It’s baaaack! Salmon season opened for the first time since 2007 on my beloved Delta! The season is July 11 through December 11 on the Sacramento River that runs through the Delta. From prior years I’ve learned that chasing those salmon much before mid-September or after November is a waste of time and effort – at least for me. Mid-October was a late start for me, but I’ve been traveling a bit lately. And I’ve been fussy about the weather, too.
The last salmon I caught before this trip – a beautiful chromer of 25 Lbs.!
My last salmon was caught in September of 2005. In ’06 the pickins were so lean that I quit trying. ’07 found me without a boat as I’d sold my C-Dory, but it was also a slow season for others. In ’08 and ’09 the Delta was closed to salmon fishing, and ’10 had such a short season during September that I took a motorhome trip instead. My salmon season of ‘05 catch was reported on my site here: https://fishwisher.wordpress.com/2008/12/30/2005-salmon-season-maybe-my-last-salmon/
I launched into my beloved California Delta at Rio Vista this past Tuesday, and headed up the Sacramento River in search of salmon. As I approached the Rio Vista Bridge, I dropped one line with a Wiggle Wart into the river off the starboard side, and a green Flatfish off the port. I was trolling for salmon for the first time in years! (Having the two-rod stamp affixed to my fishing license, I am now permitted to troll two rods for salmon, something that was never permitted in prior years.)
My little eight pounder – maybe not quite that big, but my first salmon in over six years made for a mighty fine adventure for this old man!
I trolled under the bridge, then just off the shallows of the river bank, toward the Old Sac that turns off to the east from the ship channel. Before I had trolled ¼ mile up the Old Sac, my reel screamed out the good news that my first salmon in six years had accepted my offering! I grabbed the rod and the fight was on! My salmon had taken the green Flatfish, and it was struggling mightily against its mouthful of hooks. I was struggling to reel in the second line as I fought the fish – maybe two rods isn’t such a hot set up after all!
But in time I managed to get my little salmon to the boat and in the net. He wasn’t much of a fish as salmon goes, but he broke the six year drought I’ve had! The first salmon always brings with it the burden to catch a limit – and I continued up the Old Sac, still dragging two lures behind me, hoping for that limit fish.
View of the Old Sac from the helm of FishWisher near Isleton. Yes, Edna, fishing beats working – as I recall.
I tried for another seven hours that day, and couldn’t coax another bump. At sundown, I anchored for the night just below the Isleton Bridge. The river was calm and the full moon hung like a spotlight in the sky. It was another glorious night on the river – my first in months. I rigged up for some sturgeon fishing while at anchor, then kicked back in my comfy deck chair and soaked in the ambience of the quiet, dark river. I poured a few “Cockpit Collins”* cocktails and soaked them up, too. Coyotes barked and howled to one another under the full moon – seemingly on both sides of the river. The nightlife on my beloved Delta is good – even though the sturgeon ignored my offerings, too!
View from my overnight anchorage below the Isleton Bridge. I often wonder why the river isn’t crowded with boaters fishing overnight. I guess it must be due to those pesky jobs most folks must go to during the week!
I planned to meet my friend, Willie, for breakfast at The Striper Café in Rio Vista on Wednesday morning. Before sunup, I was cruising down river in the darkness, heading for the dock. I walked into town from the dock, met Willie and enjoyed a big, hot breakfast. Having eaten only baloney sandwiches and pears the prior day on the river, a restaurant meal was mighty satisfying!
I’d love to report salmon limits all ‘round for our efforts on Wednesday, but alas, we were skunked! We trolled up and down the Old Sac from the mouth to above the Isleton Bridge and back. And forth. But the salmon weren’t interested in anything we offered. Several salmon were caught on the river that day, but we just weren’t among the lucky ones.
Life along the banks of the Old Sac. Now, here’s a serious fisherman who has to catch fish. I think that pressure would ruin it for me!
Once again I have caught the single dumbest fish in the river – but that’s not all bad. I’m not above bragging about the dumb fish!
I’ll be out again in two weeks, still hoping for a limit! Stay tuned…
*A Cockpit Collins is a shot of vodka, a half shot of lemon juice and a shot of Fresca over ice. A cherry and lime wedge goes well. Mmmmmm. Good.
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.