The ocean salmon season off the Sonoma Coast opens tomorrow, Saturday, and there are some hopeful signs that fishing will be better than expected. The main factor arguing against a good season is the three-year drought preceding this season which diminished the actual spawning runs in major salmon rivers systems like the Sacramento River where salmon spawn.

The Golden Gate Salmon Association has been active in trying to preserve the salmon runs by actively promoting the shipment of salmon fry from hatcheries down to the Bay for release to protect them from some of the effects of the low, warm water conditions of the drought.

That may pay off when the ocean season opens tomorrow.

Early reports are that commercial anglers are seeing lots of good bait, like krill and sardines, the kind salmon like to eat, in waters between the Golden Gate and Half Moon Bay.

No matter what, with good weather predicted, local salmon anglers will be headed for the coast this weekend. If you want to book a trip on a party boat, contact Capt. Rick Powers of Bodega Bay Sportsfishing at 875-3344.

Rick runs combo salmon and crab trips in the early season and will add rock and ling cod combos when that season opens April 15.

Warm temperatures and relative calm conditions plus pretty good tides means that sturgeon fishing in the Bay should be excellent this weekend. Keith Fraser at Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael says sturgeon are biting in the Pump House area on live shrimp bait. Other anglers are catching some big sturgeon off McNears Park Pier on the Marin Shoreline. Keith added that striped bass fishing is also excellent. He told me that a guy caught a 21-pound bass off his levee this week.

Someone also landed a 73-inch sturgeon of McNears Pier this week.

Keith carries live mud shrimp, which he describes as the “filet mignon of bait” for sturgeon.

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.”

Striped bass and sturgeon fishing has also improved in the Delta area near Benicia and Pittsburg.

Further up the Sacramento River near Redding, the trout fishing has been good this week. If you want to drift that river or the Yuba River and fly-fish for trout, contact guide Hogan Brown at 530-514-2453.