July 16, 2016    Headlines

 Solid Rockfish Action
Salmon Munch

The salmon action remains good off Bodega Bay and this action looks to stick around for awhile. On Saturday 7-16 Rick on the New Sea Angler reported 17 salmon to 20 pounds for 15 anglers. They were trolling in 180 feet off Elephant Rock to the Top end of Ten Mile and up as high as the Whistle buoy. Most of their action was on balls at 40 to 80 pulls for fish averaging 12 to 15 pounds.
Jeff on the Miss Anita had a no show group in the morning but picked up a group at the last minute late in the day. They put in five salmon for six anglers trolling SW of the Head in 160 to 200 feet. Jeff said the best looking water (brown and full of feed) was off the Head while the water to the south was clear and had far less bird life working over it. He feels that the fish and feed will continue to push north in the coming days.
That is our final report until we return on July 30th.
Good luck to all!

 Rick on the New Sea Angler reported 28 salmon to 22 pounds for 20 anglers on Friday 7-15. Rick has space open most of next week.
Jeff on the Miss Anita had 8 salmon for 5 anglers to 18 pounds. Jeff said they had more than enough action to put limits in the box but just couldn't hang onto all their opportunities. He said the fish were coming in flurries followed by an hour of nothing then the fish would snap action. His best action was in 180 feet off Elephant Rock. Numerous readers and friends checked in with 2 to 4 limits all fishing the same general area. The weather is gray and flat and this weekend looks to hold more of the same. 

Some of the BEST salmon action in two plus years is on tap outside of Bodega. On Thursday 7-14 Rick Powers reported 24 limits of fish trolling off Bird Rock. Rick said the area of fish is getting bigger but they found their best action in 40 to 45 fathoms. Most of the fish were averaging from 10 to 15 pounds with a few toads over 20 in the mix.
Jeff Caramella on the Miss Anita reported 7 limits by 11:30 with a solid 15 pound average with a couple of dinks and a couple of big fish rounding things out. Jeff said all the pro six packs got limits and most private boaters did well but some struggled. For reservations you can reach Jeff at 707 245-1157.
It's game on and NOW is the time to get out. Party and sixpacks are booking quickly so you will want to get in the books now. Private boaters can expect long lines at the launch ramps over the next several weekends. Another good reason to just jump on a local boat and not bother with launch lines, fuel or cleaning the boat.


It's that time of year that this writer takes off for our annual family trip to our vacation home on the Kenai peninsula. We will be chasing kings & sockeye on the local rivers and will be jumping on board with good friend Captain Steve Smith for some likely epic halibut and saltwater action. I will be posting highlights on my Face Book page (Mike Aughney) next week. We will be leaving the laptop at home and will return with full reports here on Saturday July 30th.
In the time being please contact our sponsors or visit their websites for current reports, information and bookings.
Until then... good fishing!
Mike Aughney

The salmon bite broke open with some of the best action seen in the past two years on Wednesday 7-13. Rick on the New Sea Angler had a light load of 7 anglers. Trolling in 40 fathoms west of Tomales Point it took them just 2.5 hours to put 7 limits to 24 pounds in the box. Rick said the fish were coming in gangs of up to 4 at a time with a solid 14 pound average and a couple of fish over 20. He has room this week
Jeff on the Miss Anita (left) also reported "pretty much wide open action". Jeff reported 6 limits running from a small of 12 pounds to 24 pounds. Jeff said they found action from 40 feet to 160 OTW trolling in 40 fathoms. SW of the Whistle 4 miles Straight bait and Apexes have been producing. Jeff said they were getting bit as soon as he tried to stack additional lines on the down rigger.
Private boater and regular reportee Dale reported two limits to 18 pounds trolling in 190 feet just east of the small fleet on the outside. They put in three fish in the first 15 minutes then finished the day with a double of 15 pounders. They were back in the harbor in just 90 minutes time despite losing time to deal with a snagged crab pot.

The salmon bite is the best it has been all season and the bottom fishing remains excellent. On Tuesday 7-12 Jeff on the Miss Anita reported 5 limits for clients and one for the captain's table. Jeff was trolling in 210 feet west of Tomales or 40 to 42 fathoms on the .11 to .13 line. He said the morning bite was slow with just one fish in the box at 11AM. By the afternoon they were hooking some doubles and even one triple and were headed home by 2:30. The fish are holding deep with his best action coming at 140 to 180 OTW. The fish averaged 12 to 15 pounds went up to 18 and down to 5. Jeff said other sixpacks and private boaters who stuck it out also saw limits.
Rick on the New Sea Angler ran a rockfish trip and reported 17 limits of quality coppers, browns, reds and some yellows adding 9 lings to 10 pounds. The weather was breezy with the buoy reporting 20 to 22 knots of NW wind over a 5 foot swell. Rick has lots of room all this week.

On Sunday 7-10 Rick on the New Sea Angler ran way up the hill to Timber Cove. His 21 anglers landed limits of blacks, reds and assorted others adding a big ling count of 38 to 19 pounds. Conditions were breezy offshore with winds at the buoy blowing at 15 to 20 in the morning and only increased in the afternoon. Conditions along the beach were slightly better in the early light hours.
Regular reader Karl K. reports they trolled SW of the Head in 50 fathoms but with the sloppy windy weather and a sick grandson they only "stuck it out for an hour". and headed in early.  

On Saturday 7-9 Rick on the New Sea Angler ran north to Fort Ross. Rick reported 32 limits of blacks, browns and assorted other colors of the rainbow adding a big count of 51 lings to 18 pounds. He did not try for salmon today.
Jeff on the Miss Anita dialed in on the salmon today and posted a Big score. They were trolling in 42 fathoms West of Tomales Point and landed 7 salmon and lost several others. Jeff said the ticket today was hoochies and flashers worked OTW at 50 to 140 feet.
On the private boater front Jimmy "D" of CLOVERDALE reported "skunkorama". Jim was fishing on the .07 line between .12 / .13 and said he has never seen so many blue whales who were working through the huge schools of krill in the area. They had two hookups and lost both.
Steve G was fishing off Carmet and they landed two going ten and another beauty pushing 20 pounds. Steve said they had six takedowns and put two in the box trolling in 150 feet off Carmet.

Editorial to Following Story
The California Department Fish and Wildlife hatchery on the Feather river is planning on releasing their final stock of 1 million into the Feather river instead of trucking them around the river and Delta pumps to the Suisun Bay.
The Federal hatchery on Battle creek released 4 plus million salmon fry this past week and will dumping an additional 1.9 million fall run fish into Battle Creek this coming Friday.
The Golden Gate Salmon Association is opposed to these releases due to the current lower flows and clear water. With high numbers of spawning stripers and low / clear flows most of these fish will never make it as far as Sacramento. Past studies have shown that 94% of hatchery salmon released on the upper Sac never make it to San Pablo bay in these conditions.
GGSA is asking both the Feds and the State to either truck the salmon from the Feather river and release a "pulse" flow for 3 to 5 days to speed the Battle Creek salmon down river and to color the flows. This would allow out migrating baby salmon to quickly travel down river and predation losses would be much lower in the turbid flows.
Under similar circumstances in 1985 USFW and Coleman worked with water contractors to add pulse flows to Sac river while curtailing water diversions for a few days as the salmon swan past. The result was that in 1988 we saw one of the best sport and commercial seasons on record and huge returns of spawning salmon to the Central Valley rivers. Its amazing what can happen when both fishery managers and water contractors work together.
Somehow this lesson has not been passed on to current fishery and water (mis) managers.
The following is GGSA's press release from today opposing in-river releases until more natural spring like conditions are met and to have the Feather river fish trucked around the predators and Delta water diversions.
Mike Aughney

State Decision to Dump Salmon Opposed by Salmon Fishermen
Reversal of highly successful trucking program means fewer salmon will survive

San Francisco -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is abandoning a highly successful program that greatly increases salmon survival and is instead dumping valuable Feather River hatchery baby fall run salmon into a predator laden waterway starting Monday, April 25.  Most will die. The Golden Gate Salmon Association opposes the move and calls on CDFW to instead restore transport of these baby salmon via tanker trucks to safe release sites downstream of the danger zone.  Releasing baby salmon at safe sites in the western Delta and Bay greatly increases their survival and has kept the ocean fishery for both sport and commercial fishermen alive.  This practice has proven especially critical during the drought.  Without it, there almost certainly would not have been enough salmon to continue fishing.
In 2015, Feather River hatchery fish made up 76 percent of the hatchery fish taken by commercial salmon fishermen and 63 percent of those taken by sport fishermen.  

“Just last month at a salmon information meeting CDFW presented evidence that trucked Feather River fish were the major contributor to salmon caught by sport and commercial fishermen in the 2015 ocean fishing season,” said GGSA chairman Roger Thomas.  Thomas is also president of the Golden Gate Fishermen’s Association which represents charter boat owners and he holds a seat on the Salmon Stamp Committee.  “We can’t understand why they now want to take these fish away from us when we need them badly to stay in business.” 
“The Feather River provides the greatest single contribution of hatchery fish to ocean fisheries even though it is not the largest hatchery operation. The reason is that these fish are trucked past man-made hazards that decimate fish released upstream. Abandoning trucking, even in part, will hurt fishermen, related businesses, and consumers,” said GGSA board member Marc Gorelnik.  Gorelnik is also chairman of the Coastside Fishing Club.  
“If the state insists on dumping these fish into very dangerous waters where they’ll be lost,  then the state should also release water from Lake Oroville to speed these baby salmon down the Feather River past the danger zone so at least some survive,” said GGSA board member Mike Aughney.  Aughney is also the owner of website. “Before the dams were built, high snow melt runoff would keep the rivers turbid and rapid in the spring. These are conditions baby salmon need to safely move from the Central Valley to the Bay and ocean.  Now with the dams, the rivers have less natural flow and sediment mixing and predation of baby salmon is much higher. There is plenty of water and snow now to allow for three or four days of water releases needed to help these baby salmon survive.”
In recent weeks fishing guides have documented high concentrations of predatory fish in the Feather and Sacramento rivers.  CDFW is reversing its proactive trucking practice because of theoretical concerns related to hatchery born salmon degrading the genetic purity of Central Valley fall run salmon and concern that trucked fish will lack the knowledge to keep them from straying into neighboring streams when they return from the ocean in two years.
Salmon fishermen puzzle over the stated attempt to establish a genetic distinction between Central Valley fall run salmon bred in hatcheries and other Central Valley fall run salmon that largely share identical genetics.  Hatcheries have functioned in the Central Valley for over 100 years and in that time hatchery born salmon have returned as adults and recolonized virtually every Central Valley stream and river that will still support salmon. 
“Study after study demonstrates there’s no such thing as a master race of Central Valley fall run salmon.  All Central Valley fall run salmon show interbreeding with hatchery stocks going back over 100 years,” said GGSA board member Dick Pool.
Once one of California’s greatest salmon producing rivers, the Feather was largely destroyed by construction of the Oroville dam.   State engineers refused to put a fish ladder on the dam when it was built, thus denying the salmon access to hundreds of miles of their historic spawning habitat now lost above the dam.  Adding insult to injury, they diverted most of the Feather River downstream of the dam into a man-made, shallow pond called the Thermalito Afterbay.  Here the water warms to temperatures lethal to salmon spawning and then flows back into the river.  This largely destroys another 15 to 20 miles of otherwise good salmon habitat downstream and forces returning adult salmon to veer into the colder Yuba River to spawn. 
The state should first fix the thermal pollution destroying the Feather River caused by the Thermalito Afterbay.  Then maybe we can talk about how to address the straying of Feather River fish into colder nearby rivers,” said GGSA executive director John McManus.
“We call on CDFW to truck the rest of this year’s Feather River fall run and resume a dialogue with key stakeholders on the future of trucking and hatchery management actions,” said GGSA founder Victor Gonella.  “Our future is being decided by theorists who are out of touch with the families that rely on these salmon to make a living.”
Earlier this year fishermen watched as state officials dumped federally protected hatchery spring run salmon into the Feather River upstream of a known predator hot spot rather than truck them a few miles further downstream to a point below the predator concentration. Most were probably lost.
“There’s disagreement over whose fish these are,” said GGSA board member Tim Sloane.  Sloane is also executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, a group representing commercial fishermen.  “The state is simply a custodian for these salmon, which belong to all Californians, but whose numbers are dwindling because dams and other development are blocking their historic habitat.  If the state chooses to act in a way that reduces the salmon we need to make a living, we think it only fair to be invited to partake in this decision that is so fundamental to our economic survival.”
The Golden Gate Salmon Association ( ) is a coalition of salmon advocates that includes commercial and recreational salmon fisherman, businesses, restaurants, a native tribe, environmentalists, families and communities that rely on salmon. GGSA’s mission is to protect and restore California’s largest salmon producing habitat comprised of the Central Valley river’s that feed the Bay-Delta ecosystem and the communities that rely on salmon as a long-term, sustainable, commercial, recreational and cultural resource.

Vacation Rental at Point Arena
 Brand New House in Irish Beach with 2 bedrooms and a huge loft. Sleeps 6. Blue Water Ocean View to the Point Arena Light House and great local fishing. The house is located on a private court with access to the Members only Irish Beach.


Upcoming Events:
USAFishing proudly supports the many fishery and wildlife organizations that benefit anglers and hunters throughout Northern California. Does your organization have an upcoming event? Contact us at and we will gladly post the information on our reports pages.

California Waterfowl Dinners and Youth Events Calendar

Golden Gate Salmon Association Events Calendar

 Party Boat Contacts:
The Bodega Bay Sportfishing  Center is currently booking trips on the New Sea Angler. They also book the six pack Sandy Ann, Profishn't and during the summer the Predator. Reservations can be made at 707 875-3344.

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5-day plot - Wind Speed at 46013

5-day plot - Wave Height at 46013

Marine Weather
With the Point Arena, San Francisco and Bodega Bay buoys all out of service it's been tough to judge conditions. There are some land based weather stations, wave rider and even webcams that readers can use to assess current conditions.  The Point Reyes wind observations or wave conditions at the San Francisco wave rider buoy are good tools for Golden Gate anglers.  For Bodega Bay anglers you can use both the Point Reyes wind observations and the Bodega Bay Marine lab web cam at Horseshoe Cove and conditions at the Point Arena light house. For Monterey based anglers looking for conditions inside Monterey bay can use the Monterey Bay Aquarium buoy.




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