Good halibut fishing in the Gulf

This is the time to take your children and grandchildren fishing in San Francisco Bay. Halibut and striped bass bite like crazy along the Marin County shoreline according to Keith Fraser at the Loch Lomond Bait Shop in San Rafael.

High winds from the northwest kept many boats tied to the pier, but fishermen on the shore found places to fish, and this work must continue even as the winds die and the weather improves.

“Halibut fishing is now off the charts,” Keith said this week. He said fishermen are catching ranger-sized and striped halibut from the dam near his shop.

One of his regulars fished the dam near him this week and landed five halibuts and four fillets in less than half a day of fishing, and all but two of the fish were from their keepers. The minimum size for halibut is 22 inches; 18 inch striped dress.

The fish are all over the bay, says Keith, but one of the most accessible is the pier at McNears Beach Park east of San Rafael. He also has the only live bait on the bay which is the best way to catch halibut. It can also direct you to the best places to fish. Call Keith at 415-456-0321 for more information.

Before the winds kept most boats tied to the pier, fishing off the Sonoma Coast was excellent. Now that the weather has improved, Captain Rick Powers of Bodega by Sportsfishing says he’s expecting great rock action and cod ling as well as great salmon fishing. Rick has plenty of space in his party boat, “The New Sea Angler.” You can call him at 707-875-3344.

Regarding trout fishing, I have some good news and some bad news.

The best trout fishing report I saw this week was from the Sacramento River near Redding, where rainbow trout provide plenty of movement for anglers. The best way to fish this part of the bag is with a guide. You have several options for guides including The Fly Shop in Redding and; Kirk Portocarrero,; And Anthony Carusco of AC Flyfishing,

The bad news is that trout fishing is probably as good as it gets. It’s the snow in our mountains that usually keeps the cool, clear water flowing down the road. I drove my car across Lake Shasta last weekend and it looks like the surface of the moon. I’ve never seen it so low before. This means that the river flow below it is likely to decrease by summer.

The upper Sacramento River is actually at its normal spring level now, but that won’t last, because there isn’t enough snow to keep it at its normal levels this summer.

Rivers will collapse in the Sierra. As well as many lakes.

My suggestion is fish now, before it’s too late.

When is it too late?

It’s hard to say, but I think fishing from mid-June through September will be hit and miss at best, as the water in many California streams is too low and too warm for trout to survive. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the California Department of Fish and Wildlife restrict or stop fishing if conditions worsen.

On the other hand, torrential rain fell in some parts of Oregon, including the area around Portland and Mount Hood, in both winter and spring. You may want to look north for fishing later in the summer.

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