I have read a number of posts online about the great kokanee fishing on Lake Berryessa (Central California about 40 miles west of Sacramento), and having never fished the place, I decided to give it a try. I hooked up the boat on Tuesday morning and started out on the 105 mile trek. I arrived at the ramp about 1430, and was trolling at 1530. I planned to fish the late bite, spend the night at anchor, and troll the early morning bite. It was a good plan, but apparently the fish didn’t get the memo.
Trolling beautiful Lake Berryessa. It is a huge lake at over 20,000 acres.
Once again I caught the single dumbest fish in the lake – but at least it was a new-to-me lake, and the dumbest fish was a small, 15” lake locked king salmon that hit during my first hour of trolling! That was a different experience as I haven’t caught one of those since fishing Don Pedro Lake several years ago. With my memory, or lack thereof, I knew it wasn’t a koke or a trout, but I wasn’t too sure about what I had ‘til I sent a photo to my fishing buddy, John, and he went online to check for sure. The little 15” king was at 80’ and took a pink Assassin, meant for a kokanee. He put up a mighty good fight, but eventually wound up in my ice chest.
The little 15″ king salmon lies in state. And he did kick the skunk out of the boat early!
I continued trolling ‘til 1930 when I reeled in and headed for a cove to anchor for the night. I managed one other fish while trolling, a small trout of about 10 inches, with sores and in pretty poor condition. I understand that the warm, summertime waters of our valley lakes cause trout a lot of stress, and this one was no exception. I released him.
The night at anchor was splendid, as usual. I dropped a line over each side of the boat, baited with nightcrawlers. After dusk I lowered a light to attract small bait fish which might attract larger game fish, but once again I had no takers while at anchor. Still, the pleasure of being an anchor in a calm, serene cove with Hank and Dolly and Merle serenading me while downing a couple of icy Tom Collins’ is a great ending for a day of fishing. Life is good!
My anchorage at sundown. All is well with the world when anchored for the night. It just doesn’t get any better’n this!
After a good night’s sleep, I was back trolling with navigation lights glowing a bit before 0600. The morning troll would not last long as I intended to hit the ramp before the lake lice started launching. At 0730 I reeled in another sickly looking little trout, and released it. That was it for the morning troll, and at 0930 I reeled in and headed to the dock.
This Bald Eagle checked me out as he patrolled the skies over Lake Berryessa.
I launched at Markley Cove near Napa, Ca. It is a clean and tidy, well-run marina, but the docks make no sense to me. They have two docks but just three lanes. Only one side of one dock has cleats to tie to when at the dock. The other lanes have no way to tie the boat while parking or retrieving the rig. It made for much frustration on my part, and if I ever do return to Berryessa, I’ll surely have to find a different marina.
View from the cabin as I headed back upriver to the marina.
It has been a so-so year for my lake trolling, and I am about ready to try for Delta salmon next time I’m out. The salmon season has been suspended for the past three or four years, and it will be good to troll for those wonderful salmon on my beloved Delta once again!
This is how salmon fishing was on the Sacramento Delta in years past. Maybe again this year?! I sure hope so!
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.