Pin It

Jetties Heating Up for Rockfish 

click to enlarge Eight-year-old Isabell Kelly, of Arcata, holds a rockfish she caught last Saturday from the north jetty.

Photo courtesy of Brian Kelly

Eight-year-old Isabell Kelly, of Arcata, holds a rockfish she caught last Saturday from the north jetty.

The boat-based rockfish season on the North Coast won't open until May 15 but that certainly doesn't mean fish tacos can't be on the menu. The jetties, the breakwater constructed to protect Humboldt Bay, are starting to provide some good fishing opportunities for both rockfish and lingcod. Over the last couple weeks, the North Jetty has started giving up some nice rockfish, along with the occasional big lingcod. While no limits have been reported as of yet, most are catching enough to make plenty of fish tacos. The South Jetty hasn't been as good, but that will likely change as water and weather conditions improve.

There are a few different techniques anglers use on the jetties. One of the most popular is fishing with small swimbaits or scampi jigs. You can use a half-ounce or three-quarter ounce, depending on the tide and depth of water. Another popular method is a two-hook setup rigged with bait. Bait, especially herring, under a float is also a deadly technique for big lingcod.

For bait, squid or shrimp work well. You can also cast and retrieve egg sinkers or banana weights rigged with a herring. This also works well for lingcod. While we wait for the May 15 boat-based rockfish opener, the jetties are always an excellent year-round option to put fresh fish on the table. For a complete list of rockfish regulations, visit

Weekend marine forecast

Ocean conditions look to be improving throughout the week with decent conditions forecast for the weekend. Friday is calling for north winds 5 to 15 knots and west waves 6 feet at 10 seconds. Saturday is calling for winds out of the north 5 to 10 knots with northwest waves 5 feet at five seconds and northwest 4 feet at 14 seconds. Sunday looks similiar. Winds will be from the northwest 5 to 15 knots with northwest waves 5 feet at five seconds and west 4 feet at 15 seconds. For an up-to-date weather forecast, visit or

Englund Marine Eureka Grand Opening May 5

Englund Marine Eureka will be holding a grand opening celebration on Friday, May 5 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. with the Eureka Chamber of Commerce. There will be sale prices on clothing, boots and raingear all day long. Englund Marine's new location is 590 West Waterfront Drive, Eureka.

HASA dinner and fundraiser coming May 13

The annual Humboldt Area Saltwater Anglers (HASA) fundraiser dinner and auction will be held Saturday, May 13, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Sequoia Conference Center, 901 Myrtle Ave. in Eureka. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for kids. Guest speaker will be Del Stephens on how to improve your albacore fishing skills. There will be a kids raffle and table, as well as other raffles. Tickets are available from Englund Marine and board members. Local sponsors include Englund Marine, RMI Outdoors, and Redwood Coast Spreader Bars. For more information, email [email protected]

The Rivers:

Reminder: The South Fork Eel, Van Duzen, Mattole, Mad, Redwood Cree and Chetco rivers all closed to fishing March 31.


The Smith was right around 9.5 feet on the Jed Smith gauge Wednesday and should be in excellent shape all week. Fishing reports have been hard to come by as most anglers have moved on for the season. There should be some downers around a few fresh ones still making their way upriver.

Eel (main stem)

As of Wednesday, the main Eel was running at 8,800 cubic feet per second on the Scotia gauge and dropping slightly. It's predicted to drop through the week before rising again on the weekend. It's getting close to being fishable but needs to get down to 5,000 cfs. That could happen next week. The main stem Eel to the South Fork is open all year. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used from Apr. 1 through Sept. 30.

Lower Rogue

Spring salmon fishing has been surprisingly good on the lower Rogue, according to Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing. "Plunkers are catching fish on Spin-N-Glos, 4.0 MagLips and Brads plug cut lures at Huntley Park and Lobster Creek," said Martin. "Guides anchoring near Elephant Rock and the Willows caught limits of salmon over the weekend with anchovies and spinner blades, as big numbers of hatchery springers moved through. Conditions remain good for this weekend."

Brookings ocean update

Lingcod and rockfish continue to be good out of Brookings on nice weather days according to Martin. "Lingcod remain in shallow water, while thicker schools of rockfish have moved inshore. The forecast for Friday and Saturday looks promising. Surfperch are biting well at numerous Brookings-area beaches, although fishing along the jetties is slow because of high water in the Chetco. Pacific halibut season opens May 1. Coho salmon season opens in the ocean out of Brookings June 17."

Kenny Priest operates Fishing the North Coast, a fishing guide service out of Humboldt specializing in salmon and steelhead. Find it on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and For up-to-date fishing reports and North Coast river information, email [email protected].

Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

About The Author

Kenny Priest

more from the author

Latest in Fishing the North Coast

Readers also liked…


Facebook | Twitter

© 2024 North Coast Journal

Website powered by Foundation