Winter fishing can be great—if it’s raining

When the wind wasn’t blowing, sturgeon and striped bass fishing in San Francisco Bay has been good, and some days can even be called great. Keith Fraser at Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael has lots of excellent live bait and can direct you to the best fishing spots. Call him at (415) 456-0321.

But weather, especially wind and heavy rain is going to keep changing the picture over the next 10 days at least.

Until this week, the lack of rain and low flows on many rivers slowed and even stopped winter steelhead fishing. Now, many will be too muddy or too high to fish.

I noted recently that the Redwood Empire Chapter of Trout Unlimited was hosting an online speaker series. You can get more information at Their site also has information on the Russian River.

Back in the day when it rained during the winter, some of the best steelhead fishing in state was in the Russian River. Today, plagued by low water and then heavy floods, it is barely a shadow of its former self, but now and then steelhead fishing shows flashes of yesteryear.

One of the few places for consistently good winter fresh water fishing is the lower Sacramento River between Redding and Anderson. Because flows are controlled by water releases from Shasta Dam, the waters allow native rainbow trout to prosper and grow big. There’s also a chance that you will hook a nice steelhead (a rainbow that has gone to the ocean and back.)

Quite a few years ago, Steve Kyle and I were drifting that section of the Sac with guide Tyler Lee. We were fishing for trout with light rods and small flies. I almost had the rod jerked out of my hands when a big steelhead grabbed my fly and took off downstream like a runaway train. Fortunately, Tyler is a strong oarsman and we kept up with fish until it got tired and I could bring him and let him go.

That’s the thing about fishing. You never know what is just under the surface.

Redding is only about a three hour drive from Sonoma, and a good place for a one-day fishing trip.

I’ve written quite a bit recently about the fact that you can “fish” for Dungeness crab off the Sonoma Coast. This prompted some readers to ask, “how does one actually go fishing for crabs?”

The easy answer is that you make reservations for a spot on “The New Sea Angler,” operated by Capt. Rick Powers of Bodega Bay Sportsfishing. Rick takes you out, and you pull in the traps that he set in the ocean the night before. You open them and take out the crabs. The skill needed is minimal, and most of Rick’s trips result in full limits by midday. The limit is 10 crabs per angler and Rick’s trips cost $150.

So, you can either “fish” for crabs at the local market or really fish for them off our coast. If you choose the latter, call Rick at 875-3344 to make a reservation.

UPDATED: Please read and follow our commenting policy:

  • This is a family newspaper, please use a kind and respectful tone.
  • No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks. No off-topic remarks.
  • No disinformation about current events.
  • We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy.
Send a letter to the editor

Our Network

The Press Democrat
Sonoma Index-Tribune
Petaluma Argus Courier
North Bay Business Journal
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Sonoma County Gazette