Fishing Report for the week of 4/20/2011

Michael Condon

Ocean salmon season returns

The Pacific Fishery Management Council has set the 2011 salmon seasons for ocean waters off California and anglers are going to enjoy, for the first time in several years, a full-blown season. This is very good news.

The ocean recreational season will be open through early September on the far northern California coast and through the end of October for most of the remaining coast. All areas have a daily bag and possession limit of two king salmon (also called chinook) and a minimum size limit of 24 inches. Coho salmon must be released.

The California Fish and Game Commission will meet April 21 to review and adopt regulations that conform with the federal rules.

Anglers can review additional ocean salmon regulations at Under the Marine tab, click Summary of California Ocean Salmon Seasons.

For more information, call the Ocean Salmon Hotline at (707) 576-3429.

If you have never felt the unrelenting pull of an ocean fresh king salmon on the end of your line you are missing out. Then there is always the taste of a fresh king salmon hot off your grill. For some reason they always taste better when you have caught them yourself.


And speaking of salmon …

Did you know that a kokanee salmon is a land-locked sockeye salmon? Sockeye salmon are often marketed as red salmon because their flesh is the deepest red color of all salmon. They also have a higher fat content (think omega-3 fat) than any other salmon.

I had the pleasure of living in southeast Alaska for several years. I got to catch and eat lots and lots of salmon. Of the five pacific salmon species, sockeye was without a doubt my favorite.

The ocean-going sockeye are not available anywhere nearby. But Bucks Lake, and Stampede Reservoir to our south, are full of the landlocked kokanee.

They are fun to catch and while not quite as delicious as their ocean-going cousins, they are great table fair. I like to catch them in the fall after they have fattened up for the winter and then smoke them.


Frenchman Lake

Fishermen are doing well at Frenchman. Around the dam seems to be the best place to put your pole over the water. Anglers using night crawlers are catching limits of rainbow trout weighing 1 to 2 pounds.

Access to the dam is fine, but snowshoes, skis or a large four-wheel drive are needed to get beyond the dam. The boat ramps are not accessible. If you do try to go around the lake, be careful! There is still plenty of snow on the ground past the dam.

For the most current conditions, call Wiggins Trading Post at 993-4683.


Lake Almanor

According to Bryan Raccochi of Big Daddy’s Guide Service, the brown trout bite at Almanor is really picking up. More brown trout are beginning to move in to shallow areas along the east shore following the pond smelt.

On recent trips Bryan has seen solid numbers of browns. Many of the fish are loaded with pond smelt.

Bryan says that several things are starting to line up that should improve the bite even more.

Hamilton Branch is now kicking out much less muddy water compared to weeks past, and the clarity in many of the areas that were affected is starting to improve.

The water temps are now in the low to mid 40s depending on location and warming to the high 40s as the day goes on.

In addition to the brown trout, many rainbows are being caught. Doug Neal of Almanor Fishing Adventures has been trolling the Lake Cove area along the east shore and doing very well.

Doug likes to fish Speedy Shiners. Last week he changed up to a little tear-drop trout spoon called the Rainbow Runner in fluorescent orange with great success, sometimes getting hit while still letting his line out!

The pond smelt are moving into shallow water as they get ready to spawn. That is where most of the trout are being caught.


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