Eureka/Trinidad Advice Needed

Chris Finet

Newbie
May 6, 2015
9
0
35
Name
Chris
Boat
13 ft Zodiac
Hi Guys,
I’m headed to Eureka for a few days 7/14-7/19 to see a buddy and his family who are about to move overseas for a military post. I’m bringing my 20ft boat and have been doing a bunch of research on the area. I live in AZ and fish the Sea of Cortez often but will be my first time in Eureka. Any advice would be appreciated.

I think the plan is to rent a slip at the Woodley Island Marina to make it easier for us to take the wives and kids out for a short while each day. We would hope to get out to try for halibut or salmon with just my friend and then spend some time in the bay later in the day with the rest of the group.

Is it worth dropping crab pots in the bay this time of year or should we be looking for deeper water?

I’ve also been looking at Trinidad and I’m wondering if it would be a better plan to tow the boat up there for a couple days to crab and fish the rocks. Is it easier to get in/out of the harbor at Trinidad than Eureka with the bar crossing considered?

I’ve been looking at charts to plan out some potential spots for halibut and/or rock fish. Salmon would be great but it sounds like there’s not much around right now. It looks like there’s more structure near Trinidad and deep water a little closer.

I’ve got a good start on gear to use but will need to pick up some bait, heavy weights, and maybe a couple other things. Is Englund the place to go, or Salty’s in Trinidad?

Sorry for all the questions. Thanks in advance to anyone willing to help.

Chris
 

mike garrahan

TheSabreGuy
Sep 7, 2007
1,857
1,642
la habra hts
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mike garrahan
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23 ft. crestliner
I have been fishing Trinidad every summer for the past 30 years. As a matter of fact I will be going up this Thursday for a week or ten days. Trinidad is a lot different than fishing out of Eureka. Eureka has a free launch ramp just south of Englund marine but it is a long way through the bay to get out to the open ocean. At Trinidad you have to launch from a hoist and then they lower the cart down to the water. The cost is $25 to $30 per launch. You can rent a mooring by the day or week, again it is about $25 a day.
Usually the fishing for salmon and halibut is better out of Trinidad but that is not always the case. At Trinidad you just have to go 1 or 2 miles straight out from the harbor and you are in good salmon water. If the salmon don't want to bite you can go out to 150' or 200' and try for halibut. That depth is only about 3 or 3.5 miles out. The rockcod and lingcod are found just north of the harbor, often in only 40' or 50' of water.
My brother talked to some people who are up there right now and they said the weather was really windy for about a week and nobody went out. The wind died down the past three days and everybody has been going out. They are catching a few salmon right now so it might be pretty good in the next couple of weeks.
Englund marine has a ton of tackle but you can also find tackle at Walmart and the Payless in Eureka. There is a really good tackle shop on Guintoli Lane just north of Arcata. I think it is called Northcoast outfitters or something like that. The guys are fisherman and they usually have the latest info on what is happening.
Salty's in Trinidad has turned into more of a surf shop but they have all the tackle you could want but the prices are high. You can get bait at the market in Trinidad or at the bait shop next to the boat launcher. They also have a lot of tackle at the bait shop but again you will pay top dollar.
The good thing about Trinidad is that even if the salmon and halibut are not biting you can usually catch all the rockcod you want with a few lings mixed in. Also the scenery out of Trinidad is 10 times nicer than fishing out of Eureka.
 

Chris Finet

Newbie
May 6, 2015
9
0
35
Name
Chris
Boat
13 ft Zodiac
Thanks Mike! That’s some great info. We’ve got an AirBnB rental in Eureka, so the marina there would be super convenient... but it sounds like more fishing opportunities in Trinidad if the weather cooperates. We’ll probably end up taking the boat up there at least a day or two.

Is there much difference (aside from the distance) getting in/out of the harbor between Trinidad vs. Eureka? I’ve had my boat in rough water plenty of times but don’t have a lot of experience crossing a bar like in Eureka.

I would love to drop some crab pots as we head out to fish each morning. Is that an option both places or is one better?

Thanks again for the help!
 

atun53

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Nov 27, 2005
200
112
Oceanside, CA
Name
Chris Johnson
Boat
Skiff
I haven’t lived there in 17 years, but I always preferred crewing on a boat that ran out of Trinidad. Its the summer so it’s not the worst, but I have pictures of guys tow in surfing the bar between the Eureka jetties. More structure off Trinidad to rockfish, scenery is much nicer. If the wind is up and you can’t get out of Trinidad, you shouldn’t be out. Salty hasn’t been a good tackle shop in 20 years. Other option is to trailer down to Shelter Cove.
 
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mike garrahan

TheSabreGuy
Sep 7, 2007
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mike garrahan
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23 ft. crestliner
If you run out of Eureka you have to travel 4 or 5 miles through the bay to get down to the opening between North and South jetty then you have to go more miles, maybe 3, 4 or 5 to get out to the area where the salmon and halibut are. From Trinidad you just go straight west from the harbor and you are in good fishing water at the whistle which is only one mile out. The rockcod area is just as close, just off flatiron rock which is maybe 1/2 mile outside the harbor. The area directly south of the harbor is where everyone drops their crab pots. It is usually very productive.
You can usually tell how the weather is when you are driving down the hill to the pier. If the swells are really bad you will see them breaking over the splash rocks just north of the head. The weather can get really bad and if that is the case we just wait for a better day.
Usually it is foggy in the mornings and the wind is not too bad. There can be some big swells coming from the Northwest but once you get out to about 100' or 120' they won't be as bad. If the wind does come up when you are 4 or 5 miles out it is usually pretty easy to get back to the harbor. The wind and swells are usually from the Northwest and they will be at your back as you come in. You need to be careful not to get too far south. The current is usually to the south and it can be pretty strong. If you are not paying attention you can drift well south of the harbor and if the wind comes up it is a rough wet ride trying to get back to the harbor.
The drive from Eureka to Trinidad is not too bad. I think it is about 17 miles. We drive it all the time to go to Costco or Walmart for groceries.
 
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Chris Finet

Newbie
May 6, 2015
9
0
35
Name
Chris
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13 ft Zodiac
Are Godfather Rigs the way to go for halibut? I got some spreader bars but had a hard time justifying $50 a pop for the rig.
 
Jul 18, 2013
2
0
San Diego C.A
Name
alex
Boat
mojo
Right now fishing has been really tough for salmon only a couple being caught and most are barley legal in my opinion not worth the effort to find em. Pacific halibut has been really good find ledges anywhere from 200-400 ft of water to get the bigger models. Everyone has been heading out of Trinidad but there are other really good spots south you just gotta motor a few miles to get to the zone an find em. Calihalis have been tough the last two weeks as the water temps in the bay are petty low, yesterday the sea surface temp off the coast guard station was 50 degrees at high but there are definitely fish stacked up in north bay just gotta beat the crowds to get em.
 
Jul 18, 2013
2
0
San Diego C.A
Name
alex
Boat
mojo
As for lings and rock fish fish 30-40 ft of water off the small islands or boilers north of the Trinidad head. Redding rock is always producing off Orick but its a bit of a motor out there and there's a MPA off of there so know your boundary lines but generally there's great lingcod fishing. strap up with at lest 30lb tes as there's some big boiiiis down there.
 

atun53

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Nov 27, 2005
200
112
Oceanside, CA
Name
Chris Johnson
Boat
Skiff
I used to beach launch my kayak and paddle out to Redding Rock. Ate well for a broke college student, but man looking back what was I thinking. I ran into the taxman a couple times south of Trinidad as well.
 

Baja Rattler

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jan 10, 2006
112
69
N. Cal
Name
John
Boat
Bayrunner
Trinidad has had a decent bite on salmon the past few days mostly 6-10 pounders with a few in the low twenties... lot of shakers and silvers as well. Who knows how long they will hang around.

Pac Halibut has been really good in both Eureka and Trinidad 250-300 feet lots of small ones (10-15lb) with some dandy's now and then.
I think the Godfather rigs are all sold out right now, plenty of been caught on spreader bars so don't let that stop you.

Trinidad rockfish is always pretty good.
John

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Chris Finet

Newbie
May 6, 2015
9
0
35
Name
Chris
Boat
13 ft Zodiac
Thanks Guys!
That gives me a great starting point. I’ll keep an eye on the forecast and will probably split the time between fishing Trinidad and Humboldt Bay if the weather looks rough.

I appreciate all the help and would be happy to return the favor if anyone is headed to AZ or Northern Sea of Cortez.

I’ll hope to report success later next week.
 

mike garrahan

TheSabreGuy
Sep 7, 2007
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mike garrahan
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I got to Trinidad Thursday afternoon. We had to do some work on the boat and didn't get launched until about noon Friday. We went out by Flatiron rock and caught about a half dozen rockcod.
The latest info is that most of the halibut being caught are straight west of the harbor in about 240' of water. The salmon are mostly being caught about 5 miles north of the harbor around Patricks Point in around 160' to 180' of water and 60' down on the downrigger. Salmon fishing is a little tough right now. A lot of shakers and smaller fish but some good ones around 15 to 20 pounds.
Yesterday we went out and fished halibut for 2 or 3 hours with no luck. We came back inside and fished for rockcod just outside the second splashrock which is about 1 or 1.5 miles north of the harbor. We got 2 limits of black snapper, some reds plus a nice cabazon and 2 medium size lings.
The weather has been OK the last couple of days. Going out in the morning is mostly 3' to 4' swells from the northwest. The wind has been picking up around noon or one o'clock so you want to get out early.
The weather is supposed to get worse starting Monday and you may not be able to fish for a couple of days. Today is not supposed to be too bad so we are going to run up to Patricks Point to fish for salmon and if we don't have any luck we will fish for rockcod on the way back.
 

Chris Finet

Newbie
May 6, 2015
9
0
35
Name
Chris
Boat
13 ft Zodiac
That’s awesome Mike. Thanks for the info. We’re getting in on Tuesday to Eureka and hope to fish Trinidad at least a couple days that week. We’re there until Sunday.

I’ll keep an eye on the wind forecast to decide whether we fish Humboldt Bay or out of Trinidad for halibut or salmon. I’ve got a 20ft deep-v, closed bow fiberglass boat that does well for a boat it’s size but I also don’t want to get caught too far outside if things turn rough. What would you say is a reasonable swell/duration to be semi-comfortable in that area? From what I can tell, Mon/Tues look a little rough with the rest of the week calming down according to the forecast at this point.

Does anyone know if it’s worth crabbing in Humboldt Bay this time of year? Being near the end of the season I could see it going either way.

If anyone is looking for a buddy boat sometime this coming week let me know. If nothing else I think I owe Mike a few beers.

Thank All!
 

Baja Rattler

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jan 10, 2006
112
69
N. Cal
Name
John
Boat
Bayrunner
I work at Trinidad harbor.
Early to mid week I think your best bet is Humboldt Bay for crab and cali buts
Looks like you rolled craps on the weather for offshore until saturday or sunday
Hopefully you can extend your vacation until MTW next week looks like a flat calm.
 

mike garrahan

TheSabreGuy
Sep 7, 2007
1,857
1,642
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Name
mike garrahan
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23 ft. crestliner
The weather turned bad today. Wind is 15 to 20 knots with 9ft swells at 9 sec intervals. The weather Tues and Wed is supposed to be the same or worse. We headed over to my brothers house in Medford for a couple of days and we will return to Trinidad on Thursday. The weather on Fri, Sat and Sun is supposed to be OK so we will give it another try then.
 

Then

Member
Apr 7, 2012
43
27
Santa Cruz CA
Name
Tristen
Boat
Reel Hooker 228 Grady White
Sounds like you got your game plan Mike. I was up with the family to visit the in laws in Arcata the last 6 days. Father in law has a big Grady White and we got turned around a few miles outside the jaws Friday late morning. The salmon bite turned on sat sun though. We went Sunday for Halis since my freezer in Santa Cruz is full of salmon. Got one Pac Hali about 12 lbs and dropped in on some bait in front of the harbor for a few short strikes on salmon. We were using those lighted godfather rigs with 2 lb lead and salmon bellies in 320'. I hope that sea lays down for you. It's no joke up there!