The first stage of the Sacramento River salmon opener debuted last weekend but there was little to cheer.
Salmon fishing was allowed from Knight’s Landing to the Carquinez Bridge beginning Saturday and will be open through Oct. 4
The Sacramento River from Knights Landing to Red Bluff will open Oct. 9 through Dec. 12. Fishing will be allowed above Red Bluff Oct. 9 through Oct. 31.
Most of the early excitement came early in Benicia, where shore anglers caught a half-dozen salmon. The first was a bright 18-pound, 9-ounce king hooked by Tess Soliman of Vallejo who was casting from the First Street Jetty.
But upstream, there were few fish caught. A fleet of boats worked the water near Rio Vista but there were rumors of one or two fish caught near Sandy Beach. A lot of effort and little result.
Guide Bob Sparre launched below Knight’s Landing and motored upstream to where he caught three fish weighing 10 to 14 pounds on Saturday. He returned on Sunday and picked up one 20 pound salmon.
Pressure was much lighter than the August opener on the Feather River.
“There were not as many people as I was expecting,” Sparre said. “There were a few more Sunday. It was not what I was expecting. I motored five or six miles and didn’t see anyone fishing.”
Interestingly, all four of the fish Sparre landed were fin-clipped hatchery salmon. Very few of the dozens of salmon Sparre caught on the Feather River during August were hatchery fish.
Sparre said runoff from the rice fields has muddied the water below Knights Landing to such a level it is nearly unfishable.
Sting Rayz Marina in Knights Landing said boats totaled three or four fish. A disappointing opener.
Further upstream below Redding, guide Kirk Portocarrero has been fishing for trout but is not seeing any signs of salmon. In a typical season, salmon would have reached upstream by September.
“It’s scary,” Portocarrero said. “I haven’t seen any salmon rolling and I haven’t seen any salmon on beds and the season opens in less than a month.”