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Napa Valley Fishing Report: Sac stripers OK, Upvalley otters not
The Fishing Report

Napa Valley Fishing Report: Sac stripers OK, Upvalley otters not

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Stripers And Social Distancing… on the river bank? Worked perfectly for St. Helena’s Liesl Wolf-Heinemann and her stepfather, Brent Randol, last week at Verona on the Sac. Here is Liesl with her two-fish limit, which was matched by Brent.

Liesl is one of my favorite teen anglers. In fact, she is the president of the St. Helena High School Fishing Club. It has thrived in its first years and has some interesting plans for future activities.

More On River Banks Close By?… Look at this otter that Pat Schoof caught dancing the bank on the Napa River up here in St. Helena. Posted comments were pretty unanimous with “How cute” and “Oooh.’ But if you are a fish living upstream, you are in mortal danger. River otters invade upland streams and vineyard ponds, where they kill every living being in sight. They do not just kill to eat – they kill to kill. Not very nice neighbors and should be discouraged.

You Want Official Closure Notices… on waters where we fish, salt or fresh, here in Northern California? Oh boy, that’s tough. Understandably, there are many local decisions being made and unmade to meet circumstances. I’m not properly equipped to feed you that information on an as-needed basis. Of course, you can try to keep track of situations at your favorite spots.

But here is your best bet: Join Nor-Cal Guides and Sportsmen’s Association right now. Just go to to learn about this effective organization, which speaks best for every fisherperson around. Who better needs to know fishing conditions fast but your angling guide? Click on “Membership Application” for the best buy you’ll see this year – a youth membership (13 years and under) is $10 and a regular (adult) membership is $20. Check out the list of other membership categories. How about a lifetime membership for your neat grandson or granddaughter who just got a report card filled with A’s? Yep, got it covered.

I became a fan and supporter of Nor-Cal GASA a few years ago when my friend and 25-year river guide, Kevin Brock, was named to its board of directors. When Kevin invited me to their annual November membership/fundraiser banquet, I walked into the Fairground Convention Hall in Yuba City to find it packed with 800 members.

Kevin said the only limit on attendance was the size of the building – it was the biggest around – and they each paid 100 bucks to get in! I have gone back again, and brought them some Napa Valley wines from Sutter Home and Duckhorn to enjoy with dinner. You’ll want to be there to experience the excitement and energy at the affair – 800 kindred souls all helping our outdoor adventures be better. Stay posted.

Led by President James Stone… this active and effective group advocating for our best interests is a dream come true. Here’s my take on it, from an old guy who started fishing through the ice with his Rhode Island grandpa when he was 6:

For forever, state officials and regulators looked at their clients and saw bunch of old guys sitting on the end of the dock with some store string and a bent pin and probably said something like, “Nothing to see here; we’ll be able to tell these guys what to do…” And it worked – for too long.

Fishing license revenues plummeted, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife ran low on money and started drastic cutbacks of trout grow and stock programs. So, their clients – that’s us – gave a little pushback to just try to get our money’s worth and were, at best, curtly tolerated at Fish and Game Commission meetings.

Nor-Cal GASA is our chance to come together and make the important cases for needed improvements in front of the proper State forums – and expect full responses to each. I’m about to re-up my membership now. At 20 bucks, it’s your best buy in helping to better enjoy our outdoors – and reward all of those A’s on report cards.

Email Bill Ryan at

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