Fishing the North Coast: Coastal salmon season off to good start
For the Times-Standard
April 11, 2012
Rogue springer bite improving
If the Bay Area’s opening weekend of ocean recreational salmon season is any indication, the eye-popping numbers of salmon predicted to be swimming in the ocean could be right on target. Sport and charter boats alike were able to find schools of salmon from Shelter Cove down to Monterey Bay last weekend. The numbers confirmed the salmon stocks have rebounded, just as the federal and state biologist predicted. According to reports, the fishing out of Shelter Cove wasn’t red-hot, but quite a few fish were caught. Russ Thomas of Mario’s Marina in Shelter Cove reports just about every boat came back with fish, with most running seven to 12 pounds. “I did see a couple over 20-pounds weighed in on Saturday, so that’s a pretty good sign. Since Saturday, we’ve been launching four to five boats per day with the average scores roughly a fish per rod,” Thomas added. “Once the weather gets a little better and there’s more boats on the water, the scores should improve.”
Just to clarify, the ocean-salmon-recreational season is currently open from Horse Mountain (Shelter Cove) south to the U.S.-Mexico border. The area from Humbug Mountain, Oregon to Horse Mountain, California, which includes Eureka, Crescent City and Brookings will open on May 1. For more information, visit www.pcouncil.org/2012/04/20323/council-adopts-generous-salmon-seasons-coastwide.
After a few nasty days of rain and wind, sunny skies are forecasted for the weekend. If you’re looking to fish the beaches or jetties, swells are predicted at eight feet on Saturday and four to five on Sunday. If you’re heading to Shelter Cove, it looks like the ocean could be a little bumpy. As of Wednesday, Saturday is calling for swells to seven feet with one to three-foot wind waves. Sunday looks better, with four-foot swells and one-foot wind waves. For up-to-date coastal ocean conditions, visit www.wrh.noaa.gov/eka.
This year’s first real good set of minus tides brought out quite a few clam diggers over the weekend, and according to John Corbett of Eureka’s Pacific Outfitters, the reports were excellent. “The clams were nice and big and if you found a good bar where they were showing, it didn’t take long to get limits. With the south side of Strawberry Creek open this year, the best way to get to the beach is from the overlook or the main parking lot at Clam Beach,” Corbett said. “Either way, expect a pretty good hike,” The next round of fishable tides begin April 20.
According to Corbett, Saturday’s calm ocean provided some excellent Redtail Perch action off the local beaches. “The perch are definitely out there. When the weather permits, you should be able to catch them off any of the beaches,” Corbett added. “There’s some real jumbos out there too, it looks like it’s going to be a good year.”
Surfperch tourney coming in April
A reminder that the Samoa Peninsula Fire District will be hosting their 3rd Annual Perch’n on the Peninsula Surfperch Fishing Tournament and BBQ fundraiser on April 21. Entry donation for the tournament is $20 and you must register before going fishing. If you pre-register you will not be required to check in at the elementary school prior to going fishing on tournament day. Pre-registration is available at Mad River Tackle, Pacific Outfitters, Englund Marine, Grundman’s Sporting Goods or by contacting Charlie at (707) 499-7088. Tournament day registration will be available at the elementary school in Samoa beginning at 6 a.m.
Eel River Symposium on Saturday
Friends of the Eel River will be hosting an Eel River Symposium on Saturday April 14 at the River Lodge in Fortuna from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. A catered lunch will be provided for those who pre-registered. The keynote speaker will be Brock Dolman from the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center. There will be presentations on Eel River Geology, Hydrology, Ecology and Conservation Biology; Stream-breeding Frog Populations in the Eel River; Salmon and Lamprey Eel; Dam Decommissioning Case Studies; Law of the Eel River. For more information, visit http://eelriver.org.
The Smith dropped back into shape over the weekend and according to Crescent City guide Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service, there’s still plenty of fish around. “On Tuesday, our group landed six of the ten we hooked and probably missed a handful of bites. Wednesday was just as good as we hooked eight. The river is in beautiful shape – as good as it gets – and the fishing pressure is zero. We drifted from the forks down to Ruby and found fish just about everywhere,” Coopman added. Quite a bit of rain is in the forecast for Wednesday night and into Thursday, which is predicted to push the Smith to just under 12 feet by Friday morning.
Conditions on the Lower Rogue will continue to improve this week as the water drops and starts to warm up. Steve Huber of Steve Huber’s Guide Service reports scores for spring salmon are ranging from zero to three fish per trip. “With the water dropping and warming, the fishing should only get better. The water temperature was roughly 47 degrees early in the week and as it gets warmer and matches the ocean temps, that should trigger the fish to move into the river. Once the water drops a little, it will open up some more spots for the boats so everyone can spread out a little more,” Huber said. “The bankies have also done well recently, with Spin N Glo’s and Brads Cut Plugs being the top producers.”
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