The ocean salmon season is starting strong to the south, and Crescent City’s season will start Tuesday. Local fishing options abound for this weekend as well.
Shelter Cove salmon
If the fishing report of this small Lost Coast community provides indication of what lies ahead for the rest of the North Coast, then get ready to hit the high seas for ocean salmon.
Since last Wednesday, most boats (eight to 12 a day) are coming back into Shelter Cove with their limit of chinook salmon, said Russ Thomas of Mario’s Marina.
There has been a decent amount of 20-plus-pounders coming in, including one 27-pound chinook, Thomas said.
The best place to catch them has been out at the “whistle,” a buoy about a mile out from the port, Thomas said.
“Not everyone’s getting their limits but everybody’s catching fish,” he said.
Even if you catch your limit of salmon, the cove has more fishing to offer.
“The perch are just going crazy on the beach,” Thomas said. “You can’t help but get your limit of perch.”
The sights aren’t bad either, with two or three whales passing by Shelter Cove every day for the past few weeks, Thomas said.
Big ones from the bank
Many fish species that are closed to boat-based anglers right now are open all year to shore-based fishermen.
Lingcod, rockfish and cabezon are a few examples of some monster fish that can be caught from rocky Del Norte shores — with a bobber no less.
“The trouble is you gotta haul those monsters out of there,” said local fishing expert Wes Wesson.
To catch them, Wesson recommends hitting Point St. George when it’s sunny, like it’s predicted to be this weekend.
Use 20-pound test line and a number 2/0 salmon hook as these fish get “big and mean,” Wesson said.
Before tying on that hook, set-up a slip bobber. First step is a stop-knot and bead set that can be found anywhere that sells fishing gear. It goes: stop-knot, bead, bobber, then the hook.
Attach a half-ounce weight to the line about 18 inches above the hook.
For bait, use sardines, herring, anchovies or any other small, dead bait fish, Wesson said.
You’ll want to figure out how deep the water is where you’re fishing, so you can set the stop-knot to keep the bait about two to three feet from the bottom. To check the depth, you can tie or attach a big piece of weight and throw it out so it hits bottom. Reel in slowly, counting the length of line.
Slide the stop-knot up the line, so the amount of line between the knot and the hook is just two to three feet short of the depth of the water.
Take caution in the Point St. George area and refrain from fishing if conditions look too dangerous.
Wesson said to fish at a place where the wind is at your back and be ready for that big one to hit.
“That bobber can go down so fast it will make your eyes water,” he said.