Best time to go fishing

Sonoma Index-Tribune columnist Bill Lynch.


My brother, Jim, and his son, Chris, just got back from two fantastic days catching steelhead with guide Jim Andras on the Rogue River in Oregon near Ashland.

Jim and Chris caught 24 steelhead in two days of floating the Rogue and said they had a great time. Most of the fish were in the three-to-six-pound range, with one closer to eight. Chris also lost a monster of a fish just as it got to the boat.

Jim Andras is by far the best guide I have ever fished with and he really knows the Rogue River. I highly recommend him for a guided day or two of steelhead fishing from now through the winter. Call him at 530-722-7992, or Rachel Andras at 530-227-4837. Or visit their website at A guided trip with Jim on the Rogue is also a super Christmas gift for your favorite angler.

While local anglers have few if any options to fish right here in Sonoma Valley, this is still the best time of year to fish close (within an hour’s drive) to home.

Striped bass are almost jumping into the boats of anglers slinging bait in San Francisco Bay.

Keith Fraser at Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael says that stripers are everywhere, even inside the marina near his shop, and especially in the usual hot spots near Angel Island, the Sisters, Brothers and in the North Bay near the Pump House. Anglers are also catching stripers off China Camp and off the pier and McNears Beach Park in Marin County.

There is lots of action and Keith says that every other fish is a keeper.

Keith also books Captain Trent Slate’s party boat, “Bite Me” for Bay fishing. Keith is also the best source for up-to-date fishing reports and for live bait. Call him at 415-456-0321.

The Napa River is even closer to home. You can drive over to Cuttings Wharf Road (off Highway 121 between Sonoma and Napa) and fish off the bank. You’ll hook lots of small stripers and about every fifth or sixth one will be a keeper. For up-to-date reports on striper fishing in the river check with Sweeney’s Sports in Napa, 255-5544.

If you want to bring home more than $500 worth of fresh fish and Dungeness crabs for your holiday table, call Capt. Rick Powers at Bodega Bay Sportsfishing, 875-3344.

Rick’s party boat, “New Sea Angler,” has been full of happy anglers bringing home full limits of crab and rock fish, with near limits of lingcod, virtually every trip.

Last Sunday, he had a full boat and they came in with full limits of everything, including tasty lingcod. You can bring your ice chest and they will even clean the fish for you.

If you want to take your children or grandchildren fishing during the holidays, I suggest either the Napa River near Cuttings Wharf, or Lake Ralphine at Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Park.

While the ocean king salmon fishing season is closed, you can still catch them in the Sacramento River. Guide Kirk Portocarrero is offering trips for fishing near Corning and Balls Ferry. He also guides trout fly-fishing trips on the Sac near Redding. Call Kirk at 800-670-4448.

It is not too early to be thinking about gifts for your favorite angler. Always welcome is a 2018 California fishing license ($48.34). You can find them here in Sonoma Valley at Brocco’s Old Barn, 19660 Arnold Drive, or on line.