Humboldt’s Friday Fishing Report 5/12/2017
Historically low numbers of fall-run and winter-run Chinook salmon have prompted the California Fish and Game Commission (FGC) to drastically limit the state’s salmon fishery for 2017.
The ocean salmon season north of Horse Mountain will be completely closed in 2017. All areas south of Horse Mountain opened on April 1 and will remain open, with some restrictions (read more here).
Reports in the Shelter Cove area are still slow due to ocean conditions but salmon have been reportedly caught.
RCG & Lingcod
The groundfish opener was decent although ocean conditions provided limited opportunities since. Lingcod and Rockfish reports have been slow.
There is a 10-fish maximum for Rockfish, Cabezon and Greenling (RCG) Complex bag limit.
The Rockfish season for boat-based anglers will start May 1 to Oct. 31 within 180 feet and Nov. 1 to Dec. 31 with no depth restrictions.
A sub-bag limit is now allowed for 1 Canary rockfish; sub-bag limit of 3 black rockfish within the RCG 10-fish complex bag limit; a Lingcod bag limit of 2 fish; Petrale sole and Starry flounder can be retained year and at all depths.
For more information, visit our Sport Fishing Regulations page under Groundfish and follow the Recreational tab or call the hotline at 831-649-2801.
The Pacific halibut opener was good with numerous reports, although ocean conditions also provided limited opportunities since. Overall, reports were better than expected despite the weather conditions.
Sport regulations for the Pacific halibut fishery off California are designed to keep catches from exceeding the federally set 2017 quota of 34,580 net pounds.
The fishing season will be open May 1-June 15, July 1-15, August 1-15, and September 1-October 31, or until the quota is projected to have been taken, whichever is earlier.
When angling, no more than one line with two hooks attached may be used. A harpoon, gaff, or net may be used to assist in taking a Pacific halibut that has been legally caught by angling. See California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 28.95, for additional restrictions on the use of harpoons. Take by spearfishing is allowed pursuant to California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 28.90.
Redtail Surf Perch
Reports are good along sandy beaches and bays. Redtail minimum size is 10.5 inches and a daily bag and possession limit of 10.
Dungeness Crab and Shellfish
On April 28, 2017, the California Dept. of Health announces Annual Quarantine of Sport-Harvested Mussels Begins May 1. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today 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 (read more).
Abalone season opens on May 1- October 31 north of the San Francisco Bay except July will be closed. Fishing will be allowed from 8 a.m. to one half-hour after sunset. An Abalone report card is required in possession while diving and is also required for 15 years or younger. Fixed caliper measuring device is also required as Abalone must be seven inches or large. Abalone limit is 3 per day and maximum of 3 in possession up to 12 per calendar year.
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.
42°00 N. Latitude (Oregon Border) to 40°10 N. Latitude (near Cape Mendocino in Humboldt County)
Open Fishing Seasons
= Partially closed fishing season
Kelp and Rock Greenlings
Soupfin Shark and Spiny Dogfish
Other Federally Managed Groundfish
Petrale Sole and Starry Flounder
Pacific Sanddab and Other Flatfish
Most rivers are closed for Steelhead except the Klamath and Trinity. The Smith closed at the end of April. The mainstem Eel River from the South Fork down river is open all year (See Regulations). Eel River conditions are getting better and should provides some angling opportunities as the river descends and clears up. The Chetco River, Redwood Creek, Mad River, South Fork Eel River, Van Duzen River and Mattole River are closed for fishing.
Sections of the Smith River, Mad River, Van Duzen, Mattole River, mainstem Eel River (South Fork Eel to Cape Horn Dam), South Fork Eel (South Fork Eel River from mouth to Rattlesnake Creek) will re-open on Saturday, May 27. Artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used on most rivers.
Due to the low numbers of fall-run and winter-run Chinook, the fall-run Chinook will be closed on the Klamath and Trinity rivers.
Inland, spring-run Chinook fishing will still be allowed through Aug. 14 on the Klamath River and through Aug. 31 on the Trinity River. After these dates, both fisheries will close for the remainder of the calendar year. However, the nearby Smith River will remain open for fall-run Chinook, and there are additional opportunities in southern Oregon rivers.
During the salmon season closure, Steelhead angling will still be allowed in both the Klamath and Trinity rivers.
Chetco River- Closed March 31, 2017
Smith – Closed April 30, 2017 There were some good reports of Steelhead in the system as they should be making their may back down river. Sections to re-open on May 27, 2017.
Klamath River – Steelhead are in the river system and most likely coming down. Spring-run Chinook fishing is closed for the remainder of the calendar year. During the salmon season closure, Steelhead angling will still be allowed in both the Klamath River.
Trinity River- The Bureau of Reclamation announced that releases from Lewiston Dam into the Trinity River will increase on Saturday, April 22, and will reach approximately 11,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) by Wednesday, April 26. The peak flow will continue until Friday, April 28.
Releases will decrease to 2,050 cfs on May 7 and ramp up to 5,400 cfs on May 10. The releases will start ramping down on June 4 until the summer base flow of 450 cfs is reached on August 11.
People residing near the river or recreating on the river can expect river levels to increase and should take appropriate safety precautions. Landowners are advised to clear personal items from the floodplain prior to the releases.
Spring-run Chinook fishing will be allowed through through Aug. 31 on the Trinity River and will close for the remainder of the calendar year. During the salmon season closure, Steelhead angling will still be allowed in the Trinity River. Flies, plugs, and side-drifting have been working for Steelhead. There have not been any new reports for the CDFW Trinity River Trapping Summary.
Mad River – Closed March 31, 2017. Sections to re-open on May 27, 2017.
Van Duzen- Closed March 31, 2017. Sections to re-open on May 27, 2017.
Eel River- River conditions are getting better on the mainstem as the river is projected to continue descending. Side drifting has been effective for Steelhead. Mainstem Eel River from the mouth to South Fork Eel River is open all year. Sections to re-open on May 27, 2017 for the Mainstem Eel River (South Fork Eel to Cape Horn Dam), South Fork Eel (South Fork Eel River from mouth to Rattlesnake Creek) (See Regulations).
South Fork Eel River- Closed March 31, 2017 –Sections to re-open on May 27, 2017 for the South Fork Eel (South Fork Eel River from mouth to Rattlesnake Creek)
- On April 17, the Van Arsdale Fish Count Station reported “The Chinook count stands at 435 (Male 191, Female 188, Jack 56). No steelhead were trapped this week. The steelhead count stands at 59 (Male 27, Female 32). If no steelhead are trapped this next week, trapping will cease the following week. The lamprey tube was offline last week. We hope to have it up and running in the next couple of days.”
- On April 10, the Van Arsdale Fish Count Station reported “The Chinook count stands at 435 (Male 191, Female 188, Jack 56). A total of two steelhead was trapped this week. The steelhead count stands at 59 (Male 27, Female 32). The last storm set really woke up the lamprey around the station. Unfortunately, once river flow gets above 1,200 cfs the entrance to the tube is submerged and lamprey cannot utilize the tube. Flow is still above 1,200 cfs this morning. Lamprey did ascend the tube during part of this last week but I have yet to review the videos and produce counts…maybe next week.”
Weather and Water
Caution! Rivers are still high but descending! North Coast rivers can be high and very dangerous. Some portions of the Klamath and Trinity Rivers will be 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.
Weather Forecast (Coastal)
COASTAL WATERS FORECAST FOR NORTHWEST CALIFORNIA NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE EUREKA CA 846 AM PDT SAT MAY 13 2017 PZZ400-132245- 846 AM PDT SAT MAY 13 2017 SYNOPSIS FOR NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WATERS A NORTHWESTERLY SWELL WILL GRADUALLY DIMINISH ALLOWING 10 TO 12 FOOT SEAS TO SUBSIDE NEAR 8 TO 9 FEET LATE TODAY. BUILDING HIGH PRESSURE WILL BRING INCREASING NORTH WINDS AND STEEPER WIND DRIVEN WAVES ON SUNDAY INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK.
PZZ450-132245- PT ST GEORGE TO CAPE MENDOCINO OUT 10 NM- 846 AM PDT SAT MAY 13 2017 SAT W WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. WAVES W 9 FT AT 12 SECONDS. CHANCE OF SHOWERS. SAT NIGHT N WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. WAVES NW 8 FT AT 10 SECONDS. CHANCE OF SHOWERS. SUN N WINDS 10 TO 20 KT. WAVES NW 7 FT AT 7 SECONDS. SUN NIGHT N WINDS 10 TO 20 KT. WAVES NW 9 FT AT 7 SECONDS. MON SW WINDS 5 TO 10 KT. WAVES N 4 FT AT 5 SECONDS...AND NW 5 FT AT 11 SECONDS. TUE NW WINDS 5 TO 15 KT. WAVES W 3 FT AT 5 SECONDS...AND NW 8 FT AT 11 SECONDS. WED N WINDS 5 TO 15 KT. WAVES NW 7 FT AT 8 SECONDS.