Salmon, stripers and kokanee on tap

By: J.D. Richey Journal Outdoors Columnist
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Spring is a great time of year around here… there’s just so much to do if you’re into the outdoors. Trout season is just around the corner and halibut are cranking up down in the bay; high country lakes are just coming into fishable shape and the bass bite in the lower elevations is busting loose.
But salmon, stripers and kokanee seem to be what’s really on people’s minds. Here’s a look at what’s going on in those areas right now…
Ocean Salmon Update
Since the April 1 salmon opener along the coast, reports have been a little up and down. Over Easter weekend, the Monterey and Santa Cruz boats fared best with scores ranging from a fish a rod to limits. Half Moon Bay and San Francisco have been pretty quiet overall, but there have been some good days out of Bodega.
Well, I got a report from Capt. Rick Powers earlier in the week, who said he absolutely mollyhocked the kings on Wednesday – to the tune of 48 fish for 24 anglers by 11 a.m. while trolling seven miles straight west of Bodega Head. The fish were of a good grade, too, with some slabs up to 25 pounds.
Of course, salmon season is only open for sure until April 30. We’ll know more about how long the season will last next week, after the Pacific Fisheries Management Council meets. They’ll be looking at three options: a full-blown season from May 1 until mid November, a chopped up version and a total fishery closure. I’ll definitely keep you posted.
Oh, by the way…if the PFMC opts for the full season, it’s very likely that we’ll be able to chase salmon on the rivers again in 2010, too. Stay tuned!
Valley Stripers
It’s striped bass time in the Valley! The spring run is on and fishing’s heating up. After Sunday’s rains clouded up the Sacramento River and cooled it down, conditions have since stabilized and the fishing is good from Sacramento on up to Colusa. Now, the bite varies from day to day, but you’re going to find fish at Clarksburg (trolling deep-diving Yo-Zuris and soaking sardines or pile worms), at Discovery Park and Verona.
Further up the Sac, live minnows have been the ticket from Knight’s Landing to Colusa. Most of the fish are schoolie-sized males in the 4- to 8-pound range, but there are some big hens around as well. For the latest, call (916)388-1956.
Berryessa Kokanee
Okay sockeye fans, you’ll like the news coming out of Berryessa! The early season koke bite kicked in a couple weeks back and the good word is the fish are plentiful and of a nice grade. So far, the salmon have been averaging 15-16 inches, with a few up to 18 already showing… and it’s only early April. You can probably expect some fish to 20 plus inches this summer!
Most of the action has been coming from the Big Island and Skiers Cove. In the mornings, trollers pulling Rocky Mountain Tackle hootchies and Radical Glow Tubes behind dodgers have been hooking fish as shallow as 15 feet in the mornings and then working their way deeper as the sun gets higher. For updates, call (707) 372-7599.
Largest kokanee ever taken in U.S. waters
Hey speaking of kokanee, did you hear about the 8.23-pounder that was taken in Oregon last month? From Lake Wallowa, the monster koke was the largest ever taken in this country and a mere pound off the world mark, which was caught in British Columbia.
To see a picture of the beast, log onto