Meandering Angler: The egg bite is coming

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Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay fishing right now is the best it has been in many years, but for those who prefer casting a fly into a freshwater river, the best is yet to come, starting next month.

For that kind of action I look north, and just in case I wasn’t paying attention, Anthony Carruesco, of AC Flyfishing in Redding, sent out an email report this week to remind me.

Consistent with the phenomenal salmon fishing off the Sonoma Coast right now, the next stop for those fish is in the Sacramento River, and many are already heading upstream.

When those salmon get to their favorite spawning ground on the Sac and its tributaries, they start spawning, they turn on what many anglers call the “egg bite.”

Here’s how Anthony describes it: “This event is most famous on the Redding to Red Bluff stretches of the Lower Sacramento River. As anglers and guides we hit the river each day and seek out these specific sections that the salmon are spawning in. We are targeting the rainbow trout that are tucked in behind the salmon, ferociously devouring salmon eggs as they get kicked loose from the gravel beds. We are fishing both egg imitations and bugs. As the salmon ‘dig’ their nests in the gravel beds they kick out a lot of bugs and eggs from the river bottom, creating a feeding frenzy. Actively spawning salmon are known to get the attention of some of the biggest trout in the river.”

Technically, the artificial “fly” you’re using often looks a lot like a salmon egg, but during the bite, that’s what trout are looking for.

Anthony and his team of guides are ready booking trips to hit the egg bite. You can call him (800-201-5047) or get more information on his website at Aceflyfishing.com.

Further upriver on the upper Sacramento River near Dunsmuir, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife recently planted rainbow trout. There’s a park in the middle of Dunsmuir that runs right along the river. There’s lots of easy, public access so the fishing for those planted fish is pretty easy. You can also keep some to eat if you want.

Bob Grace at the Ted Fay Fly Shop in Dunsmuir (530-235-2969) is the best source of information, flies, tips, guide connections there.

And speaking of bites, if you do head up that way, make a reservation for dinner at Cafe Maddalena (530-235-2725). It’s in the center of town just off Interstate 5. Dottie and I make it a point to have at least one dinner there every time we fish in that area. It is the best restaurant anywhere north of Sacramento, and well worth a stop.

But if you prefer to fish closer to home, call Captain Rick Powers at Bodega Bay Sportsfishing (875-3344), and book a salmon fishing trip. Rick is finding limits of salmon for his clients on virtually every trip, plus limits of rock fish and lots of ling cod. Some days the action is hot and heavy, and all aboard have their limits within a couple of hours. It’s that good right now.

Rick says the water is like a “mill pond,” and they are also getting in a lot of good whale-watching as the humpbacks roll through.

Inside San Francisco Bay, the striped bass and halibut fishing continues to be the best in years. Keith Fraser at Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael says there are so many fish, people are catching off the dock inside the marina next to his shop.

Call Keith (4150456-0321) for more information and to book at bay fishing party boat.

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