Wednesday, May 15, 2019

    Brittany Young sent over this report from the weekend:"Brittany Young captained but her husband Morgan young caught this 29.5 lb Halibut just north of hog island Saturday evening on the incoming tide. The three boats in our group brought in over 35 Halibut in just a few days. 

Leila Smith was casting the surf and managed to bring in this beautiful striped Saturday mid day."

   Some final pictures from Eddie Kim's visit. Mr. Kim and his various crew fished hard during his stay and they all took home some halibut. I think Eddie needs to rest up for his next visit. 

   Here's the photo of Nick Bauer's fish from the other day. I'm guessing that the halibut are officially in. Commercial salmon season opens here tomorrow but we probably won't get any reports on salmon until Saturday at earliest due to gale warnings and small craft advisories for the next couple of days. 

Sunday, May 12, 2019

    Eddie Kim and his crew caught four halibut yesterday while live baiting by Hog Island. Although I haven't received any pictures, I heard that Nick Bauer may have done the same. Another group of three boats has been quietly slipping halibut into their boats around Hog and points north of there. The anchovies have been moving in and out of the bay and the fish are likely following them, so don't plant yourself in one place trying to make fish bite. Those hungry fish could be almost anywhere. There was some decent surfperch caught yesterday afternoon/evening and at least one striper pulled from the surf.

Friday, May 10, 2019

    Eddie Kim returned with his brother and they did a one-day slam for limits of clams. Dungeness, rockfish and ling cod on Wednesday. I believe they spent Thursday cleaning all of those critters.

   Rumor has it that there's a few more halibut coming in. I don't believe it, but Nick Bauer keeps sendng me pictures, so maybe it's true. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019


Kyle Riffle sent in this report:"Did good on crab in the outer bay, limits of commercial quality crabs the first pull after an overnight soak. Then ran down the bay and caught a 33 inch and a 26 inch halibut on live bait drifting past the channel split by hog island. Good day overall!" Nice job, gentlemen. There were a few others caught there yesterday as well. For those looking for live bait, Gage saw big schools of anchovies out in 160 feet of water in front of Bird last evening. There were whales, dolphins, pelicans and fish splashing as well. Gage didn't drop a line in the water, though, because "I didn't want to have to make a difficult decision." He's right, the splashing fish probably weren't bluefin. Any bets on this weather holding until salmon reopens?

Monday, May 6, 2019

   Here's Kris Gaiero with her second halibut from off of Tomales Point. Remember when I said that inside the bay would be better for halibut? Well, it is, but Kris is making a pretty strong argument for the Point.
    Here's a nice Hog Island halibut. This one bit a trolled anchovy. I heard of a couple of others caught yesterday as well. There were a couple of guys that caught some decent numbers of Dungeness in the outer bay (half limits or better) but they worked hard for them. Inside the bay it was pretty slow for the Dungeness but part of that could be the strong currents around the new moon. Rockfishing was on the slower side as well. Surfperch fishing was okay on the incoming tide but if anybody caught any stripers they weren't telling me. No bluefin here. On that note, as abfish mentioned in yesterday's comments, bluefin are extremely boat shy. Should you be lucky enough to find a school of feeding bluefin you need to either cast from a distance or troll a way-way back line round-a-bout over the fish. How far back? If you have to ask, it ain't far enough. When you're sure it's enough, add a little more. And if all you've got is salmon gear it almost doesn't matter how far you put your lines back, since bringing a knife to gun fight generally ends poorly for the blade wielder. Also, don't drive over a school of boiling bait and birds. Just don't. Ever.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

    This report from "atfsac" was sent in on Wednesday night :"First drift of the year on Friday night rewarded two keepers those were the only bites. We came back Saturday morning and got a seventeen pounder in the first ten minutes and that was all she wrote we got out of there before low tide made us stay and USCG was checking boats at the ramp which left us circling waiting for the ramp to open for forty five minutes barely squeaked her into the trailer with a black stream of mud coming out of the tell tale on the motor. Decided to go to Frisco on Sunday for nine keepers  and Monday for another six. Not a bad first run of the year. The count is at eighteen. " The pictures above are the Tomales Bay fish. Here's the comparison shot.
All of those fish look pretty good to me. 
    Gage clobbered the surfperch this week but declined to provide a "hand" picture. At least there's fish in the surf. Possible grunion run the next couple of nights (grunion season is closed) so there may be a few stripers in the foam the next couple of evenings. The strong northwest winds are supposed to give us a break for a bit, so things should start looking really good for salmon before the wind comes back and wrecks it all, probably right around the 18th. Just a guess. I guess we'll have to go bluefin fishing. Looks like they caught a few out of Santa Cruz today and a Monterey whale watching boat filmed tuna boiling yesterday. Check out this video at about the 54 second mark.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

   Geoff McNew sent over this photo and report from yesterday:"Caught on crow bars with herring at the 3 mile line off the trees, this last day of 24"" Also the last salmon fishing day until May 18. Nice work, Geoff. It looks like those fish just found the krill. Let's hope that they stick around for a while, even though a lot can change (and probably will) in the next three weeks.

     Nick Bauer found another halibut back by Hog Island yesterday. He's been getting a few back there. It's a far cry from the limits they're catching in San Francisco Bay but it's a lot more cozy. 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

    You really never know what you'll catch when you're rockfishing. This halibut, caught by Kris Gaiero off of Tomales Point, weighed 15 pounds. I would recommend the bay over the reefs at the point for halibut, but, hey, you never know.  

    Dmitry Varakuta sent in this photo from last year with just about the prettiest salmon I've seen. It's not quite a lit up dorado, but it'll do. The couple of boats that went out looking for salmon today have returned with nothing but a few shorties hooked and released. Reports from south of us are that they're tearing 'em up down there. Our time will come, and when it does, the fish will be larger (and the minimum size will be smaller). 
    There's still a pretty good number of Dungeness crab out there. I actually had a live keeper get washed up on the beach at my feet while fishing for stripers in the surf yesterday evening. I'm not sure if that means there's a bunch of crab right off of the beach, but there's at least one. It looks like the sand crabs are molting, judging the number of shells on the beach, but if they are the stripers don't know about it. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

    Nick says you don't need to go looking for that halibut by Hog Island because he caught it. There may be another fish around, though, as he had a couple of other bites on his live jacksmelt. Looks like you don't have to go all the way back to catch, but I'd still think about Marshall and the Inverness flats. We're also getting to the time of year when might see a couple caught in the "clam channel," just down from the pier. I might even have to try it. 
    The crabbing has been slowish but the snares are still bringing in (usually) enough for dinner. There was a small group today using a drone to drop their snares farther out. I don't know if it helped but it looked cool. The weather has been pretty nice on the beach but outside has still been pretty sloppy. The water temp is a pretty good indicator of past wind and it is currently at 49.1º. Upwelling? Check.

    Now I wish that this was a picture from this year, but I've been forced to beg for old photos (The begging was before you sent your picture, Nick). This was sent in by Guy Kilburn of Vallejo with a note:"As you requested, here is a photo from August of last year of a nice fish caught just off Kehoe Beach.  These are the memories of fine fishing and flat water that keep us coming back. " It was nice to meet you, Guy, and I thank you for sharing your memory with the rest of us. If anyone else has a nice fish picture from this or last year, send it over to with a note and I'll post it up for all 20 of us to see.

Friday, April 19, 2019

   Those salmon that were in 150 feet of water in front of Bird are somewhere else now. All it takes is me getting on the water to scare them off. There were some salmon caught in 260 to 300 feet of water from Bird Rock to above Bodega Head, anywhere from 40 to 160 feet down, depending on the report. Most hookups resulted in shorties but I heard about a few keepers and even one over 20 pounds. I had a very peaceful couple hours of trolling during which the fish were kind enough not to bother me. The weather was nice, even though the breeze when running gave me an ice cream headache from the 50º water temp. Hopefully we get a couple of more chances at the salmon before the season closes on May 1st. As far as that closure goes, here's the press release:"

2019 Ocean Salmon Seasons Finalized for the California Coast

salmon anglers
King salmon caught off the San Francisco coastline.
CDFW photo

Ocean salmon anglers across the California coast will be able to spend more time on the water this year chasing after King Salmon (also known as Chinook Salmon). At its meeting this week in Rohnert Park, the Pacific Fishery Management Council finalized and adopted ocean salmon seasons beginning on or after May 1 through the remainder of the year.
Sport fisheries in the Klamath Management Zone will open from late May through early September. Fort Bragg and San Francisco areas are currently open; they will close for the first half of May, then reopen and continue through the end of October. The Monterey management area is open now and remains open through late August.
Despite an increase in fishing opportunity this year, ocean salmon season lengths were cut short in certain areas to limit harvest of Sacramento River fall Chinook, the main stock supporting California’s ocean fishery. Under the terms of the federal Salmon Fishery Management Plan, this stock has been classified as “overfished” following low returns of spawning adults in recent years. In an effort to hasten the rebuilding process, the Council made the decision to limit the fishery so that a greater number of adult fish return to the river to spawn this fall.
The 2019 recreational ocean salmon season dates for the California coast are as follows:
  • In the Klamath Management Zone, which is the area between the Oregon/California border and Horse Mountain (40°05’00” N. latitude), the season will open May 25 and continue through September 2.
  • The Fort Bragg and San Francisco areas, which extend from Horse Mountain to Point Arena (38°57’30” N. latitude) and Point Arena to Pigeon Point (37°11’00” N. latitude), respectively, opened April 13. Fishing will close on April 30, then reopen on May 18 and continue through October 31.
  • The Monterey area between Pigeon Point and the U.S./Mexico border opened on April 6 and will continue through August 28.
The minimum size limit is 20 inches total length in all areas north of Point Arena. In the San Francisco area, the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length through April 30, then 20 inches total length thereafter. In the Monterey area the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length. The daily bag limit is two Chinook Salmon per day. No more than two daily bag limits may be possessed when on land. On a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit. Retention of Coho Salmon (also known as Silver Salmon) is prohibited in all ocean fisheries off California.
In addition to protecting Sacramento River fall Chinook, the season dates and size limit restrictions in combination also serve to minimize impacts of the ocean salmon fishery on ESA-listed Sacramento River winter Chinook and California Coastal Chinook stocks, as required by federal law."

   For the guys rockfishing, 22" minimum on lingcod with a limit of one per person. North of Cape Mendocino they are allowed to keep two. It looks like it will change to two everywhere later in the season (Date to be determined). Until then, try to be gentle when returning your extra lings. Sticking your fingers in their gills isn't quite like sticking your fingers in someone's lungs, but it's close. Same goes for halibut and salmon. When possible, take the hook out while they're still in the water. Treat them right and you've got a chance to catch them again. Or even better, maybe I'll catch 'em.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

   The weather forecast for the salmon opener kept most fishermen off the water, but the few guys that chanced it found quite a few fish among the whitecaps. The New Sea Angler reported 42 salmon from about 250 feet of water off of the Head and a couple of the other party boats with smaller crews caught limits. I heard of one sport boat catching two salmon in 150 feet of water off of Bird Rock, 70  feet down. The weather forecast for later this week (Wednesday-Friday) looks optimistic so there may be better opportunities coming up. As for halibut, I haven't heard of any more caught but Gage reports 63º water and some schools of bait in front of Heart's Desire Beach, so it'll happen. Depending on who you ask, the crabbing inside the bay is either good or slow. One boat returned at 11:00 with "all the Dungeness we want." Another boat spent all day looking for their first one. Somewhere between the two seemed average. The commercial guys have had to haul their gear but the sport season will continue until the end of June (unless something else happens). On Friday two fold-a-boats flipped near Miller Park but everybody ended up okay. Hopefully they were wearing their PFD's. Speaking of PFD's, in light of the recent issues with boating safety the CDFW has been issuing citations for lack of Personal Flotation Devices along with the usual tickets. Avoiding a ticket is not the best reason to wear your life jacket, but if it helps you wear it, good.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

     Good news for the salmon smolts on their way to the ocean; the upwelling machine just got turned on "high". The wind is supposed to howl all week, then lay down for the weekend salmon opener because, of course, it always lays down for the opener. Those salmon you heard about in 200 feet of water will likely have relocated by the time this week's gales have passed, but it would sure be cool if a few stayed put. Usually I'm not that interested in the early season but current events have changed that.
   The upwelling machine very likely was a factor in the death of a boater on Tomales Bay today. Very few facts are available about what happened and reports have somewhere from two to six persons involved in the incident. What is for sure is that the wind was really strong and gusty today. Some of the clammers reported their inflatable boats blowing over with the clammers aboard. With lower tides and more winds forecast for tomorrow and Thursday, one hopes that the clammers give it a few days off. The clams will wait.
    Hey, what if salmon fishermen and whale lovers (I'm both) got together and jointly advocated for more salmon?  Hatcheries, better river management, etc.? Dam eradication seems like a no go (it is clean energy, isn't it?) but if what we both want is more fish, isn't that a problem we have a few answers for already? I realize this doesn't involve a lawsuit (at first glance) and the group pushing for the killer whales works almost exclusively by lawsuit, but hey, learning new things and having varied experiences  are good for you. Well, my mom said so, so it's probably true.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

   So the good news is that Gage caught a halibut yesterday evening back by Inverness in the water I said wasn't salty enough (Turns out, it is salty enough). He was trolling and it bit a green hootchie. Game on.
     Here's a better article spelling out the bad news for salmon fishing:   Get your salmon this year, because who knows what's coming? The government may find a sensible way to allow salmon fishing in California after the killer whales have returned to Washington, allowing the take of fish that the whales didn't eat. Or, likelier, they'll just close salmon period. No salmon fishing might make it easier to suck more water out of the Delta. And who wants that? Oh yeah, the guys getting sued. I guess the no salmon fishing option is the more sensible option.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

   Hey, remember those endangered killer whales in Puget Sound? The ones that we might be forced to not fish for salmon so that they don't starve? Because they only eat salmon? They're in Monterey Bay.   At least, some of them are. The people trying to get our salmon fishing curtailed are very likely using their current location as evidence to support their agenda. Please be polite and, perhaps, a bit more specific (whalehuggers is a good term) in the comments. I'm looking at you, abfish.

Monday, April 1, 2019

   Mitch Hamilton sent in a report from yesterday:"Managed to scrape 9 up back by Hog Island, more importantly my youngest grandson is on board now. Heard of a halibut hooked and lost by one of the kayaks." Notably, not the only halibut I heard of yesterday. There may have been a second one lost and another halibut caught near Marshall. I guess that I know now how much salt needs to be in the water to keep halibut happy.
   PS- The one boat that went rockfishing from here yesterday caught 12 fish for two fisherpeople (fisherpersons?) in 50 to 80 feet of water off of Tomales Point. From the usafishing report, it sounds like there may be a few salmon around out deeper. I guess we'll find out on the 13th, weather permitting.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

    The water warms up a little and look who shows up. This striper was landed this morning and a 29 incher was caught yesterday morning. The pictured one ate squid. I heard that there was another one on that broke off after a long fight. Gage's striper count was low but he had a couple of photos from the past few days:

   Yes, the second photo is a mini-mud-marlin and perch "double". Not quite what he was looking for, but action nonetheless. As I write this the Tomales Bay water temp is 62 degrees. I tried to get my test fisherman to go jig it but he's got striper on the brain. He's probably right to skip it, as the warmer bay water also happens to be a bit more on the brackish side. Click on "Plots" on this page to see the inverse relation between the temp and salt in the bay now. If the rain ever pauses long enough for the bay to salt up a bit the halibut bite should be start in the way back soon after. I'm not sure how much salt makes a halibut happy, but 21-23 PSU is significantly less than the 30-32 PSU in Horseshoe Cove. 
   Tomorrow is our rockfish opener. If you don't mind a little rain the weather looks pretty good. Remember, this year you're allowed only one ling (22" minimum) in possession and ten rockfish. Of those ten rockfish, three can be blacks, three can be cabazon (15"minimum) and two can be canaries. No yelloweye or cowcod allowed, and gentlemen, if you don't know a yelloweye from a vermillion, learn it. It's too expensive to be ignorant.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

   There are still some nice Dungeness to be caught out there. Well, there's a few less now, but still quite a few. Snares and traps from boats are definitely the ticket. These crab only took a couple of hours to climb in the trap.
   Speaking of crab, a lawsuit will close the commercial Dungeness season early, in April, and change the way the commercial guys fish in the future. Here's the press release, but don't gloat too much; we're next.

Entanglement Settlement Protects Whales, Sea Turtles and California’s Crab Fishery

SAN FRANCISCO — Californians will be pleased to know that Dungeness crab will be caught off the coast with greater care for endangered wildlife under a settlement announced by the Center for Biological Diversity, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA).
The legal settlement protects whales and sea turtles from entanglement in commercial Dungeness crab gear. The Center for Biological Diversity sued CDFW in October 2017 after a drastic increase in the number of whale entanglements off the West Coast.
“As I’ve said many times, no one wants whale entanglements to happen,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “This agreement represents hours of intense negotiation to help ensure they don’t happen while supporting the resiliency of the crab fishery in the long run. I am thankful for the leadership of the Center for Biological Diversity and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations who realized something needed to be done together.”
“This is great news for whales and sea turtles fighting extinction off California’s coast,” said Kristen Monsell, a Center for Biological Diversity attorney. “The settlement will reduce serious threats from crab gear to these beautiful and highly endangered animals. This agreement is a turning point that gets us closer to zero entanglements and a healthy ocean.”
The lawsuit was brought by the Center for Biological Diversity against CDFW (Center for Biological Diversity v. Bonham) in federal court in San Francisco. The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, which represents crabbers, intervened in the lawsuit.
The settlement, subject to court approval, creates a comprehensive approach to the problem of whale entanglements. It expedites state regulation, ensures stakeholder input from the Dungeness crab Fishing Gear Working Group and formalizes a first-ever commitment by CDFW to pursue a federal permit for protecting endangered species. While these steps are executed, the settlement calls for this year’s crab season to end three months early and prescribes protective measures for future springtime fishing seasons, when the greatest number of whales are present off the California coast.
In November 2018, CDFW announced it would seek a federal permit under the Endangered Species Act to address protected species interactions with the crab fishery. Obtaining a permit and developing a conservation plan as part of that process can take years, so the settlement spells out interim protections.
“This settlement represents the path back to normality for California’s crab fishery with built-in protections for whales and crab fishing operations under the Endangered Species Act,” said Noah Oppenheim, executive director of PCFFA. “The past several years have been extraordinarily challenging for fishing families, and the actions we’re taking here are no exception. But in the end, we’re going to emerge together with a resilient, prosperous, and protective fishery that will continue to feed California and the nation.”
Details of the settlement can be found at

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

  The crabbing has been pretty good for this time of year, as normally February is pretty dead for Dungeness. I haven't heard of anybody limiting inside the bay but boaters seem to be catching 3 to 15 keepers a day, depending on who you ask. Snare casters are generally catching dinner from shore, and a pair of guys last week caught 15 Dungies between them. The ocean water has salted back up and the surfperch have returned to the beach with a few of the regular surf fishermen doing very well over the weekend on redtails.
     April 13 is the official opening of salmon season here (Point Arena to Pigeon Point). The current regulations are here if you want to see them. The minimum size is 24 inches until April 30th, when the season closes. Don't worry, it will reopen on May 1st, but the final determination of the seasons duration will be made in April. It looks like it will probably run through October again. For a look at the current options see here.  Something to look forward to in the future is a push to restrict salmon fishing further to leave more salmon for the killer whales in Puget Sound. Since there aren't many Chinooks left in Washington they're looking at the Sacramento and Klamath fish as being important whale food. Probably the'll just end up removing some hydroelectric dams on the Snake and Columbia Rivers (and replace them with CO2 generating power plants. I thought those were bad?) to make room for more salmon spawning habitat. Spawning habitat is good, but how about hatcheries? Grow a surplus? Make (relatively) clean power and salmon? I'm sure that's too easy.
   California halibut season is open year-round but the catching is generally limited to when the water is warmer (57º-65º). You can catch a halibut in colder water but you'll spend less time catching more fish in the right conditions. San Francisco and San Pablo Bays have many square miles of shallow water to soak up the sun and warm up sooner than Tomales Bay. They're catching a few halibut now but it will get much better in the coming weeks. The water in Tomales Bay is actually warm enough to be interesting (57º) right now. The salinity is low near Hog Island (21 PSU compared to a norm of about 31-33) but closer to normal near the mouth. The clam channel has had some early fish in the last few years and may hold some now. They probably won't bite, but they're probably there. Don't worry, though, spring is officially here, so the West wind will soon have the water chilled down to the forties.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

   Gage tells me that it's kind of weird taking his own fish pictures. Since he normally holds his fish out to make them look bigger, doing them himself requires the opposite. This one is his personal best barred perch, caught yesterday on the beach. He also caught a few normal-sized ones, all on the incoming tide on Berkley Gulp! Sandworms. I guess that the fish like having actual saltwater instead of the muddy brackish stuff we had. I can't complain too much, as all that fresh water is supposed to be good for salmon smolts. I can't wait for the 2021 salmon season.
   Actually, this season looks pretty good. We might get April 6 through October if we are lucky. Here's what better informed people are saying about this year's season:" Good Salmon Forecast for 2019 Suggests Plentiful Fishing
Good rainfall two years ago pays off

Santa Rosa, CA  -- Today officials forecast 379,632 adult Sacramento Valley salmon are now in the ocean off the West Coast, compared to 229,400 a year ago at this time.  This suggests a return to relatively plentiful salmon fishing in 2019 is likely.  In the month ahead, officials with the Pacific Fisheries Management Council will use this forecast and other information to set times and areas open to both sport and commercial ocean salmon fishing for 2019. 

The reason for the uptick in this year’s salmon forecast is directly linked to the better Central Valley river conditions during the very wet spring of 2017.  Increased natural runoff from rivers in the Central Valley always boost salmon survival, as measured two years later when the fish return to spawn as adults. 

“We are looking forward to a good salmon fishing season this year,” said GGSA president John McManus. 
In addition to the Sacramento salmon forecasts, more salmon from other Central Valley rivers and hatcheries, as well as from the Klamath and other north coast rivers, will add to ocean numbers.

“We could see the best season since 2013, which was a really good one,” said GGSA director and publisher of USA Mike Aughney.  “Then as now, the good times came two years after really wet winters and springs in the Central Valley.  If water managers would leave more water in the rivers during some of the drier years, we’d always have more salmon.” 

Since baby salmon are considered one year old when they leave the Central Valley in the spring, and most return as three year old adults, you can always count on good fishing two years after lots of rain and snow.  (Yes, with this year’s rain and snow, 2021 should be a good year too!)

The less good news is that the number of adult salmon that returned to the Sacramento Valley to spawn in 2018 fell short of targets for the fourth year in a row.  After three years of missing the target, the National Marine Fisheries Service increased the so-called minimum escapement target from 122,000 to 151,000 fish in 2018.  They may do the same again this season which could result in a shortened season or some areas being closed.  These decisions will be made over the next month but no matter what, most expect good fishing once the season finally gets under way. 

In spite of the relatively rosy 2019 forecasts, the entire Central Valley is still recovering from the last great drought which greatly reduced salmon in various Central Valley tributaries.  A few years of good returns to help rebuild the natural spawning stocks is welcome news. 

“Drought could revisit us almost anytime, in fact it’s probably just a matter of when.  We need to build and fortify in the good years so we don’t get wiped out again in the bad,” said GGSA secretary Dick Pool.  “That’s why GGSA is working overtime to get salmon recovery, habitat improvements, and hatchery improvements on the new governor’s radar.”

Over diversion of the Central Valley rivers in years with less rainfall is a major reason for declines in the salmon population.  The State Water Resources Control Board is currently trying to rebalance how water is shared in the Central Valley.  GGSA is working to make sure the needs of salmon are heard in this process.

The Golden Gate Salmon Association ( is a coalition of salmon advocates that includes commercial and recreational salmon fisherman, businesses, restaurants and chefs, a native tribe, environmentalists, elected officials, families and communities that rely on salmon. GGSA’s mission is to restore California salmon for their economic, recreational, commercial, environmental, cultural and health values

Currently, California’s salmon industry is valued at $1.4 billion in annual economic activity in a normal season. The industry employs tens of thousands of people from Santa Barbara to northern Oregon. This is a huge economic bloc made up of commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen (fresh and salt water), fish processors, marinas, coastal communities, equipment manufacturers, tackle shops and marine stores, the hotel and food industry, tribes, and the salmon fishing industry at large.  Salmon are a keystone species that reflect the health of both their fresh and salt water environments."

Monday, February 25, 2019

   First, a recent report from Zack Jessee:"Went out crabbing in Tomales over the 16-17 and had decent luck. Tried out some new cone shaped crab traps I just recently acquired and soaked at night to hit a slower tide. We were able to grind out a 2 man limit of dungeness and kept some monster rock crab as well. They all tasted great! The new traps fished really really well, but were a real pain to get crabs out. Sadly lost one trap to the sea. Thanks for the continual updates!" The bay is hard on traps, even on a slower tide. Good job on the limits. Crabbing has been pretty slow but it looks like you've got the grinding figured out.
    Surfperch fishing has been mostly slow. The storms keep erasing the holes the perch like. These storms aren't supposed to bring much swell, so by this weekend there may be some surfperch catching to do. The rain will probably not help the leopard shark fishing from shore but might make the deep holes in the bay good places to try from a boat.
    This year's salmon season won't be determined until April. What we get for a season depends partly upon what they expect for this year and partly on how many showed up last year. Not enough fish returned last year  (105,000 out of a minimum of 151,000) which is bad, as salmon will continue to be considered "overfished".  What did show up was a lot of two-year-old fish, indicating an expected ocean abundance of over 400,000 kings for this season. These would be the salmon that were spawned during the heavy rain winter of 2016-2017. Go figure, more water means more fish. With luck that will translate into more opportunities and more success for this year.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Gage has reconnoitered a new couple of holes in the area bracketed by the gatehouse and the first few campsites and he likes what he sees. While I unfortunately do not have a hand for a size comparison, I'm assured the good perch were 10-12 inches, with mediocre amounts. The swell made the going tough, but rest assured, Gage's prowess carried him through, though he insists that better weather would've improved his numbers. He was hoping to land stripers, as it is getting to be that time again but he was disappointed. On the subject of weather, it's been deteriorating fast, with higher swells yet on the horizon. Conditions should improve by Tuesday if the forecast holds. 

Crab snares are slowly but steadily pulling in Dungeness for those braving the intermittent rain. No one went out in a boat today to try the bay and I hope no one tries until the weather lies down. So, I don't have a fresh bay report for you.

Had one special request for Gage's preferred recipe for perch. It's worth nothing that he's pretty big on catch and release, but the few he holds onto are typically large. Per Gage: "I would scale, gut, and take off the head and then either pan fry in butter or bread it first." Feel free to comment your favorite if you've got one.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

  Gage's hand tells me that the perch are here. Not big ones, but he found quite a few fish in a hole near the rocks. They're liking the Berkley sandworms.
   I received an email about Bob King:"Hey Willy
Here’s to Robert! Talked to him a few years ago and I listened to his story, at first I thought it was just an old man telling a story.  first time I had met him, and then I realized what a fool I had for venturing out without the proper gear. Scared me straight up.
Richard from Sacramento " Yes, when possible let someone else's mistakes help you correct your own. A float coat, a safety line and a waterproof VHF handheld radio with GPS seem like good things to have for a solo fisherman. I almost fell out of a trolling boat while albacore fishing solo years ago. I teetered on the rail and luckily fell into the boat instead of over the side. Just the memory makes me queasy and my palms sweat. At least with a second person you have someone to get you (or at least kill the engine). Plus, halfsies on gas.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

    There's actually been some pretty decent crabbing inside the bay, at least if you're Eddy Kim. Mr. Kim and crew caught 38 Dungeness by Marker 5 on Saturday. Some other folks caught half limits there the next day, so even mere mortals can get a few. Eddy isn't sharing his secrets but I have seen him buy lots of squid. Snares from shore are accounting for a fair number of crab too. Surfperch catching has been slow, probably because of the large sea a couple weeks back. When the surfperch start biting, Gage will let us know.
   Some of you may remember the story about Bob King falling out of his still-trolling boat back in 2011. Bob spent 20 minutes in the water and was incredibly lucky to be spotted and rescued by a very surprised Tom Baty of Inverness. Other nearby fishermen saved his boat. Bob's story sold a lot of Mustang float coats. Well, Bob passed away early Monday morning. I'll leave you with Bob's message of thanks regarding his rescue:
"My name is Robert King and I want to thank everyone who helped me survive a very bad situation Sunday morning. My fall from the boat was not the fault of the boat. I've been fishing this area for 30+ years and the 17' Boston Whaler has always served me well. The fault of this accident is completely mine. Thanks to Tom Baty, the person who hauled me out, and and whoever went to pick up my boat. You have helped establish my faith in humanity.
Love to you all,
Robert King

Sunday, January 20, 2019

    Same story on the crabbing with a few being caught off of the pier and a few more inside the bay. The big tides the last few days have caused some seriously fast currents in the bay, slowing the catching and increasing the lost gear. The current also swept a few clammers in inflatable boats and kayaks out towards the breakers on the bar yesterday. Lucky for them Cameron and Gage "borrowed" a boat and dragged them back to the safety. The enormous swells earlier in the week wrecked the beach for surfperch, again, but the relatively normal-sized swells we're seeing now should give the beach a few more contours and places for surfperch to congregate. "Relatively normal-sized" swells yesterday tossed a 19 to 21 foot aluminum boat into the air high enough to injure everyone in the boat. At least everybody landed in a right-side-up boat. This wasn't on the bar (which didn't break until later in the outgoing tide) but out near Bird Rock. Possibly it was on the reef at the Trees, which is a place that occasionally breaks like a smaller Maverick's. It's not necessary to be in shallow water for a huge breaker to come along, but it helps. At least everybody lived.
    The Golden Gate Salmon Association newsletter noted that the preliminary salmon returns to the rivers for 2018 have been lower than expected (or hoped for) and we will probably see restrictions on the season again. An ocean salmon season like last year would not be the worst, so here's hoping.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Got a perch/crabbing report yesterday:

Hey Willy,
A quick fishing update from the Doran Park side. 

Hit a few barred and calico surf perch off the jetty campground this last Friday. They were hitting both the dark brown and camo Gulp sand worms. Fished late afternoon Saturday for about 10 min. The surf had things churned up pretty good and all that was coming in were strands of kelp and eel grass. 

Got a couple of keeper Dungeness and reds early in the morning Friday. Pot pirates are on the loose at Doran though. When I stick close my pots I catch crab. When I leave them I pull empty pots and empty bait bags.

That's all I have for now,

Appreciate the report, Vince. A couple more crab off the pier, whenever someone's been willing to brave the wind and rain for them. Gage is telling me that there are plenty of beautiful holes for perch but they are too far out for him to reach. Forecast suggests the storms will likely continue for the forseeable future.