Sentinel/Herald Fish Report


by Nor Cal Fish Reports
1-11-2018

What a relief to finally see some real winter-type weather in our area. The rain will recharge our watersheds as runoff and big swells scour the beaches into shaper for seasonal surfcasting.

Though the rockfish and lingcod season is closed, various flatfish and Dungeness crab are still on the menu for Monterey Bay anglers. Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine counted numerous halibut caught in the Mile Buoy area of Santa Cruz in the weeks before this storm arrived. That is somewhat unusual but a very welcome anomaly. “Come fishing for the halibut and the rest of the flat fish that are open. Who knows, you may even find a sea bass. The perch and steelhead fishing is improving due to the rain,” Fraser said.

Perch fishing shut down this week due to the storm. Big waves and heavy currents aren’t the only problem. A massive amount of drifting kelp and seagrass makes surfcasting well-nigh impossible. Hopefully the water will clear up for the weekend. For sure, we will have more definite structure along the beaches to hold feeding perch and a good possibility of striped bass if the Pajaro and Salinas Rivers finally open up to the salt.

Despite Fraser’s statement above, steelhead fishing has not developed in our area yet this year. Typically the local streams are somewhat productive later in January and into February. So far We’ve received no confirmed reports of fresh steelhead in our area.

The bigger river systems in Northern California are a different story. Famed fishing guide JD Richey is starting to capitalize on the steelhead run at the American River this week. Richey reports, “The change in the weather brought some steelhead into the region and fishing was pretty decent last time out. We caught plenty of half-pounders and three smallish adults in the three-pound class. The interesting thing was the adult fish were colored up, like maybe they were hung up downriver waiting for the rain.”

Kayak fisherman Eric Stockwell from Loleta Eric’s Guide Service near Eureka took advantage of a brief window of opportunity this week on the Eel River. The Eel is a capricious stream, easily blown out due to heavy silting. Stockwell got big rewards for persistence and paying close attention to conditions. He reports, “More rain is in the forecast, and I got word that muddy water is making its way downstream from the upper South Fork, so today's in-between water was awesome. My spot on the upper main stem went from too clear yesterday to almost the perfect green today. Big payoff! My line suddenly had pressure on it before rapidly heading to the other side of the river. What was obviously a stout adult was now dogging me in less than 6' of water. With no jumps in the first minute, and lots of strength, I thought this could be a fresh salmon. But, a couple minutes in I got a good look at what was one of the nicest steelhead I've ever hooked!”