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Napa Valley Fishing Report: Orndorf, former president of Napa County Wildlife Conservation Commission, remembered for his leadership
The Fishing Report

Napa Valley Fishing Report: Orndorf, former president of Napa County Wildlife Conservation Commission, remembered for his leadership

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We Have Lost A Giant Of A Man!… This is the kind of piece you never want to write. But we lost Steve Orndorf on July 14. He was just 73 and too young to die.

I can best describe him as an honest man in everything he did. No, this not about telling little white lies to our kids. Steve’s honesty was evident in his every endeavor — business, civic, philanthropic, special events and, yes, fishing.

Steve fished around the world. His fishing “honesty” was simple. Here’s this heroic man in a dumpy little, honest 14-foot aluminum boat, catching fish with that shy little smile that translated to “Gotcha!”

In the next instant, he was in the South American tropics fishing for the most exotic fish I know, the peacock bass. But he waxed eloquent about the Paraiba that can grow to 14 or 15 feet long and weigh 800 pounds. Then he was coming home to write a book about his angling adventures, “Jungle Fishing Misadventures 1974-2019.” It’s going to be in my bookcase under “I remember Steve.” Ask your local bookstore to get you one. They might need this website:

He was my leader when I was selected to serve on the Napa County Wildlife Conservation Commission, of which he was president at the time. His honest leadership showed at every meeting and field trip. Steve was always the first person there, prepared and involved in every issue. We started on time. You had to appreciate his no-nonsense leadership. We were all better because of it. We worked until we were done, and then he would grin at us — to say thanks.

I am devastated to have lost my friend, Steve Orndorf. My dad had the best way to pay tribute to special people like Steve. He’d say, “If I were starting a new business tomorrow, Steve would be my first hire.” Thanks, Pop, for supplying the right ending.

St. Helena Salmon Hunters… caught a bunch of big kings near Sausalito last Saturday. Have a look at Lars Kronmark, John Harris and Eric Titus showing off their 17- to 18-pound silver bullet salmon.

They shared the Chasin Crustaceans six-pack with St. Helena’s master angler, Brent Randol. He told me that this six-pack is big enough for plenty of social distancing on board, and has all the amenities for a pleasant day on the water. Book it at Big C Charters (415-717-8225).

But Bodega Bay stays the epicenter of the saltwater salmon universe. Captain Rick Powers out of Bodega Bay Sport Fishing reported these Sunday/Monday results to the Hot Sheet: a combined total of 35 salmon limits and 39 rockfish limits. That’s a total of 460 fish. We are at the peak season for successful combo trip charters delivering big bags of BBQ-ready fresh protein from the ocean.

I like six-pack fishing. It’s like owning the boat, but the Captain does all the work. Six-packs give you safe spacing and only six lines to manage in the water. Take you family six-packing; or it may be time for that office getaway. Bodega Bay’s six-pack, Reel Magic, had salmon limits all around by 11 a.m. Monday.

And River Fishing For Salmon… has been open just eight days, since July 16. While I like to wait till September to make this trip (it will be my 27th year fishing with river guide Kevin Brock (800-995-5543), local guide Brandon Abernathy at Rod Down Guide Service (707-927-6745) has already scored some 20-pounders this year — near Red Bluff. He told me that he expects to have heavy bookings right through the rest of the season, so call him now. By the way, the river salmon season here for 2020 will stretch right through till Dec. 31 — two weeks longer than in previous years.

Here’s more good news from the Feather River: The daily limit will be three salmon until Oct. 31 — instead of two, as in previous years — and on other rivers.

Fun Stuff… from Dave Hurley’s Hot Sheet — Saltwater Wrap: It’s only a 41-mile run to some 16-pound albacore from Fort Bragg. This is always a nice dividend for our Northern California fishing menu. Even with the closer, warmer water that brings in the long fins, it is a long ride out. So bundle up.

Email Bill Ryan at

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