One day it's hot; the next it's not. That's the story for ocean salmon fishing in Crescent City, but thankfully for fishermen, there are always plenty of options on the North Coast, like monster-sized lingcod.
The largest lingcod so far this year for the contest at Englund Marine Supply in Crescent City Harbor was weighed in Tuesday: 42 pounds, gilled and gutted. The largest salmon so far was also weighed in Tuesday at Englund Marine (33 pounds, gilled and gutted), but the salmon bite was slow for most anglers.
When the salmon bite cools down, North Coast anglers often turn to their bread-and-butter: bottom fishing. But there's been a lot of confusion about what's legal when you're doing combination trips.
If you get salmon on board first, then you must use barbless hooks when going for bottom fish (rockfish, cabezon, greenling and lingcod). You can still have barbed hooks on board, but it's best to not have them tied up to a rod. Like always, anglers can only shoot for bottom fish in waters less than 120 feet deep.
If you have rockfish, cabezon, greenling or lingcod on board first, then you must fish for salmon in waters less than 120 feet deep. As always, you can only fish for salmon with barbless hooks. Again, it's best to take all barbed hooks off your rods before going salmon fishing.
Crescent City ocean
The red-hot salmon bite diminished noticeably at the beginning of this week, but that didn't stop dozens of sport anglers from trolling for salmon. Limits of chinook salmon were achieved by some anglers, but not many, according to Englund Marine.
The bulk of salmon seems to have moved away from Crescent City, and any salmon that are caught are pretty spread out, according to anglers.
Lingcods are thick in Crescent City waters, including large females. Lingcods weighing 42 and 38 pounds (gilled and gutted) were weighed in at Englund Marine.
"The lings seem to be moving in," said Capt. Craig Strickhouser of Tally Ho II, who was enjoying the recent flat-ocean conditions.
South of the Sisters was a hot spot for lingcods and black rockfish on Tuesday, with white being the fish-favored rubber jig color.
Just over the border, a "wide-open" salmon bite is still around, according to Scott Stewart of Ultimate Catch Charter and the Chetco Outdoor Store, with many anglers getting limits by 8 a.m.
"It doesn't get much better than this," Stewart said. "This is definitely the port to be fishing out of right now."
The salmon are still hanging out in bulk near Trinidad, mostly found in 120andndash;130 feet of water, delivering early limits to anglers, according to Wind Rose Charters.
The salmon bite continues to be excellent out of Eureka with limits of 18- to 20-pound salmon common, according to Reel Steel Sportfishing. The fish were found farther south than they have been recently.
Lower Klamath River
Salmon continue to trickle into the Klamath River, and anglers are catching some chinook from the mouth.Redtail surfperch fishing is reportedly good from the ocean side of the spit.
Rogue River estuary
Trolling the Rogue River estuary for salmon is not producing, Stewart said.
Fishing contacts: Tally Ho Sportfishing at 707-464-1236; Englund Marine Supply at 707- 464-3230; Chetco Outdoor Store at 541- 469-9151; Ultimate Catch Charter at 541-813-0330; Wind Rose Charters at (707) 677-3316. Reel Steel Sportfishing at 707-499-4925.
Reach Adam Spencer at email@example.com.