Kewsick Damn down to the Deschutes Bridge, the river is closed to all salmon fishing right now and for the forseeable future. But, you are able to fish for trout and keep one trout up to 16 inches long, either wild or a hatchery fish.
From the Deschutes Bridge down to Red Bluff Diversion Dam, the river also is closed to all salmon fishing until Oct. 9 through Oct. 31. After that, there is a limit of two salmon and two hatchery trout or steelhead. Note that on page 7 of the booklet there is a chart describing the differences between a plain rainbow resident trout and steelhead. The main difference is that the steelhead migrates to the sea and the resident trout sticks around in the river. If the resident trout gets to 16 inches, it is then classified as a steelhead no matter whether the trout migrates or stays at home.
***Make sure to inform your friends who are fishing for the salmon on the Sacramento of the changes that are going into effect. It is a hefty fine for anyone caught breaking the fishing rules and regulations whether intentionally or not intentionally***
Below the Red Bluff Diversion Dam there is an open season for salmon from Oct. 9 through Dec. 12, with the same limits as the upstream section of the river. This extends all the way down to Knights Landing.
From Knights Landing to the San Francisco Bay, there is an open period from Sept. 4 through Oct. 3. Again, the same limits apply as upstream.
That’s right, its time to get your salmon gear together and make your way down to Santa Cruz or Monterey California to get your 2 daily salmon limit. The fishing has been the best its been all year for several days now, and its not too far of a crawl to get to the fishing grounds.
Most of the anglers are choosing to fish salmon at the Soquel Hole which is just a 30 minute run for most boats from the Santa Cruz harbor. If you are planning on coming from Monterey it will be a bit longer run to the fishing grounds. And of course if you are making the trip by boat from Half Moon Bay harbor, it will be even longer again. The Soquel Hole is known for great salmon fishing because it is a collection pot for all types of bait fish with the massive depth changes it has.
The sea conditions the past few days have been relatively nice and calm compared to several weeks ago. There has been a really nice calm feel out there early in the morning, and of course the afternoon winds have kicked up every single day so far this week, so get your fishing done early.
As the fish are now being caught closer to the surface, mostly between 30-80 feet of water, more and more people are stopping the trolling and opting to save some gas and energy with their mooching gear. Of course, you won’t escape the numerous troll fisherman who are have tons of success with rigs like pulling a anchovy around or pretty much any other lure these days.
Most of the fish that are showing up at the docs in Santa Cruz have been in the 8-14 pound range, with 20 pound fish coming in daily as well. Good luck, and if you are going out for the whole day and don’t catch anything, we’ll, better luck fishing next time.
The Salmon fishing has been luke warm still in the Monterey Bay. The bets have still been the Soquel Hole off of Santa Cruz with some anglers catching their limits of reasonable sized salmon.
The fishing a bit north in Half Moon Bay has continued to be less attractive to the small skiff fisherman, and many have opted to launch their boats out of Santa Cruz in search of a faster ride to the more productive fishing grounds. But, this surely doesn’t mean that fishing has been a complete waste out of Half Moon Bay. There have been a few limits of salmon reported there as well.
The fishing out of Monterey has been reasonable, just under one fish per rod on some of the boats, and of course some limits and some skunked salmon fishermen mixed in too. Most of the party boats are dropping anchovies and sardines down to relatively low depths of 150 feet or more to find the salmon while on the mooching rigs. Overall, there seems to be a very high percentage of fisherman trolling hoochies and all sorts of other rigs for the salmon. One of the common lures last week was a yellow Crocodile lure.
This week coming up should have some decent days for getting out and making another stab at the salmon if you are still in search of your first fish of the season. There were several reports of boats who kissed their first salmon of the season over the weekend, and if you are still searching, don’t get discouraged.
Well, the salmon fishing has been decent for most people fishing near and around the Soquel Hole. But, weather has started to take the fish counts down. As the weekend went on, there wind and the waves and the rain made fishing conditions not worth it for many of the anglers, and the launch ramp at Santa Cruz harbor became a ghost town. A big difference from opening weekend a week ago.
The overwhelming majority of salmon being caught from private fisherman is happening with trolling gear. Most of these fish are being hooked at depths ranging from 120-200 feet down. There was even a report of a kid fishing for halibut near the Soquel Hole bouncing a anchovy off the bottom who landed a keeper salmon (not confirmed though)
It’s too difficult to say what is working best, there is the usual mix of hoochie and dodgers/flashers and dead bait being dragged off the downriggers for the trollers. And the few fisherman who are mooching are doing the typical sardine/anchovy rig with anywhere from 2-8 ounces of weight depending on the conditions. If you asked me, mooching with anything over 6 ounces is not too much fun, especially if you are down deep.
So here’s the deal, we are all going to hope for some good weather these next few days off of the coast of California, and if that works out, there just might be some reports of some 30 plus lb. salmon next week. If anyone has any reliable mile buoy reports for salmon fishing from either Monterey or Santa Cruz of even Half Moon Bay, please submit them via comments below. There are quite a few smaller craft fisherman who are dying to know if they can just creep out of the channel and have some decent luck at catching their first salmon of the season.