really rough beginning Friday, but Thursday is looking fishable.

Weekend marine forecast
As of Wednesday, the weekend forecast for coastal waters out 10 nautical miles is looking pretty ugly for halibut and rockfish anglers. Saturday’s forecast is calling for winds out of the north 20 to 30 knots and waves N 11 feet at 8 seconds. Sunday’s forecast is looking slightly worse, with winds out of the north 20 to 30 knots and waves N 12 feet at 10 seconds. These conditions can and will change. For up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. To monitor the latest Humboldt bar conditions, visit wrh.noaa.gov/eka/swan or check out the bar cam located at www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka/barCam/?cam=humboldtBayBar

You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

Trinidad
The rockfish opener was reportedly on the slow side for the kayakers, but picked up on Tuesday. Most of the action was around Flatiron Rock, and it sounded like a few lingcod were caught and there were lots of black rockfish willing to bite.

Shelter Cove
Despite the wind, the Shelter Cove boats had a pretty successful rockfish opener. “It was a little rough, so we stuck to just rockfish,” said Jake Mitchell of Sea Hawk Sport Fishing. “The lings bit like crazy, but we had to work for the rockfish. We were blown off the water around 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, but we're able to get limits for our clients.” Mitchell also reported that no halibut were caught over the weekend but one salmon was caught on Tuesday.

Crescent City
Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine reports the rockfish season got off to a slow start, but it picked up on Wednesday. He said, “One of the local charter boats went out to Big Reef and did really well on lingcod. They caught a few over 20 lbs, and had three limits of nice fish within an hour. I didn’t hear of any halibut being caught as of yet,” Hegnes added.

Redtails bite is wide-open
The redtail bite has been wide-open all up and down the North Coast. I’ve been hearing reports of limits coming from the usual spots: Samoa, Centerville, Dry and Stone Lagoons, Gold Bluff, and the south spit. Inside Humboldt Bay at the mouth of the Elk River (Stinky Beach) and King Salmon have also been giving up plenty of fish. Redtail Perch have a minimum size limit of 10.5 inches and a daily bag and possession limit of 10.

Sport-Harvested Mussels quarantined
In a press release issued on April 28, The California Department of Public Health announced the annual quarantine of sport-harvested mussels gathered along the California coast. The quarantine begins May 1 and applies to all species of mussels that are recreationally harvested along the California coast, including all bays and estuaries. The quarantine is in place to protect the public against poisoning that can lead to serious illness, including coma and death. 

In addition to this annual quarantine, consumers are urged not to eat recreationally harvested razor clams from Humboldt and Del Norte counties due to continued high levels of domoic acid. To read the entire press release, visit cdph.ca.gov/Programs/OPA/Pages/NR17-041.aspx.

Ruth Lake Bass tourney this Saturday
The Southern Trinity Volunteer Fire Department is hosting its 11th annual Ruth Lake Bass Tournament on Saturday, May 6. Blast off begins at 6:00 a.m. Entry fees are due May 1. Entries are $150 per team (includes Big Fish). First Place is $1,500 and second place is $1,000. Big Fish will win $100. One in five payback based on full slate of 40 boats. This is a catch and release tournament, live wells and life jackets are required. Check in is Friday at Journey's End at 4:15-5:30 p.m. or Saturday 4:45 a.m. at the Marina parking lot. For more info call Todd Perras at (707) 273-9621.

Main Stem Eel update
“The main stem Eel is still big, but the color is finally starting to come around,” said Paul Grundman of Rio Dell’s Grundmans Sporting Goods. If the rain doesn’t fall as they predict and the snowmelt slows, it should be fishable by next weekend. When the water’s big like it is now, the fish will be hanging on the edges and back eddy’s out of the current.” As of Wednesday, flows were hovering around 8,300 cfs on the Scotia gauge.

River openings
Sections of the main Eel (South Fork to Cape Horn Dam), South Fork Eel (South Fork Eel River from mouth to Rattlesnake Creek) Van Duzen, Mad, Mattole and Smith will re-open on Saturday, May 27th. On most rivers, only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. For a complete list of river openings and regulations visit wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Inland/2017-Regulations.

Find "Fishing the North Coast" on Facebook and fishingthenorthcoast.com for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information. Questions, comments and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com.