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Outlook encouraging for sport salmon fishing
For the Times-Standard 2/3/05
Whether or not the Groundhog saw his shadow or not is a moot question on the North Coast. But whether fishing is good, bad or somewhere in between is important. And the answer is yes.
First and foremost is the fact that ocean sport salmon fishing season opens between Horse Mountain and Point Arena on Saturday, February 12. And the outlook at this point is encouraging.
The rest of the California coast south, from Point Arena to the California/Mexico border, opens on April 2 for recreational salmon fishing.
The ocean salmon season north of Horse Mountain remains closed until the Fishery Management Council determines the appropriate level and timing of salmon harvest for the area.
Salmon may be taken only by angling and a minimum size of 20 inches in total length.
"There is lots of bait in the area, including large schools of herring, mackerel and others, reported boat launcher Ken Vallotton. "While fishing for sand dabs a couple of weeks ago, I incidentally caught several mackerel and a small king salmon near the bottom, in the sand on bait jigs."
Ken also pointed out that most rockfish are legal all year (including one bocaccio, one cabezon and one greenling, but no canary, cowcod or yellow eyes)."
Meanwhile, a reminder that streams subject to low flow closures aren't from February 1 to September 1, 2005.
Guide Rich Mossholder said he had a great day on the Chetco River Tuesday, landing 7 of 9 steelhead. Saturday he boated 3 of 5 on the Smith River ranging from 8 to 10 pounds. He used natural colored roe and orange puffballs. "There was a lot of boat traffic," he noted.
Fishing on the Trinity River has been like a yo-yo, according to Willow Creek guide Ed Duggan. Fly fishermen have been doing fair to good. Fly fishers have hooked some nice steelies on Golden Stone, Burlap Specials and Copper Johns to name a few. Hardware anglers are doing quite well working below incoming steams. Most drift boaters are trolling plugs.
The mid-Klamath River is high with low visibility. The upper section is producing some fishing and should improve as the river drops. The Orleans area should be fishable by the weekend and with fresh steelies showing, action should heat up.
Michael Merk reports from the Arcata Tackle And Guide Service that the Mad River is a little muddy and fishing is fair. Most of the action is occurring in the vicinity of the hatchery.
Beads, roe and Li'l Corkies, flies and Glo Bugs are working. The steelies average 8 to 15 pounds with a few 14s and 15s. Numbers and quality are down a little.
The South Fork of the Eel is green from Garberville south, according to Darren Brown. Visibility is about 3 feet. The steelhead are averaging 12 to 13 pounds, he said, and are taking roe.
Paul Grundman notes that while the main Eel is still out for three or four days, the Mattole and Van Duzen rivers should be fishable by the weekend. He suggests roe, Spin Glos or Li'l Corkies.
Fort Bragg reports five to eight legal crabs per pot in 80 to 150 feet depths.
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