Adult steelhead caught in Napa River Rotary Screw Trap

Big adult steelhead caught, counted and released by the Napa River Rotary Screw Trap.

Submitted photo

Good News … from Berryessa. The California Department of Fish & Wildlife (DFW) has released a spring trout stocking plan. Already in the water are trout plants that happened on March 19 and April 16. Next up is a drop on Sunday, April 23. These should jump start the trout action here – it has been anemic for too long.

An active trout fishery to go along with the robust bass and crappie action can make a nice summer day of fishing at close by Berryessa fun for the whole family. Stop in at Sweeney’s sports on Imola to see what lures and bait they recommend. While you are there, get a package of little brown plastic worms or bugs. This is what those hatchery fish eat before being released – so they might key in on them for a while.

It’s nature’s way, but you can expect the big bass to go chomping on these new little trout – so be rigged for a bass bite, too. Go online to for more information about the plants, the lake and its resources. To learn the ins and outs of Berryessa fishing, call pro guide Don Paganelli at 916-502-FISH.

Good News … from St. Helena. Back in February, I told you about a local grassroots initiative by Brent Randol and Liesl Wolf-Heinemann to open the upper portion of Sulphur Creek to four miles of additional steelhead spawning grounds. Key to that will be the replacement of an old and inefficient fish ladder under the bridge on the creek up Spring Street.

Brent told me that they have raised the $20,000 for the engineering and are moving ahead. Here is a wonderful project right here in town that we all can support and be proud of. Let’s all put a few bucks in the pot and go work onsite when that time comes. Want to help? Contact Brent at

Good News … from Napa. A big adult steelhead was captured by the Napa County Resource Conservation District’s (RCD) fish counter on the Napa River last week. Because the steelies run down river quite early in the season, very few are counted because the rotary fish trap is designed to work in moderate flows – not those gully washers we had this winter. Brent and Liesl’s Sulphur Creek project will create a lot more of these magnificent fish.

Take your kids to see this Napa River Rotary Screw Trap working in the river from 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, May 20. It has operated for nine years. Space is limited so sign up soon. Call Frances at (707) 252-4189, ext. 3124 or Location provided upon RSVP.

Good News … from Putah Creek. From Fly fishing guide and instructor Richard Loft (294-4738 or online at He continues to get on the water so he’ll be ready with the knowledge he will need for good client action when Putah Creek rounds down into shape. Look at what Richard had to say about leader length:

“In my opinion correct leader length is vital. Too short and your fly goes right over the fishes’ feeding zone; too long and you might not see the take.”

Good News … 2017 recreational king salmon season as announced by the Pacific Fishery Management Council. It started on April 1 and in the San Francisco area it will close the first half of May, then reopen through Oct. 31. Considering the absolute need to rebuild our salmon stocks but wanting to have a salmon fishing season, the Council did a good balancing act — giving locals plenty of salmon catching time in 2017. I’m not sure about the commercial season; stay tuned till I can get some accurate information.

Sardines have also had tough times in recent years. So, on April 10, the Council announced the continued closure of the Pacific sardine directed fishery through June 30, 2018. Small amounts of sardines may be taken incidental to target fishing on other stocks, and a small amount was allocated to the Quinault Indian nation along the mid-Washington coast.

Out And About … Here’s an FYI to remind you that The Napa Valley Cooking School right here at the Napa Valley College on Pope Street will begin taking reservations for its Spring Restaurant chef’s lunch on Monday, May 8. Go to and click on “events.” The dining dates are from May 23 through June 9 with seatings at noon and 12:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday (except Tuesday, May 30).

At just $45 for an eight-course lunch including wines, you simply can’t afford to stay home. How do I know? Four of us went to their winter session last December and were knocked out. The food, service, wine, décor and even the whimsical menu design were spot on and very professional. Don’t miss it. Why not walk over?