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Best Bayfishingthiscentury

Acknowledging his fondness for superlatives in describing the fishing, Keith Fraser of Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael, went beyond the usual this week, telling me that fishing in San Francisco Bay right now is “… the best I’ve seen in 49 years.”

Anglers are catching monster sturgeon in the North Bay near the Pump House and Buoy 5, and halibut and striped bass all over the Bay including the usual places near Angel Island, Red Rod, and the Brothers and even off the breakwater near his shop.

He also mentioned that salmon are coming in and party boats heading out of the Golden Gate are finding lots of salmon.

“Now is the time to come down here and go fishing,” Keith suggested. He can book a spot on a bay party boat for you. Call him at 415-456-0321.

Almost as sensational is the fishing off the Sonoma Coast, where Capt. Rick Powers of Bodega Bay Sportsfishing has been finding limits of rock cod plus lots of lingcod and even salmon for his party boat clients.

He noted that the salmon, which have been biting aggressively south of Point Reyes are now moving north to his home waters. “This weekend and next week, the condition and weather are going to be perfect for salmon. The northwest winds we had last week will be gone. We’ve got blue whales around us and lots of krill (bait) swimming all over. It is what we call salmon water,” he added.

Call Rick at 875-3344 to book a trip on his boat.

Larry Murphy and Tom Culligan sent in a brief report of their angling success at Sugar Creek Ranch near Yreka, an interesting private fishery that Dottie and I fished last month.

They stayed at the Alderbrook Manor in Ethan, which is about 20 minutes north off the Sugar Creek Ranch.

Here is part of Tom’s report on the action so far.

“Alderbrook Manor reminds me of a southern plantation. It was built in 1876, has an expansive tree shaded lawn, and a wrap-around porch, which we used for cocktails and breakfast this morning.

“We were on the water by 6:30 a.m. and we are going to hopefully get out earlier tomorrow. Just as you said, black beetles expertly placed where a fish broke water was the technique. Larry caught one on his first cast, which he claims was strategically placed...it is hard to believe. Anyway, I took a picture of his 18-inch rainbow; it looks smaller in the picture, which could be the photographer problem or Larry’s inexperience catching and posing with a large fish.

“I had a number of strikes, broke one off and landed a healthy 21-inch that fought like a steelhead. We were fishing the North Ponds and the scenery was beautiful and we had it all to ourselves. We are spending a considerable amount of energy sitting on the porch trying to orchestrate how we can fit, old fashions, fishing and dinner tonight but I think we are up to the task.”

Lake fishing near Sonoma Valley hasn’t been all that good recently, but I saw a report that bass fishing in Lake Berryessa has improved this week. Anglers are also catching crappie in the lake this week.

Ron Lennon who spends a lot of time fly-fishing for trout on the Fall River near Burney reports the hex hatch has begun. The Hexagenia is a very large Mayfly that hatches very late in the afternoon when it is nearly dark. These huge bugs swim up from the river bottom then launch themselves from the surface. During this time they are vulnerable to big, hungry trout that go on a feeding frenzy when the hex hatch is on.

Fly-fishers, using hex imitations, drive all the way up there just to fish for the 30 minutes or so that this happens. Quite often they are casting in the virtual darkness, only learning that they have a fish on when they feel the tug.

Moving further north, you find that steelhead are in the Rogue River right now. I highly recommend a fly-fishing float on the Rogue with guide Jim Andras.

You can combine a trip north with a stay in Ashland to take in some plays. The River is just a short drive away and the accommodations and restaurants in Ashland are outstanding.

A great three-to-four-day trip north would include a couple of days floating the Rogue with Jim and then a couple of plays and evening dinners in Ashland.

Rachel Andras can even book the hotel for you. Call Rachel 800-488-5794.

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