Luke Lipanovich … does Clear Lake. Luke is one of my favorite Napa teenage anglers. He has concentrated on black bass over the years and has built some serious bass street cred – or should we call it “lake cred?” Luke decided to go up to check out Clear Lake, and scored some nice big fat bass. He caught a summer five-bass stringer weighing 25 pounds – not easy to do in the hot weather. A 7-pounder topped the big ones on frogs and flipping gear. Numbers came from cranks and jigs.

Another Napa Valley Friend … Tom LaTour went all the way to Kamchatka, Russia to catch this magnificent 32-inch Arctic char on a Dali Lama fly. He was throwing it on an 8 weight sink tip when that brute hit. His outfitter was Yellow Dog fly Fishing Adventures in Bozeman. Call them at 888-777-5060 or check ‘em out at

According to Wikipedia, “the Arctic char is closely related to both salmon and lake trout, and has many characteristics of both. The fish is highly variable in colour, depending on the time of year and the environmental conditions of the lake where it lives.”

Relative size comparison – consider that most of us have a nice time fly fishing for 8-inch rainbows in quiet little streams – and go ballistic when we land a 17-inch bruiser. Now double that in big water for a classic VFA.

By the way, Tom was responsible for my sometimes feature called VFA – Vicarious Fishing Adventure – for all of us left at home. It all started years ago when he returned from an epic trip to Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego, where he caught huge sea-run brown trout on the Rio Grande. I actually knew Tom before we met. His brother Charles was a colleague of my friend John Dee, who ran Aramark headquartered in the old Curtis Publishing plant in Philadelphia.

Closer To Home … my friend, Captain Craig Hanson, checked in from the Argo berthed at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf (right behind Alioto’s Restaurant). He said the king salmon bite has “bordered on outstanding and just plain good most other days.” Outside the gate, Craig said rockfish have been playing hide and seek – and seem to be more of a challenge than usual. Inside the bay, he reports lots of undersized halibut grabbing the bait so quickly that it’s tough to find a 22-inch keeper. But lots of bites are fun and fall will bring more stripers into the bays.

Craig really likes the shark bite to give your youngsters a thrilling fishing trip. With active leopard sharks still in the bay, the bites and the pull are strong. Using barbless hooks, you’ll be able to release them easily to bite another day. This good bay action also means that no one gets seasick.

Go online at or call Craig at 415-361-7757. Remember on the Argo, tackle, bait and fish cleaning are included within the price. It’s a roomy six-pack with all the amenities and all of the gadgets. Book it and it’s just like owning your own boat, but with Craig doing all the work. Tell him Ryan sent you.

More Salt Water action … Up and down salmon action in the northern sections is typical this time of year, when big pods of them are moving south and staging to enter the Delta for that long swim home to spawn. That puts them in shorter catching situations as they are moving along pretty rapidly. Remember, at this time of year, they are getting “hard-wired” to go home and make babies – to the exclusion of almost anything else, even a tasty looking bait ball. So, stay flexible and ready to follow them across the delta and upriver. This just in: pro river guide Kevin Brock told us that his clients caught eight nice kings on the Feather Sunday. Call him at 800-995-5543.

Meanwhile, the weekend weather was great at Bodega Bay with good rockfish/ling cod off Bird Rock, where The New Sea Angler (875-3344) scored 17 limits of rocks, 19 lings to 18 pounds, and a dividend of three salmon to 13 pounds on Sunday.

The Golden Gate … delivered some serious salmon action off the Marin Coast. Reports of limits and near limits to 25 pounds came in from many of the regular operators. Call the Emeryville Sport

Fishing Fleet at 510-652-3403 or check them out at to see how you can get one last shot at a king salmon in the salt.

California Delta … This Delta headline in Dave Hurley’s Monday Hot Sheet says it all: “The summer doldrums in the Sacramento River-Delta are coming to a close with the arrival of more salmon, more striped bass, and more sturgeon to complement the already solid population of smallmouth bass in the north Delta. So, go get yours as the ferocious summer winds start to drop and the thermometer comes idling down.

I went online, Googled “California Delta fishing guides” and found dozens of choices per page. Be sure to send me photos of your big fish.

Email Bill Ryan at