Eureka Salmon Around – If Headed to Cape Mendocino

By: Gary Blasi

It’s been a very odd year on California’s North Coast. This El Nino has things weird. Conditions have been changing hourly, which has made the salmon go to the bottom, them go away and then come back. Everyday has been different. There hasn’t been a pattern we can follow.

Basically, there’s a warm water mass that’s off California that’s larger than ever. Salmon generally like 50-54 degree water. We are fishing in 60-degree water everyday. Salmon like cold water. This is tuna water. We’re still catching them, but we have to travel far distances and adjust daily to find pockets of cool water. If you want to work at it there’s definitely fish around, though.


There’s plenty of king salmon around. However, I think they are all offshore. And another factor to consider is this is the first year in 15 years the salmon aren’t loaded with krill. I haven’t seen krill in them this year. Usually they are beer can size bellies of krill in them. Instead they are eating short belly rockfish. Nothing is normal this year.


There’s a lot less pressure this summer because there’s fewer salmon close to Eureka Harbor than there were last year. Sport guys aren’t as eager to make an hour and a half run each way. And, where the salmon have been hanging out (Cape Mendocino) is a dangerous part of the coast. People are afraid of The Cape. It can go from beautiful and flat calm to dangerous in a few minutes there and if it does that you have 22 miles to go to get out of it. On the other hand, when we go we catch lots of salmon.


Unlike last year we haven’t been fishing right outside of Humboldt Bay this summer. Instead, we’ve had to run 22 miles south of the harbor to Cape Mendocino to get our salmon and we’ll continue to do the same thing through the rest of the season. There’s fish there now and when the weather is calm we can target them. Right now we are finding fish in that area from 30-70 feet deep and some of them are big salmon.


We’ve been writing these blogs for a few years and my techniques haven’t changed. I’m using the same method we have for the last few years. It’s no secret what we are doing. It’s the same thing everyone else out here is doing. We’re running Chartreuse Fire Brine anchovies fished in a Bechold Rotary Head on 30-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon and 40-pound Power Pro as a mainline. It’s that simple. Put the chartreuse in the water and you’ll catch salmon like we do.


Editor’s Note: Salmon season ends September 7 between Horse Mountain (right above Shelter Cove) on up to the Oregon Border. Gary Blasi operates Full Throttle Sport Fishing. For more info on his guided Cape Mendocino salmon trips please visit