The superb salmon fishing now available off the coast of the San Francisco Bay Area this season was seen in the second “Fish Like a Girl” trip hosted by the Golden State Salmon Association (GSSA) on Aug. 18.
“Twenty fun, beautiful women on a fishing boat with a hard working crew went out into the Pacific Ocean to go salmon fishing in perfect weather,” said Cat Kaiser, events director for the GSSA. “It started with a dance party and mimosas, and then the girls caught full limits of incredible salmon up to 32 pounds.”
The fishing began with a bite by smaller salmon around the 20-inch minimum range off the San Mateo County Coast near Pedro Point.
“We joked that we were kokanee fishing,” Kaiser said. “Then like a light switch, the bite for big fish turned on when Tricia Nesler caught the first real fish of the day at 26 pounds. She ended up catching her personal best six times. Pretty much all of the fish caught after that catch were between 18 and 32 pounds. Lorinne Otte won the day’s jackpot with a 32-pound king.”
“This trip featured the most new gals of any all ladies fishing trip that we have sponsored,” said Kaiser. “One was celebrating her birthday. Girls who had never been on our trips or on a fishing boat before caught salmon. We ended up with 40 salmon for the girls, along with 8 fish for crew, including three deckhands and Captain Jared Davis.”
Kaiser said she was very happy to have caught three salmon, ranging from 8 to 16 pounds, and educate the gals on the work the GSSA is doing for the salmon fishery.
The fishing continued to be good on Saturday, with the Salty Lady returning with 36 salmon up to 24 pounds for 20 guys. On Sunday, the boat returned with 27 salmon up to 32 pounds for 24 anglers, and a handful of rockfish, while trolling anchovies in less-than-ideal weather, said Capt. Jared Davis.
Some may be wondering why we’re seeing great ocean salmon action in the midst of a drought. John McManus, GSSA President, believes the improved overall fishing this year is a combination of a better juvenile salmon (smolt) release strategy and good ocean forage and water conditions.
“Survival of hatchery fish is much higher than it’s ever been,” McManus said. “This is in large measure because of the work of the Golden State Salmon Association that has pushed state hatchery managers to move the releases of these fish into friendlier waters near the Golden Gate Bridge.”
He said baby salmon released near the Golden Gate survive at two to four times higher than those released at the traditional state release site in Vallejo.
“In both 2021 and 2022, when authorities resisted increasing releases at Ft. Baker in Sausalito (one of the best release sites), GSSA used its connections with Congress to get releases doubled there the last two years in a row. This is already paying off big time in the ocean with more good fishing to come,” he stated. Information: https://goldenstatesalmon.org.
In contrast with the hatchery fish, naturally spawning salmon, including endangered Sacramento winter-run Chinook salmon and spring-run Chinook salmon, have fared very poorly during the drought.
Only 2.6 percent of juvenile winter Chinook salmon below Keswick Dam made it as far downstream as Red Bluff last year in low, warm water conditions resulting from the Bureau of Reclamation’s temperature management plan, according to fish advocates. Ninety-one percent of a record run of spring Chinooks on Butte Creek perished before spawning last year, due to the failure of PG&E to release cold water in time.
Marin Coast Rockfish and Lingcod
As salmon continue on their bite, the Marin County coast is yielding excellent lingcod and rockfish action.
On Aug. 20, the California Dawn 2 reported 22 limits of rockfish (220) and 22 limits of lingcod (44) to 22 pounds, while the California Dawn 1 checked in with 12 limits of rockfish (plus crew 150) and 12 lingcod to 25 pounds. On Aug. 21, the California Dawn 2 returned with 23 limits of rockfish (230) and 40 lingcod. Information: (510) 417-5557.
San Francisco Bay Halibut: Fishing remains surprisingly good for anglers drifting live anchovies in the central bay. “Flash one and Flash two did very well on the halibut today on half day trips,” said Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Sportfishing. on August 20. “We averaged 2 fish per rod – the fish went up to 26 inches.” Information: (510) 851-2500.
Contact Stockton Record Correspondent Dan Bacher at firstname.lastname@example.org.