Pacific halibut fishing was just starting to pick up out of Crescent City in mid-June when the first of three closures for the season went into effect on the Northern California Coast. Sportfishermen are hopeful that the big fish are still biting with the season reopening today and running until June 15, when the second closure goes into effect. Although ocean anglers have had to wait out a round of high winds and big swells recently, conditions started to calm last weekend and anglers have been able to haul in bottomfish with relative ease. Meanwhile, anglers in Brookings have started to haul in salmon from the Chetco estuary a little bit earlier than normal.

On the ocean

Anglers looking to target bottomfish were once again able to get out over the weekend as swells started to die down. They were greeted by limits of both black snappers and lingcod, along with a few other varieties of rockfish to help pad out the daily bag limit. Bottomfishing out of Brookings has also remained strong.

Meanwhile, Andy Martin, of Brookings Ocean Fishing Charter, said boats have been having luck targeting salmon in the Chetco Estuary throughout the week. Although salmon in the estuary in late June and early July isn’t unheard of, it is a little on the early side.

“The anchovies are really thick in the harbor and there is a lot more bait in the harbor than in the area immediately around it,” Martin said. “So feeder fish are coming in. They have been doing well fishing there. The best boat I heard of had six fish and a couple boats had four, so there is salmon in there. The big problem is that there has been a lot of moss, so the incoming tide has been the best because the tide is pushing the moss up the estuary. On the outgoing tide, which is usually the best time to fish, there is just too much moss right now.”

Martin said game wardens are keeping a close eye on anglers in the estuary, making sure they don’t stray out into the ocean where salmon fishing is closed. Anglers are allowed to keep two salmon per day in the estuary, but only one wild salmon.

In Northern California, the Pacific halibut season will reopen today with good weather in the forecast. The Pacific halibut quota for the season is 34,580 in Northern California. According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s in-season tracking, a total of 4,924 pounds of Pacific halibut were caught in June bringing the total projection of fish caught so far up to 7,833. That still leaves 26,747 pounds before the season closes, just less than 80 percent of the total quota.

River fishing

Salmon fishing on the Klamath River has remained slow this summer. Martin said many of the fishing guides who are usually on the Klamath River this time of year have headed north to the Chetco River.

Fishing contacts: Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing at 206-388-8988; Tally Ho II Sportfishing at 707-464-1236 and tally-ho-sportfishing.com; Keith Richcreek of Pacific West Coast Ocean Fishing Guide Service at 218-5573.

Reach Michael Zogg at mzogg@
triplicate.com.

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