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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Just about every fifth tap produced hole or dimple in the sand, which is an indicator that a clam has withdrawn its neck and started to dig.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While tapping the handle end of your shovel, look for a “clam show” where a clam has withdrawn its neck or started to dig, leaving a hole or dimple in the sand.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

Fish kill cause: Drainage canals near Davis
Fish kill, dead salmon, Yolo Bypass, drainage canals, Davis, GGSA
12/22/14 -- Over 60 adult salmon were found dead recently in a drainage canal in the Yolo Bypass. The dead salmon, weighing between 5 and 30 pounds, were scattered along the banks and in the water. The cause of death was not...Full Story
Happy New Year coming for steelheaders
Pictured is Bob Baker from Reno, Nevada with a 21 pound Smith River steelhead, photo by Dave Jacobs
In-River Fishing News by Dave Jacobs
12/22/13 -- I have been asked many times what my favorite fish is to fish for, and every time my answer is the same. " I really don't have a favorite, they are all very different." Just when you are getting used to fishing for a run of fish another is...Full Story
Collins Lake up 20 feet as of Dec. 20
A 26 -1/2 lb. Catfish was found
Article and photos by Kathy Hess, Lake Reporter
12/22/14 -- It's raining and our lake is on the rise!! We're up over 20 feet as of 12/20, a great ending to 2014, and an even better beginning of 2015! Although the water is muddy by the bridge where the main runoff is, down by the...Full Story
Down time has its perks too!
Photo courtesy of Anthony Cox of AC Guide Service
By Jeff Goodwin
12/21/14 -- Wow! The wet weather patterns just keep coming, and my little corner of the world hasn't seen much in the way of angling opportunities at all. All is not lost because these periods of poor fishing conditions give...Full Story
Eastern Sierra lakes get holiday plant
Photo courtesy of CA DFW , snow capped mountains surrounding large peaceful fishing lake, with fishermen in small boat and along the boulder lined shore
12/21/14 -- Anglers in the Eastern Sierras will get an early holiday gift this year, an extra 60,000 fish to try and catch from Diaz Lake, Pleasant Valley Reservoir, Owens River (all sections), West Walker River and Topaz Lake...Full Story
Smaller trout to be planted in 2015
 There will be larger broodstock trout planted, but the majority of trout will be 8 to 10 inches rather than 12-inch fish. Photo courtesy of NorCalFishingNews.com
By Tim Goode, NorCal Fishing News
12/20/14 -- Get that two-pound test line loaded on to your reel, the Department of Fish & Wildlife next year will be planting ¼-pound trout rather than 1/2-pounders. The DFW will raise and plant 1.6 million pounds of trout...Full Story
Lake Oroville up 45; fishing still good
The author with his family, wife Jean, Emily the cat and Mya the dog. Photo courtesy of Oroville Lake Bass Guide Service
By Ron Gandolfi, Oroville Lake Bass Guide
12/20/14 -- It looks like a lot of our wishes are coming true. Lake Oroville has now risen over 45 feet since Thanksgiving and is now just 14 feet below the ramp at Lime Saddle to open. The ramp on the dam is now closed... Full Story
Steelhead are coming ­-- get your gear ready
 Rich Hutcherson of Harbor caught this 14-pound chrome-bright steelhead while plunking a cop car-colored Hot Shot on the Chetco River on Tuesday. Photo by author
On the Water in Oregon by Larry Ellis
12/19/14 -- Last week, with a palette of a coke-bottle green river water painted against a grassy canvas of milky-green hues, the Chetco, with its picture-perfect plunking water beckoned throngs of anglers to cast...Full Story
BDCP Delta Tunnels: Fatal flaws remain
Sacramento River Delta, Restore the Delta, RTD
12/19/14 -- Restore the Delta (RTD), opponents of Gov. Brown’s rush to build Peripheral Tunnels said today the Bay Delta Conservation Plan would still take water from above the Delta, violate the Clean Water Act and doom salmon...Full Story
Steelhead no show on the Smith, Chetco
Kenny Priest author badge for myoutdoorbuddy.com
Fishing the North Coast by Kenny Priest
12/18/14 -- Go figure. We’re in the middle of the wettest December we’ve had in three years and the steelhead on the Smith and Chetco Rivers have decided to play a little hide-n-seek. Granted, there hasn’t been a ton of fishing effort... Full Story
Learn to ice fish at Lake of the Woods
Participant’s in the 2013 ice fishing workshop get some pointers on different lures and how to rig them up. ODFW photo
12/17/14 -- The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will show anglers how to make the best of snowy, icy conditions at a Jan. 24, 2015 Family Ice Fishing Workshop on Lake of the Woods near Klamath Falls. According to Mark Newell...Full Story
Trinity and Smith Rivers take center stage
John Pearl with a North Coast steelhead, Dave Jacobs
In-River Fishing News by Dave Jacobs
12/17/14 -- There are a few river fishing options for you to choose from here in the North State with the Trinity and Smith Rivers taking center stage. If you find yourself looking for some fishable water definitely give these two rivers...Full Story
Invasive Loach on the Loose in CV
Invasive 'Loach', photo by USFWS
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO 
12/16/14 -- While invasive species are now commonplace in California, each new introduction of a non-native species can pose unknown threats to an already fragile ecosystem. Wildlife officials are now on alert... Full Story
'Get paid to fish' derby returns to Topaz
Topaz Lodge 2015 Trout Fishing Derby
By Mike Mogler
12/13/14 -- Dave Rossman, manager of Topaz Lake Store, reports the annual “get paid for fishing derby” starts as usual on January 1, 2015, New Year's Day, and will end on April 12, 2015 with a fantastic drawing... Full Story
Yes Virgina, fish bite in the rain
Mark Gasich of Harbor holds a 22-inch rainbow trout that weighed precisely 3-pounds 10 ounces, caught on a tube jig/PowerBait trout worm combo., Photo by Larry Ellis
On the Water in Oregon with Larris Ellis
12/13/14 -- With all of these windy and rainy conditions, it would highly behoove fishermen to take advantage of some of the great trout fishing that local-area lakes have to offer. For instance, in November I spoke about fishing...Full Story
Sacramento River next option: Sturgeon
John Rinaldi of Mountain View with a Sacramento River white sturgeon. Photo courtesy of Dave Jacobs Professional Guide Service
In-River Fishing News by Dave Jacobs
12/11/14 -- One of the strongest storms in many years is bearing down on Northern California at the time of this report. With the strong winds and heavy soaking rains, many rivers and lakes are going to be unfishable for a... Full Story
Fishing/hunting licenses make great gifts
2014 Western Oregon elk raffle tag winner.  ODFW photo.
12/10/14 -- Hunting and fishing licenses and tags, parking permits, 2014 Habitat Conservation stamps and more are on sale just in time for holiday gift giving. They are on sale on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wild... Full Story
River restoration highlights on video
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
12/08/14 -- Sometimes river habitats need a helping hand to alleviate critical bottlenecks that reduce fish survival and limit the size of fish populations. Well-designed habitat restoration projects that draw on research to address the needs... Full Story
San Diego Jam Knot: My Fishing Buddy!
By Frank Galusha
12/04/14 -- It’s frustrating when the fish are biting furiously, time is short and you are in a hurry to tie a hook, swivel or lure to monofilament. I found this to be particularly true when I was fishing on a party boat for albacore. It was not...Full Story
Hyacinth Woes: From a gift to a curse
Invasive weed, Hyacinth, photo courtesy of FISHBIO
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
12/01/14 -- In 1884, the visiting Japanese delegation to the World's Fair in New Orleans handed out a seemingly innocuous gift to fair attendees. This gift, a beautiful flowering aquatic plant native to South America, was brought... Full Story
All Fired Up
Wild trout, photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
11/30/14 -- August 17, 2013 the Rim Fire was sparked by a thoughtful bow-hunter using an illegal campfire, which got out of hand, and eventually grew to 257,314 acres, the largest wildfire in the recorded history of the Sierra Nevada...Full Story
Comparing PC’s Commercial Fisheries
Salmon fising boats, photo by FISHBIO
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
11/24/14 -- Earlier this year, we reported on the economic contribution of California's salmon fishery in a two-part Fish Report (Putting A Price Tag On Nature, Part 1 and Part 2). Our findings came as a surprise to many of our readers... Full Story
Steelhead at Thermalito Afterbay
Theremolito Afterbay, Bobby Larson, FFF Sporting Goods, Paradise
By Chuck Giles
11/22/14 – I received several reports this week at Fins, Fur and Feather Sports (FFF) of landlocked steelhead being caught on the Wilbur Road section of the Thermalito Afterbay. Shore anglers were drifting nightcrawlers...Full Story
DeSabla Reservoir a viable option By Chuck Giles
11/22/14 – Prior to this welcome rain, several patrons at Fins, Fur and Feather Sports (FFF) in Paradise reported that DeSabla Reservoir was kicking out some brown trout. Right now, with Lake Oroville virtually inaccessible... Full Story
Bottomfish anglers get knuckles rapped
pacific Halibut
Tom Marking GAP Sport Representative
11/20/14 -- We North Coast rockfish anglers are a victim of our own success! 2014 has been an eventful year for many reasons, but there are definitely winners and losers on the horizon. In a nutshell, halibut is a win/lose... Full Story
Ocean primed for more El Niño, experts say
Dr. Jess Carilli samples a Porites coral in Kiribati. Photo by Jess Carilli
11/20/14 -- The ocean is warming steadily and setting up the conditions for stronger El Niño weather events, a new study has shown, according to an article posted at Science Daily. A team of US, Australian, and Canadian researchers... Full Story
Trout still on tap
Mt. Shasta taken from Wagon Creek Arm of Lake Siskiyou. Photo by Scott Caldwell
By Gary Heffley
11/18/14 -- Just because the general trout season for rivers and streams closed a few days ago, it does not mean the North State trout angling is done. To the contrary some of the best fishing of the year is still on tap... Full Story
One thousand bass on Lake Oroville
Howard with one of 1000+ bass taken at Lake Oroville.
By Chuck Giles
11/17/14 – “It was just something to do so I could say I did it.” This is how my friend, Howard, summarized reaching his goal of catching 1,000 bass this year at Lake Oroville. He is not a guide, not a fanatic nor a...Full Story
Another broken fishing rod
Fishing with a broken fishing rod, photo by Sharon Waranius
By Gary Heffley
11/17/14 -- I don’t understand the propensity for the volume of “broken” fishing rods being returned to retailers these days. This issue has become a very popular topic of discussion within the industry, including a great piece in a... Full Story
Congressional action threatens CV fishery By Frank Galusha
11/12/14 -- There has never been a time when our fish have been more threatened than now, according to Water4Fish, organized several years ago to oppose Central Valley water policies that damage the highly valuable Bay...Full Story
The Mystery of the Middle Fork, Part IV
Jim Broshears, author badge, myoutdoorbuddy.com
By Jim Broshears
11/10/14 -- This trip was to be the final chapter in the saga that began three years ago but is actually over 20 years in the making. As Bruce, Tuck and I journeyed back to the Middle Fork of the Feather River we made...Full Story
Fish and Fukushima
Erin Loury, FISHBIO, radiation counts on Tuna fish
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
10/27/14 -- The largest-ever discharge of radionuclides into the ocean from Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor meltdown in 2011 prompted many health concerns. However, as we described in our previous...Full Story
What is a weir? When were they first used?
Willow Creek Weir, October, 2008, Frank Galusha
10/25/14 -- Did you know fishing weirs in several locations are used to capture and monitor adult salmon runs as they migrate upriver in the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. Placed across all or part of a river, weirs direct upstream swimming...Full Story
Swimming in a radioactive sea
Photo courtesy of FISHBIO, radiated seas, Erin Laury
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
10/21/14 -- More than three and a half years have passed since a tsunami severely damaged Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors in March 2011, but some concern and confusion still persist... Full Story
Best bets for Southern Oregon fishing
Man holding fish, Upper Rogue , Jason Halep
By Jason Haley
10/16/14 -- After a long, dry summer, drought has taken its toll on Southern Oregon fishing destinations. Popular spots like Hyatt Lake, Howard Prairie and Emigrant are essentially puddles. I exaggerate, of course,...Full Story
Climbing Terms for the Fisherman
Trailhead Tales by Jim Broshears
10/14/14 -- For those of us who prefer to fish the rugged and remote streams and rivers for the elusive wild trout, rock climbing is a skill that is required to reach the special places where catching the big one is a “sure thing.” The skills...Full Story
German brown trout afternoon in Modoc
german brown trout in Modoc creek. MyOutdoorBuddy.com
By Lea Huetteman
09/04/14 -- Catching a German Brown Trout from the creeks in Modoc County is a fine way to spend an afternoon. There are many creeks in this part of California that drain the Warner Mountains. Stream trout fishing in this region opens...Full Story
Throw the kitchen sink at them
Indian Paintbrush is a favorite wildflower that carpets wilderness landscapes. Phil Flip Akers, myoutdoorbuddy.com
Article and photos by Phil Akers
08/20/14 -- Our wilderness areas are special, where Mother Nature is landlord and natural forces operate freely. Within the wilderness you will find no roads, shelters, picnic tables, toilets, or other conveniences. You enter at...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
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
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
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
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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