It’s here at last — salmon season.
The season opens Saturday after a two-year closure and will last at least until April 30.
What happens after that date won’t be determined until the Pacific Fishery Management Council meets in Portland, Ore., while the California Fish and Game Commission will be in session in Sacramento on April 12-15.
The ocean weather forecast for Saturday’s opener calls for 6- to 8-foot swells at 12- to 16-second intervals. It will be windy with rain likely. In other words, it will be fishable but uncomfortable. On Sunday, the swells will increase in height and the interval will be shorter. It will be ugly out there.
Patriot Sportfishing has anchovy tray bait, a commodity almost nonexistent on the Central Coast. Roger York, Patriot’s manager, said that he had a supply of the prized salmon trolling bait with “more en route.”
Virg’s Landing has several cases of bagged sardines that manager Greg Smith says “looks pretty good and might work fine for anglers trolling for salmon.”
Dredging of the Port San Luis Boatyard launch basin was continuing this week. Boat launching Saturday will begin at 4:30 a.m.
“There’s a minus tide at 8 a.m.,” Harold Lovett said. “We will launch boats as long as we can but we encourage boat owners to arrive early.”
The minimum size limit for chinook (also known as king salmon) is 20 inches with a limit of two per angler.
DFG regulations state: “If fishing with bait and angling by any other means than trolling, no more than two single point, single-shank barbless hooks (circle hooks) shall be used. The distance between hooks must not exceed five inches.”
Both Virg’s and Patriot Sportfishing are sold out for Saturday’s salmon opener. Virg’s has a capacity of 16 anglers and Patriot 15. As of this writing, Virg’s had only four reservations for Sunday while Patriot will be closed Easter Sunday.
Salmon fares are $89 pre-paid at Virg’s and $80 at Patriot. Both landings have space available for trips next week and beyond.
Call 772-1222 to book reservations for Virg’s and 595-7200 for accommodations on Patriot fishing trips. The rockcod fishing campaign begins May 1 and both landings are taking reservations.
Tri Valley bass tournament
A brand new father, Jeff Rose of Oceano, teamed with his Pest Master co-worker, Tim Sharpe of Grover Beach, to win the third Tri Valley bass tournament Saturday at Cachuma Lake.
Their margin of victory, 3.30 pounds, was achieved by Rose with the second fish the team put in the live well.
Rose’s 3.61-pound bass turned out to be the second heaviest of the tournament, which attracted 34 teams. Just eight of them had six-fish team limits.
Rose’s usual partner, his dad, Craig from Bakersfield, was not available.
After a tournament hiatus, Sharpe is just getting back into fishing. He’s already back on track. The week before, he placed second with Danny Knotts of Santa Maria in an ABA tournament at Cachuma.
Rose and his wife, Brandie, became first-time parents with the arrival of a son, Josh, on Feb. 8.
No doubt the $850 first place winnings, plus the $105 big fish money he and Sharpe split, will come in handy. Their winning weight was 16.22 pounds. The team caught spinnerbait fish early then switched to flippin’ after the sun came out.
Tri Valley Top 10, Number of Fish, Weight, Winnings1. Jeff Rose, Oceano, Tim Sharpe, Grover Beach, 6, 16.22 pounds, $850; 2. Jeff Hodges, Arroyo Grande, Corey Schmidt, Oceano, 6, 12.92 pounds, $330; 3. Brad Austin, San Miguel, John Phillips, Santa Margarita, 6, 12.77 pounds, $250; 4. Mike Wiseman, Dustin Bowlin, Nipomo, 6, 12.37 pounds, $135; 5. Joe Gardiner, Joe Malm, San Luis Obispo, 6, 11.92 pounds, $110; 6. Mark Scribner, Pismo Beach, Graham Grove, Atascadero, 6, 11.33 pounds; 7. Damon & Ken Meeks, Atascadero, 5, 10.80 pounds; 8. Felix Camacho, Nipomo, Ken Camacho, Santa Maria, 6, 10.27 pounds; 9. Mead Hedricks, Rick Delera, Lompoc, 6, 9.96 pounds; 10. Scott Garman, Morro Bay, Cory Woodman, Cayucos, 5, 9.68 pounds.1st Big Fish, 4.72 pounds, Hodges & Schmidt, $240; 2nd. Big Fish, 3.61 pounds, Rose & Sharpe, $105.
W.O.N. Bass Pro-Am
Atascadero pro Gene Gray is entered in the Friday and Saturday tourney at Lake Shasta. Mike Wasley of Atascadero and Shawn Lee of Arroyo Grande and Gray were other pro entries in the Feb. 5-6 tourney at The Delta. Amateur entries included Ken Whalen of Lompoc and Clay Gates of Paso Robles.
Sunday’s Easter Egg Hunt promises to be a big-time attraction once again. Last year, 250 kids participated and like numbers are anticipated this year.
The hunt begins at 10 a.m.
Rob Marquez of Orcutt reeled in a 53⁄8-pound largemouth by the dam March 24. The catch was made on a jig. On March 27, Stephan Cowan of Santa Rosa, caught a 2-pound, 7-ounce bluegill on a nightcrawlers dunked by the bridge.
Lake San Antonio
Anglers offering live minnows or swimbaits are connecting with stripers in the dam area. Crappie are being retrieved from the shallows along the north shore, marina staffer Nick Pena said. The best bass fishing is happening near the marina, where largemouth dominate.
Santa Margarita Lake
Mike Stiles of Bakersfield caught and released an 11-pound, 1-ounce bass March 27. He used a green Brush Hog for the catch in the White Oak area. San Luis Obispo’s Will Barnes landed a 6-pound, 8-ounce channel catfish on sardines in Murphy’s Bay on Saturday.