Clyde and Joel Akamine

Clyde and Joel Akamine caught these big, fat, Clear Lake bass last week.

Close To Home… some largemouth bass action at Clear Lake. After a long, fallow, late fall and winter, let’s hope these big bass signal a big bite for 2019. Brothers Clyde and Joel Akamine caught 10 largemouth bass fishing with pro guide Bob Myskey (349-4460) last week. Their top three went 6.5, 5.0 and 4.0 pounds – nice size for cold water fishing.

2019 Salmon Season Openings… are hard to figure out this early. The final decision will be made by the Pacific Fishery Management Council at its April 11-15 meeting in Rohnert Park. There seems to be some hope for a relaxation of catch-and-size limits in the San Francisco management area because of some better ocean counts this year. Here is the latest count that I have: the 2019 forecast of adult Sacramento Valley salmon in the ocean is 379,632 fish. That’s a 65-percent increase over last year’s 229,400.

And, here’s why: the Golden Gate Salmon Association told us that it is because of “… good rain in 2017, when this year’s fish were babies exiting the Central Valley where they were born. The heavy rain and snow runoff that spring provided the kind of flows needed to hide the baby salmon from predator fish and birds and speed their delivery to the ocean. This greatly boosted their survival. Every time we get decent rains and runoff in the spring we get much better salmon survival which becomes apparent two years later when the salmon come back as big strong adults.”

Halibut Fever… is heating up. The Lovely Martha (650-619-6629) sampled the early action Saturday and scored 6 keeper halibut plus 11 shakers in a half-day trip. Sounds promising.

I Kept Promising You… that the Delta striper and sturgeon action would go off the charts when the water warmed and cleared. Better get ready – both of those are happening. Dave Hurley’s Monday Hot Sheet told of striper bites around Freeport (where a 27-incher was caught on sardines) and the Sacramento Deep Water Channel. Ditto on the Channel for sturgeon, plus Merritt’s Boat Launch, Mothball Fleet, and from Decker Island to Buoy 31 outside of Pittsburg. I’m told that combo baits like eel and pileworm worked for both stripers and sturgeon. Other options mentioned were ghost shrimp or pile worms.

Time, too, for a largemouth bass bite up in the San Joaquin-Delta. Throw white on white spinnerbaits and white chatter baits in slack water; the bass don’t want to eat in the current. Unfortunately, sea lions are reported all over the south delta and they are chasing largemouth bass into the tules.

Bankies are pushing up red worm sales at H and R Bait (209-463-1938) in Stockton as they target bluegill for striper bait in Whiskey Slough.

Plant Trees Atop Mount Veeder… next Tuesday, Wednesday and, maybe, Thursday, March 19-21. Join the Napa County Open Space District team on this vital and time sensitive project. They have 4,000 Douglas firs, 100 redwoods and various oaks in the nursery that must get into the ground while they are prime and the soil still has moisture. I’ll bet you can take pix of those you plant and have bragging rights to them for generations of your families to come. Contact volunteer coordinator Rick Fessenden at rickfessenden@gmail.com to sign on. If you can’t get thru to Rick, try Chino Yip at cyipncrposd@gmail.com.

This Is Not Brain Surgery!… It’s called the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and it is a gem, according to my “non-cousin” in Napa, Wayne Ryan.

“The Arctic Refuge includes more than 19 million acres of protected land in northeastern Alaska, and it is home to polar bears, caribou, moose and hundreds of species of migratory birds. It is sacred land to the Gwich’in people, who live just outside the refuge and subsist on migrating caribou.”

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Email Bill Ryan at acorn_3@comcast.net.