Stock the freezers with fresh-caught fish

If you’re an angler who loves seafood, this is a great time to head for the coast and go fishing. Start with Capt. Rick Powers’ party boat, the New Sea Angler. Rick’s clients are bringing home heavy ice-chests full of fresh-caught ling cod and rock fish on virtually every trip.

Salmon catches actually slow down when the water is too clear, which means the plankton count, a key to turning on the salmon bite, goes down also. But said Rick last week, “We’re seeing the water start to darken, which means the plankton, and salmon, will be back.”

Salmon are starting to bite with more frequency this week. At Bodega Bay Sportsfishing (875-3344) they’ve been having lights-out rock and ling cod action but slow salmon fishing so far, but are starting to see more kings on combo trips. Clients this past week caught salmon to 23 pounds and ling cod up to 14 pounds, along with full limits of rockfish.

Some party boats going out through the Golden Gate are finding salmon on occasion, but they are also finding lots of good rock and ling cod action as well. Anglers are finding good halibut action too.

Keith Fraser at Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael (415-456-0321) says salmon fishing off California City east of Tiburon has been hot and cold, but some nice big fish have been caught there in the past week.

The main problem of late has been the rough water caused by the wind. Those nice cooling breezes that bring in the fog blow across the bay to get here, but anglers in boats get bounced around pretty good. That said, in between blows, fishing for halibut and striped bass has been good too, Keith says.

Anglers fishing from shore are catching halibut and limits of bass off the levee near Keith’s bait shop, and at the usual shore fishing places like China Camp and Paradise.

Closer to Sonoma, you can still find striped bass and halibut biting in San Francisco Bay. The best places to fish from shore are along the Marin Shoreline near Paradise Pier and China Camp. Check with Keith at Loch Lomond Bait Shop for the latest reports and advice on the best places to fish.

You can also call Capt. Trent Slate (415-307-8582), who operates the party boat Bite Me, to book a day of fishing for halibut and stripers in the Bay.

The best fishing closest to Sonoma is in the Napa River, where resident and guide Capt. Patrick MacKenzie (721-6700) is the local professional. Striped bass action on the river picks up as we move into September; Patrick knows where they’ll be.

Needless to say, Lake Berryessa, Clear Lake and Lake Sonoma are surrounded by fire and smoke, and I doubt anybody can get close enough to fish even if they wanted to.

Fly-fishing guide Capt. Hogan Brown (530-514-2453) reported last week that striped bass fishing on the Sacramento River near Chico has been fair to good, and salmon are also being caught in that stretch of the river.

Hogan also guides fly-fishers for trout on the lower Yuba River east of Marysville. He says water conditions are looking good there and that salmon are starting to head upstream to spawn. That means the trout will follow.

He is already taking reservation for fly fishing on Lake Oroville and the lower Yuba River for November through January. Hogan’s a great guide and fun to fish with. Check out his website at

Headed north, Kirk Portocarrero (800-670-4448) reports similar hot and cold king salmon days on the Sacramento River near Corning. Kirk also guides fly-fishers for rainbow trout on the Sac between Anderson and Redding. That fishing has been good recently.

Up near Mt. Shasta, the air is relatively clear and fishing fair to good, says Bob Grace at the Ted Fay Fly Shop in Dunsmuir. The upper Sacramento River between Lake Siskiyou and Lake Shasta is in typical late-summer form.

The famous upper Sac’s fall caddis hatch is a month away, and there’s not much dry fly action, so most anglers are finding fishing using nymphs. Fly-fishing is also fair to good on the McCloud River.

If you’re headed toward Lake Tahoe, fly-fishing on the Truckee River has been good early in the day. With cooler weather, it should improve for longer days of enjoyable fishing.

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