Northern CA Freshwater

Barge Hole opens with quick limits for salmon anglers

BY ANDY MARTIN/WON Staff WriterPublished: Aug 09, 2018

ANDERSON — The Sacramento River salmon opener at the Barge Hole and upper river on Aug. 1 was much better than many expected, with most guides and many private boaters limiting out, and many of them before 8 a.m.

“It was very good,” said longtime guide Robert Weese of Northern California Guide Service, who fished the opener at the famed Barge Hole. “As soon as it was legal fishing time, everyone started hooking up like crazy. I counted around 42 boats. I’d say most of the top guides were catching fish and probably 30 out of those 42 boats caught limits.”

KRIS MIREHEAD OF Red Bluff was one of the anglers fishing with guide Robert Weese of Northern California Guide Service on the Aug. 1 opener at the Barge Hole on the Sacramento River where she caught this 19-pound king on fresh cured salmon roe using No. 1 Gamigatzu hook on a GLoomis rod with a Calcutta 400 reel.

Weese said salmon were aggressively biting plugs at first light, and then, as the fish settled into the deeper water of the Barge Hole, roe fished well. “First thing in the morning we were hooking them like crazy on the T55 FlatFish,” Weese said. “And then we changed over to roe and started hooking them like crazy on that.”

Kris Moorehead’s 22-pound king was the largest of the opening day on Weese’s boat. The Red Buff angler caught the salmon on roe.

The fish were chrome bright during the opener. The number was fish was well above the last few recent openers.

“I think it is going to be a pretty good season,” Weese said. “I think the Sacramento is going to have lot of 30-pound fish. The Sacramento probably is going to start seeing consistent limits around the middle of September from Chico up. That will go until the third week of October or the end of October. Then there we will probably have a one-week lull from the fourth week of October and maybe three or four days in November, then the late-fall kings will show up.”

While fishing the Barge Hole, Weese said he is using 8 ounces of lead when running FlatFish, and 12 ounces when fishing roe. The size T55 FlatFish with a chrome body and chartreuse bill has been fishing best, Weese said.

THE BARGE HOLE opened up on Aug. 1, and the 1-fish limit of king salmon was met by 7:30 a.m. by those clients fishing with most all of the guides on the river, including these folks fishing with Kirk Portocarrero of SacRiver Guide. The fish hit T55 FlatFish with sardine wraps.

Guide Kirk Portocarrero of SacRiverGuide confirmed the good reports from the Barge Hole. “It was excellent. It really was an excellent opener,” Portocarrero said. “We hooked nine fish and landed six fish within an hour and a half. That doesn’t happen very often. We fished the trout opener, too, below Keswick Dam to the Sundial Bridge. It was excellent. We landed 48 fish in two hours. It was epic and there was nobody on that section of river because of the fire. We had double and triple hookups.” Portocarrero said his clients were drifting roe for the wild rainbows in the Redding stretch.

In the days after the salmon opener, fishing slowed, as it normally does, but guides were still getting a salmon for every other rod, and some gave reports of three kings for five anglers. The run typically heats up again in September and the bulk of the fall salmon arrive.

Good fishing in the ocean out of San Francisco the past several weeks means lots of salmon are on their way this fall, guides are saying.

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