One of the most popular fishermen on the North Shore will kick off on time Saturday despite a few temporary regulatory changes. Due to the presence of humpback and blue whales and their potential to snag from trap gear, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has restricted recreational intake of Dungeness crab using statewide crab traps. However, recreational ingestion of Dungeness crab by other methods, including hoop nets and crab traps, is not affected by the temporary trap restriction. As with the commercial fleet south of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line, I’d say we hit .500 as the season could easily be delayed. Their season was due to begin on November 15, but numerous whales shut them down. So, hoop nets are, and there are some changes to these regulations that anglers should be aware of. They include:
• The hoop nets need regular maintenance every two hours;
• Design modification features to prevent the device from operating as a crab trap, which may encourage longer soak times;
• Reduce the weight of the hoop net so you do less damage to an entangled whale or sea turtle.
• Expand existing thread marking requirements for hoop nets used south of Point Arguello, Santa Barbara County to apply statewide; this will help identify this gear type to apply these requirements and will identify hoop nets involved in entanglement.
For specific pulley net requirements, visit: wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Sport-Fishing/Invertebrate-Fishing-Regs#crustaceans.
The first traps of the season can be legally deployed at 12:01 a.m. Saturday morning. Weather permitting, fishermen will get their first glimpse at the health and weight of this season’s crop, as pre-season quality tests have not been conducted or the results are yet to be made public. One thing we do know is that domoic acid levels won’t be an issue. Statewide testing was nearly complete with zero percent of samples exceeding or even approaching action levels.
The season runs from Saturday 5 November to 30 July 2023. The minimum size is 5 ¾ inches, measured with the shortest distance from the edge of the shell to the edge of the shell, directly in front of and outside the points (lateral spines). . The limit is 10 and a valid California sport fishing license is required, but an annual crab trap verification is not required when catching crabs with hoop nets or crab ring traps.
Most eaten places
Although the offshore conditions may seem challenging during the weekend, you can still find plenty of crabs. One of the best places to soak up a few rings is Crab Park, located at the end of Cannibal Island Road in Loleta. At the mouth of the Eel River there is access to launch a canoe or canoe. You can also launch your boat at Pedrazzini Park at the end of Cock Robin Island Road and go up the estuary towards the mouth of the Eel.
Humboldt Bay also has a few good places to catch crab. The front of the PG&E factory is a good spot as well as the flat next to the South Jetty parking lot. Another top location is either side of the canal to the South Bay. To the north, the inside of Trinidad Harbor is another popular spot with locals. You can jump off your small boat, kayak or canoe right off the beach and head to Prisoner Rock, where the bottom is sandy and 40 to 50 feet deep. It takes a relatively calm ocean to sail here, and that doesn’t seem very relevant for the weekend.
Weekend Sea Forecast
Ocean conditions are not looking good for Saturday’s crab opener. As of Tuesday, rising seas are in the weekend forecast. Saturday’s forecast calls for northwest winds of 5 to 15 knots and waves of 9 feet northwest in 12 seconds. Winds will be between 10 and 20 knots from the southwest on Sunday, with waves to the northwest going up 17 feet 14 seconds. These conditions can and will change by the end of the week. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit weather.gov/eureka or windy.com. You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the Woodley Island office at (707) 443-6484.
Weekend Tides – Humboldt Bay
• Saturday, November 5: high: 10:35 and 23:02; low: 4:01 and 16:54
Standard time starts at 02:00 on Sunday
• Sun., Nov. 6: high: 11:08 and 23:57; low: 04:44 and 17:39
North Coast recreational fishing at all depths begins November 1
North Shore full depth recreational fishing began on 1 November. Full range fishing will only take place in November and December and just north of Point Arena. The newly opened areas will allow anglers to target bottom species as well as midwater column ground fish such as widow and yellowtail goby. There are no special equipment requirements, but regulations require anglers not to use more than two hooks and one line to target ground fish, unless otherwise noted. All other season dates, bag limits, size limits and other special area closures still apply. For more information on subterranean fish regulations, management and fish identification tools, please visit https://wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Ocean/Regulations/Groundfish-Summary
Currently, all North Coast rivers that are subject to low-flow fishing closures are closed, including the main trunk and South Fork Eel, Mad, Redwood Creek, Smith and Van Layout. Portions of open rivers include the main body of the Smith River from its mouth to the mouth of Rowdy Creek. Mad River, 200 yards upstream from the mouth, is closed until January 1. The Fish and Wildlife Department will release information on whether any rivers will be closed to the public by 13:00 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. for fishing. Rivers can open at any time. The low flow shutdown helpline for North Coast rivers is (707) 822-3164. For more information visit https://fishingthenorthcoast.com/2021/09/22/2021-2022-low-flow-information-for-north-coast-rivers/
main body eel
The main body eel near Scotia was running at just over 200 cfs Wednesday. Flows are expected to peak above the 350 cubic meters per second threshold on Sunday morning. If the rains come as predicted, it may open to fishermen on Sunday morning. River forecast levels can be found here: cnrfc.noaa.gov/graphicalRVF.php?id=SCOC1
Smith remains closed due to low flows as of Wednesday and it doesn’t look like it will hit the 600 cfs threshold on the Jed Smith gauge before the weekend. Flows are expected to peak at 865 cfs early Sunday morning before dropping throughout the day. River forecast levels can be found here: cnrfc.noaa.gov/graphicalRVF.php?id=CREC1.
Heavy rain is expected later this week to put the Chetco in top shape for fall salmon, according to Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. “Up until then, anglers were limited to bobbers, which were effective at deceiving salmon caught in tidal waters,” Martin said. “From the U.S. Highway 101 bridge, a large number of salmon are sprawling into the Social Security Bar, with wild and hatchery adults and lots of jacks.
The rain didn’t happen this week.”
Extended gear restrictions on Chetco and Winchuck rivers
Chetco and Winchuck fishing gear restrictions have been extended until 11:59 pm on November 15 due to low water levels. Extending the thread restriction is also a conservative approach to help lower harvest levels for older chinook salmon.
Angling is limited to fly fishing (must include a hit indicator) or bobber fishing in both rivers. Chetco restriction applies from River Mile 2.2 to Nook Creek and mouth to Wheeler Creek in Winchuck River.
Depending on past flow regimes, gear restrictions apply from September 1 to November 3 each year to eliminate snags. As in 2018, this year is an exception with abnormally low flows and no significant October rains. With the rain that will start this week, the gear restriction will be lifted on 16 November at 12:01.
ODFW biologists expect large numbers of chinooks to return to Chetco, and some are already being held downstream. Maintaining fishing opportunity is important for Chetco anglers, and this is also a good time of year to harvest fish returning from the hatchery.
Kenny Priest runs Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service specializing in salmon and steelheads from Humboldt. Find on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and www.fishingthenorthcoast.com. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information.
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