I hope everyone has had a great summer on the ocean. Despite the lack of a salmon season for those of us fishing north of Horse Mountain, we have been fortunate to have other opportunities this year. The California halibut have shown up in great numbers in Humboldt Bay, the Pacific halibut bite has been very good when the ocean is cooperating, and albacore have finally returned to northern California in good numbers after a 3-year absence. With the good numbers of California halibut in the bay, there are a lot of sub-legal fish that are being caught and released. Survival of released California halibut is very sensitive to how they are handled, so CDFW has prepared a very nice flyer on proper handling (see page 18-19).
Checking the Pacific halibut in-season tracking today, the current estimate is that there is only about 5,000 lbs remaining for our 2017 allocation, so get back out there and catch a halibut. I had the privilege to see an 81-lb monster caught by Lonnie Dollarhide on the Reel Steel, which is now the leader in the halibut derby. Sounds like it was quite an adventure landing that fish!
HASA has developed their 2017/18 budget, and we have several priorities for the coming year. In addition to the normal representation efforts, we are increasing our efforts to support fishing derbies to initiate the next generation of saltwater anglers, improvements in our dock facilities, and support of a short-term and long-term dredging plan for Humboldt Bay. We are also supporting the effort to relocate the Trinidad lighthouse and fishermen’s memorial to a long-term home. The Trinidad Pier Kids Fishing Tournament is being held on Saturday, September 17 from 9:30 am to 2:00 pm, so spread the word and take your kids to this great event, there will be lots of fun and prizes. Also, speaking of dredging, we are happy to report that dredging at the Eureka boat ramp and boat basin will commence in the next few days, which is critical for recreational and commercial boating use in Humboldt Bay. We are hopeful that coming efforts will be focusing on a long-term dredging plan that is integrated with local tidal marsh restoration efforts, such that dredged material can be economically used in the tidal marsh restoration projects, a “win-win” situation. Thanks to all that have helped make this happen this year, and for everyone’s patience in this challenging process.
To everyone’s horror, the Humboldt Tuna Club webpage went down last week, at the worst possible time when the tuna bite was hot. A temporary site has just been fired up (www.humboldttunaclub.com/smf), so you will have to create a new user and log in (basically starting from scratch). We have been blessed with Bob Taylor’s maintenance of this site, and appreciate his efforts to get it back up and running.
As usual, Casey and contributors have put together some very interesting articles in the following pages, which you should enjoy. There are a few more articles on the California Recreational Fisheries Survey sampling (CRFS, page 12-15) that will hopefully shed more light on how the dock surveys are translated into harvest estimates. If you would like to contribute an article to future newsletters, or have suggestions on a topic you think would be interesting to HASA members, please share with Casey (firstname.lastname@example.org).