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Napa Valley Fishing Report: King salmon are everywhere, and nowhere
The Fishing Report

Napa Valley Fishing Report: King salmon are everywhere, and nowhere

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Wither Salmon Roam?… Right now king salmon are everywhere, and nowhere. It’s that time of year when they start the long journey back home to their own birthplace to spawn, and die. In the salt, at best, you might intercept a pod of salmon while fishing for other species — but no one is out searching for them.

They are starting to show up in the Delta in small numbers, but the hot water temperatures have them moving through at high speeds — smelling for colder river water. I’m told we may be a couple of weeks away from bigger numbers in the Delta, when the water temperature is cooler and the salmon are willing to slow down and spend the night in some of the deep holes.

Meanwhile, there is a mixed bag of other fish waiting for your lures in the Delta. Stripers, black bass, catfish, bluegill and red ear perch are all on tap. With sturgeon action starting in early October, gotta be careful out in the main Delta rivers during these hot weather days. It can be dangerously windy out there, so have some protected spots nearby where you can run and hide quickly.

What To Do?… Up and own our immediate coast, every port is reporting a lights-out rockfish bite augmented by big ling cod — and an occasional rogue salmon. Big bags full of sweet-eating, fresh saltwater protein ready for the BBQ are the happy result.

Rick Powers of Bodega Bay Sport Fishing gave the Hot sheet his combo limits of rockfish, ling cod, salmon and halibut for Sunday and Monday. They totaled 461 fish, fresh and ready for a backyard cookout. Tell the neighbors now.

Bay Action… has a return of the halibut bite. Berkeley’s Pacific Dream scored 25 halibut to 25 pounds on Monday for 20 anglers working the bay. These big flatties are strong and relentless. Be prepared for a long battle once you hook up. Slow and easy on the retrieve is the key.

Want Something Exotic?… There are big albacore close in up by Fort Bragg, according to Dave Hurley’s Hot Sheet. When you can target them as close as in as 15 to 25 miles out, it’s a blast. The big ones at 30 pounds will give you a major fight.

Be careful out there! We’re told of a number of small boats without radar and minimal to zero albacore experience out there. One comment was, “…and this is pretty scary.” Amen!

And Close By?… By now you probably know that Lake Berryessa is closed. Smoke and ashes make it a dicey proposition to go sit in a boat all day. But we’re betting on clearer weather with a bass trip planned for Clear Lake on the 22nd and 23rd. Pro guide Bob Myskey (349-4460) will man the nets. In this case, warm water is a good thing. It promotes a top water bite, my favorite kind of fishing.

St. Helena High School Fishing Club… members have been angling on their own this summer. Faculty Advisor Evan Blasingame told me that Club President Liesl Wolf-Heinemann scored some chunky salmon and club member Garr Hanson led the way to target farm pond black bass. I’m sure they would join me in saying we must always get permission to fish in farm ponds, and leave them as clean as we found them.

Looking Forward… to fishing for king salmon in the Sacramento and Feather rivers. We have done this in October with pro river guide Kevin Brock (800-995-5543) for 25 straight years. That’s three generations of Ryans. Almost always limit out, and my big fish was 45 pounds in the Feather years ago. Side benefit: no sea sickness up there.

BBT 2020 TOC… Yes, the Best Bass Tournament group is gearing up for its annual Tournament Of Champions. It will be held on Oct. 10 and 11 in the California Delta at Russo’s Marina, 3995 Willow Road, Bethel Island. It is always an exciting event because it pits the many winners of the season-long bass tournaments close by. In their Aug. 15 tournament on Clear Lake, the winners were Jeff Harden Sr. and Jeff Harden Jr., with a winning weight of 24.95 pounds. Big fish was 7.42 pounds caught by Hardt/Tarin Sr.

Go online to to learn more about this group. Certainly bring the kids to some of the weigh-ins. It’s always exciting to see the winners announced, and might spark some young folks to take up bass tournament fishing. Tell me when they score some awards.

Email Bill Ryan at

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