Extended salmon season looking likely

By: J.D. Richey Journal Outdoors Columnist
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Salmon anglers are rejoicing after hearing the news Thursday that it looks like the entire California coast will have a season that lasts into the fall. The Pacific Fisheries Management Council announced that it has adopted a set of salmon seasons that provides both recreational and commercial opportunities coast wide for the first time since 2007. The recommendation will be forwarded to the National Marine Fisheries Service for final approval by May 1. “While modest at best in historical terms, this season represents a substantial improvement over the seasons in California and Oregon in the last two years,” said Council Chairman Dave Ortmann. “It will be good to have fishermen back on the water.” Here’s what PFMC has in mind for the season in California: Recreational fisheries in California (only Chinook may be retained) will run now through Labor Day Weekend in the Eureka/Crescent City area, and from now until September 6 in areas further south. In waters south of Point Arena (which lies south of Fort Bragg but north of Bodega Bay) however, salmon fishing will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The minimum size limit for kings will be 24 inches coast wide.  Again, the National Marine Fisheries Service has yet to sign off on this whole deal, but it’s very likely they will. Kids Fishing Derby This one comes straight out of the “don’t you dare miss it” file: The 63rd Annual Kids Fishing Derby will take place at Regional Park in Auburn on Saturday, April 24. This is one of the best events going in these parts and truly an Auburn institution. As usual, the Placer Sportsmen will host the event, which begins at sunrise and runs until 10:30 a.m. The lake will be stocked with rainbow trout and kids 15 years of age and younger are invited to come out for a great morning of fun. In addition to the fishing, there will be prizes, free hot dogs, soft drinks, hot chocolate and doughnuts. Again, the Kids Derby is a fantastic event and you’ve got to get the kiddies down to the park that morning. Don’t worry if you’re not a skilled angler — there are always plenty of folks around who will lend a hand. Striper City! All this good, happy news this week… I love it! To continue the theme, I guess I had better give you the lowdown on the hot striper fishing that’s been going on in the Valley lately. I’ve been bouncing around on both the Sacramento and Feather rivers the past two weeks and have found some stunningly good action. Well, let me back up a bit. It was scratchy through about the 9th of April and then I was able to put together a 20-fish day (all keepers, though we released every fish) last Friday, The action went through the roof on Saturday and we caught fish until our arms and hands cramped. The lights-out action continued through that lousy weather Sunday and Monday and got even hotter Tuesday, when we hooked probably 50 fish. Both rivers came up significantly on Wednesday and it took me awhile to locate the fish. When we did, however, we managed to bring another 30 stripers to the boat, including a beautiful 30-pound hen that we weighed, photographed and released. Of course, that beast was the exception rather than the rule and most of the bass have been running 3 to 6 pounds, with a few 8s mixed in each day and a 10 pounder or two. I’ve been fishing all artificials — topwater and swimbaits — but the minnow guys have also been getting plenty of fish. Yesterday, the fish moved around on me but we eventually found them piled onto a clear water seam that produced 30-100 fish per boat. Even the fly guys were putting a serious hurtin’ on ‘em. Now, most of those fish were small keeper-sized and under, with a few to 10-plus pounds, but there’s nothing wrong with action! I finally have some open dates starting next Monday, so if you’d like to get in on the striper fishing, give me a call at (916) 388-1956 or on the web at PHOTO CAPTION: JD Richey with a 30-pound Feather River striper taken on a Lucky Craft ripbait on Wednesday.