Trinity River sleigh ride?
Fishing and hunting
STEVE KYLE is a great fisherman, but no matter what he tells you, don’t believe he landed this steelhead holding the rod with his teeth.
Snow was falling last Friday morning as Steve Kyle, guide Jim Andras and I shoved off from the Junction City drift boat put-in spot on the Trinity River several miles west of Weaverville. In weather more suitable for a sleigh ride, we were going for what turned out to be a long day’s float with very little action. Steve managed to briefly hook three steelhead, but none made it to the boat. Other than that, Friday was a bust. Such is the nature of winter steelhead fishing.
But wait, there’s more.
The day before, we were the best steelhead fly-fishers in the world. Drifting the exact same section of the Trinity, using the exact same techniques and flies, we managed to catch and release 11 steelhead and two trout in weather only slightly better than Friday’s. Go figure.
Kyle hooked seven of those 11, earning top honors for the day, a feat I’m certain will be recounted to any and all with whom he converses until well past year’s end. Jim, as always, proved to be an excellent guide with an uncanny knack for finding the unseen spots where steelhead were holding.
So what happened on Friday? A falling barometer, the steelhead moved upstream or went skiing, who knows? As noted in anglers’ cache of clichés, that’s why they call it fishing, not catching.
Although we didn’t try it, we heard that the Klamath River also provided good steelhead action this week, while the lower Sacramento and Rogue rivers were not so hot.
Closer to home, sturgeon are biting near the Pump House, at the mouth of Sonoma Creek and in the shallower flats near China Camp and Hamilton. Keith Fraser, at Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael, added that there are few nice striped bass being caught in the same areas.
Valerie Lightborne, at Leonard’s Bait Shop at Port Sonoma, confirmed that most of the action is in the North Bay in the shallower waters, and has been providing lots of bait for guys fishing in Sonoma Creek at the Highway 37 bridge.
Meanwhile, anglers going out Bodega Bay with Capt. Rick Powers on the New Sea Angler are coming home with full limits of dungeness crab and rock fish, with some nice lingcod as well. Rick will be hosting trips all week, except for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the day after.
And speaking of Christmas, you can call Keith (415-456-0321) for gift certificates for tackle, bait or even party boat trips for your favorite angler.
The same is true for Rick at Bodega Bay (875-3344), and Valerie and Joel at Leonard’s (762-7818), who also have gift certificates for the angler on your holiday list.
You can also drive out to Brocco’s Old Barn on Arnold Drive and get 2013 California fishing licenses for stocking stuffers.
A few anglers are finding fish at Clear Lake and Berryessa, but the cold weather has slowed the bite.
The Department of Fish and Game is planting more than 30,000 pounds of rainbow trout – some as large as two pounds each – in Bay Area lakes during the month of December, including Sonoma County’s Lake Ralphine and Marin’s Bon Tempe and Lagunitas.