Number Twenty-six… and counting. My good friend, Doug Roberts, and I just fished two days for Redding’s wild rainbow trout on the Sac. with pro river guide, Kevin Brock‘s team. That makes it 26 consecutive years for me—and almost as many for Doug. This stretch is right in downtown Redding where the flows out of Shasta Dam remain cold. Rainbows love icy cold water so live there year round. Over the years, we have found late April thru May to be the best.
^pBut, Mother Nature wanted to take charge in 2020—and ratchet down the numbers. Have a look: For the past 25 years, 20-plus fish days had become the norm. In 2019 we averaged 29 trout caught and released per day. In 2020 that count plummeted to 8 per day. Don’t know why; just Mother Nature tugging at our leash. Ah, blame the guide? No, I know every inch of that run and every good fish hole on it—we hit them all with our full arsenal of baits and lures. We caught trout on beads, salmon roe and hot shot lures back-trolled in the promising spots.
^pAs usual, Doug was out of the box fast with the first fish—he also caught the most and last. I think I hooked the biggest. Will I shy off from that May trout trip next year? Not on your life—20 or more big wild trout a year for 26 years has my full attention—and an entry on my 2021 calendar already.
^pBook with Kevin at (800) 995-5543.
And Number Twelve…^p 2020 marks the 12th spring that the Napa County Resource Conservation District (RCD) has monitored the steelhead and salmon season with its special rotary fish trap. The exceptionally dry winter’s low flow conditions made it difficult to catch fish this year. Here are some details from Napa RCD Senior Biologist Jonathan Koehler’s May 7 report:
^p“The trap requires a steady downstream current to run efficiently and capture fish. This spring, there were only eleven days with enough flow for it to fish…
^p“There were several highlights in this otherwise forgettable year. First, we managed to catch 43 steelhead and 33 Chinook salmon smolts during a brief 7-day sampling stint following a small storm in April. This was a surprisingly high number of fish in a short amount of time. It is reassuring that, although our ability to monitor was greatly limited this year, steelhead and salmon were still successfully spawning and migrating to and from the ocean, more or less as usual…”
^pGo online here for the full report: www.napawatersheds.org/news_items/view/12767
I First Met Jonathan…^p right around the beginning of this program. One early year I asked him to give me an update with his estimate of trends he was seeing—if any. He gave me that shy grin of his and said, “Bill this is going to be a marathon—not a sprint.”
^pI remain impressed by the energy and dedication to this annual project—by members of the County’s team and a solid band of volunteers. Give us a couple of high water spring flows on the Napa River—and we’ll have a closer look at some marathon possibilities.
Berryessa’s Open!…^p Call Bass Fishing Instructor and Guide Don Paganelli at (916) 502-FISH for a booking. He’ll be able to find the new bass hidey holes for you the fastest. With three black bass species (largemouth, Smallmouth and spotted) you have multiple targets on Berryessa.
And San Francisco Bay, too…^p Here’s what Captain Craig Hanson (415 361-7757) on the six-pack Argo at Fisherman’s Wharf told me Monday:
^pThe San Francisco health department has given us the OK to go fishing! After being shut down last week, we used every possible angle to convince the decision-makers that we can run a safe operation. There are some protocols that must be followed; primarily masks for all and restricting our max to four anglers. There will not be a bump up in price. Until things loosen up, four-person charters get the whole boat! We will be mixing groups, but with distancing and masks we hope everyone will feel comfortable. If not, find a few more people to join your group. We will run with as few as two people.
If You Are A Zoomer…^p get your kids together to join UC Davis Biologist and Tricolored blackbird expert Bob Meese on Thursday, May 28 from 7 p.m. to midnight. Bob will be conducting this lecture online in a Zoom meeting.
^pTricolored blackbirds look very much like the widespread red-winged blackbird but they are a distinct and unique species with different behaviors. Please go online to www.napawatersheds.org/events/view/12759^p
^pYou can get details and register for the meeting and download Zoom. (Thanks to the Watershed Information & Conservation Council for these good programs.)
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