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The Fishing Report: Angling finally good on local waters

Courtesy of the Napa Valley Register
  • Finally, Some Good Local Fresh Water Angling! … I stopped in at “Fish News Central” – aka Sweeney’s Sports on Imola – and their fly guy, Jose Rubio (707-307-8078), gave me these nice stories on close-in fishing:

    *Leading off was the result of Berryessa’s lake turnover that encourages large numbers of all species of fish to come up into shallow water. How about reports of 40-trout days? And 24-inch rainbows? And good action on fly gear as well as conventional tackle? It’s all good.

    *Black bass at both Berryessa and Hennessey following bait pods and willing to chase reaction baits. Don’t go without some wacky-rigged drop shot Senkos, too.

    *Crappie still available; stripers working Napa River while the water stays clear. They will fade away when muddy water rings the sturgeon dinner bell and pulls those big diamond backs up close to town. My little Sulphur Creek up here in St. Helena is running for the first time this fall – still clear, but I look for it to go all chocolate with our first big rainstorm and send it down to you.

    *Stop in for a visit with Jose and ask him about his early efforts for steelhead on the Russian River swinging flies. He said conditions there are shaping up to produce a fabulous 2017-18 steelhead season – with prime time yet to come. Ask him to show you those “jig flies” he has been tossing. They are big and meaty looking.

    Bodega Bay … is still seeing limits of big meaty crabs, but operators are having to move their gear around a lot to try to keep ahead of the commercial fleet. Don’t worry; the commercial guys won’t stick around much longer. Every year we worry that they will take every last crab before they leave. But every year I report good crab action for weeks and months after. Expect the same for this season because there are a lot of big ones still out there.

    The BB fleet is still getting combo trip limits of rocks and crab with nice kickers of lings, too. You’ve got till Dec. 31 to get your fill of combo trips that include rockfish – the rockfish season closes then.

    Over At The Golden Gate … rockfish action remained excellent but the crab count fell off a bit. The Sea Wolf (510-652-3403) reported limits of rockfish, 16 lings, but only half limits of crab (five per angler) on Saturday.

    But Captain Chris Smith on the Happy Hooker (510-223-5388) told The Hot Sheet “If you ever wanted to land a ling over 20 pounds, now is the time to come out.” His big ling Saturday was 26 pounds.

    California Delta … Here’s what the Monday Hot Sheet said about the Delta: “Prime time has arrived on the Sacramento-Delta for sturgeon and striped bass, and there has been some incredible action for both species over the past week.

    Incredible indeed! The team fishing out of Barbarian Sport Fishing of Martinez put their clients on to 33 keeper sturgeon in just one week. Captain John Badger said that salmon roe was the key. I’d call him in a New York minute to book some trips for when our kids get out of school – and for some holiday gifts. Call John at 510-750-4237.

    Plenty of stripers on the chew but you’ll have to go through a bunch of shorts to find some keepers (18 inches). Thanks always to Dave Hurley’s Monday Hot Sheet for some key updates here.

    Sac Salmon … still on tap? You bet. Kirk and Lisa Portocarrero at sent me some photos of some huge king salmon caught on the Sac this week. I have always heard the stories about the really big ones that arrive in November – right near the end of the season (Dec. 16). But, somehow my interest in salmon fishing always seemed to run down after our usual September trips.

    Go Outside And Play … is the cheery and breezy header to our Napa Open Space District’s regular newsletters – and a good idea, too. One of the jewels in the district’s crown is the Bale Grist Mill, right on Highway 29 up here between St. Helena and Calistoga. Go online to for more information.

    Their annual Pioneer Christmas is Dec. 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bring your kids and their kids. It is a nice chance for them to participate in many old time pioneer holiday activities, like wreath making, stitching crafts, popcorn stringing, rope makings and cookie decorating (by the way, when I was kid we accented the popcorn stings with cranberries for a shot of color). Admission is only $5 and kids under 6 are free.

    Email Bill Ryan at

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