Salmon fever hits Northern California
By: Kirby Desha for The News Messenger
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As always happens this time of year, the fishing action is dominated by anglers chasing the fall run of chinook salmon. Since the inland season opened this month, there has been a daily armada down at Discovery Park, hoping to get some of the early fish returning up the American River.

I hear they are not doing badly and the fish are chrome bright, fresh from the ocean.

Further upstream, the action at the outlet hole on the Feather River has started to take off, although the combat style there can be daunting for a newbie. Fishermen and women are lined up shoulder-to-shoulder on the banks casting heavy gear out to the middle of the river and tempers can flare from time to time.

At the far reaches up on the Sacramento, guides are getting their clients on fish around the Woodson Bridge area, back-bouncing plugs or using roe.

The Sac metro area around Garcia Bend is not quite there yet, as water temperatures are still too high and most fish are blasting through.

The new Department of Fish and Wildlife limit of a single fish per day has had much of the community in an uproar, but it’s a done deal so one just has to accept it.

The best action remains on the ocean out of the Golden Gate, from Stinson Beach down to Half Moon Bay, where bigger fish are still on the bite and the old two-fish per angler limit is still in effect.

So, with that in mind, I finally got out to find some action last week.

On Friday, my father-in-law and I got up at 2:30 a.m. in order to meet our party by 5 at the Berkeley Marina for a salmon/rock fish combo trip. The trip out to the fishing ground took almost an hour and by 6:30 we were finally fishing.

The weather cooperated and we had excellent conditions, very little wind and small swells.

Anchovies were rigged and lines dropped. Almost immediately we had a few hit no-stick drive-bys. Between bites, we amused ourselves by doing some whale watching.

Once we got into the salmon, the action was steady, but never really took off. We managed eight legal fish for the six anglers, the largest at 10-12 pounds and we had several more that came unhooked or just missed the 20-inch length limit. 

Around noon, we went off to try jigging for some rock fish. Again, we got several nice lings to 10 pounds and a few big blacks in the boat, before the bite suddenly shut down.

All in all, not a day for the record books but still a great day with good people.