Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Napa Valley Fishing Report: Napans land trout, halibut and rockfish
The Fishing Report

Napa Valley Fishing Report: Napans land trout, halibut and rockfish

  • Updated

Bill Dodd Caught Trout… on the Sacramento River while fly fishing. My favorite state senator and the Napan’s son, Brian, fished a morning run on that perfect stretch just below Redding. They caught and released 16 wild rainbow trout on flies. Manning the oars was Dennis “Popeye” Franco from the famous Fly Shop right there in town.

Sixteen trout in a half-day float? It doesn’t get much better for fly fishing — a drift that offers a variety of trout holding situations: current changes, long slow pools with the bite at the very end. Riffles that aerate the water and concentrate trout food, concentrating the trout. And, the topper — cold water year round that comes out of the bottom of nearby Shasta Dam. Don’t bother to fly to Montana or Alaska when you have the right water close by.

Look At This Monster Halibut… caught by another one of my favorite local anglers, Napa’s Matts Tollefson. He practically filled the boat all by himself while on an extended trip to Dutch Harbor, Alaska with his dad, Ed. But this brute topped them all at 115 pounds. Halibut when hooked lay against the pull — using that big flat body to make it difficult to reel it in.

He also wanted you to see this bright red Yellow Eyed Rockfish. In Alaska, it is the prize catch of rockfish there that can get to 36 inches. Add some salmon for a full “Matts attack.”

Matts joins Scott Snowden and Brent Randol at the top of my list of local anglers who have a broad reach on fishing far from home. It will be a special part of his life going forward — angling skills, a whole school book of geography lessons and that special quality of “been there, done that.” Keep those pictures coming to me, Matts.

It Is Obviously Time… to fish the salt right here at home. In spite of a little lull, the early King salmon bite has been promising — both size and numbers. This week, Dave Hurley’s Weekend Wrap Hotsheet opened with a quote from Captain Rich Powers of Bodega Bay’s New Sea Angler: “Rockfishing has been torrid…” That catch usually has a ling cod component, too.

With Dungeness crab still on tap, there is a good chance for you to bring home three different fish for your BBQ from one run. Better hurry; the 2020 crab season here ends June 30. But you can grab another month’s worth of crabbing above the Sonoma County border.

And in the Bays, we hear that the halibut bite was on fire over the weekend. Listen to these box car numbers reported in the Hot Sheet from Berkeley’s Goldeneye 2000: a combined total of 92 halibut/bass on Saturday with 50 more halibut and 20 more stripers on Sunday. I call that a BBQ Bonanza. I’d want to serve Goldeneye Winery’s Vin Gris of Pinot Noir at that backyard supper.

Next On The Calendar… for The Delta: The 2020 river salmon opener is just 20 days away on July 16. Meanwhile, it’s summer fishing time here — and that always signals a difficult time to buy live bait. Look at this consequence: mud suckers at $2.69 apiece! Smart anglers have established some solid connections with bait shops over the years to be able to reserve bait.

You may have to do some searching, but stripers, largemouth bass and sturgeon are still on tap (thanks, as always, for some key updates here from Dave Hurley’s Weekend Wrap Hotsheet).

It’s Personal, For Sure… whether to go fishing with a guide during this time of a dangerous virus. I have gone twice since mid-May with no ill effects. Maybe I was lucky, maybe I was well-prepared. Maybe both. Here are some of the precautions taken on both trips that were do-able and comforting.

*Solid preparation — gear, boat bag, auto all sanitized before leaving town.

*Separate hotel rooms. Each of the two hotels (Oxford Suites in Redding and Skylark Shores in Lakeport) isolate a room for a whole day between uses. On a two-day stay, they do not return to the room for any services once you move in — your environment is yours only for your stay (heck, I don’t need my bed made or my towels re-hung).

*Boat protocols — each guide had sanitized the high-touch areas of the boat and our fishing gear — with more protection right on deck.

*Social separation —three people in a 21-foot boat was just about right.

*Result: we caught fish, stayed safe, and came home healthy.

Email Bill Ryan at

Email Bill Ryan at

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News