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Salmon season dates are set for area rivers

Bite is wide open on stripers
By: George deVilbiss/Special to Gold Country News Service
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It was reported in our last column that offshore salmon fishing season dates had been set and, without fail, the California Department of Fish and Game mirrored those set by the Pacific Fisheries Management Council.

In case you missed the ocean salmon season dates, they are: Klamath Management Zone, May 14-Sept. 5; and Horse Mountain south to Pigeon Point, now through Oct. 30.

Now, the DFG has finalized and set the dates for the salmon fishery in local rivers, a popular fishery for many anglers. Those hoping to net a whopper Chinook salmon will find a liberal season:

· Upper Sacramento Zone: From the Deschutes Road Bridge near Anderson downriver to 500 feet upstream from the Red Bluff Diversion Dam. Dates: Aug. 1 through Dec. 18.

· Middle Sacramento Zone: From 150 feet below the Red Bluff Boat Ramp downriver to the Highway 113 Bridge near Knights Landing. Dates: July 16 through Dec. 18.

· Lower Sacramento Zone: From the Highway 113 Bridge near Knights Landing downriver to the Carquinez Bridge. Dates: July 16 through Dec. 11.

· Feather River: From the mouth of the Feather River upriver to 1,000 feet below the Thermalito Afterbay Outfall. Dates: July 16 through Dec. 11.

· American River: The short section of river from the mouth at Discovery Park to Nimbus Dam is divided into four parts:

1. Nimbus Dam to the Hazel Avenue Bridge: July 16 through Dec. 31.

2. From the USGS gauging station near Nimbus Hatchery to the SMUD power line crossing near Ancil Hoffman Park: July 16 through Oct. 31.

3. From the SMUD power line crossing near Ancil Hoffman Park downriver to the Jibboom Street Bridge at Discovery Park: July 16 through Dec. 31.

4. From the Jibboom Street Bridge to the mouth of the American River: July 16 through Dec. 11.

Current fishing
The weather turned much less ideal than most people desired, especially for an Easter weekend getaway. There was wind and the threat of rain in the valley and snow in the high country. Some bundled up and went anyway.

Local stripers: It’s a wide-open bite. In some areas of the river, such as Verona, there is a huge concentration of boats. Why? Anglers are hammering bass. Haven’t heard of any super lunkers being picked off, but the 10- to 15-pounders are the best eating anyway. If you can get away from other boat traffic in the upper stretch of the Sacramento River, try drifting big minnows. When you run out of minnows, switch to trolling. Rebels, Rapalas or a Yo-Zuri with a grub trailer should give you all the action you can handle.

The Feather River and Sacramento River between Garcia Bend and the mouth of the American is finding a striper bite for those soaking a variety of baits.

Offshore salmon: Nobody from Half Moon Bay, the Bay Area fleet, Bodega Bay or Fort Bragg is finding a red-hot bite. Anglers on all the boats are catching salmon, but it’s pretty much half a fish per person. Water temperature and color are ideal. Boats are finding bait. They just haven’t found the large schools of salmon.

Folsom Lake: With yo-yoing weather, spawning bass don’t know whether to stay in the shallows or move out to the deeper drop-offs. As the weather stabilizes, look for all species of bass to move and stay in the shallows, and they’ll attack just about anything you throw at them.

Lake Pardee: The lake is full and spilling, adding more water to Camanche Lake. The water conditions are good — a little debris but surprisingly clear. Those who leave boats at home are finding good rod-bending action in the Rec Area Cove. Hot spots are the usual areas around the boathouse, launch ramp, Tom Sawyer Island, the banks on either side of the Marina gangway and around Rainbow Point. Best baits remain white power eggs, chartreuse garlic-flavored Power Bait, dark green Power Bait and salmon eggs, all off a sliding sinker. Use your second rod to cast-retrieve lures, such as a silver-blue or silver-chartreuse Kastmaster.

Trollers spend their time around the river mouth and going up river as far as Indian Rock. Kokanee salmon are in the top 10 feet and have hit 14 inches. Rainbows have mainly been below the kokes, down as much as 20 feet. Trolling for either has been great.

Camanche Lake: They are still planting triploid rainbow trout, a sterile strain that concentrate on growing. And they usually get very big. The South Shore Pond, soaking bait from the North Shore points, trolling from the upper end of the lake and trolling from Hat Island to the dam have proved to be successful ways to go. A good number of trout over seven pounds have been netted. Go get yours.

Bass are moving into the shallows and for the most part have yet to spawn. They can be aggressive, though. Try tossing a reaction bait in the morning and then work plastics in the afternoon. Bucketmouths in the 10-pound class are being caught.

Lake Amador: Trout plants continue but may not last much longer. They’ve been dumping large numbers of trout into the lake to make room in their pens, so anglers have been hammering stringer loads to the point of releasing smaller fish to add a larger one to the stringer. For those on shore, the dam and spillway region remain the top areas. No big bass yet being reported. It’s the smaller bass so far, mostly males moving into the shallows to make beds. Go camping and let the kids fish for bluegill. They’re in the shallows in the grassy areas, and that can keep the kids busy for hours.

Contact George deVilbiss at at GeorgesColumn@aol.com.