We went out fishing on the Truckee River on Saturday, September 14th. Beautiful, clear morning – got out onto the water by about 7:00am. The water was unfortunately incredibly low, so it was difficult to find pockets of fishable water. We ended up pulling off just south of the Alpine Meadows turnoff on Highway 89 between the lake and Truckee and found a few reasonably good spots. We used dry flies and caught a few beautiful, but very small – 4-5 inchers – trout. All in all a beautiful morning but not the best time of year to go, particularly during the drought we’re having out here.
Absolutely nothing to report here other than two conversations with the Fish and Game folks.
First conversation was two weeks ago at the launch ramp at Santa Cruz Harbor, it went something like this:
“Hey, has anybody reported any salmon caught at all around here today?”
The young girl (maybe 18) looked at me like I was asking her if she had seen Elvis walking around earlier. Seriously, I knew right away that there was nothing to report at all in terms of fish being caught. She said she hadn’t heard of or seen a single salmon caught out of Santa Cruz harbor in weeks.
Pretty much the same deal for the older Fish and Game guy I asked last Saturday.(He was one carrying a guy).
He told me the fishing was absoultely zero down this way but according to the pre-season speculation from the scientists, the fishing was to pick up come the second half of the season. So maybe that will pan out. Until then, no salmon out of Santa Cruz unfortunately.
What a great way to spend the day yesterday. Fishing for some nice brown trout in the pretty sweet Browns River, Vermont. Just south, like a few hundred feet from the covered bridge, my wife and I purchased some worms, and then headed down to where the fire engines fill up their tanks from the river. There is a big parking area a few hundred yards away since you can park where the big bend in the river is, but the walk is literally three minutes.
I started off with throwing in a small cast master lure and on the very first cast a small brown trout took a snap at the lure. I did not hook up, but a few casts later across the sixty or seven foot wide river, I had a nice 10 inch brown on the line. My wife was watching and yelled at me to throw it back since it was so small, and that’s what I did. But, the next fish was just about the same size as you’ll see in the video, so kept that one.
I found out about this place from the two super nice Fish and Game officials. We had run into them a few hours earlier and I asked them where the heck to go to catch some trout, and one of the guys told me this was the spot. He said it had been stocked really recently with fish, and there was a great chance of catching something. And, the best part is its literally on highway 128, so you can’t miss it.
After about an hour or so, a father and son showed up and stood right next to me. They were pretty nice folks, locals for sure and not too grumpy that an out of towner was fishing on their turf. The dad made it seem that he was going to show me for sure some fish right away, but as it turned out, I caught a fish while they were there and they caught ZERO. So, just saying, no need to try to big shot anyone, its just fishing after all.
As for Vermont in general, what can I say. There is an endless supply of rivers and fish to be caught. Tomorrow we will be heading east to the more remote parts of the state and probably going to find some more trout.
Fishing for just about everyone on the first day of the salmon season was not nearly as good as the expectations. Depending on where you were caught fishing had quite a bit to do with your luck, but for the most part, the majority of the anglers who fished off Santa Cruz, CA came back into the docs in the early afternoon without a single fish. It was a shame in some ways, but the good news was the weather was pretty darn good for everyone. There was plenty of sunshine, and the wind and the waves were not too out control.
Just after leaving Santa Cruz Harbor - super calm and clear skies
To give a better idea of the sea conditions, for most of the boats who left before six o’clock Saturday morning, the stampede to the fishing grounds out near the Soquel Hole were just about flat. Maybe not like a lake, but the ocean was very calm and was a great way to cruise over the ten mile run at the start of the season. Later in the morning, the winds started to pick up a bit, and the currents started to play a part in the fishing, but overall weather was not a factor on day one.
here's our small Boston Whaler Fishing Boat
Most fishermen were trolling around, pulling both hoochies, spin baits, and dragging dodgers and flashers as would be expected for an opening day of salmon fishing. It was estimated that over 250 sport fishing boats left the Santa Cruz, CA harbor on Saturday in search of the salmon, and less than 85 salmon were reported to be caught come late evening. There were some reports on undersized fish being released, however its very hard to verify those numbers.
some fellow fishermen trolling for salmon on Opening Day 2012
As the fleet was fishing the area known as “The Hole”, much of the water is deeper than 250 feet, and there again were varying reports of the depths where fish were taken. Some fish were said to be caught below the 150 foot mark, and some others were reporting fish quite a bit higher. One thing that was for sure were the complaints of very large schools of jellyfish in the area. The jellyfish are not usually a major problem, but they can definitely turn your baits into a cluster mess of jelly and the jellyfish can also get all tangled up in your down-rigger gear. Just one of those nuisances of salmon fishing, but not the end of the world.
Jelly Fish on top of the Soquel Hole Saturday April 7th, 2012
As for how we did, well, I’m sorry to say that we did not even get a single bite this opening day. We did our usual mooching, which was droppin down to 100-200 feet some sardines that were threaded up with a nice hook on the end. Depending on the time of day, we were using between 2-4 ounces to get everything down as the currents were changing rapidly, but that method produced no luck for us. Many boats were passing us all day long with their trolling gear, but we did not even see a single net get dipped into the water. So, quite strange to say the least. Not what was expected, but maybe it was just us, and others had some much better luck farther up or farther down the coast.
Good weather was a great treat, and we’ll all be trying for some salmon again real soon.
Today is the day we have all been waiting for once again. Another long winter without any fresh salmon in the freezer is coming to an end. Saturday is the beginning of the salmon fishing season here in California, and for all the sport fishermen, that is the best news of the year. But that’s not all.
This year, the fishing is expected to be much better than last year. There have already, in the first few hours of the season been reports of many nice sized salmon being caught just off the coast in areas like Monterrey Bay, and especially in Santa Cruz. Since we will be fishing ourselves out of Santa Cruz Harbor in just a few more minutes, I can safely say that there are hundreds of boats heading straight out or near the Soquel Hole to try and locate the fish.
6:30 am salmon boats leaving Santa Cruz Inner Harbor
Bayside Marine, one of the local fish and tackle shops here in Santa Cruz was booming with customers up until about 9:00 pm last night. Although many of the people hanging around the tackle shop were pretty much loaded from sipping on beers all day, it was pretty impressive to see so much action all in anticipation for the opening day of the salmon fishery here on the coast.
If you start talking with the locals, you’ll get your usual mix of exactly how and what is the best way to catch the fish. Conventional thinking goes back to what I consider to be pretty boring – trolling around some lures. But, trolling for salmon, especially early in the season is the most common and popular fishing method. People love to attach different lures, or hoochies to the end of the line. And some people like using a flasher or dodger, which is thought to attract the fish as well.
But, for people like me, trolling around with your engine blasting out fumes all day is no fun. So, like you’ve seen before from past years, we’ll be mooching with some threaded sardines once again and hopefully getting the chance to put a nice big pink fleshed salmon in the box(or two or three).
Salmon fishing regulations are largely unchanged since last year. Each licensed angler is allowed to keep 2 fish, and the salmon need to be at least 24 inches in length. No silver/coho salmon are allowed to be taken. Only king salmon are allowed. You can figure out which type of salmon you have caught by looking at the gums of the fish. If the gums are white, that is a silver salmon and you must release it immediately. If the gums are black in color, that fish can be kept as long as its 24 inches long. More details about the fishing regulations can be located at the California Fish and Game Website.
Good Luck fishing this year, and hopefully we’ll see some 20 and 30 pound salmon on the first day!
January 2, 2012 was a pretty calm day for us down here in Cabo in terms of the weather. The morning had a nice light breeze that created a tiny wind chop near shore. Offshore, the wind was a bit heavier, but still less than 10-12 knots. Temperatures were hoovering just over 78 degrees for the majority of the day and the ocean temperature ranged from the low to mid 70’s. In the afternoon and towards dusk, the weather became very calm. Winds died down to almost nothing at all, and the ocean turned to glass before it was dark.
Fishing for Bonito
Although there were some yellow dorado flags flying on some of the fishing fleets boats in Palmilla Bay, our boat did not catch any. We fished again in the afternoon, and trolled three rods in back of the boat at about 7-8 knots. We used two plugs, and one “mexican flag feather lure”. The diving plug lures worked the best. The feather didn’t even get a single bite from any fish.
We were only able to catch football sized bonito, and in total we landed 5 in the two hours of afternoon fishing. We released all of the fish, and although I was hoping to chop up a few of them and use them for bait for grouper the next day, the boat’s captain would not allow for that. When you are reeling up a fish like bonito, you don’t know for sure what you have on the end of the line. There’s always a chance it could be a nice and tasty yellow fin tuna, but of course it might just be bonito. Thankfully, the fish we caught today were super strong and were pulling out line until the very end. We never used the gaff that was sitting in the back of the boat, since again the captain didn’t want to get fish blood flying all over the boat. We already had enough cleaning when we got on-board. We were lucky enough to have a flock of about ten pelicans sitting on the boat all day, pooping all over the place. If it wasn’t for the washdown hose on the boat, we would probably have been sitting in fresh white pelican poop. Let’s just say the fishing today was a bit stinkier than usual.
Two days from now on Wednesday we are headed back out again to fish the waters of the Gordo Banks up the Sea of Cortez. The goal is to leave a bit earlier in the morning, and we are expecting to finally get some live bait.
Very few reports of marlin caught came over the radio today. There was one boat out of Cabo San Lucas which reported 3 stripped marlin before noon, and the captain said that all the fish were taken at the Golden Gate Bank on the Pacific Ocean side of Cabo.
The new marina has arrived to San Jose Del Cabo, it’s called Puerto Los Cabos.
Most definitely, it has taken it’s fair share of time, but the Corona family has done a magnificent job in constructing and getting up and running the new marina and harbor in San Jose Del Cabo. So long are the days of needing to drive all the way into Cabo San Lucas to launch your boat at the launch ramp there. If you are living or vacationing closer to San Jose Del Cabo, it is a very simply drive through town and the estuary to the new marina. There is a nice webpage that talks about the making of the Puerto Los Cabos marina right here(for more information on that if you like.)
Some great features of the Puerto Los Cabos Marina:
Very easy to use launch ramp (never a wait, and some happy local Mexicans are there to help you out if you like)
Some of the nicest looking fillet tables for cutting up your catch when you return (look at the picture below)
Several nice public bathrooms (great places to drop a stinky load before or after fishing)
A nice beach to take a quick dip, or to drop your kids off at while you go out fishing for the day
Tons of panga boats to charter for fishing trips if you don’t have your own fishing boat
Live bait is often available from some of the locals if you arrive early enough in the morning
Several different taco stands and smaller restaurants are scattered around the marina (don’t be scared if they look like they haven’t been cleaned in years, those ones are usually the best tasting. Best bet is to hit up a taco stand that has the most locals eating at it. And feel free to bring your fish that you’ve caught right on in, and most places will cook it up for you
There is a fishing tackle shop that you can buy fishing gear and a Mexican Fishing License if you like (people over the age of 12 need to purchase a fishing license and it is around $15 or less per day)
Drydock storage facilities for boats that are needing a more long term solution
Other boat services and haul out options are available
Puerto Los Cabos Marina Pictures:
Puerto Los Cabos Marina (near the launch ramp)
the fish filleting tables at the marina (girl sometimes included)
View of Palmilla Bay between San Jose and Cabo San Lucas
Today December 29, 2011 is the beginning of an 11 day long fishing trip. What’s great is that the weather is looking quite a bit better this morning compared to the reports that we have heard from several amigos and local Mexican fishing guides down here in Cabo. I guess the past few days, the weather has been relatively cool, with some variable to heavy winds in the afternoons.
This morning, the winds are very light, and the seas appear very calm here at Palmilla Bay. Palmilla bay is located in-between the two towns of San Jose del Cabo and the more famous Cabo San Lucas. Of the two towns, it is much closer to San Jose del Cabo.
Later on today, we are going to launch the Grady White boat we have down here, and take it out for some fishing. We are still deciding where exactly to fish, but it is probably that we will launch out of San Jose del Cabo in their new marina, and then maybe take a stroll up the Sea of Cortez to the Gordo Banks. There have been some reports of yellowfin tuna and dorado being taken out at the banks which is great news. My wife is telling me not to come back to sea until we have some fish for her to eat. I’m sure other fishermen can understand the pressures we go through.
In terms of how we plan on catching anything, well, we will probably be trolling heavy lures behind the boat, and if we get lucky, we might end up purchasing some live bait from some other amigos.
Time will tell, but since it’s been three years since I was down here in Cabo, I think we should be really lucky this time around.
More Cabo fishing updates will follow over the week, and hopefully some nice pictures of fish both being caught, and maybe even some live fishing videos.
Much of the best salmon fishing off the California Coast is happening right in Santa Cruz which is part of the Monterrey Bay. There seems to be some great action for quite some time now just a few minutes ride by private boat or charter boat from the Santa Cruz harbor, and salmon are being caught with sardines and others from trolling lures in the 70-100 feet range.
Most of the salmon fishing has been the best while bringing your fishing gear down below the 80 foot mark, but for those of you who enjoy fishing much higher to the surface, there is always a decent chance you will get a strike up higher too.
With fishing conditions being very good so far in September, many of the party boats and private yachts have come back to the docks with averages of 1 salmon for every two people, and often the numbers have been much higher. There have also been some larger than normal salmon caught over the past two weeks. There was one confirmed 36 lb. salmon caught with an anchovy three miles off Capitola in 80 feet of water, and there have been numerous 20 lb. salmon reports over the past month too.
One suggestion would be to contact the local harbor master before you plan to leave your house to find out the local weather conditions. It’s definitely worth the quick phone call to find out what might be happening on the ocean during your salmon fishing before you head out of the driveway. And what a great way to head out if the harbormaster tells you the water is flat calm and no wind expected the rest of the day.
We just finished fishing the Stanislaus River off Highway 4, and man was it an excellent few days of fishing for trout. With all of the rain this year, the river was running higher than we have ever seen it, and that seemed to positively impact our overall fishing numbers.
Please watch the video of how the fishing ended up:
Our fishing trip started out with buying some live crickets and night crawler worms from Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods. They are located just off Highway 4 in Arnold, CA. This store I thought was going to be great in terms of help, as the young guy I talked to the day before told me the owner would be there the next day when I planned on driving through their town, but not so much the case. Actually, the old man was cool and helpful with some fishing tips, but his wife was VERY un-cool and actually quite rude. She was trying to tell my friend and I we could not fish where we were planning on fishing off Boards Crossing, which ended up being completely NOT TRUE. Quite strange that she would act so rude to new customers trying to bring her business to her fishing shop.
Either way, this place did not disturb our fishing trip, and we pretty much laughed her off a few miles down the road as a grump.
The drive from Arnold to Boards Crossing Road is not very far at all. And for sure B Davis and I were pretty pumped to get the fishing line in the water, because this was the first time we had live crickets to fish with. In the past we had used pretty much everything else, but not crickets yet.
We started off walking down a good ways downriver to what is known as “The Gorge”. It’s about a 45 minute walk from the actual Boards Crossing, but once we got there, it was well worth the hike. Since the water of the Stanislaus is running so high right now.
Fishing With the Sun Shinning
On our first day of fishing, we met a girl at the local breakfast restaurant down in Murphy’s, California. And, since she looked like she might know something about trout fishing on the Stanislaus, we asked her what she would recommend. And of course, any
Brad's first Trout on a Lure at the Stanislaus Gorge
fisherman or woman has their own opinions on everything, but this girl told us you won’t catch any trout in the middle of the day. Well, that too was WRONG. We sure caught a ton of trout in the middle of the day. In-fact, all of the trout we caught from the Gorge was during the middle of the day when the sun was shinning pretty hard. Of course, after the long hike down the river, it might have been a better idea to fish later or just stay out of the sun for a little while longer, but we didn’t. The trout kept pouncing on the crickets so we just couldn’t stop. Brad even caught a German Brown Trout on a spinner, and that was his first trout on a lure EVER.
Speaking of fisherwomen, we ran into one of the best we have ever seen on all of our adventures trout fishing off Highway 4. There was a young girl maybe in her early twenties who was sitting down in a lawn chair in the shade with her fishing pole and book, who was absolutely nailing the fish. She was using salmon eggs and the trout were loving it. We noticed that in the span of about 45 minutes, she must have pulled in about 3 keeper trout, and eventually she got up and left with a string of 5 nice sized 12-14 inch trout for dinner. Congrats to her, and it was great to see trout being caught out of the Stanislaus on salmon eggs. We ourselves did not have any luck with using the salmon eggs however.
Catching Trout with Crickets:
There are a few things we learned about fishing with crickets to catch the trout. Here is a list:
get used to chasing the crickets around on the ground after you take one from the cage
Once you have one, hold it with two fingers(thumb and pointer) while you are hooking it
Hook the cricket in the thorax and than back through the neck
When the small trout nibble, relax and take a few seconds before you jerk the fishing pole
When the larger trout strike, you will know for sure
Keep the crickets in a cool place out of the direct sunlight
A “half tube” of crickets lasted two of us 2 full days
Don’t spend more than $4 on a half tube of live crickets
Use either a bobber or a few hooks to get the cricket presenting properly
When fishing with crickets, don’t freak out about the cricket juice that comes out after the initial hooking
Pictures of Rainbow Trout from the 2011 Stanislaus Fishing Trip:
One of the first Rainbows of the trip, notice the sun is out
Brad taking the hook out of the trouts mouth
An excellent shot of "The Gorge" on the Stanislaus River
this is what we called "the beach"
frying up some rainbow trout in the morning for breakfast
Half Moon Bay, CA is located just about 1 hour south of San Francisco and it sits just off highway 1. There is a great local harbor called Pillar Point Harbor, which has a multi lane boat ramp, fishing tackle shops, several Charter Fishing Boats, as well as tons of seafood restaurants. The fishing can be excellent depending on the weather conditions and the time of year you plan to fish.
Boat Launch Ramp
The launch ramp at Pillar Point Harbor was constructed in 1996, and it replaced the very much outdated older launch ramp which was closer to the restaurants. There is ample parking for your vehicle and trailer, and there is also a very large over-flow lot which is just a few minutes walk away. On opening day of salmon season, you can expect to be parking in the overflow lot, as well on days when weekend fishing in the summer for salmon is red hot. There is a nominal fee to launch your boat, and there are also fillet tables and some water available to clean your boat afterwards.
You could expect on a very busy weekend like opening day of salmon season, or on a day when there is a huge amount of albacore fishing and moderate salmon fishing in the middle of the summer to have a 15-30 minute wait for others who are launching their boats in front of you. Otherwise, the chances are that you will be able to drive right up and launch your boat without any wait and with no delays in driving out to the fishing grounds. Probably some of the biggest amounts of time you will feel are wasted will be the motoring of your fishing boat from the launch ramp to the outside of the JAWS of the harbor. This takes about ten minutes on its own as this is a massive harbor to navigate through.
Salmon Fishing in Half Moon Bay
The good thing about fishing out of Half Moon Bay or Pillar Point harbor is there are many different spots to fish for salmon. There are places to the north, as well as several different spots to the south. This is good news because often you will be able to run north to a place like Pedro Point off Pacifica, and catch an early morning calm ride to the salmon fishing grounds, but by the afternoon when it is time to get back to the harbor, you will be able to ride the waves behind your boat and have it relatively easy getting in. This is sometimes the case as well for people fishing down south of Half Moon Bay, but for me at least, it has often been a harder run back to Pillar Point from the south.
Early in the year for the past few decades, the best fishing has been up around Pedro Point and often times in very close to the shore compared to being out 5-6 miles. The salmon seem to bite really well on trolling gear, whether you are using rigged sardines or anchovies, or hoochies and dodgers. The fish are usually in the mood to bite all sorts of things, as long as you don’t mind throwing back some shakers or small salmon.
If you are in the mood for walking around the fishing boats that are up at the harbor after your trip, you are in some great luck. The working pier which leads out from the harbor master’s office is Johnson Pier. It is big so you won’t miss it. There are several different charter boats which will be happy to take you and your family fishing, whether it be for rock cod, or salmon or sometimes albacore tuna if you are lucky. These Half Moon Bay Charter Fishing Boats are usually running on every weekend day, and many times during the weekdays when fishing is good. Be sure to call up and ask beforehand to make sure you are able to get on board one of those boats. One of the boats that has been fishing in Half Moon Bay for a long time is called the Huli Cat. This boat is 53 feet long and is owned by Tom Mattusch. There are several other boats as well, and you might be able to get on a smaller boat to make the long run for albacore if you do a bit more investigation into local charter boats in the area.
The local harbormaster’s office is a great resource to all fishermen in the Bay Area. They monitor V.H.F. channels 16 and 74 24 hours a day. The Half Moon Bay harbor website is: www.smharbor.com which also has much more local information.
Fresh Fish From the Dock in Half Moon Bay
If you find yourself fishing a full day in HMB, but you for some reason do not end up catching anything, you still might be in luck. The commercial fishermen in the harbor have recently begun selling fish from their boats, in a very organized way. There are actually posterboard signs at the end of each dock which list the boats and what type of fish they have to sell for anyone in the general public to purchase. All you need to do is show up when there is fish, and purchase whatever you want right from the people who caught it. It is a a great way to make sure you are eating fresh local caught fish at a reasonable price. There is even a phone number you can call up to find out what is available, it is (650) 726-8724.
Some more harbor pictures from beautiful Half Moon Bay:
Setting Up a Fishing Trip in Puerto Morelos could not be easier than a quick walk down the main square to the one pier in the town. Don’t worry on having trouble finding it, the town square is pretty small and everything leads to the beach so its never a problem for tourists. What you will probably notice if you are in search of a fishing trip is that there are several different types of boats to choose from at Puerto Morelos.
panga fishing boats for charter
As for the fishing, this is an excellent place to get out into the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea and try your luck fishing for marlin, wahoo, mahi-mahi, dorado, yellow fin tuna, and all types of groupers and barracuda and other fish. Most of the days, the crew who I spoke with down on the docks of the fishing pier said they catch several types of fish unless the customers want to target one specific fish. The most common methods of fishing are trolling either lures or live bait to catch the bigger fish. The bait of choice is either small mackerel or ballyhoo which are plentiful. The prices for chartering a boat range on the boats size. For the budget choice, the cheapest day of fishing would be to charter a panga. Panga’s are small open air fishing boats powered by a gas outboard engine. There will usually be one captain and one crew member on board the boat, and this can cost between $200-250 for 4 hours of fishing. Bait, tackle, and fishing rods are all included, and sometimes you can negotiate for lunch to be included too.
Some other fishing boats that can be chartered are definitely going to cost more money. The larger boats can be upwards of $750 for a full day, although they can accommodate more people, usually in the 5-7 person range. Below is a picture of one of the local fishing guides cutting up a freshly caught dorado in the 30 pound range. This is an excellent fighting fish and also a great fish to bring back to your hotel and have the chef cook it up for you and your family for dinner or lunch. This fish was caught on a lure while trolling just a few miles off the coast. The fishing conditions in terms of weather are usually very pleasant. There are expected daily winds of 10-15 miles per hour on most days during much of the year. The hurricane season does exist, so you should plan accordingly. For example, much of the region is very vacant from August until November due to the potential for very high winds. The rest of the year is excellent. The seas are very calm on most days with just a light wind chop of small waves that are no problem for the fishing boats to handle with grace.
Make sure to ask your fishing guides if you will need a license to go out fishing. There have not been many incidents of fishermen from the United States running into the Mexican police demanding to see fishing licenses, but it is possible, so your best bet is to check beforehand on whether that would be necessary or not.
California Salmon Season 2011 has being happening for over 1 month now, and the early word on the salmon that have been caught is small fish. The legal size that all the salmon need to be is a minimum of 27 inches in California per the Department of Fish and Game regulations. This new size limit has been making it difficult for fishermen to make it home with something in the fish box.
There have been many fishing reports of boats catching 4-5 fish per rod, however, many times these same boats are returning with just 1 or 2 legal salmon fish. Although the season is still very early and there is a great chance that this year the salmon might simply need a few more months out in the ocean to feed on sardines and krill and squid to fatten up and turn into a legal size fish, fishermen are still getting frustrated.
Last weekend in Santa Cruz, California, the weather was nice and sunny but quite windy and so the amount of boats who ventured out to fish was definitely less than the opening day fleet. And when walking around the docks and the launch ramp in the early afternoon, it was fish story after story about small shaker salmon being caught.
There have been several years in recent history when the large 30 pound salmon were not caught off the California coast until well into the summer months, and there is hope that this is going to be the case again this year in 2011.
The salmon fishing up and down the coast has taking a tiny bit of a lull over the past week compared to earlier in the month. The sea conditions have been hit or miss, often the ocean waters start acting up as usual in the afternoon, but there were two days last week when they were calm nearly all day long. As for the salmon fishing, there is about a 75% chance you will catch a fish, so that’s about 3/4 fish per pole. An even better chance your boat will have some smaller salmon or shakers.
The best places to catch the salmon right now is from out of the Santa Cruz Harbor. Most of the fishing success is still taking place off the Soquel Hole which is just a few miles out from the harbor. Anglers are catching fish mostly with trolling gear, however there has been an increasing amount of fishermen taking salmon with mooching gear using anchovies and sardines this week. The depths continue to be relatively low compared to later in the year fishing. Most fish are coming from depths of below 100 feet and often as far down as 200 feet. Be sure to carry some proper gear to ensure you can get your lures and hooks down to those depths otherwise you will be struggling.
Farther down the coast in Monterey, there have also been some reports this week of the salmon fishing picking up, several of the charter boats out of Monterey have had anglers catch their two fish limit, and others of course did a bit worse fishing. Make sure to check the weather conditions before you head out, there is always a chance that a gale of wind my blow by before you know it.
Saturday’s opening day of the long awaited Salmon Season for everyone in California was a great time no matter how many fish were caught big or small. Not only was there relatively few problems reported, but the fishing turned out pretty good for most anglers.
As expected, the best salmon fishing and fish numbers that were reported was from Santa Cruz Harbor, where boats had on average just under 1 fish per person. Considering how many boats were launched at the boat ramp and the number of local boats from the harbor that fished, it was quite incredible!
Salmon Fishing the Soquel Hole
The overwhelming majority of salmon were caught at the Soquel Hole, which is just a 25-30 minute run from the mouth of Santa Cruz harbor. The salmon were caught in depths of between 230 feet and 290 feet of water, and most of the actual fish were picked up between depths of 80-200 feet. The most common fishing gear used to catch the salmon for opening day was a trolling rig made up of a salmon dodger or flasher, along with a hoochie which looks like a live squid. Many of the fishermen reported large amounts of un-digested squid in the stomachs and intestines of the salmon they were filleting at the fish tables after wards. Another common trolling setup that had success was dragging a dead sardine at slow trolling speeds of 2-4 knots.
In other parts of the California coast, the salmon fishing seemed to also be decent. Many of the San Francisco Bay fleet headed north to Duxbury Reef for mixed results and the Half Moon Bay fleet also had some mixed results with occasional reports of large salmon taken.
The weather was slightly rough at different times of the day. The wind would pick up at times in the early morning and then die off again and repeat that cycle. The seas were by no means calm, and large rollers up to 7 feet were reported. Towards the end of the afternoon, the seas appeared much more calm compared to much of the early daytime, which is abnormal for this time of year.
Overall, the opening day of the 2011 Salmon Season was a big success with great fishing and few issues. Sunday’s fishing should bring back some great stories as well.
It’s just 7 days until the official start of the Salmon Fishing Season Once Again in California
Here is some news from the local harbors:
Nearly every harbor that was contacted this week is expecting record amounts of anglers coming to drop their poles in search of the salmon.
If you are planning on taking out your private fishing boat, please be prepared for delays in launching your fishing boat. There is a very good chance that there will be lines many boats long of other fishermen launching in front of you.
If you have not gone through and done a safety items check on your fishing boat, do that this weekend
Purchase your fishing license early, there is always a chance that the physical licenses will be all sold out, and most people are getting them online. You can go to the California Department of Fish and Game Site to purchase fishing licenses. HERE
Make sure you boat is registered for 2011, otherwise you can expect the Coast Guard to board your boat or more likely the local harbor patrol, they usually have a field day on opening days of salmon season checking for current registration and safety equipment
Don’t go fishing without life jackets no matter what.
Also, nobody ever knows what the weather conditions are going to be like when you are out fishing, if you want to get something that may very well save your boat and your crew, buy some safety flares
Most importantly, check the fishing and weather conditions so you know what to expect the day you go fishing. Currently, the water conditions are very rough in many parts of the California coast, but the seas and the fishing is expected to be very doable come next weekend.
Be safe, and have fun at California’s Opening Salmon Fishing Day!
Everybody is hardly sleeping anymore it seems. Whether you are talking about the young kids who are going to fish for their first time for ocean salmon off the California coast, or if you are talking about the old grandpas who are getting some wood once again before the fishing begins. It is true, the Salmon Opener is just around your corners, so ladies and gentlemen, get ready to start your engines.
It has been such a long wait, and its just about through, the big question remains about where the best fishing is going to be for the start of the 2011 Salmon Season. There are the usual suspects who think that the best fishing will be down deep in the deeper 200 foot waters, and then there are other theories right now that are starting about the bait fish and bait balls that have been tracked in much shallower water compared to usual for this time of year.
If everyone looks back to the most recent salmon opener, which was several years ago now, the best confirmed fishing was out of Santa Cruz Harbor, where most anglers on opening day caught just under a 1 fish per rod average of salmon. The fish were also caught off the Soquel Hole for the most part, with the overwhelming majority taken by anglers trolling dodgers and hoochies.
Last Minute Salmon Fishing Season To Do’s:
test out all of your fishing reels to make sure they flow freely
set new fishing line on your favorite pole
order your fishing gear before opening day, there are reports already of inventory problems with fishing gear
buy your fishing liscense (either online or at your local fishing tackle shop)
do some test runs with your boat, and make sure your battery is loaded up and engine is in good running order
make sure you have life jackets for everyone who is going to fish with you
buy bait, and throw it in your freezer, too many people I’m afraid are going to go baitless on opening day
Good luck to everyone who is going to take part in the 2011 California Salmon Fishing Opener
The California Department of Fish and Game has finally made their announcement that fishing for salmon is going to be allowed for all the sport anglers and fishermen who are wanting to put their fishing poles in the water this year. It was a very long and drawn out process to get things all squared away, but the fish seem to be doing well and its time to go salmon fishing in April.
Several members of the Department of Fish and Game testified in Sacramento early last week and there were also many reports this week that the King Salmon that are out in the Pacific off the California Coast are well above the numbers they have been in the previous years. It is thought that there might be more than 750,000 king salmon roaming the salt waters off the coast right now.
This is great news for all the local salmon fishermen who have been banned from fishing in recent years. Along with the news, it is expected to be the biggest opening day of California Salmon Sport Fishing in history this year. There has been a bit of a scare in some parts of the coast recently due to the tsumani warnings from a few days ago, but that has for the most part died down. The harbors all along the coast are getting ready and the local bait and tackle shops are stocking up to fulfill the needs of the salmon fishermen as well. You should start shopping around for frozen sardines and anchovies to catch the salmon with, because they just may be in short supply come April.
The California Dungeness Crab season is doing good this year. Although there have been some recent stormy weather throughout much of the California Coast, both the commercial and the sport fisherman are seeing lots of crab each day. Some of the commercial boats are even making it back to their harbors with over 5000 pounds of freshly caught Dungeness crab that are making their ways into the local and international fish markets.
California Crab Fishermen
The commercial crabbing boat above is based out the Monterrey Peninsula. Over the weekend, they were able to catch crab in depths that ranged from 60-500 feet of water. While using over 600 crab pots and crab traps, they were all very satisfied with their catch, and will be making it out again really soon for more once their gear has soaked a bit more.
sea otters having fun
If you are a going to try to catch the dungeness crab from shore or from a pier, there is an excellent chance that you will find crab that way too. The dungeness crab are not limited to being caught in deep water. If you look at the picture above of the sea otter, you might be able to notice that these two are actually swimming and eating freshly caught crab at the same time. Sea otters are very good crab fishermen, and they eat crab all day long. If you see them near you when you are fishing, don’t be alarmed, it is usually a very good sign that the crab are near you and you should have a good day ahead. Make sure that the dungeness crab you keep are of the legal size which is 6 1/4 inches, but make sure to know the current regulations wherever you are crabbing.
The Department of Fish and Game in California is holding an open meeting for the public to join in on. It will be held on March 1, 2011 at the Sonoma County Water Agency. The time of the meeting is from 11:00 AM until 2:30pm. The meeting is meant to be a place for the public to talk about the upcoming decisions to open the 2011 Salmon Fishing Season. The salmon fishery is right in the middle of a very complicated time right now. There will be biologists presenting data on the recent salmon runs up the rivers, and there will also be information discussed from other members of the Department of Fish and Game.
Some of the positive news expected to be talked about involves the high numbers of spawning salmon that were recently recorded in the Sacramento River and Klamath River. The actual numbers of salmon that were found were higher than what was previously expected, and the numbers looked to be a good sign that the 2010 salmon runs were at a higher level than in the previous years. It is very difficult to estimate what is going to happen in terms of the opening of the 2011 California Salmon Season, but now the expectation is that come either April or May 1st, there will be a definite sport fishing season, but the exact parameters of the commercial fishing remains unclear.
Usually, the different groups who decide on the Pacific Salmon Fishing regulations and Salmon Seasons actually take much more time developing the commercial fishing rules compared to the sport salmon fishing. The quotas and the time and locations that can be salmon fished are all determined by an international mixed organization group of professionals who literally spend their life thinking about the salmon.
If you have interest in the future of the salmon fishing in the state of California, you are encouraged to visit the Salmon Fishing meeting with the DFG. It will be an open forum for anyone interested party to raise their questions about the salmon season.