Close encounters with Sasquatch trout – Part III
Fishing and hunting
(READER WARNING: The first part of this column is not about fishing.)
The morning after our all-day drift on the McKenzie River, Dottie and I awoke to sunny skies, packed our fly rods and other gear in the car and headed west, northwest through Eugene and north into the heart of the Willamette Valley's Wine Country. The purpose of our next two days was not to catch trout, but to taste some of Oregon's famous pinot noir. Because this is not a wine column, I won't go into any details, but if you like pinot noir, a trip to this part of Oregon is well worth it. We stopped at a half dozen or so small wineries, enjoyed the tastings – Oregon pinots are somewhat dryer, with less alcohol than most California pinots we've tasted.
We spent the night in McMinnville, took in the Evergreen Air and Space Museum, where Howard Hughes' famous “Spruce Goose” is now on exhibit, visited more wineries in nearby Carlton and tasted more pinot.
Our final destination was Portland, where we enjoyed three great days with our son Ryan and his fiancé, Rachel Griffith. In Portland we found another great VRBO house on the heights overlooking the city very near the Portland Rose Test Garden and Hoyt Arboretum.
Except for the fact that there is not a good trout stream flowing through it (the Willamette and Columbia Rivers don't count), Portland is a great vacation destination, we are already planning our next trip, with just a few more days of fly-fishing on the way there.
Now, back to fishing...
Monster sturgeon in large schools are putting bends in rods and smiles on anglers this month as report after report indicates action for these prehistoric creatures is hotter than it has been in many years. Keith Fraser, perhaps the best known authority and author of a book on sturgeon fishing in Bay Area waters, told me this week that the sturgeon fishing is “Off the charts!” Not only are anglers hooking lots of fish, many of them are so big (over the 66 maximum-inch limit) that they must be released. Earlier this year, one San Francisco fisherman caught and released a sturgeon that he estimated was more than nine-feet long and weighed more than a thousand pounds.
Diane Mowery, at Leonard's Bait Shop at Port Sonoma, also confirmed Keith's report saying that she has had throngs of fishermen in buying live shrimp and heading for San Pablo Bay's legendary “Sturgeon Triangle,” an area bounded by the Pump House, China Camp and Buoy 5.
Keith is booking party boat trips for sturgeon fishing at his Loch Lomond Bait Shop. Call him at 415-456-0321.
Over at the Sonoma Coast, Capt. Rick Powers is finding some salmon for his clients and is looking forward to Monday, when he will be able to also take anglers out for rock and ling cod trips. He plans to offer “Combo” salmon, rock and ling cod trips for $90 a day. Call Rick at 875-3344 to book a trip.
While fishing at Clear Lake and Lake Sonoma was slow this week, I read a report that some guys are having good luck fishing for bass at Lake Berryessa. Also, the Department of Fish and Game planted rainbow trout in Berryessa this week. They also put some in Lake Bon Tempe and Lagunitas Lake in Marin.
Bob Grace, at the Ted Fay Fly Shop in Dunsmuir, said that the upper Sacramento River is too high to fish right now, but the McCloud is fishable. He expects conditions to improve steadily over the next week or so.