Weekend action could be great; Leland expo
Fishing and hunting
BECKY CHIURCO (left), Jon Diederich and Mike Chiurco all had nice catches of sturgeon last week in San Pablo Bay.
Anglers have two good weekends to look forward to. First, this weekend could be outstanding sturgeon and striped-bass fishing in the waters just south of Sonoma (if the wind doesn't blow too hard), and then next weekend Leland Fly Fishing Ranch holds its Fly Fishing Expo and grand reopening event.
Today through Sunday (April 10), the best action will be close to Sonoma, virtually at the Valley's entrance to San Pablo Bay from Sonoma Creek west to the Pump House and China Camp.
I heard lots of reports of good sturgeon catches, plus an amazing “monster fish” story that smells slightly like an April Fools story.
Right now anglers are having good sturgeon action in the “sturgeon triangle” formed by China Camp, the pump house and Buoy 5. Live shrimp is the preferred bait, but frozen will do in a pinch. Becky Chiurco sent me a couple of nice photos showing the catches that she, Mike Chiurco and Jon Diederich had last week.
If the winds are blowing this weekend, you can still find places to fish off the bank near Port Sonoma (Highway 37 Bridge), off China Camp, the mouth of Sonoma Creek, and off the bank on the Napa River near Cuttings Wharf. All would be good bets for both sturgeon and stripers.
The suspicious monster sturgeon story that appeared on the web and went viral on April 1, is allegedly the tale of San Franciscan Sean Tracy, who supposedly caught and released a sturgeon more than 12-feet long that weighed more than 1,000 pounds. According to the reports, Tracy was fishing in San Pablo Bay last Tuesday about 2 p.m. near the Pump House, hooked into the monster, which took him and his boat for a ride. He telephoned several friends to ask them to bring down their cameras, but no clear photos were ever taken (apparently). With the fish pulling, he ended up near McNear's Pier by nearly 4 p.m. where he managed to get the fish to the boat. It measured 149-inches in length and had a girth of 58 inches, which translated into pounds would make the fish well over 1,000 pounds.
Meanwhile, the salmon season opened last Saturday off the Sonoma Coast, but high winds have virtually kept all boats tide to the dock. I talked to Capt. Rick Powers, of Bodega Bay Sportfishing Wednesday, who told me that there had been only one part of one day during which some boats made it out. They apparently hooked a few fish, but then were forced to make a run back to port because of the rough seas. He believes the salmon are out there, but the weather needs to calm to catch them. You can contact Rick at 875-3344 to arrange a party boat.
Fishing at Clear Lake, Berryessa and Lake Sonoma picked up this week as the weather warmed, although wind was a problem at times on these waters, too. The bass are found near shore and around docks and other structure. This weekend might be an excellent time to head over there.
The Department of Fish and Game planted trout in Marin's Bon Tempe Lake this week, and will plant more in Santa Rosa's Lake Ralphine and Marin's Lagunitas next week.
Leland Fly Fishing Ranch expo April 16 and 17
Make sure you mark your calendar for next weekend (April 16 and 17) for the Leland Fly Fishing Ranch grand re-opening and fly fishing expo.
There is an impressive lineup of fly-fishing celebrities scheduled for the event, including photographer Val Atkinson; Charlie Bisharat, inventor of the "Pole Dancer" line of flies for Umpqua and a Delta area fishing guide; distance casting champion George Revel; rod designer and fly-casting champion Tim Rajeff; and spey casting instructor Bill Lowe.
There will be wine tasting, barbecue, prize giveaways, manufacturers reps from a host of fly-fishing equipment companies, plus a full schedule of demonstrations and seminars from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. And the Fly Fishing Film Tour starting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night. The film tour has limited seating so reservations are recommended. To see a list of fly-fishing films the tour will included go to flyfishingfilmtour.com.
Even if you are not a fly-fisherman, a stop at the ranch is worth it. They've got ponds filled with trout, and a brand new pond in which they've planted bass and bluegill. Fly-fishing lessons for beginners to advanced are available. Call the ranch today at 939-6910.