Glimmer of hope for salmon

High winds kept most ocean party boats off the water for the opening of salmon season last Saturday, but on Sunday, Capt. Rick Powers of Bodega Bay Sportsfishing ventured forth into a big, but fishable, swell off the Sonoma Coast.

In spite of predictions that salmon would be hard to find, Rick’s 13 clients were treated to lots of action, hooking 30 salmon. The good and bad news was that all but seven of them were undersized. The keeper size minimum this month is 24 inches, and the majority of the fish caught were in the 16-to-18-inch range.

“I have never seen so many small salmon caught on opening day,” Rick told me this week. He said it was good news and a strong indication that the efforts of the Golden Gate Salmon Association in cooperation with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are working.

“The GGSA and CDFW trucked millions of baby salmon down to the bay, by-passing the Delta where the three-year drought made their survival doubtful. It looks to me like a lot of those young salmon made it out to the ocean,” Rick added.

He said many of those undersized fish would be keepers in another few months.

Rick also pointed out that the GGSA has a program that will release baby salmon into the Bodega Bay channels next month. Those young fish also have a good chance of making it to the ocean and growing into full-sized adult fish.

The final decision on whether or not this year’s ocean salmon season will continue beyond April 30 will be made at the end of this week (too late for me to report it in this column).

You may want to call Rick at 875-3344 to book a trip now just in case there is no salmon season beyond the end of this month.

Rock and lingcod season opens next Saturday, April 15 and Rick will be offering combo trips, and possibly include Dungeness crabs.

Inside San Francisco Bay, high winds have kept a lot of anglers on shore. There have been reports of pretty good sturgeon fishing off McNear’s Pier and China Camp and at the mouth of Sonoma Creek. I also heard anglers are hooking sturgeon in the Napa River. Striped bass are also being caught and halibut are starting to show in the South Bay. Fishing in the Bay this spring could be awesome thanks to all of the freshwater runoff.

Sonoma fly-fishers might want to join the Redwood Empire Chapter of Trout Unlimited next Thursday, April 13, for the Fly Fishing Film Tour presentation at the Rialto Theater in Sebastopol. Tickets are $11 (seniors $8.50) and can be ordered on line at redwoodempire-tu.org/fly-fishing-film-tour.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. There will be food, wine, a silent auction and good fellowship with fellow fly-fishers.

To watch the movie trailer go to vimeo.com/204950922.

Guide Hogan Brown is taking bookings for evening shad/bass dates on the Lower Sacramento River. These trips cost $250 for two anglers, include drinks/snack, use of rod/reel, and flies. He usually meets anglers around 5 p.m. so they can fish the evening bite.

He also reports trout fishing on the Sacramento River between Redding and Anderson is improving.

He is also keeping his eyes on the Yuba River, where flows are dropping and the fishing could be really good. Hogan is a great guide and a lot of fun to fish with. Call him at 530-514-2453, or go to his website at hgbflyfishing.com for more information.