Meandering Angler: Cool off with hot salmon fishing

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When the temperatures approach 100 degrees around our town, there is a place you can go to cool off, while taking advantage of one of the hottest salmon bites our Sonoma Coast has seen in many years.

The heat here means that the cool winds which sometimes dampen the salmon action off Bodega Bay have calmed to gentle breezes. This in turn improves the salmon fishing, already good, to red hot, or as Capt. Rick Powers said this week, “They’re feeding like wild dogs out here.”

Rick, who owns Bodega Bay Sportsfishing (875-3344), was just heading back to port with full salmon limits for all his clients plus limits of rock fish and lots of ling cod, all before 2 p.m. when I spoke to him this week. He’s had excellent fishing for the past several days, and it’s likely to continue that way for a while.

Inside San Francisco Bay, another good place to cool off, halibut fishing continues to be outstanding. Keith Fraser at Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael (415-456-0321) says halibut are being caught off of Red Rock and Paradise every day. Anglers are also catching lots of keeper striped bass. Salmon are also running through the bay on their way up the Sacramento River. Anglers fishing off what they call “Cal City” near Tiburon are catching fish up to 17 pounds.

Trout fishing in the higher mountain streams north and east of us has been hit-and-miss so far this season.

Bob Grace at the Ted Fay Fly Shop in Dunsmuir reported that his area experienced a frightening series of thunderstorms earlier this week. One report said there were over 700 ground strikes of lightning, and several inches of sudden heavy downpour blew out the upper Sacramento River for a couple of days.

Bob added that things appear to coming back to normal, as the river is clearing and the water is cold, which contrasts to the air, which is hot there these days.

Other streams in the north part of the state that report good action recently include Hat Creek and the Fall River.

If you like the heat and enjoy good fishing, try drifting the lower Sacramento River between Redding and Anderson, where the fishing has been excellent this week. You need a drift boat, or hire a guide who has one. The Fly Shop in Redding (800-669-3474) offers excellent guide services.

Another guide for the Sacramento is Kirk Portocarrero (530-221-6151). He also guides salmon fishing trips on the Sac and the season just opened.

Now is also a pretty good time to fish near Lake Tahoe. The water flows on the Truckee River are excellent. Reports are that trout are hanging out in seams and pockets behind rocks and in shallow riffles.

Speaking of the Truckee River, on Saturday, Aug. 17, the Truckee River chapter of Trout Unlimited is having a volunteer work day on Prosser Creek, just below the dam, to place gravel for spawning habitat for native trout. Afterward the TU volunteers will celebrate with beer and soda donated from local brewers. For more information contact

If you’re just looking for a place close to Sonoma where you can bring your kids or grandkids, put some bait on a hook, cast it in, and sit on the bank until a big fish takes it, then I suggest heading for the Napa River, where there are good places to bank fish just off Cuttings Wharf Road.

It’s also at least 10 degrees coolor down there than here in the Valley on a hot day.

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