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Kirby's Katch

A few bright spots in a tough summer

By: Kirby Desha
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Everyone knows fishing has been rough lately. Between the terrible heat and the smoky air, it has not been much fun to get on the water. However, there are several bright spots offering some fine catching opportunities.
While the inland salmon season is off to a typically slow start, the fishing along the coast has been crazy, with many guides reporting this year as the best in recent memory. Six packs and party boats are getting limits of bright fish every day, and it’s showing no sign of slowing down. The only downside has been the occasionally days where big swells and high winds have cancelled trips.
A few bright fish have been caught in the Sac Metro area; almost all have come from the mouth of the American River at Discovery Park, where there is a flotilla of boats going out every day.
Releases from Folsom are providing some cooler water that is drawing fish. Low flows coming out of Lake Oroville have reduced the Feather and the water is too hot for much action yet.
Striper action in the delta is off the chart right now. Again, the guides working that area say this is an unprecedented run of early fall fish.
The catch numbers are staggering, and the fish are fresh from the ocean. I’d highly recommend this area as an alternative to the lousy heat we are experiencing up here.
For my part, I was in Oregon for a week right as the Carr fire was erupting. I fished a day on the Rogue River near Medford and had no luck, probably too early for the steelhead there.
I spent a day at Collins last week and did fairly well, a couple of trout and some big crappie. I did manage to lose a downrigger ball to a buoy line so that put a damper on things.
The only real advice I have for this lake is get out early and expect to pick up some bass and crappie while you are deep trolling for trout. The main target here in the summer is catfish, and campers have been puling in some decent ones using chicken liver and night crawlers.
The fishing for land-locked king salmon at Lake Oroville has been holding steady all summer, a great improvement over the last few years.
Pretty much any kind of kokanee gear will work. Lures that imitate the pond smelt, which are the main forage and a good bet. Don’t try too deep, even though you may be marking fish down to 100 feet, try to stay between 50-80 feet deep.
The best day I’ve had this summer came up at Stampede last Saturday. Fishing with Jack “Bass Jack” Naves and another angler, we banged three limits of big kokanee to 17 inches within an hour after launching.
Once we got the lines in the water, it was non-stop. I didn’t even get a chance to sit down and have some coffee!
A few fish are just starting to kype, and this is the time to break out the apex lures and really slow down the troll. The word is out on this lake so expect a lot of action at the ramp.