Humboldt’s Friday Fishing Report 3/24/2017
What a year for high precipitation and high river flow. Although this is not preferred by the angler, water will be abundant for the next generation of salmonids that are at record low numbers, partly due to poor water conditions. Fishing conditions have been most favorable for the Chetco and Smith. The upper Trinity River has also provided more opportunities for fishing due to river conditions. Most rivers will be closed for Steelhead fishing in April except the Smith will remain open through April and Mainstem Eel River until notified (See Regulations). Rivers are expected to rise on Saturday and descend on Sunday.
Ocean fishing is coming near! There have been some good reports of Surfperch. Rockfish season is opening May 1 and Pacific Halibut is expected to open around May 1 also. Recreational Ocean Salmon Regulations for OR/CA Border to Horse Mountain (Shelter Cove) are Closed April 1-30, 2017 (season will be decided in April). Horse Mountain (Shelter Cove) to Point Arena (Fort Bragg) Opens April 1-30, 2017 minimum size limit: 20 inches total length daily bag limit: 2 salmon of any species except coho. Regulations in effect on or after May 1, 2017 will be adopted at the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) and California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) meetings in April. April 2017 salmon regulations are pending Office of Administrative Law review and approval.
Chetco River- Great reports of Steelhead entering the system in the past weeks, conditions remain unfavorable this weekend for Steelhead. Side drifting and roe have been good for Steelhead when the conditions allow.
Smith – Similar river and fishing conditions to the Chetco. Good reports of Steelhead in the system. Conditions not looking favorable this weekend for Steelhead. Side drifting and roe have been good for Steelhead.
Klamath River – Currently high flows. Steelhead are in the river however with predicted high flows. No reports for the upper Klamath area.
Trinity River- Most reports are good for Steelhead on the Upper Trinity where conditions are more favorable. Flies, plugs, and side-drifting have been working for Steelhead. The numbers of returning Steelhead to the hatchery have declined the past weeks. There have not been any new reports for the CDFW Trinity River Trapping Summary.
The CDFW’s Trinity River Project 2017 trapping summary through Feb. 25, 2017. (NO UPDATES)
Total combined Chinook did not change from 0 (12/24-12/31) to 0 (2/19-2/25).
Total combined Coho did not change from 0 (12/24-12/31) to 0 (2/19-2/25).
Total combined Steelhead doubled from from 121 (2/12-2/18) to 47 (2/19-2/25).
See Full 2016 TRP_ Trapping_Summary
Mad River –There were some reports of fish caught last weekend but the river has been high and turbid ever since. Fishing closes on March 31 and does not look favorable this weekend or into next week. Side drifting and roe have been effective for Steelhead.
Van Duzen- Conditions were clearing up this past week as Steelhead should be in the system. River flow should be ascending this weekend and coming down next week depending on the amount of precipitation. There may not be any favorable conditions before the river closes for fishing on March 31. Side drifting and roe have been most effective for Steelhead.
Eel River/South Fork – Van Arsdale fish count station reported some new Steelhead. River conditions have not been favorable on the main stem due to high flow for the main stem, however the South Fork Eel River was good for fishing this past week and there were finally some good fishing reports of Steelhead being caught! Rivers are predicted to ascend this weekend with a slight chance of rain next week and conditions may not become favorable for the South Fork before the river closes on March 31. Side drifting have been effective for Steelhead.
- On Mar. 20, the Van Arsdale Fish Count Station reported “The Chinook count stands at 435 (Male 191, Female 188, Jack 56). A total of 12 steelhead were trapped this week. The steelhead count stands at 36 (Male 16, Female 20).”
Recreational Ocean Salmon Regulations
OR/CA Border to Horse Mountain (Shelter Cove) are Closed April 1-30, 2017 (season will be decided in April).
Horse Mountain (Shelter Cove) to Point Arena (Fort Bragg) Opens April 1-30, 2017 minimum size limit: 20 inches total length daily bag limit: 2 salmon of any species except coho.
Regulations in effect on or after May 1, 2017 will be adopted at the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) and California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) meetings in April. April 2017 salmon regulations are pending Office of Administrative Law review and approval.
Dungeness Crab and Shellfish
The recreational fishery for Dungeness crab (Metacarcinus magister) is open from November 5, 2016 through July 30, 2017. The daily bag limit is 10 crab, and the minimum size limit is 5¾ inches. Note that the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) advises that consumers not eat the viscera (internal organs, also known as “butter” or “guts”) of crabs caught north of Point Reyes. Recreational crabbing is not allowed from vessels licensed for commercial Dungeness crab fishing. Review new crabbing regulations that went into effect on August 1, 2016, crab measurement methods (PDF),and the current Ocean Sport Fishing regulations booklet for more Dungeness crab fishing information.
- Call the CDFW Domoic Acid Fishery Closure Information Line at (831) 649-2883 for the latest status of the Dungeness crab season.
- Call the CDPH Shellfish Biotoxin Information line at: (510) 412-4643 or toll-free at (800) 553-4133 for updated crab consumption advisories, or check CDFW’s Finfish and Shellfish Health Advisories web page.
More info on our Sport Fishing Regulations page.
Open Fishing Seasons
= Partially closed fishing season
Kelp and Rock Greenlings
Soupfin Shark and Spiny Dogfish
Other Federally Managed Groundfish
Pacific Sanddab and Other Flatfish
Closed Fishing Seasons
All North Coast rivers are high and very dangerous. Subjected to low flow fishing closures during dry times of the year.
The low flow closure hotline for North Coast rivers is 707-822-3164.
COASTAL WATERS FORECAST FOR NORTHWEST CALIFORNIA NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE EUREKA CA 833 AM PDT FRI MAR 24 2017 PZZ400-242215- 833 AM PDT FRI MAR 24 2017 SYNOPSIS FOR NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WATERS GUSTY WINDS AND ELEVATED SEAS WILL CONTINUE ACROSS THE WATERS THROUGH THIS MORNING AS A COLD FRONT MOVES ACROSS THE REGION. THE WINDS AND SEAS WILL GRADUALLY DIMINISH IN THE WAKE OF THE FRONT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON. ANOTHER COLD FRONT WILL INCREASE THE WINDS AND SEAS SUNDAY AND MONDAY.
PZZ450-242215- PT ST GEORGE TO CAPE MENDOCINO OUT 10 NM- 833 AM PDT FRI MAR 24 2017 ...SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 3 PM PDT THIS AFTERNOON... TODAY S WINDS 10 TO 20 KT...EASING TO 5 TO 10 KT. WAVES W 10 FT AT 11 SECONDS. SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS. TONIGHT S WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. WAVES W 7 FT AT 10 SECONDS. SLIGHT CHANCE OF THUNDERSTORMS. SAT W WINDS UP TO 5 KT. WAVES W 9 FT AT 15 SECONDS. SLIGHT CHANCE OF SHOWERS. SAT NIGHT S WINDS UP TO 5 KT. WAVES W 9 FT AT 13 SECONDS. SUN S WINDS 10 TO 20 KT. WAVES W 9 FT AT 13 SECONDS. MON NW WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. WAVES W 12 FT AT 15 SECONDS. TUE NW WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. WAVES W 12 FT AT 16 SECONDS.