Oh My, Oh My… Another “proud grandpa story.” Full disclosure: Over the 17 years that I have been writing about fishing in Napa Valley, grandparents have provided the “mother’s milk” of local reporting – great stories about local kids outdoors and catching fish.
My Turn… Jack Ryan, my oldest grandson, just graduated from Cal Poly SLO and is back working in Napa Valley. He sent me this photo of a pretty sizeable bass he caught and released in his own farm pond. Look at that crazy lure. It looks like a swim bait that got into the wrong paint booth – black, yellow and chartreuse! But it worked. As the harvest winds down, Jack and I will hit Clear Lake together for a couple of days.
It took just a couple of clicks to find this 2010 photo of my granddaughter, Sarah Ryan, and her deck captain prepping for her to wind in a 200-pound class marlin just off of Kona. The interesting thing about this adventure was that when that fish was touched at boatside signaling a catch, they put a radio signal device in it so that anyone else ever catching it again can note that Sarah Ryan caught and released it in 2010.
That accomplishment is signified by a special flag the captain raises on the boat for the trip back to the dock. It was fun to get a copy of that flag on line for Sarah’s memory box. Readers, this is the place to go get your big marlin. The water is flat behind Kona and the big ones are in close.
Not last, but third, is David Ryan, my donut search buddy. We used to chase new donut spots and read in libraries together on Saturday mornings a lot. Don’t bother to go look for the best donut in Napa – just motor down to the Boone Fly Café in Carneros. Theirs are cooked to order and come out hot and sugar-y. David won the first Ryan family bass derby he entered in 2010. Check out that smile as he shows off his first-place prize.
You can see that it runs in the family. My Grandpa Randall took me ice fishing back in the cold Rhode Island winters when I was 6. My son, Alex, caught his first fish when he was four in the Modesto Reservoir – under a little tree that I’ll bet is still there.
We Targeted Big Bass… again at Clear Lake earlier this week. Too late to make this deadline. My favorite angler, Lora Trinchero, and I were guided by pro bass guide Bob Myskey. (349-4460). Stay tuned.
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Napa River Still On Tap… for stripers. There is no reason why they won’t stay in close as long as the water is clear, so keep fishing till the water runs muddy. As always in these subtle seasonal changes, stop in at Sweeney’s Sports on Imola (255-5544) for the latest lure of bait – and to learn where the honey holes are.
The Napa River Steelhead And Salmon Monitoring Program… conducted by the Napa County Resource Conservation District is 11 years old. In the early years, I can remember asking senior biologist Jonathan Koehler if he could give me any trends he saw developing. With a shy smile, he said “It’s a marathon, not a dash.” So I’m happy to see they are still running the program at 11 years so they can see some trend lines and move the needle as indicated. The hope is to be able to describe the present situation as the start of making changes and corrections to improve it for man and beast.
The RCD team and a host of local volunteers monitor a rotary fish trap placed in the Napa River during the spring season, when flows can bring fish into it every night. At 9 every morning that the device is “fishing,” a team inspects and records the previous day‘s “catch.” Fish are released unharmed. They fished it 59 days in 2019 and gathered 26 different identifiable species. Good news: native species made up 91.9 % of the total; only 8.7% were non-native.
I would not do justice to this marvelous report by trying to telegraph any more of it to you here. But I hope I piqued your interest. Please go online to 2018-19 Napa River Fish Monitoring Report.pdf for this complete report from our own RCD.
As Promised Last Week… right now it’s a short run for a long fin. Captain Rick Powers out of Bodega Bay Sport Fishing (875-3344) ran a crew trip to check out the albacore situation. They harvested 131 long fins to 36 pounds for seven anglers. Don’t miss this action while warm waters close in make it an easier ride.
While he’s on the line, book a combo trip while the varieties remain. Big rockfish and ling cod anchor these trips with salmon as the kicker fish. Every neighbor will cheer your return with a 50-pound bag of fresh-caught protein for the BBQ and the freezer.
Ocean Salmon Season… is winding down, triggering better bites in the Delta and on up to the Sac and Feather. Ed Smith and I will be sampling the king bite on the Feather near Oroville with river guide Kevin Brock (800 995-5543) next week (thanks to the Monday Hot Sheet for some key updates here).