Adventure Awaits at Nearby Locales

Lake Almanor - CA (Plumas County)

Adventure Awaits at Nearby Locales
If the bite get slow on the bay, head on up to Lake Almanor. Here’s Matt Mayes of Chester, CA with a fine example of a wintertime brown trout.

by Allen Bushnell

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. It’s the dead of winter and one might think it’s slow for anglers from the Monterey Bay.  But, there’s plenty to fish for locally, and exciting fishing adventure fairly close by.
Santa Cruz Harbor is still shoaled at the entrance.  Boaters are advised not to transit at this time.  A few boats are coming in and out, notably the shallow draft kelp cutter boat that gathers food for the abalone farm in Davenport. Weather and big swells are keeping the Monterey boats at the dock some days. When they get out they are doing well on sanddabs, Petrale sole, black cod, mackerel and Dungeness crab.
A short drive east to San Luis Reservoir and O’Neill Forebay can provide great action right now.  Anglers have been doing well trolling or using live minnows for striped bass, especially in the Forebay..  Another option for big fish this weekend would be to target sturgeon feeding on the herring spawns in central San Francisco Bay. Oakland Airport, the San Mateo Bridge and other go-to spots like China Camp and the Brickyard in nearby San Pablo Bay have been producing keeper sturgeon in the 40-60 inch slot limit. Check regulations carefully for white sturgeon fishing. There is a one fish daily bag limit and an annual limit of only three sturgeon per person. California Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations include “Short or oversized sturgeon must be released unharmed immediately; note that white sturgeon greater than 68 inches fork length may not be removed from the water prior to their immediate release.”
If you are feeling really adventurous, try some coldwater trout fishing near Chester, CA.  Both Lake Almanor and nearby Butt Lake are iceing over at night, but breaking up daytimes. Shore fishing is possible for big brown and rainbow trout. Kayak fisherman Chris Mayes reports no ice problems on either lake this week, and a steady bite of big rainbow and brown trout. Mayes added, “I was cruising through the main lake, and all of a sudden started marking fish holding about 50 feet down.  I dropped my jig down, and watched one of the marks shoot up from the bottom and grab it.  Fish on!  At first, the big headshakes and bulldogging made me think it was a good brown trout.  But then I got a glimpse of him, and my heart jumped.  Big rainbow!  It took a while longer to finally land this guy, and my heart was pounding the entire time.”

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