Salmon fishing makes return to local rivers

By: George deVilbiss
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After being all but closed down for two years, salmon fishing is making a return.


Sacramento River: The river is broken down into three sections: upper section that runs from the Deschutes Road Bridge near Anderson to just upstream up from the Red Bluff Diversion Dam with season dates from Oct 9-31.

The middle section of the Sacramento River is from the Lower Red Bluff Boat Ramp to the Highway 113 Bridge near Knights Landing with season date of Oct. 9-Dec. 12.

The lower section of the Sacramento River is from the Highway 113 Bridge near Knights Landing downriver to the Carquinez Bridge with a season date of Sept 4-Oct. 3.


Feather River: Open for salmon fishing July 31-Aug. 29 with the fishing area between 1,000 feet below the Thermalito Afterbay Outfall downstream to the confluence of the Sacramento-Feather rivers.


American River: Open Oct. 30-Nov. 28 only from the SMUD power line crossing near Ancil Hoffman Park downstream to the mouth of the river at Discovery Park.

In all areas and fishing zones, the daily bag limit on salmon is two Chinooks.



Finally, the good and fair weather pattern seems to have come, something we’ve all been hoping for and wanting for quite some time. Later spring storms kept many away from the favored campsites or from going altogether the past weekend, a long holiday weekend for many.


Lake Almanor: I spent a week at this 4,500-foot elevation lake recently, before the holiday. The lake is in better shape than I’ve seen in some years. Water level is near the top and the Feather River, Bailey Creek, and Hamilton Branch are both flowing strongly with still a lot of snow to come down the hill. The winds blew terribly. Twice we were blown off the lake after only a very short time being out.

There was only one day when we were able to actually spend a full day on the water. We finally pulled the boat out and later that day a full-blown blizzard moved in with just about white-out conditions. Finding fish willing to bite was a definite challenge even when you could get out.

We found salmon, however, running up to two and a half pounds and an occasional brown trout. Rainbows are generally hard to come by this time of year and their bite was no exception. There was some action along the east shoreline and with the higher, colder water, the West side of the lake, around Prattville-Plumas Pines was fairly well attended by anglers with some success. With the better weather, it’ll only get better. We ran the downriggers at 25-35 feet and the lead core at generally 5-6 colors, and all fish were caught on a threaded night crawler.


Folsom Lake: Another lake that hasn’t looked this good in a long, long time. They’re holding the level at just over 90 percent in order to accommodate waters still coming down the South and North Forks. Without using any hardware but a threaded crawler, troll up in the North Fork. There are some trout and salmon hanging in the area. If the warming weather pattern holds, look for bass to be hanging around the drop-offs, off their beds with the spawn all but over. Lot of different hardware will work. Just keep changing until you find what they want that day.


Lake Amador: They raise their own trout here and usually, the hot weather has set in by now and trout plants have ended. That’s not been the problem this year. Now, however, the plants are going to end only because they’re running out of fish to plant until next season’s crop is born and raised. Trout fishing remains pretty fair and with the warming weather, the bass fishing is about to explode.


Lake Davis: The lake is all but full and best fishing is with those going by boat. Troll around the island and stay shallow, within the top 10 feet. It’s a rainbow bite and they’re running up to 18 inches. You can also easily have a 20-plus fish day.


Rollins Lake: The lake is full so besides some fishing, look for a lot of water recreationists visiting here. There are planter rainbows to be found around Long Ravine and smallmouth all around the lake.


Ocean Salmon: All ports report tough fishing conditions with most boats not even venturing out because of the strong winds kicking up the seas. Pat Heaviside in Fort Bragg tells me that of all the boats going out of Noyo Harbor, a grand total of seven salmon were known to have been caught in a full week of fishing.


Bay Area: The winds haven’t too badly affected the bay area fleet, those staying within bay waters. With live bait available, the halibut bite has been decent with the best action being found in the South Bay in the area of Alameda. Along with the butts, there are also some stripers in the mix. Outgoing tide is always the best, so time it to the tides and you can do well.


Shad: These “poor man’s tarpon” are spread out and the fishing can be good. Shad flies and darts are nailing them all along the American, but anchor your boat at the mouth of the American and simply cast-retrieve. The Feather River is good, especially at the mouth of the river at Verona.


Any questions, comments or concerns, contact George at GeorgesColumn@AOL.COM.