As spring turns to summer the Monterey Bay and its fish are also in transition. The great start to salmon fishing has taken a serious turn as anglers seek other species.
The water does seem to be warmer than normal for this time of year. I am usually hesitant to tout the “El Nino” words but this year may be warmer then most with the indications we see now. The bay has large areas of brown jelly fish “Pacific Sea Nettle” that have moved around from Moss Landing to Soquel Hole. The jelly fish are not uncommon but we usually see them during the warmer months of summer. The water has ranged from 54 to 58 and is warmer than normal. We have had heavy Northwest winds and the average temps this time of year range from 50 to 55 degrees. The water has also been very clear, and 50 miles out we already have a push of 60 degree water. Despite the warm water the bay is loaded with baitfish, as schools of anchovies are located outside Moss Landing and as many as 40 Humpback whales have been seen feeding on them.
For now salmon seem to be further north in cooler waters. There are good signs of salmon from Half Moon Bay to Eureka right now. These areas are hosting conditions with 54 degree, brown water with krill for the salmon to feed of. This time of year salmon remain further from shore and the 50 fathom curve seems to be a productive zone. I do believe as summer settles in salmon will return to Monterey Bay to feed on anchovies in the deeper spots of the Bay. Salmon also return due to release stocks of Chinooks that Monetery Bay Salmon and Trout Project release.
At this time fishing for rockfish lingcod and halibut are top picks in the Bay. Lingcod seem most abundant and are topping the fish charts. Rockfish have been hit or miss lately with fluctuation water temps and swells rolling into the Bay. Halibut have made a nice early showing with some large fish in the mix and more halibut will show as summer unfolds.
I hope you can get out for some inshore fishing and be prepared if salmon come back into the Bay.