The Pacific halibut season officially opened on both sides of the California-Oregon border Wednesday but high winds and rough seas made targeting the big fish difficult. The few sportfishermen who braved the conditions in search of an early catch had little to no luck with Pacific halibut.

Ocean conditions were rough enough to affect bottomfishermen casting much closer to shore as well. Though there were a few decent days on both sides of the border that yielded lots of rockfish and lingcod.

Pacific halibut

The start to the Pacific halibut season was a bit anticlimactic this year as wind and rough oceans have made it difficult to get out far enough to target the big fish.

Although a few boats went out on both sides of the border there haven’t been many or possibly even any catches through the first three days of the season.

Capt. Keith Richcreek of Pacific West Coast Ocean Fishing Guide Service said Friday looked like the best day to go out from Crescent City, but once they got out far enough it was too tough to fish.

“The current wasn’t bad, but it was a little sloppy,” Richcreek said. “We tried to get out to about 300 feet and we ran into some 10-foot waves pretty dang close together, so we said, ‘To hell with it,’ and came home.”

According to the marine forecast, conditions are expected to improve a little bit over the weekend before wind and waves start picking back up early next week.

Ocean conditions have been a little bit better down south out of Humboldt Bay. Although more sportfishermen were able to get out in search of halibut there were only a few catches reported through the first few days of the season.

Bottomfishing

Although the halibut fishing has been slow, bottomfishermen in California have been able to take advantage of some early season opportunities with some nice rockfish and lingcod hauled in through the first three days of the season.

Although conditions have been less-than-ideal, a few California anglers still went out bottomfishing on both Wednesday and Thursday. Although the waves were fairly small, they were really close together making for some bumpy fishing on the first two days of the season.

On Friday the ocean out of Crescent City started to calm down a little bit.

Anglers have been catching some nice-sized blacks and coppers out of Crescent City, with a few lingcod hauled in as well.

In Oregon bottomfishing stays open year round. Although it wasn’t the first week of the season for anglers to the north, there was still lots of bottomfish hauled in late in the week out of Brookings.

Martin said anglers started to get back out on the ocean late in the week after a few really windy days. Martin said Thursday was the most calm day all week, and anglers managed to capitalize with nice hauls of both rockfish and lingcod.

Anglers should have a good opportunity to get back out in search of bottomfish over the weekend.

River fishing

With the Smith and Chetco rivers now closed and Klamath salmon fishing off limits until July the only real option for river fishing for the next few weeks is on the Rogue River where the spring salmon run is starting to hit its peak.

Martin said anglers are hauling in about one salmon per boat up on the Rogue this week, and the run should continue to produce good numbers of fish for the next few weeks.

Fishing contacts: Tally Ho II Sportfishing at 707-464-1236; Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing at 206-388-8988; Keith Richcreek of Pacific West Coast Ocean Fishing Guide Service at 707-218-5573; Englund Marine Supply Company at 707-464-323.

Reach Michael Zogg at mzogg@triplicate.com .

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