This Is Nina’s Day Job! … My friend Nina Selvage is a fisheries biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. They pay her to fish! I’d pay them for that job. After a recent 75-day backcountry gig trapping, tagging and scaling fish, she flew a Cub to spot moving schools of salmon – then went out to catch and DNA-sample as many as possible. How’d that go, Nina? She caught 484 fish in four days – on a fly. Any big ones? Yep, all of them. Have a look.

The Selvage fly fishing gene pool is deep and pristine. Nina’s mom and dad, Maggie and Bill from Boise, are old pros on the river. Maggie gave me an advanced fly fishing tutorial on the Boise River some years ago. It was brutal at the time – but I never forgot it.

Meanwhile, Closer To Home … I don’t have much to report on local waters. This dry weather has kept the Napa River tributaries dry and/or clear, leaving the sturgeon still waiting to come up closer to town. Of course, the flipside of that is a continued striper bite from boat or bank. Stop in at Sweeney’s on Imola (255-5544) before heading out to get an update on hot baits and honey holes. One reader said bass fishing at Hennessey was tough last week – not even a bite.

I feel her pain – we are still waiting for our first cold weather Clear Lake bass trip; experienced guides are coming back skunked for the day – not one fish caught. We’re hoping for a major change in that situation – with reservations for both December and January. I hope you’ll stay tuned – even though I have been unable to give you any Clear Lake good news for weeks and weeks now.

Fact – there are some monster bass lurking in many farm ponds around the Valley. Fact – they are on private property. So, please don’t just drive in and fish without getting permission. And, please “pack it in, pack it out” so you leave no trash behind.

Good Weather On The Salt … generated good fishing out of Bodega Bay. Total up the New Sea Angler’s Saturday and Sunday combo catches and you get : 650 rockfish, 92 ling cod to 21 pounds and 275 Dungeness crabs. Weather was good. Better book fast if you want crab for your traditional Christmas Eve bash. Call Captain Rick Powers at 875-3344.

And, Sturgeon Still On The Chew … in the Delta. In fact they are being caught in many more places than reported earlier. The Hot Sheet noted that, in addition to honey hole Suisun Bay, the big diamond backs are also at Ryer Island, the Big Cut, Chain Island and Montezuma Slough. I’m looking for that bite to last for a while – so get out there and fish. Call Captain Barry Canevaro at 916-777-6498.

Stocking Gifts … are very important in the Ryan family. Every member gets a stocking full of goodies on Christmas morning. Let’s make those little items meaningful and useful to all who love to fish. Lots of places to fill your bag – like Sweeney’s Sports on Imola and Steves Hardware right on St. Helena’s Main Street. I know lots of holiday shopping is done at Walmart outdoor sports section; ask for Art, he is really good.

Ideas? The point is that these are usually inexpensive little remembrances – and so it can be for anglers. I like to include little bags of assorted weights and swivels. Line nippers are good – along with bobbers and hooks. A potpourri of baits is always appreciated – salmon eggs, little plastic red worms, Berkeley’s PowerBait has a color, shape and scent for every occasion.

A nice combo gift that will be appreciated forever is to combine some of these items with a 2018 California recreational fishing license. You’ll need some information about the recipient to buy a license – but you can buy a gift certificate instead. I know that Sweeney’s and Steves sells them – probably other places, too.

Now Here’s A Heads-up … (and a perfect stocking stuffer) – The place to be Jan. 18-21 is the International Sportsmen’s Expo in Sacramento. One of the best catches I made there 24 years ago was to meet pro river guide Kevin Brock (800-995-5543). We have fished together every year since. Kevin has fished three generations of Ryan’s. Go online at for everything you’ll need to know to max it. By the way, you can meet Kevin and attend his seminars there. Catch him at the Expo’s California Sportsmen’s Theater at noon on Friday and at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Load up your car full of kids for a great day or two of outdoor sport activities.

And, A Serious End Note … about really bad people who book a fishing trip and don’t show up – not even a call to the Captain. Sure, an emergency change in plans can happen to any of us, but stiffing the Captain and harming his income without calling is truly bush league. Dave Hurley in Monday’s Hot Sheet told of a group of 10 who no-showed a Berkeley boat and a group of six who stiffed a boat in Pittsburg on Sunday. There is no place in hell hot enough to fry these bad guys.

Email Bill Ryan at