Be prepared for steelhead season; opens Dec. 1

Monterey Bay

In happier times, Cal Piccolo with a gorgeous sold San Lorenzo steelhead (released).
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Let's Go Fishing

by Allen Bushnell

Last weekend provided mostly pleasant conditions for fishing on the Monterey Bay. Another cold front rolled through mid-week, but it looks like the coming weekend will be nice again. Steelhead season opens in our area December 1. Remember you must have a 2020 steelhead report card to remain legal. By January, anglers must purchase their 2021 report card along with a new 2021 license, which are available now through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

A long-time friend who I mostly see down in the willows, or the remote holes within the cold wet winter San Lorenzo Gorge is Cal Piccolo. He's a master rod builder and fanatic fisherman. For years, Piccolo has done volunteer work for Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project, and associated Sand Crab Classic Perch Derby. Sadly, the CZU fire burned his Boulder Creek home to the ground. Along with his wife and two boys, he is not alone in this tragic circumstance, but as a leader in our fishing community we are hoping to raise some support through the vehicle of this weekly report. Further information and contributions can be found at:

As hoped for , the small tuna-like bonito have made their way into Monterey Bay, according to Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine. He reported, “Fishing was good for bonito today near the east edge of the Soquel Hole down to Pajaro. The bonito are biting on Rapalas and feathers on the troll and MegaBaits for the anglers casting at boils.” Fraser added, “The fishing was good for lingcod and rockfish near Four-Mile. Crab fishing has been best up the coast near Davenport in 190-240 feet of water. There have been a few halibut caught near Capitola and Five-Mile beach.” Rodney Armstrong on the six-pack charter boat Salmon Streaker from Santa Cruz is finding success on his crab combo trips. Armstrong said, “This weekend was good for crab. We pulled 41 Yesterday and 60 today. Fishing was a little slow this weekend. Hopefully when the king tides go away it will get better!” Aboard the lovely Miss Beth, Captain JT Thomas reported, “We did a tag team trip shared with The Raybert. Five clients on each boat. There was BIG competition between the two boats. Who got the most, who got the biggest. Go Fish Santa Cruz Charters had early limits of rock fish including nice coppers and browns. They were done early and opted to pull crab pots. Two pots yielded fifty crab. There was a lot of hooting and hollering!”

Moss Landing and Monterey boats fielded similar reports. The Kahuna counted 135 rockfish and four lingcod on their weekend trip, and Chris’ Fishing Trips reported the usual: Limits of rockfish and up to 76 Dungeness crab on their combo trips aboard the Check Mate.

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