As weeks of the 2016 Sacramento River salmon season continue to pass by, we suddenly find ourselves within the last week of August and the denial which we as salmon fishing guides here on the Sacramento River have been able to hide behind, letting days and even weeks pass waiting on the surge of chrome bright Sacramento River fall run chinook salmon. Salmon that have always shown up in catchable numbers, providing excitement and entertainment for the thousands of salmon fishermen as they embark on a annual tradition here in Northern California. "The weeks since the July 16, 2016 opener have passes by rapidly while I, like most Sacramento River salmon fishing guides I imagine, continued to fish hard, long, frustrating days to produce a measly single fish or possibly two in the fish box. And every Sacramento River salmon guide on the water this season has felt the degrading feeling of returning to the dock with clients that have no salmon filets to take home and at best a story or two to relive until their next fishing trip back to the Sacramento River." Mike Rasmussen, a seasoned Sacramento River salmon fishing guide that has grown up locally on the river, explained to me when asked how his 2016 salmon season was coming along thus far. Mike also quickly made a point to note that the Sacramento River salmon fishing guides sought out by the general public and who had dates booked weeks or months prior to the date of their particular fishing trip and booked by guides who have always been able to depend on "run timing" to ensure their clients a action packed trip when many salmon are in the Sacramento Rivers many deep holes between Ord Bend, Ca and Roosters Landing in Anderson, Ca. And traditionally the second week in August is a safe time to start filling your calendar with eagerly awaiting salmon fishing clients. This salmon season to say the very least is far from traditional on the Sacramento River in Northern California. Mike goes on to explain that even though the last two years here on the Sac were drought stricken and much tougher seasons on the guides then had ever been experienced in previous seasons. This 2016 season has been one of physical punishment and mental anguish as we all have been listening and looking and chasing small rumored glimmers of hope from boat ramp to boat ramp along the Sacramento Rivers traditional fishing areas. All hoping that certainly history will repeat its self. This of course until you realize that today is the 22nd of August and at least for sure by now in years past there was consistent salmon fishing that could be counted on by north state salmon guides. And this particular moment is when i finally quit excusing the fact that there was no excuses. The fish just aren't here for history to repeat itself. And as Mike continues to explain, that this years return was based on the first time in history that all the salmon smelt for the Sacramento River were trucked down to several locations in the bay, despite studies that had previously shown major concerns with imprinting and predation at the drop points. No one will know for sure the impact that the trucking program will have on this years return adult salmon count at Coleman National Fish Hatchery on Battle Creek. But based on the facts in front of me at this point and the lack of salmon returning for the salmon guides of the Sacramento River thus far I have to start assuming that something may not be quite right. Only time will tell as this last full moon faze should bring the bulk of the fall run chinook salmon on the Sacramento River to our doorstep here in Northern California in what has traditionally been about two weeks after this last full moon.
Reports from a handful of dedicated, persistent and professional Sacramento River salmon fishing guides that have been guiding salmon since the beginning of August when the entire Sacramento River opened to angling for king salmon, have been consistently posting and sharing the same results river wide. With no particular area of the Sacramento River doing any better then the other on any given day. A single king salmon on most days has been sadly respectable amoung guides with only a handful of multiple fish days occasionally blessing a particular guide at random. This is not to say that the run of big adult king salmon on the Sacramento River which have been eagerly awaited on, won't show up, or may possibly be late. But as John Pearl of SalmonSacRiver.com a Sacramento River salmon fishing guide here in Northern California stated. "It's far from over out here, and most certainly the best is yet to come undoubtably, but if you haven't had at least a eyebrow raised at how the season has gone so far you are being oblivious to a very potential problem that may or may not have been started by the decision to truck these baby salmon." Only time will tell as to the amount of Sacramento River salmon that will make their return up the Sacramento River to spawn and continue their existence here among the changing and uncertain times that lay ahead.
A special thanks to all the Sacramento River salmon fishing clients that came out with normal expectations and may have gone home humbled by natures changing ways. We thank those clients who have stuck with us for all the years good and bad, and recognized the work and frustration that your guide goes through when faced with yet another day of slim pickings during a time that is traditionally rich in salmon angling success. And to those clients that may have picked this year as their first year to come book a guide and experience first hand all they have been hearing about, I urge you not be discouraged with the results of this years early season but know it should only get better for you to enjoy in years to come. Wait for a call from your guide or call and check in yourself so a more eventful trip can be obtained in the future. We love what we do here at SalmonSacRiver.com and are willing to do what it takes to preservier awaiting better salmon fishing for all here on the Sacramento River.