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Razor clams -- A North Coast tradition

Fishing the North Coast Kenny Priest
6/8/11 -- Digging razor clams has been a deep-rooted tradition on the North Coast for generations. Not only are they delicious, it is a true family sport that can be enjoyed by the young and old alike. All that’s required is a clam shovel or clam tube, a sack to hold your clams, and a fishing license. Living in Humboldt County, we are extremely fortunate to have two of the best beaches in all of California, Clam Beach and South Beach in Crescent City.

My first experience at clam digging was a couple years ago on South Beach in Crescent City. I didn’t have a real good idea of what I was doing and only dug a couple clams. That day left a sour taste in my mouth and I wanted to give it another shot to see if I had what it takes. When John Corbett of Eureka’s Pacific Outfitters invited me to go with him to Clam Beach last Thursday, I jumped at the chance. We arrived at the beach at 6 a.m., about a half hour before low tide, and changed into our boots and waders and made the hike to the water. After reading and writing about all the fantastic clamming we’ve had this year, I envisioned a beach that would be elbow to elbow. But that wasn’t the case. On this day, there were maybe 100 other diggers spread from Strawberry Creek north to Little River. There was plenty of room for everyone to spread out, which was not the case on my first trip out of Crescent City. Once we waded out to one of John’s favorite sandbars, he gave me a quick refresher course on what to look for, and then it was off to the races.

John Corbett shows off a couple nice razor clams he dug last Thursday at Clam Beach. This has been one of the better years in recent memory for digging razor clams. The next set of fishable minus tides begins June 14th. Photo by the author.

Just about every fifth tap produced hole or dimple in the sand, which is an indicator that a clam has withdrawn its neck and started to dig. Within 30 minutes, we each had our limit of 20 clams. It’s truly a great day when you can dig and clean 20 clams and still be on time to work.

Clam digging made simple
While tapping the handle end of your shovel, look for a “clam show” where a clam has withdrawn its neck or started to dig, leaving a hole or dimple in the sand. There are three major kinds of “shows” to look for:

1. Dimple: a depression in the sand

2. Doughnut: depression with raised sides

3. Keyhole: this is usually in drier sand areas and is shaped like an “hour-glass” or is a hole with very distinct sides.

It’s best to look for the larger sized holes, which are about the size of a quarter. This sometimes indicates the clam will be larger, but not always. Clams will also show at the edge of the surf line when you pound the beach with a shovel handle or your feet. You’ll need to dig fast when digging in the surf as razor clams dig faster in the soft, wet sand.

Clams and Redtails
John Corbett reports the clamming continues to be red hot at Clam Beach. “If you haven’t made it out yet, I highly recommend you take advantage of the excellent clamming we’ve had this year,” Corbett said. The next round of fishable minus tides will begin June 14th. Corbett also reports that last weeks calm ocean allowed the redtail perch anglers to hit their favorite beaches, and the bite was on. “One of the top spots was the mouth of the Eel, where I heard the fishing was excellent and the size of the perch has improved dramatically, with lots of jumbos caught,” Corbett added.

Wind keeping boats home, weekend looks better
Marine forecast: The old north wind has been blowing since Tuesday, but the weekend ocean forecast is starting to look better. On Saturday, the wind will be coming out of the north to 14 knots with a mixed swell to NW to 6 feet and W 1 foot. Wind waves will be 1 to 3 feet. Sunday’s forecast is calling for wind out of the NNW to 9 knots with a mixed swell NW to 4 feet and WSW 1 foot. Wind waves will be around 1 foot. These conditions can and will change by the weekend. For up-to-date weather forecast, visit www.weather.gov/eureka/. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.

The Oceans: Eureka
In talking with the local skippers, they all agree that the warm water temperatures off the coast, which came with last week’s southerly winds, has moved the salmon out of the area. Whether they went deep or in close is anybody’s guess at this point, but they definitely aren’t out front in any big numbers. The north wind that’s currently blowing should push back in some cooler water with hopes the salmon will be with it. Current temperatures off Eureka are reading right around 56 degrees, which is four to five degrees higher than what the salmon prefer. 

Skipper Phil Glenn of Celtic Charter Service temporarily put away the salmon gear after tough days on Thursday and Friday. Saturday he made the run south to the Cape and found a bunch of hungry rockfish, putting five limits in the box. Sunday and Monday he switched over to Halibut and put fish on board each day. Monday was his best day with two keepers to 54 lbs.

Captain Tim Klassen on the Reel Steel spent last weekend fishing south and reports a very hot rockfish bite. Friday he put limits of quality-grade rockfish in the cooler, and he was back down there Saturday with the same results — and as a bonus, he was able to stick one nice halibut and 5 lings along with limits of rockfish.

Captain Gary Blasi on the Seaweasel also reports a tough salmon bite late last week. After taking the weekend off, he decided to go for halibut on Monday and that turned out to be a wise decision. He put three nice keepers to 61 lbs in the box, all coming straight out in 300 feet of water while drifting herring. “I think the halibut bite is starting to turn on a little bit and with the north wind blowing, I think we’ll be getting back to normal conditions this weekend,” Blasi added.

Shelter Cove
According to Russ Thomas of Mario’s Marina in Shelter Cove, they had a spectacular weekend of fishing down at the Cove. On Saturday, only six boats made went out for salmon and collectively they landed 20. The word must have spread — over 30 boats launched on Sunday and the unofficial count was over 100 salmon brought back to the cleaning tables. “It was the best weekend we’ve had a in quite awhile. Not only was there a hot salmon bite, quite a few quality halibut were caught and there were lots of limits of rockfish brought in,” Thomas added. The salmon action was equally as good on Monday and Tuesday, though the amount of boats dwindled since the weekend. The weather has been nice in the morning, and according to Thomas, we’re in the pattern where the ocean is nice in the morning and the wind picks up in the afternoon. Thomas also adds the redtail perch bite was wide-open over the weekend, with everyone landing fish.

Crescent City
Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine reports the rockfish action continues to be very good, with the Big Reef being the top spot. With this weeks rough water, a lot of the guys have been fishing right out in front at the Can and doing well. A few halibut have also been caught, including an 80-pounder at the Big Reef last weekend. The salmon effort continues to be minimal, but there was quite a few fish seen jumping out southwest in 60 fathoms,” Hegnes said.

The Rivers: Lower Klamath
Guide Mike Coopman reports most boats are averaging four to five hookups per trip, with a little better action coming earlier in the week. “There’s been a good early morning and evening bite, but the afternoons have been slow. Most fish landed are in the 12-14 pound range, with the occasional fish to 25 pounds. There continues to be quite a bit of boat pressure, even during the week. The river is still on the big side and rising slightly, but overall it’s in prime shape,” Coopman added.

Questions, comments, tips, and photos can be emailed to kenny@fishingthenorthcoast.com


Fishing Reports

Sac. River salmon bite ebbs; Rogue flows
Guide Randy Nelson holding one of the recent Rogue River Spring king salmon caught on the upper Rogue River below Shady Cove, Oregon. Photo courtesy of Randy Nelson
In-River Fishing News by Dave Jacobs
07/25/14 -- There have been some real highs and real lows here in Northern California and Southern Oregon this past week, from the epic salmon bite out of Fort Bragg last weekend to the slow salmon fishing...Full Story
Eureka the place to be for saltwater action
The Appy family from McKinleyville recently enjoyed a great day of salmon fishing out of Eureka. The two young anglers, Taylor, age 9, (pictured left) and Harper age 6 landed their first-ever salmon. Pictured right is proud dad Marcus Appy. Photo courtesy of Marcus Appy
Fishing the North Coast by Kenny Priest 
07/24/14 -- If variety is truly the spice of life, then life is pretty good right now for saltwater anglers fishing out of Eureka. Not only did the salmon go back on the bite, but calm ocean conditions have given anglers the opportunity...Full Story
NOAA/CA DFW salmonid recovery plans 07/23/14 -- NOAA Fisheries and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today jointly released two plans to restore populations of salmon and steelhead in California’s Central Valley: NOAA Fisheries’ Chinook...Full Story
How much is a caught salmon worth? 07/22/14 -- Each salmon caught in-river in 2013 had an economic impact of approximately $1,176 for California in terms of jobs, sales, gross regional product, and ripple effects to the economy, according to a recent report... Full Story
Pacific halibut season closes in August
CDFW, woman fisherman holding up large Pacific Halibut
07/22/14 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) wants to remind anglers that recreational fishing for Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenolepis) is closed for the month of August. The season will reopen...Full Story
Eureka/Trinidad: Summer fishing roundup
Trinidad Harbor, Tom Marking, Eureka-Trinidad Summer Fishing roundup
By Tom Marking
07/20/14 -- The fishing has been good lately in all the coastal areas. Wind has been a problem with a high pressure ridge offshore causing some lump and large swell, but that is now coming down. Smaller boats struggle...Full Story
Eagle Lake Fishing Report By Val Aubrey
07/19/14 -- The surface temps have been 72-74F over the depths of the south basin this week. The west side is slightly cooler (by about one degree) according to my depth finder. Ambient temps predicted to be in the mid to high 80’s... Full Story
Lewiston Lake: 'Fab' Fishing; Derby is 7/26
Scout Troop 324 San Jose, Lewiston Lake
By Frank Galusha
07/19/14 – Fishing at Lewiston Lake is absolutely fabulous and that exact same accolade came from two very reliable sources today: Roberta Dixon at Lakeview Terrace Resort and Louise Bigham at Pine Cove Marina...Full Story
Collins Lake trout & catfish easy pickin's
5 boys holding fish caught at Collins Lake, Kathy Hess
By Kathy Hess, Lake Reporter
07/19/14 -- Summer trout catches have been at a peak this year, the weather
hasn't changed, it's still hot but the trout don't seem to care as most of
the catches this week were from shore... Full Story
Sacramento River Opener: 1 boat; 12 salmon
Vaughn Yost from Reno, Nevada with one of his two salmon.  Photo courtesy of Dave Jacobs Professional Guide Service
In-River Fishing News by Dave Jacobs
07/18/14 -- Sacramento River: Well the Sacramento River salmon fishing opener came and went with a bang in some spots on the river and it came and went quietly in others. As the eager anglers hit the river on Wednesday's...Full Story
Shasta & Trinity Lakes: Improve facilities!
Shasta lake Full Pool
By Gary Heffley
07/16/14 -- News Flash…We are in a drought and according to many reliable sources it is one of the worst in decades. Lake levels are dropping and yet there is plenty of water to accommodate all kinds of watersport as well as fishing...Full Story
Whiskeytown Lake kokanee ‘ko-operate’
Whiskeytown Lake Kokanee Fishing, Frank Galusha
By Frank Galusha
07/14/14 -- I didn’t get up this morning to go “writing” or even to sit at my editor’s desk at MyOutdoorBuddy. I got up at 3 a.m. to go fishing for kokanee salmon at Whiskeytown Lake with fellow MyOutdoorBuddy reporter, Mike Mogler...Full Story
Trinity/Klamath Rivers are simply too hot! By E.B. Duggan, “D” Fishing Guide
I have been getting lots of requests about “How is the fishing? and “Where should I go?” All I can say is that the weather has been hot and the rivers are hotter. I don’t know where the weatherman is getting his information from...Full Story
Lake Oroville still giving up bass
Ron Gandolfi with smallmouth bass taken from Lake Orville. Photo courtesy of Ron Gandolfi,
By Chuck Giles
07/13/14 -- Bass guide Ron Gandolfi reports the bass fishing on Lake Oroville remains steady. He does warn, however, that the Lime Saddle Ramp will only be useable for another eight to ten days. From that time on...Full Story
Philbrook Lake for rainbows By Chuck Giles
07/13/14 -- Philbrook Lake is still the go-to destination for trout in the Chico, Paradise area. Customers coming into Fins, Fur and Feather Sports (FFF) are reporting some grand fishing at this fairly high mountain... Full Story
Hook a white shark? Cut the line! By Frank Galusha
07/11/14 -- Be careful what your GoPro® camera or smartphone catches. Be aware as well that others may be looking over your shoulder, recording what you are doing and saying and then posting it on Facebook or other social media...Full Story
NOAA: El Niño weakens in Pacific By Frank Galusha
07/10/14 -- Chances of an El Niño occurring this summer are now down to about 70 percent according to NOAA scientists. Scientists scaled back predictions yesterday throwing water on hopes the developing El Niño...Full Story
ODFW adds 24K trout to Diamond Lake 07/09/14 -- Nearly 24,000 legal and trophy-sized rainbow trout are headed to Diamond Lake starting this week to boost fishing at one of Oregon’s most popular lakes. “With the hot weather in Roseburg and Medford, this is a great...Full Story
Huge school of 'chovies' puzzle scientists
By Frank Galusha
07/09/14 -- Scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC, San Diego in La Jolla were amazed and puzzled by the massive school of anchovies that appeared off the beach there late yesterday. From a distance, the tiny bait...Full Story
Statewide free fishing days By Gary Heffley
07/03/14 -- The CADFW selected July 5 and September 6 as California Free Fishing Days. There will be “No License” required to fish within the state of California or offshore where California fishing licenses apply...Full Story
13th FPT Snag Proof is August 2nd & 3rd By Vince Harris
07/01/14 -- Are you ready for some top water frog action? You guessed it!… that time of year is right around the corner as August 2nd and 3rd marks the date for the Snag Proof Open, a 13th annual top water spectacular... Full Story
Old Reliable
Dare Devil lure
By Gary Heffley
06/25/14 -- I had the pleasure to visit the Alturas area this last weekend as a participant in the Modoc Outdoor Expo and with the convenient hours of the show I was also able to do some exploring of the region. My past visits had...Full Story
The Test
John Higley holding trout caught at Lake Eiler, photo by Sharon Higley
By John Higley
06/23/14 -- If you asked me how many times I’ve hiked into the Thousand Lakes Wilderness Area, which lies north of Lassen Volcanic National Park in the Lassen National Forest, I honestly couldn’t tell... Full Story
Future of Colusa Boat Ramp at stake 06/13/14 -- California State Parks is planning the future of the Colusa-Sacramento River State Recreation Area and the public is invited to a public workshop at the City of Colusa’s Boy Scout Cabin, 901 Parkhill Street, from 6 to... Full Story
Pacific Halibut season closes in August 06/10/14 -- As expected and pursuant to the requirements of Government Code section 11346.1(a)(1), the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) is providing notice of proposed emergency regulatory action... Full Story
Kokanee and Crawdads
fixings for crawdad boil; potatoes, onions, crawdads. corn spread out on newspaper
Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
06/08/14 -- Kokanee, vegetarian land-locked Sockeye salmon. Every spring, while waiting for the high elevation destinations to become accessible, I enjoy catching these hot-tempered silver bullets. Kokanee fishing is highly... Full Story
The Myths and Realities of El Niño
Ocean Nino Index - ONI
By Jan Null, Certified Consulting Meteorologist
06/01/14 -- [Posted with permission of the author and Golden Gate Weather Services] The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) continues their El Niño Watch for the possible return of El Niño later this summer or fall...Full Story
CA free fishing days are Jul. 5 and Sept. 6 05/28/14 -- Have you ever felt the excitement of watching your bobber suddenly jiggle, then dive out of sight? Or feeling the tap-tap-tap of a bass as it tastes the worm on the end of your line? Or having a salmon practically tear... Full Story
Crossing the Bar at Humboldt Bay
Furuno Chart Plotter, Humboldt Bay Bar, tides and current chart, Tom Marking
By Tom Marking
05/22/14 -- The Humboldt Bay Bar is the stuff of legends. There are harrowing tales of mariners having to cross the Bar at night or during storm conditions, leading to loss of life, with many a ship foundering and capsizing... Full Story
I’m your life jacket, but you don’t know me
Life jackets stored below cushion boat seat, BoatUS, Photo is courtesy of BoatUS
04/30/14 --  I’m your life jacket, but you don’t know me. I’m here to help you, maybe even safe your life – but only if you’re willing to take the help. Maybe National Safe Boating Week (May 17 – 23) will help remind everyone... Full Story
Saving Yelloweyes
Yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus). Photo by Retired Fish and Game Warden Larry Bruckenstein
By Steven T. Callan
04/24/14 -- Imagine you’re fishing somewhere off the California coast and you hook into a big one. You finally hoist the monster to the deck and discover it’s nearly three feet long, brilliant red-orange in color, with bright yellow... Full Story
Video: Why boaters don’t like ethanol
NOn Ethanol sold here for boats  sign posted along the street
By Frank Galusha
04/04/14 -- Fishing buddies, take my word for it, don’t burn ethanol-laden fuel in your outboard engines if you don’t want to ruin them or even place yourself in danger if your engine fails to run properly especially...Full Story
Cormorant hazing to protect young fish
eight double-crested cormorant waterbirds standing on a branch in the middle of a body of water
03/27/14 -- Hazing of double-crested cormorants is set to begin soon in several areas along the Oregon coast in an attempt to improve survival of juvenile salmon and steelhead as they migrate from inland waters to... Full Story
North Coast Spring Groundfish Report
Pacific halibut and Chinook salmon, Tom Marking and spouse
By Tom Marking, GAP and CA Sports Representative
03/22/14 -- The 2014 fishing season is upon us and shore anglers and divers are already busy searching for fish when the weather and waves allow. Spring can be very productive for shore anglers for rockfish, cabezon...Full Story
Humboldt Bay: Busy port, excellent fishery
Woodley Island Marina, Humboldt Bay, Eureka, California
03/06/04 -- Humboldt Bay, a busy commercial harbor and home port to many charter and private offshore fishing boats, is also popular with shore-based anglers and small boaters seeking bottomfish, sharks, crabs and clams...Full Story
First Light
Boats in the harbor alight at night with a soft wake from a departing boat
Article by Matt Goldsworthy
03/04/14 -- Reprinted with permission of HASA (Humboldt Area Saltwater Anglers) – Light is one of the most important factors to consider when fishing deep water. Over the years while fishing for Pacific halibut, we have always... Full Story
Pulled into the pipes: Green Sturgeon
green sturgeon
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
03/04/14 -- [Posted with permission of FISHBIO] Living in the Sacramento River can be a risky business for juvenile green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris). The young fish must swim through a gauntlet of water... Full Story
Kids Fishing Days coming to North State
03/02/14 -- Monty Currier, Environmental Scientist with the CA DFW in Redding, is prepared to have Grace and perhaps Nora Lakes in Shingletown as well as Kilarc Reservoir above Whitmore well stocked for... Full Story
Kokanee Power 2014 Event Schedule By Gary Heffley
02/15/14 -- Kokanee Power, a great organization involved with education, research, support and promotion of the fantastic Kokanee and Inland Chinook fisheries in the state has posted their 2014 calendar of tournaments and... Full Story
Not Just Any Fish
California Golden Trout, California Heritage Trout Challenge, Not Just Any Fish, Phil
By Phil "Flip" Akers
02/14/13 -- Trout have inhabited California waters from the Sierra Nevada and Warner Mountains to the Pacific Ocean since prehistoric times. However, most of the trout caught by anglers are either hatchery raised fish...Full Story
Mt. Shasta Kid’s Fishing Days start June 7 By Gary Heffley
02/05/14—The days are set for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife 2014 Kid’s Fishing Day at Mt. Shasta Fish Hatchery. This free annual event is one of my personal favorites and one that I make every effort...Full Story
Fishing with Phideaux
By Phil “Flip” Akers
01/26/14 -- Meet Phideaux, a 110-pound neurotic chocolate Lab. His name is pronounced “Fido” but it is spelled “Phideaux” because he is a Cajun dog. Anyway, last summer Phideaux took his human (that’s me) on a trout hunt up into...Full Story
Oregon’s Lost Creek Lake is open all winter
By Cindy Broadwater
01/11/14 – Many outdoor enthusiasts may not be aware that Lost Creek Lake, Marina & Café near Trail, Oregon is open year ‘round. Not only is it the best bet for winter fishing and boating, but it may be the only game in town at times...Full Story
Sturgeon tagging requirements changed
DFW photo Harry Morse
01/01/14 -- California sturgeon anglers will see a small change to sturgeon tags issued beginning today. Sturgeon anglers have been required to tag all retained legal sized sturgeon for many years. In the past, the date, location and length... Full Story
Bechhold Bait Holder is fish-catching marvel
Larry Ellis, 37-lb Chetco King taken with Bechhold Rotary Bullet Bait Holder
By Larry Ellis
12/23/13 -- Hello, my name is Larry Ellis, and I have enjoyed the life of being a writer/photographer for numerous outdoors magazines for over a decade. I am truly living the dream. I began writing for Oregon Fishing & Hunting News...Full Story
A primer on fishing Lake Shasta By Gary Heffley
01/01/12 -- Shasta Lake draws more visitors to Shasta County than any other single attraction. While it is often a challenge to fish, it is more likely to produce stringers of fat trout or spotted bass. Trout to four and five pounds are caught here routinely...Full Story
Lake Oroville; 'tis the season By Chuck Giles
01/11/12 – Lake Oroville is probably one of the best lakes for sheer numbers of Spotted Bass in Northern California. This is not just on a seasonal basis, but year round. To start, I have a list of baits that produce decent results... Full Story

 

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