High winds and hazardous seas have made it really frustrating to be an ocean angler these past two weeks on the North Coast. There have been a few days just clear enough to get out, but until the wind dies down, you might be better off targeting cutthroat trout in the Smith and Chetco rivers.
Nice-sized cutthroat trout, 19andndash;24 inches, are reportedly being caught in the Chetco using sculpin filets, often called "bullhead" filets.
Bait may not be used above the head of tide influence.
Crescent City ocean
Tally Ho II has stayed tied up due to rough ocean conditions most of this last week, but a break in the weather for the weekend looks promising, the ship's captain said.
Anglers who recently braved high seas out of Crescent City have not been able to catch much salmon as ocean temps have dropped into the 40s, according to Chris Hegnes at Englund Marine Supply. The lingcod bite is still good, but rockfish is kind of slow.
"There's tons of bait around so that's what's kind of hampering us right now," Hegnes said.
Ocean conditions out of Eureka have allowed a few more fishing days, and when Reel Steel Sportfishing gets out, they have been hammering Chinook salmon.
Reel Steel was docked from Friday through Monday, but on Tuesday, Capt. Tim Klassen reported: "If there was any doubt whether the salmon are still around, we proved today that they are still here and there are plenty of them."
The Eureka commercial fleet was spread across a large area Tuesday and everyone was catching salmon from small to large, Klassen reported. Wednesday was good too, when sea lions weren't stealing the salmon off clients' lines, he said.
"Some guys are sneaking out early in the morning and doing okay, but the wind is crazy by 10 a.m.," said Scott Stewart, of Ultimate Catch Charter and the Chetco Outdoor Store. When anglers do get out, they have been primarily confined to bottom fishing inside the bay due to weather conditions.
The lingcod bite reportedly slowed down a bit and black rockfish are the main catch otherwise, Stewart said.
Klamath, Rogue rivers
It's been a terrible year for spring salmon fishing. Moss must be cleaned off your rig every two to three minutes in the Klamath. Although fishermen have started trolling the Rogue River estuary, the bite has not been very good, according to reports.
Fishing contacts: Tally Ho Sportfishing at 707-464-1236; Englund Marine Supply at 707- 464-3230; Chetco Outdoor Store at 541-469-9151; Reel Steel Sportfishing at 707-499-4925;Ultimate Catch Charter at 541-469-4814.
Reach Adam Spencer at email@example.com.