Rainbows Bigger … but fewer of them this past trip on the Sacramento River at Redding. Yep, we caught only 64 wild rainbows in my second trip to Redding – versus 83 the week before. Pro river guide Kevin Brock (800-995-5543) thinks the slightly slower current was the reason. However, St. Helena anglers Ron McGowan, Stan Press and I all caught bigger fish, led by Ron’s 6-pounder. The weather was ideal and we caught fish at every stop right from our 5:30 a.m. put-in.

Put this May trip on your bucket list for sure. Better still, get a gift certificate from Kevin for those special graduates. It’s the perfect “one size fits all” gift.

It Is “Go Fishing Time” … right close to home. I just had a nice chat with Chad Hole at Sweeney’s Sports on Imola; Chad is a real pro who always gives customers the best advice available.

*Napa River. Chad says June and July are frequently top times to fish for stripers here. Cast and troll with lures or flies for the bigger fish. Take the kids for a day of fishing and fun on the banks; I like that section down off of Cuttings Wharf. Get some of Sweeney’s frozen cut bait for the fish and a cooler full of eats for the gang. Please slather everyone with sunscreen before going out – and once again before lunch.

*Berryessa really got his eyes sparkling. He fished in a recent bass tournament where he and his fishing partner came in ninth. Lost a double-digit bass at the boat that would have put them on top, or second. And, saw some others that looked to be in the 10-pound class. Chad said the trout bite was very good flat lining, and even trolling with flies. There is a mix of larger hold-overs and recently planted trout.

*I’m betting those trout at Hennessey that survived the kids’ fishing derby are giving bass some interesting dining options. Toss some small trout-colored plastics near tules, brush, overhangs and into the shadows when the sun is high. This nice little water has delivered an outstanding bass bite for the past two years.

And, In The Salt … it’s all good. Brown water and krill sightings tell us that a solid salmon bite is near. The fleet had problems with high winds and waves last weekend but will keep an eye on that bite. San Pablo Bay is the fish magnet right now with stripers, halibut and sturgeon on the chew. Call my friend Captain Craig Hanson at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf (415-361-7757) to book a family trip on his newly refurbished six-pack, The Argo. It’s like owning your own boat, but Craig does all the work.

California Delta … is crowded with recreational boaters on long summer weekends; sometimes making it hard to get to and fish your special honey holes. Might want to save this for weekdays. You’ll find big sturgeon, stripers and largemouth bass. Google “California Delta Fishing Guides“; I found 11 listed on Page 1.

Wither Water? … It has been a while since we updated you on water depths and flows.

*Little Sulphur Creek up here is winding down to a point where you can step across it without getting your feet wet. It has flowed for months and is still sending lots of water downstream. I’m expecting it to go dry by mid-June.

*Berryessa’s lake level of 439.56 feet above sea level is down below the glory hole spill point of 440 feet. But it did spill over for 84 consecutive days. According to the Lake Berryessa News, this seems to be the third-longest stretch for which records are available. They pointed out that the longest spill-over lasted 140 days back in 2006. Thanks, LBN for this key update.

*Clear Lake. The Rumsey gauge stood at 7.15 feet on Saturday. That is down only slightly from the April 27 reading of 7.80 feet – and just barely below flood level of 7.56 feet. When you consider that the Rumsey was over 10 feet at the height of the storms, it has taken weeks of dry weather to drop below flood level. It’s all good. Deep water will reduce weed growth and give bait hidey holes to get big and strong so the bass have lots to eat going forward. We’ll be sampling the summer action there on June 15 with pro guide Bob Myskey (274-0373).

*Smith River (just as an FYI) is showing flat line data at the JED reporting station on both depth (stage) and flow. Depth has been right at 7.0 feet with flows of 1800 cubic feet per second. Those are well below the optimal numbers of 9-11 feet deep and 8,000 to 11,000 cfs flows that turn on the winter steelhead bite in December.

*The Sacramento River at Redding (around 10,000 cfs) is dropping slowly as the Shasta Dam operators plan for increasing amounts of snow melt runoff still to come into Lake Shasta.

Email Bill Ryan at acorn_3@comcast.net.

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