Golden Gate salmon on the decline, rockfish and lingcod action tremendous

SALMON HAVE GOTTEN SCARCE, BUT THE QUALITY REMAINS STRONG - Vitali Onishchuk of Citrus Heights with Hook’d Up Sport Fishing salmon on the Marin coast with Captain Steve Mitchell.

BERKELEY – There is hope for another wave of salmon heading down from north of Point Reyes, but the salmon bite off of the Marin coastline has been scratchy at best. The action has been ‘hit or miss’ throughout the season, but the quality has been some of the best in memory with a number of salmon over 30 pounds taken this summer. When the salmon from Bodega Bay head south, they will be on the move quickly since the waters along the Marin coastline are approaching 62 degrees, driving the fish to the bottom. Captain Jerad Davis of the Salty Lady out of Sausalito was the highliner for a couple of days at the end of the week with 10 big fish to 27 pounds for 15 anglers on Thursday, and 12 more quality salmon for 18 anglers on Friday. He said, “There aren’t as many salmon, but these are big full-grown adult spawners that are just plastered on the bottom. The water temperature is the big factor as it has been keeping the salmon holding at the coldest water possible, and you literally have to scrape them off of the bottom. When the bonito show up, it is normally not a positive sign for salmon fishing, and you have to work hard for them. There are good reports coming out of Ten Mile Beach north of Point Reyes, and you know these fish are coming our way, but whether they are going to bite in the warm water is another question.”

Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters out of Loch Lomond said, “When six-packs are trolling feathers for bonito, it tells you all you need to know about the salmon bite.”

Captain Ron Koyasako of Nautilus Excursions out of San Francisco found great salmon action on Friday with 9 big fish, but they went rockfishing north of Duxbury Buoy on two half-day trips on Saturday for limits of rockfish with some quality vermilions along with lingcod. He said, “The salmon bite really slowed down on Sunday with the high boat coming in with only 5 fish. The combination of warm water and jellyfish every-where are not conducive to salmon action. We started out in the bay on Sunday looking for white seabass, and we saw a spot of ghosts, but there was no tide, and the fish weren’t willing to bite. After spending a few hours for a try at seabass, we ran up the coastline for limits of rockfish once again.”

The real rockfish action has been on the long run to Fanny Shoals northwest of the Golden Gate, and with the flat-calm conditions over the weekend, the party boats and six-packs burned plenty of fuel in exchange for limits of huge rockfish and lingcod. Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing made the run to Fanny Shoals on Sunday for 5 limits of big rockfish along with limits of lings to 12 pounds. He said, “We stopped and picked up sand dabs for the lings, and they really wanted the live bait. We found the salmon bite very tough on Saturday so we ended the day switching over to rockfish for limits, but Sunday’s action was phenomenal.” The Pacific Dream and Happy Hooker out of Berkeley Marina experienced two incredible days of rockfishing with the fleet congregated at Fanny Shoals with a combined 162 limits of rockfish and ling cod to 20 pounds over the weekend. Captain Chris Smith of the Pacific Dream said, “We have been making the run to Fanny Shoals for the past few weeks, and the rockfish and ling cod action has just been fantastic.”