The Meandering Angler: February fishing on the calendar

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The family-oriented NorCal Trout Anglers Challenge kicks of its 2019 season this Saturday, Feb. 2, at San Pablo Dam Reservoir. Kids 15 and under can enter free. The adult entry fee is $25 for the entire derby season, which runs through the first weekend of November.

This is a tournament that rotates each month to a different lake in Northern California. Family participation is encouraged and there are special prizes for kids. The cool thing is that prior to each tournament event, the lakes are stocked with thousands of catchable rainbow trout. And participants can fish from the bank or from a boat.

The top 25 youth finishers are eligible for a chance at the Grand Raffle Prize. The top 50 adults have a chance at winning a brand new fishing boat. For more information go to

Lake Berryessa trout and bass fishing has picked up this week with slightly warmer weather. The best place to find out more about fishing Berryessa is at Sweeney’s Sports in Napa.

You don’t have to travel far this week to find good fishing for sturgeon. Reports are coming in that the “mud flats” at the mouth of Sonoma Creek are producing good action for anglers. And you really don’t have to muck around in the mud. Most guys I know who fish Sonoma Creek find access from the bank right where the Highway 37 Bridge crosses it on the way to Vallejo.

The bait of choice there, as well as at other sturgeon fishing hot spots, is live shrimp. Other locations for shore anglers include China Camp and McNear Park Pier, both in Marin. Check with Keith Fraser at Loch Lomond Bait Shop (415) 456-0321 for the latest conditions, bait and best places to fish.

Meanwhile, over at the Sonoma coast, good weather and calm waters has made Dungeness crab easy to catch. Capt. Rick Powers of Bodega Bay Sportsfishing has been taking out clients for an easy morning’s run that starts at 10 a.m. and is back in around noon with limits for all on board. Call Rick at 875-3344 to book a trip.

Finally, all local fly-fishers should mark their calendars for the annual Fly Fishing Show on Feb. 22, 23 and 24 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. It is focused entirely on fly fishing, and I love it.

My favorite area is the building where all of the lodge and fishing resort owners and outfitters set up their booths. I can spend hours just listening to them tell me all the wonderful things I could enjoy if I booked a stay with them. Most have videos, brochures, photos and even drawings to win a free stay.

There are also casting classes, fly-tying classes and experts in every kind of fly-fishing offering seminars and the annual Fly-Fishing Film festival.

Virtually all of the top rod, reel and tackle manufacturers have booths there and there are lots of opportunities to test-drive the latest rods.

Tickets are $15 per day for adults. Children 6 to 12 $5. Children 5 and under free. Active duty military also free.

For more information go to

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