The rockfish season opened Saturday, April 15, off the Sonoma Coast with excellent results for Capt. Rick Powers of Bodega Bay Sportsfishing. One of his clients, Mike Hardeston, of Glen Ellen, led the boat by landing five lingcod. All on board had full limits of rockfish plus a total of 17 lingcod to 15 pounds. His luck continued with good rockfish and lingcod action during the early part of this week.
Capt. Jeff Caramella on the Miss Anita out of Bodega also had a good day for his clients, reporting full limits of rockfish plus 10 lingcod to 10 pounds off Ft Ross. He also pulled in a large number of Dungeness crab for his clients.
Some anglers are also finding a few salmon out there, but almost too few to mention.
Which brings me to the bad news.
Due to the previous four years of drought and the scarcity of salmon returning to spawn, the California Fish and Game Commission will drastically limit the state’s salmon fishery for the remainder of 2017.
In the Klamath Management Zone, between the Oregon/California border and Horse Mountain, the ocean salmon fishery will be closed, as will the fall-run Chinook fishery on both the Klamath and Trinity rivers.
Inland, spring-run chinook fishing will still be allowed through Aug. 14 on the Klamath River and through Aug. 31 on the Trinity River. During the salmon season closure, steelhead angling will still be allowed in both the Klamath and Trinity rivers.
The ocean salmon season north of Horse Mountain (Humboldt County) will be completely closed in 2017. All areas south of Horse Mountain opened on April 1 and will remain open, with some restrictions, including of the Sonoma County coast.
Here the season will close on April 30 under a 24-inch minimum size limit, and reopen on May 15 through Oct. 31 with a 20-inch minimum size limit.
But except for salmon, there is more good news. Fishing in San Francisco Bay is good when the wind doesn’t blow. And even when it does, anglers who fish from shore are catching a lot of sturgeon.
Keith Fraser at Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael says that Anthony Hampton, one of our regulars, has caught and released 23 sturgeon while fishing from the shore this year, including a monster 7-foot, 4-inch oversized off of our own Sonoma Creek recently.
You can also find sturgeon in the Napa River from the Highway 29 Bridge south to the Highway 37 Bridge. Check with Sweeney’s Sports in Napa for the latest reports and best spots.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is planting rainbow trout in Santa Rosa’s Lake Ralphine on April 23. It will also plant trout in Marin’s Bon Tempe Lake and Lagunitas Lake and at Napa’s Lake Berryessa. The East Branch of the Russian River just north of Lake Mendocino near Ukiah will also be planted with trout on April 23.
While fishing in most lakes is already open, trout season opens next Saturday, April 29, in most Northern California rivers and creeks.
There are many special regulations and many streams are closed to protect native fish. For example, Sonoma Creek is virtually closed to all fishing all year. It is supposedly legal to fish for trout .2 miles north of the west end of the trail in Sugar Loaf Park, above the falls.