Final regulations for 2013 salmon fishing are adopted

Fishing report: Ocean salmon blown over by wind; rivers are full of big stripers
By: George deVilbiss/Special to Gold Country News Service
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Ocean salmon fishing opened two weeks ago with the blessing and approval of the feds, a requirement if there’s going to be any fishing at all. The California Fish and Game Commission can’t adopt the final regulations for the year until the Pacific Fisheries Management Council sets the requirements.

State regulations that recently were adopted cover the ocean and river fisheries.

The good news is that estimates show there again will be an outstanding run of Chinook salmon in the Sacramento and Klamath rivers this fall. Season dates will reflect those rosy estimates. The forecast for the Klamath, for example, is expected to be the third-highest since 1985.

Salmon fishery dates hadn’t been set for the Klamath Management Zone, which is north of Horse Mountain. That zone will open to salmon fishing May 1. All other offshore fishing zones are open.

In the Shelter Cove and Fort Bragg regions, salmon fishing opened April 6 and will continue through Nov. 10. The salmon limit is two with a minimum size of 20 inches.

Salmon fishing also continues through Nov. 10 between Point Arena and Pigeon Point. However, there is a fishing closure on Monday and Tuesday, June 3-4. The limit is two, and there’s a minimum size of 24 inches through the end of July and 20 inches thereafter.

Sacramento River: Salmon fishing runs July 16 through Dec. 16 from 150 feet below the Lower Red Bluff boat ramp to the Carquinez Bridge.

Feather River: Salmon fishing runs July 16 through Oct. 15 from the unimproved boat ramp above the Thermalito Afterbay Outfall to 200 yards above the Live Oak boat ramp. From the Live Oak boat ramp downriver to the mouth, the season runs July 16 through Dec. 16.

American River: From the Nimbus Dam to the Hazel Avenue Bridge, the salmon fishery runs July 16 through Dec. 31. From the Hazel Avenue Bridge to the U.S. Geological Survey gauging station cable crossing near the Nimbus Hatchery, the fishery runs July 16 though Aug. 15.

From the SMUD power line crossing southwest of Ancil Hoffman Park to the Jibboom Street Bridge just above the mouth of the American River, the salmon fishery is open from July 16 through Oct. 31.

And finally, for the short distance from the Jibboom Street bridge to the mouth, salmon fishing will be allowed from July 16 through Dec. 16.

Consult the regulations online or pick up a regulations booklet for season dates and other restrictions.


Current fishing


Ocean salmon: It was pretty much the same story up and down the coast. The strong north winds killed the fishery, and boats stayed in port. It’s not exactly worth the try to head to open water when the boat goes straight up and down in high waves that are white capping. When the winds die off, boats again will head out in force and the fishery is expected to be decent.

River stripers: From Grimes downriver to Rio Vista, the river is basically choked with stripers. While big females are really beginning to show, you can expect to be pecked to death by undersized bass during the daylight hours. Stick it out, though, and you can manage a limit of small bass. If you want a better chance of keepers, drop anchor near dusk, break out the lantern and fish for stripers. For some reason, the little fish seem to go beddy-bye and the bites you get after dark are the keepers. Trolling usually will deter the undersized bass. Any small fish imitation such as a Rapala or Rebel, Bomber or something similar, hauled near the bottom, should get you slammed.

Lake Almanor: Bass are spawning, and the salmon, rainbow and brown bite is good. Most of the action is along the east shoreline just about anywhere from the dam north above Hamilton Branch. Especially early in the morning, you can top-line a threaded crawler or a lure such as a Speedy Shiner or a Rainbow Runner and get into a good bite. Some boats will anchor just outside the mouth of Big Springs, soak a good-size chunk of an anchovy tail and get nice, big king salmon.

Boca Reservoir: While the lake is rising and near 60 percent of capacity, the low snow level means the lake will be hurting this summer. For now, though, the fishery is good for those fishing the upper end where the Truckee River enters the lake, or the lower end around the dam.

Caples Lake: Open water can be seen. There is still ice and even a little snow left on some of the lake. It would not be a good management decision to try getting on the ice, however. It’s becoming more unstable. Fish from shore, where there’s open water and you can get into a decent bite with lures and soaking bait.

Lake Amador: The trout fishery remains the top attraction. Leave the boat home and just do some shore slinging from the dam and spillway area. Rainbow Power Bait remains a top getter. Several lures will work as cast-retrieving until you get bit on bait. Keep changing lures until you find what they want.

Lake Pardee: Rod-bending action tends to be hot right after a trout plant, which continues weekly. From shore, right behind the boathouse or on the other side of that hill at Blue Herron Point, shore casters are doing well soaking rainbow or chartreuse Power Bait. Cast-retrieve a silver Kastmaster, the one with a blue stripe. Rainbows really seem to attack that lure. If it’s not working, keep changing until you find the one they want. Boaters are deadheading straight out of the cove and up the river, near and around Columbia Gulch. They find rainbows, German browns and even a decent kokanee bite.

Lake Camanche: Once the sun hits the water, you can find trout mainly holding between 20-30 feet. It’s tough for even lead-core line to consistently hit those depths, so it will mean downriggers to ensure you get to where the trout are. Mark the depth on your fish finder and set the downrigger just above the average depth. Fish can see up but not down, so you want to make sure your bait is at or above their level. A threaded crawler or flashy little lure will ensure getting bit. Start working outside the buoy line of the North Shore ramp, the Narrows upriver or the old river channel, around the dam and Hat Island.

Folsom Lake: The good news is there isn’t much fishing competition. Bass fishing is outstanding for those who are launching, and there are still trout and salmon to be found.

Take a bucket of minnows and fish around rock piles, with or without a bobber. Bass are inhaling the critters. Don’t like using live bait? Drop-shotting and jigging have been good methods of getting into big bass, but just about anything in the tackle box has been working — jerk baits, swim and crank baits, top water in the early mornings and late afternoons, Senkos, etc.

Contact George deVilbiss at