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The albacore are coming! No, they’re probably not.

Trout season is wrapping up as lakes prepare for catfish season.

Missing the longfin? Get your fresh albacore fix at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.
Missing the longfin? Get your fresh albacore fix at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.

Dock Totals 3/19– 4/1: 1,359 anglers aboard 62 half-day to 3-day trips out of San Diego landings over the past two weeks caught 18 bluefin tuna (to 120 pounds), 39 bocaccio, 17 calico bass (21 released), 1 halibut, 7 lingcod, 26 perch, 28 spiny lobster (86 released), 2,032 rockfish, 7 rock sole, 132 sand bass, 469 sanddab, 536 sculpin, 120 sheephead, 1 white croaker, 1,573 whitefish, and 131 yellowtail.

Saltwater: Albacore! Well, maybe more of an April Fool’s thing, but like clockwork, springtime in San Diego brings the annual sportfishing pundits’ projections of ‘the albacore are coming...back’, and like clockwork over the last two decades, the albacore do not come within range of the fleet. Oh, they’re out there right now, about 550 to 700-miles due west, where it would take a three-day run just to get to the area and have a chance at them. Not only would it be a long trip, but it would be a gamble in an area too deep for any other options if the longfins aren’t there or do not bite. That said, albacore are targeted by long-liners working the area who will put out jigs between pulling longlines and returning to port. The Pacific Horizon picked up some as close as 540 miles west of Point Loma…still way too far for the recreational fleet.

Runs may be cyclical and who really knows if the albacore migrations will come close to San Diego again, though, with last year’s dorado run in numbers and further north than seen before, it seems as though the fishery is changing with the slowly warming Pacific. As sea ice coverage and duration in the Bering Sea has been lessening on average over recent decades, biosphere residents have been adjusting. Snow crab is all but gone to cooler waters in Russian territory, leaving the crab fleet scrambling to refit for other species. Pacific cod are moving out while haddock is moving in. Gray whales are having tougher years, as their summertime food source, arthropods that depend on sea ice algae, are diminishing in their feeding grounds.

So, again, we will hear how everything is lining up for a ‘maybe’ year on albacore in Southern California waters, and if we get more than a couple in the counts for the entire season, I will be surprised. You can get fresh-caught albacore in San Diego, commercial operators like Haworth catch them far offshore as the fish make their way toward their new near-shore area; Westport Washington on the Washington/Oregon border. So, no recreational albacore, but there is good news if you need your white meat tuna fix; fresh off the boat albacore goes for around $3 a pound whole and $10 per pound for fillets at Haworth or the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.

Albacore rumors aside, bluefin tuna have been out there in their normal offshore haunts, and finally, weather windows are opening enough for boats to get out and find them. The Royal Polaris got into a few up to 120 pounds on a 3-day run, and signs are good off the Cortez down to the Finger Bank and high spots off northern Baja. Yellowtail are showing at the Coronado Islands and high spots to the south and should start showing more in the counts as the 1-1.5-day fleet gets back online after winter maintenance and trade show season. Also a bonus for SoCal anglers is the opening of groundfish beyond the fifty-fathom line. The rockfish opener on April 1st resulted in over 1,700 fish caught by 470 anglers on ½ to full-day trips out of San Diego landings.

Sponsored
Sponsored

As the season is looking good for the fleet, it is also shaping up well for those fishing beach and bays. Surf perch have been biting well, and though sand crabs are hit and miss this time of year if around, the perch, corbina, and croaker are responding well to Gulp Sandworms, micro plastics, and Lucky Craft-type stickbaits. Halibut have been sliding into the shallows in the bays in what seems to be a spawn cycle. Though typically a May-June thing, halibut can spawn at any time of the year, and that they spawn in two-week ‘batches’, halibut can slide into the shallows in the surf or bays at any point. All in all, the coming season is looking pretty good, even if the albacore stick to their guns and head again for Westport and the cooler climes they prefer.

On the freshwater scene, trout season is wrapping up in San Diego County as most lakes prepare for the upcoming catfish stocking season. Cuyamaca, the only lake in the county that stocks trout year-round, is hosting the Western Outdoor News event Troutcast on the weekend of April 15th – 16th. Registration/Check-In will be held Friday, April 14, but organizers will allow check-in Saturday, April 15th at the Lake from 6AM until 8AM. With grab bags for every entrant, 16 big fish awards, thousands in prizes and giveaways, Troutcast is great fun for the whole family, and everyone is a winner. Troutcast will be limited to only 600 entries. It will fill up fast, so don’t delay. For more information on the winter Troutcast at Lake Cuyamaca, visit Western Outdoor News or Lake Cuyamaca websites.

Lobster season is a wrap, groundfish are open to any depth, and pelagic season is just around the corner and already looking good. All positive signs as we hold on to the promise of coming summer as though we were mountain folk in Montana. After a wild and wet winter 2023 that has thus far featured 13 atmospheric rivers and a year’s worth of moisture in a couple months, it’s time to get out and shake off the effects of a condition rarely found in San Diego: Cabin fever.

They’re out there, so go get ‘em!

Hot Trips:

3/20 – The Polaris Supreme called in with limits of 120 yellowtail along with 18 bluefin tuna to 120 pounds for the 24 anglers aboard their 3-day run.

3/23 – One last trip for the season resulted in 28 lobster kept (86 released) by the 10 hoop-netters aboard the final Jig Strike Twilight lobster run of the season.

3/24 – 16 anglers aboard the San Diego Full-Day run to the Coronado Islands boated 80 whitefish, 25 rockfish, 5 sheephead, and 5 yellowtail.

3/28 – The Premier ¾-Day run returned to the dock with 118 whitefish, 25 sculpin, 5 sheephead, and 4 sand bass for the 26 anglers aboard.

4/1 – The San Diego Full Day trip with 27 anglers aboard called in with 90 whitefish, 173 rockfish, 3 lingcod, and 3 yellowtail in the hold.

Fish Plants: 4/4 – Lake Jennings, trout (1,500), 4/16 – Lake Wohlford, trout (1,500), 4/21 - Santee Lakes, catfish (2,500)

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Missing the longfin? Get your fresh albacore fix at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.
Missing the longfin? Get your fresh albacore fix at Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.

Dock Totals 3/19– 4/1: 1,359 anglers aboard 62 half-day to 3-day trips out of San Diego landings over the past two weeks caught 18 bluefin tuna (to 120 pounds), 39 bocaccio, 17 calico bass (21 released), 1 halibut, 7 lingcod, 26 perch, 28 spiny lobster (86 released), 2,032 rockfish, 7 rock sole, 132 sand bass, 469 sanddab, 536 sculpin, 120 sheephead, 1 white croaker, 1,573 whitefish, and 131 yellowtail.

Saltwater: Albacore! Well, maybe more of an April Fool’s thing, but like clockwork, springtime in San Diego brings the annual sportfishing pundits’ projections of ‘the albacore are coming...back’, and like clockwork over the last two decades, the albacore do not come within range of the fleet. Oh, they’re out there right now, about 550 to 700-miles due west, where it would take a three-day run just to get to the area and have a chance at them. Not only would it be a long trip, but it would be a gamble in an area too deep for any other options if the longfins aren’t there or do not bite. That said, albacore are targeted by long-liners working the area who will put out jigs between pulling longlines and returning to port. The Pacific Horizon picked up some as close as 540 miles west of Point Loma…still way too far for the recreational fleet.

Runs may be cyclical and who really knows if the albacore migrations will come close to San Diego again, though, with last year’s dorado run in numbers and further north than seen before, it seems as though the fishery is changing with the slowly warming Pacific. As sea ice coverage and duration in the Bering Sea has been lessening on average over recent decades, biosphere residents have been adjusting. Snow crab is all but gone to cooler waters in Russian territory, leaving the crab fleet scrambling to refit for other species. Pacific cod are moving out while haddock is moving in. Gray whales are having tougher years, as their summertime food source, arthropods that depend on sea ice algae, are diminishing in their feeding grounds.

So, again, we will hear how everything is lining up for a ‘maybe’ year on albacore in Southern California waters, and if we get more than a couple in the counts for the entire season, I will be surprised. You can get fresh-caught albacore in San Diego, commercial operators like Haworth catch them far offshore as the fish make their way toward their new near-shore area; Westport Washington on the Washington/Oregon border. So, no recreational albacore, but there is good news if you need your white meat tuna fix; fresh off the boat albacore goes for around $3 a pound whole and $10 per pound for fillets at Haworth or the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market.

Albacore rumors aside, bluefin tuna have been out there in their normal offshore haunts, and finally, weather windows are opening enough for boats to get out and find them. The Royal Polaris got into a few up to 120 pounds on a 3-day run, and signs are good off the Cortez down to the Finger Bank and high spots off northern Baja. Yellowtail are showing at the Coronado Islands and high spots to the south and should start showing more in the counts as the 1-1.5-day fleet gets back online after winter maintenance and trade show season. Also a bonus for SoCal anglers is the opening of groundfish beyond the fifty-fathom line. The rockfish opener on April 1st resulted in over 1,700 fish caught by 470 anglers on ½ to full-day trips out of San Diego landings.

Sponsored
Sponsored

As the season is looking good for the fleet, it is also shaping up well for those fishing beach and bays. Surf perch have been biting well, and though sand crabs are hit and miss this time of year if around, the perch, corbina, and croaker are responding well to Gulp Sandworms, micro plastics, and Lucky Craft-type stickbaits. Halibut have been sliding into the shallows in the bays in what seems to be a spawn cycle. Though typically a May-June thing, halibut can spawn at any time of the year, and that they spawn in two-week ‘batches’, halibut can slide into the shallows in the surf or bays at any point. All in all, the coming season is looking pretty good, even if the albacore stick to their guns and head again for Westport and the cooler climes they prefer.

On the freshwater scene, trout season is wrapping up in San Diego County as most lakes prepare for the upcoming catfish stocking season. Cuyamaca, the only lake in the county that stocks trout year-round, is hosting the Western Outdoor News event Troutcast on the weekend of April 15th – 16th. Registration/Check-In will be held Friday, April 14, but organizers will allow check-in Saturday, April 15th at the Lake from 6AM until 8AM. With grab bags for every entrant, 16 big fish awards, thousands in prizes and giveaways, Troutcast is great fun for the whole family, and everyone is a winner. Troutcast will be limited to only 600 entries. It will fill up fast, so don’t delay. For more information on the winter Troutcast at Lake Cuyamaca, visit Western Outdoor News or Lake Cuyamaca websites.

Lobster season is a wrap, groundfish are open to any depth, and pelagic season is just around the corner and already looking good. All positive signs as we hold on to the promise of coming summer as though we were mountain folk in Montana. After a wild and wet winter 2023 that has thus far featured 13 atmospheric rivers and a year’s worth of moisture in a couple months, it’s time to get out and shake off the effects of a condition rarely found in San Diego: Cabin fever.

They’re out there, so go get ‘em!

Hot Trips:

3/20 – The Polaris Supreme called in with limits of 120 yellowtail along with 18 bluefin tuna to 120 pounds for the 24 anglers aboard their 3-day run.

3/23 – One last trip for the season resulted in 28 lobster kept (86 released) by the 10 hoop-netters aboard the final Jig Strike Twilight lobster run of the season.

3/24 – 16 anglers aboard the San Diego Full-Day run to the Coronado Islands boated 80 whitefish, 25 rockfish, 5 sheephead, and 5 yellowtail.

3/28 – The Premier ¾-Day run returned to the dock with 118 whitefish, 25 sculpin, 5 sheephead, and 4 sand bass for the 26 anglers aboard.

4/1 – The San Diego Full Day trip with 27 anglers aboard called in with 90 whitefish, 173 rockfish, 3 lingcod, and 3 yellowtail in the hold.

Fish Plants: 4/4 – Lake Jennings, trout (1,500), 4/16 – Lake Wohlford, trout (1,500), 4/21 - Santee Lakes, catfish (2,500)

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