The Feather River below Oroville’s troubled dam may be the most dramatic example of why anglers are not fishing Northern California’s rivers these days. Virtually all of them are running full tilt and there is little room for more water. The state’s water resources managers are trying to reduce the level of reservoirs and are letting water out as much as possible.

It has been a long time since I have been unable to get a fishing report from even tail water locations like the lower Sacramento River between Redding and Anderson. Even that normally fishable section is running so high, that the river has been closed to boating (and fishing from boats).

Sonoma County’s own Russian River has been un-fishable for weeks. The Press Democrat ran a front page story Wednesday that Lake Sonoma is at near-record levels and its managers are releasing as much water as they can, which adds to the high-water, un-fishable conditions of the Russian River.

Storms surging through the area have also limited ocean fishing, where Capt. Rick Powers of Bodega Bay Sportsfishing normally would be taking out daily loads of anglers for Dungeness crab and sand dab action. Rick says he has been out a few times in the past couple of weeks, with good limits every time. But, those opportunities are limited, so he’s been using the break for boat maintenance projects.

So what’s an angler to do under these conditions?

Keith Fraser at Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael has the answer. “Sturgeon fishing in the bay is fabulous right now,” says Keith.

“One of my best customers, Anthony Hampton, has caught and released three oversized sturgeon in the last three days off the McNears Beach Park Pier,” Keith reported. The fish ranged from 61 inches to 81 inches. The latter was estimated to weight more than 150 pounds. The maximum length an angler may keep is 60 inches.

The fishing from the Marin shoreline off the McNears Pier and China Camp has been exceptional recently, as had action in the sturgeon triangle area marked by the Pump House, Buoy 5 and China Camp. Keith says action is also good just south of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. Striped bass fishing is also pretty good now.

So, if you don’t have a boat and want to fish, head to Marin’s McNears Beach Park. Or, better yet, call Keith at 415-456-0321 and ask him to book a spot for you on Trent Slade’s party boat, “Bite Me.” Keith also has a good supply of live mud shrimp, which he calls the “filet mignon” of sturgeon bait.

For fly-fishers, the annual Fly Fishing Show comes to the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton next weekend, Feb. 24 to 26. Tickets are $15 per day. The show opens Friday, Feb. 24, at 10 a.m. Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sunday hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. One of the special events is the Friday night International Fly Fishing Film Festival. Tickets for that are also $15.

To get more information and buy tickets online go to