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Sacramento anglers optimistic as salmon opener nears

BY ANDY MARTIN/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jul 12, 2018

SACRAMENTO — With the July 16 salmon opener on the Sacramento River just a few days away, anglers are optimistic about this year’s king run as ocean fishing remains wide open outside the Golden Gate.

“I’m predicting it should be pretty good,” said longtime guide Robert Weese of Northern California Guide Service. “I am going to start in Red Bluff like I usually do. I have been trout fishing and have been seeing salmon jumping. The season was closed off a month or two in the ocean and that may have allowed more fish to escape into the river.”


Since the salmon opener out of San Francisco and Bodega Bay, fishing has been wide-open in the ocean for kings, with party boats catching quick limits on a daily basis. Guides and other anglers hope that translates into good fishing in the rivers this year.


When the Sacramento opens below Red Bluff on July 16, Weese said he will be running T50 and T55 FlatFish with sardines wraps in the mornings and then switch over to boon-dogging salmon eggs later in the day. With the one-fish limit this year for kings, Weese also said he will be offering salmon and trout combos to provide action once limits of salmon are caught.


“People are hopeful for salmon,” said Larry Barnes of Sacramento Pro Tackle. “They are buying a bunch of stuff ahead of time. I have friends fishing out of Bodega Bay and they are limiting daily on the coast.”


Barnes suggested anglers focus on the Freeport area, the yacht club below Miller Park, Discovery Park and Verona for the salmon opener.


“Most people anchor. I think trolling is more productive, especially on opening day so they can find the fish,” Barnes said. “Just running out and anchoring and hoping you are getting the right spot is not as productive on opening day. I’d go out in the dark and troll a glow-in-the-dark FlatFish at the mouth of the American.”


Barnes said if the fishing is good on opening day, he expects it to be solid for a few days to a week or two. It will then slow until the main fall run arrive the second and third week of September, he said.


Tim Boggs of Elkhorn Outdoor Sports in Rio Linda is optimistic about the opener, and this year’s season.


“I think it is going to be a better opener that what people predicted,” Boggs said. “I’m going off the number of salmon caught when people were striper fishing, which was quite a few. The number of fish in the ocean right now is incredible. Some of those have got to be coming upstream.”


Many anglers will be trolling M2 or T50 FlatFish or Silvertron or Blue Fox spinners. Anglers on anchor will likely be using FlatFish and other plugs with a sardine wrap.


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