There is Plenty of Fishing to Do With 7 Rivers and One Big Ocean
From clams to halibut, Humboldt county has great surf fishing. Some of the best known areas are:
Gold Bluff Beach
Mouth of the Mad River
Jetties at the Mouth of Humboldt Bay
The best time to surf fish is during the period from 1 to 2 hours before, during, and 1 to 2 hours after high tides. Early morning within the first 2 hours of daylight and early evening hours during a full moon are the best time of the day. Fish are active in surf up to 5 feet and tend to hide when waves are bigger.
When looking for an area to fish, keep in mind most species feed off food that is stirred up as the surf breaks. When not actively feeding these fish can be found in quiet waters in depressions close to or within the surf. Holes, rock beds, and troughs are good places to find fish during higher tides.
Quieter, smoother surface water indicates deep holes and troughs. Double breaking waves indicate deep water between the breaks that may hold fish. An area of calm water surrounded by breaking surf indicates a deep hole. Areas around the mouths of streams or rivers can be very productive, especially 2 to 3 days after a winter storm. A good area is at the edge of the confluence of fresh and salt water.
Humboldt Bay offers some excellent fishing for a wide variety of species - shark, red rock crab, and perch. Fish the jetties for ling cod and other rock fish. No fishing licenses are required on the North and South Jetties from the ocean out, the Fields Landing Boat Ramp, F St. Dock, Somoa Boat Ramp, Bonnie Gool Guest Dock, Adorni Center Dock, and the Del Norte St. Pier.
California and Pacific halibut are both found in the waters off Humboldt county. California halibut are the main focus of the Bay fishermen. While these fish can reach a size of 50-75 lbs, the average keeper runs from 8-16 lbs. The Pacific halibut is the monster of the family reaching weights of 400 lbs in Alaskan waters. These fish are generally found outside the Bay.
Halibut fishing is generally good in shallow water with sandy bottoms. This offers the shore fishermen the best chance for these tasty fish. Piers and break waters located adjacent to sanding bottoms are also good spots. The best fishing is on an incoming tide, about 2 hours before the high tide being the best. The period of slack water at high tide can also produce. In Humboldt Bay halibut fishing is best during June, July, and August.
A key to catching halibut is to remember that they are a predator, not a scavenger. They're attracted to moving bait. Casting lures and using a slow retrieve is the best method for the shore angler.
There is an abundance of fishing on the north coast with 7 rivers to choose from in our area: Mattole, Van Duzen, Eel, Mad, Redwood Creek, Klamath and Smith.
Check out this site for fishing information on North Coast Rivers:
There you’ll find maps, tips and information for the serious fisherperson.