I reckon that two days a week on the water would be enough for anyone. But no, I have somehow scheduled myself for a five day Delta adventure this past week and into this week. Now, I’m not complaining; this could hardly be construed as work.
A Salmon Limit!
As I began this week’s report at my C-Dory’s little galley table, FishWisher the boat was secured in a slip at the Benicia Marina while I attended a gathering of the C-Dory Owners Group (C-DOGs). Five boats and their owners showed up for this annual Oktoberfest. Four boats were out fishing as I jotted down this report and I was the only member at the dock. I chose to stay put that day, having fished the prior two days with plans to fish the next two days.
I began this five day trip when I launched at Rio Vista on Thursday morning. I trolled upriver from the Rio Vista Bridge, planning to anchor for the night at Walnut Grove. I chose to continue pulling my green double bladed Silvertron, the splashy spinner that has done quite well for me this year. I’ve used the red Silvertron on sunny days, the green on overcast days. Maybe there’s something to that, maybe not. But it doesn’t seem to hurt any.
It didn’t take long for the salmon to do their part to make this trip memorable. As I passed Vieira’s Resort, a seven pound salmon accepted my offering and set my reel singing. I reeled the little jack in amongst a crowd of entirely too many boats. But even in the crowd of other anglers, I got him into the box with no complications. For me, that was a very quick catch; I’d been at it for just over two hours.
An hour later, another salmon took the same Silvertron, the reel screamed and I jumped to the fray. I wound up with a bit larger salmon from that hit; I put a fourteen pound salmon along side the smaller fish. Wow! This must be some kind of record for me; I had two salmon in less than four hours!
Now, I don’t mean to complain, but there I was with a limit of salmon in less than four hours, and I had plans to be on the water for five days! What to do? I dug out a clown colored broken back Rebel, attached a matching orange tail and continued trolling toward Walnut Grove. I was then trolling for stripers.
I called another C-DOG member and made arrangements for him to meet me at the Walnut Grove docks for breakfast Friday morning. He would relieve me of the two salmon and the striper and I’d have a fresh start on salmon fishing. He’d take one salmon to the Oktoberfest and I’d have some bragging rights when I showed up. Good plan!
Meanwhile, I trolled upriver, towing the gaudy Rebel near the bank. After a couple of hours, my reel lit up again! I assumed that only a striper would likely take the Rebel, but the way that fish fought, I thought I might have yet another salmon on. After a well fought contest, I reeled in an unusually scrappy six pound striper. He wound up in the fish box with the salmon, making my fishbox as full as I can recall – not counting sturgeon. What a day I was having!
I continued my upriver troll, trying for that striper limit to add to my salmon limit. But, although I tried ‘til nightfall, I had caught all the fish I was going to for the day. I dropped anchor near the bank across from the Boat House in Walnut Grove, popped the top of a can of beer and turned on some good ol’ country music from the satellite high above. With all that and a loaded fish box, how could it get any better?
I met my C-Dory buddy for breakfast in Walnut Grove at a riverside restaurant. We ate well and I unloaded the fish. He would do the cleaning and give the fish to folks who would really enjoy them. And I would have a fresh start with an empty fish box.
I began my downriver troll, still pulling that very productive, flashy green spinner. The day would end at Benicia Marina where I would meet the C- Dogs. I figured I could fish ‘til early afternoon and still make the Oktoberfest in plenty of time. I commenced the troll with great confidence, but hours later, as I passed under the Isleton Bridge, I was realizing that the hot bite of the prior day wasn’t necessarily still on.
I trolled through the Isleton area, through the mouth and on into the main channel, hugging the west bank in 10 to 20 feet of water all the way to the Rio Vista Bridge. That area has been pretty productive for me in the past, and with my fishing time running out, I had high hopes for a last minute fish.
It wasn’t a limit, but it wasn’t bad!
Within a couple of hundred yards of turning into the channel, my reel screamed out again! I grabbed the rod and fought a fairly good battle with a feisty ten pound salmon. When I finally had him in the box, I figured I could fish the area for a couple more hours, trying for that second limit in two days. I gave it my best, but I was going to have to settle for just one salmon; my fishing time had run out. I reeled in, fired up the main engine and headed downriver to Benicia in the Carquinez Strait and the good times with fellow C-Dory owners.
October 17-18, 2004
In the report above, I began the story of my five day Delta adventure which included salmon fishing on the Old Sac from Rio Vista to Walnut Grove and back. I had a great time fishing, catching a limit of salmon and a nice striper on the first day and a single salmon the second day. I also reported that on Friday afternoon I cruised down to the Carquinez Strait for my C-Dory Owners Group (C-DOGs) weekend Oktoberfest in Benicia.
And the story continued…
Sunday morning, after breakfast with some of my C-Dory friends, I cruised back upriver to Rio Vista, hoping to continue the great salmon fishing for another day or two.
I arrived at the Rio Vista Bridge a bit before noon Sunday, having cruised upriver on calm, flat waters. I began my troll at the bridge, again planning to anchor at Walnut Grove for the night. To my surprise, there were fewer boats fishing Sunday afternoon than I saw on Thursday and Friday. The wind was light, but the weather forecast was predicting rain and wind. I suppose that the forecast convinced many folks to stay off the river.
I trolled upriver and into the Old Sac, still pulling that flashy, green Silvertron with double blades. It was the same lure that had resulted in three salmon on Thursday and Friday, and I wasn’t about to change.
My Sunday troll was rewarded a bit below the new Isleton docks as my reel sang out the good news that my fourth salmon of the trip was on! I grabbed the rod and fought what I suspected wasn’t much of a fish. But for his size, he put up a pretty good fight. In a few minutes, I had a five pound jack to the boat and in the fish box.
I was back into the salmon bite!
It has been said that this year’s salmon have generally been smaller, brighter and scrappier than we see most years. I believe that’s true. I’ve caught eight salmon so far this year, the largest being just 18 pounds. Two years ago, an eight fish total would have likely included two or three salmon over 20 pounds. That was then; this is now. I’m not complaining!
Now I’ll admit, a five pounder isn’t much to brag about, but the little guy was half a limit as surely as a 40 pounder is half a limit. And I had the rest of the day and Monday to catch my limit. I was pumped by having that little guy in the box, and was prepared to give it my best for one more!
I continued my upriver troll, passed under the Isleton Bridge, and continued on towards Walnut Grove. I stayed faithful to the cause, but that second salmon wasn’t cooperating. As darkness closed in on the river, accompanied by rain and wind and cold, I dropped anchor near the shore in Walnut Grove. The rain and the wind continued on and off during the evening, but I was warm and dry in my little cabin. While I’d prefer to be sitting in the cockpit under a bright sun, the beer and the country music were just as satisfying while tucked in the cabin, out of the storm. All things considered, it had been a grand day which had begun long ago and far away at the docks in Benicia.
I was up well before daybreak, doing my morning chores and planning to catch that elusive limit. As the first rays of light broke through the clouds, I was again trolling that very effective green spinner.
Having weathered the overnight rains and wind in my little cabin, I was hankering for a hot meal. As I continued trolling, I turned on the auto-pilot, lit the little butane stove and got entirely too involved in the busy process of cooking up a good, hot breakfast. But I digress…
And I was soon reminded of this fishing Truth: If you really want to catch a fish, get involved in something else aboard the boat. Then, at the worst possible time, a fish will hit and screw up everything. And sure enough… as I was just settled in and enjoying that hot breakfast, my reel screamed out the good news once again! I had another salmon on!
I set aside my hot breakfast, grabbed the rod and began a fight with what seemed to be a darn good fish. She was a real scrapper and I was afraid that with her wild head shaking and general craziness, she could very well shake the hook loose if it wasn’t set solid. But luck was with me, and I was able to net her after about four trips to the boat. She wasn’t nearly as big as she fought, weighing in at just twelve pounds.
I finally had my second salmon limit for the trip! I had a total of five salmon for my efforts over four days of fishing. What an adventure this trip had been! I returned to my little table and my once warm breakfast and dined at a leisurely pace. My fishing was done; I’d be heading home.
After breakfast, I cleaned up the boat from that crazy fish and the cooking and the eating, stowed the tackle and fired up the main engine. And, after a wonderful five day Delta adventure, I was finally heading to the ramp and home.
I’ve never before been on my C-Dory for five days straight. Nor have I ever planned two separate fishing adventures in one trip. But for all the planning and the effort, I was rewarded with one of the most successful Delta fishing trips I’ve ever experienced. It had been a most memorable adventure! And as usual during the salmon run, I’m already looking forward to next week’s adventure…
Over the years I have posted many exciting fishing and boating stories here, but now in my seventies, it was time to sell the boat and find less demanding pastimes. All the fishing stories are still here! I will now post my travels aboard the motorhome and other activities. I hope y'all will still enjoy the fishing and boating adventures and perhaps peek in on my post-boating activities on occasion. Thanks for dropping in and I hope you enjoy your visit.