Liesl Wolf-Heinemann

St. Helena teen angler Liesl Wolf-Heinemann scored this nice salmon limit last week.

Submitted photo

River Salmon Time Again … soon. Yep, July 16 is the start of the 2017 salmon season on both the Sacramento and Feather rivers. And, I give you my same annual disclaimer about salmon fishing this early – wait till September for the best chance to catch limits of big salmon.

Meanwhile, Back At The Shore … St. Helena teen angler Liesl Wolf-Heinemann knocked off a salmon limit while fishing on the Sundance out of Emeryville (510-652-3403). This highlights the recent news that the king salmon ocean bite is heating up.

Bodega Bay … had good weather and good salmon action last weekend. With a flat, calm surface showing less than five knots of breeze over a three-foot swell with high fog – conditions were ideal.

So the six-pack Miss Anita (875-3474) went right out Sunday to score six limits of salmon to 18 pounds – after hooking more than 20 total. Captain Rick on the New Sea Angler (875-3344) started the day north of the point but the grass was a killer. So they ran south of the Point for a solid bite that put 35 salmon to 24 pounds in the boat for 23 anglers. Once again, their 50 hook-ups to get 35 shows that it’s tough to fool a big king salmon.

It’s time to book your salmon trips. Sightings of krill, brown water and an excellent line of chlorophyll all combine to say “It’s time!”

Golden Gate … showed good weather for trolling in the area of the N Buoy. So Sausalito’s Salty Lady trolled the northbound shipping lane, landing 32 kings for 22 anglers. Big fish was 26 pounds. The Hot Sheet said, “While the grade of fish last week was 15 pounds-plus, we’re seeing more 8- to 12-pound fish in the weekend mix. This just shows that there are more fish from different areas working through the local waters taking advantage of the great feeding conditions.”

And On Monday … the salmon bite along the Marin coastline remained red hot, with Captain Jerad Davis of the Salty Lady (415-674-3474) reporting in with 17 limits salmon to 25 pounds trolling in the northbound shipping lanes.

The Bays … continue to deliver big halibut scores in spite of recent huge tides. Combined, the Happy Hooker out of Berkeley and the California Dawn put clients onto 27 halibut Saturday with dividends of 21 stripers.

California Delta … reports tell that the Lower Suisun Bay is the go-to spot for sturgeon and stripers. The North Delta is seeing a continued good smallmouth bass bite on crawdad-patterned plastics and small cranks. Catch smallmouth and largemouth bass on spinner baits and swim jigs around Hogback in Steamboat Slough.

Call Steve Santucci at his fly fishing guide service (650-333-4704) to hook up with him to fly fish for smallies on top water this summer. He uses 4- to 5-weight rods and size 6 poppers, popper droppers, and small clousers. If you like catching trout on a fly, you’ll love the action you get with a feisty bass on the hook (thanks, as always, to Dave Hurley’s Hot Sheet for key updates here).

And, Back Home … that elusive Clear Lake bass bite shows signs of taking off. Pro guide Bob Myskey (274-0373) has averaged 34 bass a day for the most recent four days posted on his website. That sure beats our 21 on the 15th. He is getting a solid top water bite at daybreak – my favorite bass catching method.

Farm ponds hold big bass – and they are near full after our big rains. However, they are on private property; you can’t just pull up and fish. So, promise me you’ll ask permission, catch and release, and leave without a trace.

End Note … As promised, Sulphur Creek near Pope Street up here in St. Helena stopped flowing this week. What a wet year this has been—typically, it would have been dry much earlier, nearer the end of April.

Email Bill Ryan at acorn_3@ comcast.net.

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