Saturday's ocean sport salmon opener brings loads of optimism, joy and relief as another solid season is forecasted for anglers targeting salmon from Horse Mountain -- north of Shelter Cove -- south to the border of Mexico.
The 2014 salmon abundance is once again strong, though the numbers have declined compared to the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
This year, the Pacific Fisheries Management Council predicts 634,000 Sacramento and another 299,282 Klamath river salmon to be swimming in the ocean and available to anglers, fewer than the last season, but still a large enough number to give the fishermen what they crave -- a full season.
The daily bag limit will remain at two Chinook salmon, but salmon possession limit has changed for this year. Two daily bag limits are now allowed in possession when on land; however, when on a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit.
The minimum size limit is 20 inches total length between Horse Mountain and Point Arena. For areas south of Point Arena, the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length.
The ocean conditions for Saturday out of Shelter Cove are looking favorable, with winds out of the northwest 5 to 15 knots. Waves will be out of the northwest 3-ft. at 7 seconds, and from the west 7-ft. at 15 seconds. Sunday looks plenty fishable as well, with north winds 10 to 15 knots and waves from the north at 3-ft at 7 seconds and from the west at 8-ft at 17 seconds.
The launch tractor in Shelter Cove will start between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. and will run seven days a week. The launch fee remains the same as last year at $2 per foot. The tractor operator can be reached on channel 68 on your vhf.
The sport opener for water above Horse Mountain -- the Klamath Zone -- will be determined at the next PFMC meeting on April 3-10 in Vancouver, Wash. Currently, three options are on the table from Horse Mountain -- which includes Humboldt County -- to Humbug Mountain, Ore.
- Alternative 1) May 1 through Sept. 7, two Chinook per day, 24-inch minimum size limit
- Alternative 2) May 17 through Sept. 7, two Chinook per day, 24-inch minimum size limit
- Alternative 3) May 24 through Sept. 1, two Chinook per day, 20-inch size limit
All options would be for all salmon except Coho, with fishing allowed seven days per week.
According to Reginald Kennedy of Eureka's National Weather Service, light rain will move across northern California late Thursday morning, with showers forecasted into Friday. "Showers are on tap again for Saturday throughout Del Norte and Humboldt Counties as a weather system moves down from Oregon. High pressure moves over the area and we will be dry Sunday through Wednesday. The next system is forecast to move over the area next Thursday," Kennedy added. Rainfall amounts for the period Thursday through Saturday range from a quarter to a half-inch.
Perch'n on the Peninsula coming next weekend
The Samoa Peninsula Fire District will be hosting their 5th annual Perch'n on the Peninsula Surfperch Fishing Tournament and Fish Fry Fundraiser on April 12 at the Peninsula Elementary School (located across the street from the Samoa Cookhouse). This is a fun filled family-oriented fishing event that benefits the Samoa Peninsula Fire District Volunteer Organization. Fish Fry Fundraiser admission is only $10.00 for adults and $5.00 for juniors, children 6 and under get in free. Adult fishing tournament entry is $20.00 and junior fishing tournament entry (Under 16) is only $10.00. Fishing tournament entry includes admission to the fish fry fundraiser and one door prize entry. For registration and door prize information, visit the Perch'n on the Peninsula's Facebook page or contact Charlie Holthaus at 707-499-7088.
HASA dinner coming up
The 6th annual HASA fundraiser dinner will be held Saturday, April 26, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Redwood Acres Fairgrounds in Eureka. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children 10 and under. Dinner, auction and raffle tickets are available from any HASA board member or from the following merchants: Englund Marine, RMI (Redwood Marine), Mad River Outfitters, Bucksport Sporting Goods, and WW RV & Sporting Goods.
Flare demo workshop
The Humboldt Yacht Club is holding a Flares demo workshop on Saturday, April 5, at the Wharfinger parking lot at approximately 10:45 a.m. If you need to get rid of your expired flares, this will be your opportunity. Bring any outdated flares for both hand and gun use. There will also be a helicopter rescue demo, with a time TBD.
Clam tides coming
This year's first real good set of morning minus tides will begin April 15 and run through April 21. This year in Humboldt County, clamming is open on Little River Beach between Mad River and Strawberry Creek. In Del Norte County, the season is open south of Battery Point. The limit is 20 and you must retain the first 20 clams dug as the bag limit regardless of size or broken condition. The next rounds of minus tides begin April 27.
Main Stem Eel
The rivers dropping fairly quickly, but we're probably about a week away reports Paul Grundman of Rio Dell's Grundmans Sporting Goods. "Depending on how much rain we get in the next few days, the river should be fishable within a week, give or take. There were still fresh fish coming in before the last big rise, and my guess is more are on their way. We could have some pretty good fishing once the water turns green," Grundman added.
Both water level and color are prime right now on the Smith reports guide Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman's Guide Service. "I fished on Wednesday and the bite was pretty good. There's quite a few bluebacks around, as well as plenty of downers that are more than willing to bite. We're predicted to get a little rain over the next few days and that would certainly help the keep the color in the river. Either way, fishing should remain solid through April," Coopman said.
Send in your fish photos
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