With the big Labor Day weekend just around the corner, it's traditionally time for the Sacramento River around the Woodson Bridge area, near Corning, Ca to kick off and be the mainstay for the Sacramento River salmon fishing guides. Becoming ground zero for local river guides. "The last two years here on the Sacramento River have of course been different as far as the run timing for the Fall Run Chinook Salmon." The Northern California salmon fishing guide, Mike Rasmussen owner and operator of Mike's Guide Service, says. Growing up locally in the Corning, Ca area, Rasmussen reports spending a extensive amount of time at or near Woodson Bridge boat launch. Considering this boat launch to be his home water and spending years deck handing for other veteran guides, like the great "Fishin Magician" Frank Townly who had been guiding the waters of the Sacramento River at Woodson Bridge full time since the 1980's, Rasmussen has gained great knowledge of the fall salmon run which he reported as saying that Woodson Bridge has traditionally played a significant roll in the guiding industry because the bulk of the Fall Run Chinook Salmon have always held in or around Corning, Ca at Woodson Bridge. "Because of the gamble that was taken by the Feds and the State when trucking the baby salmon down to the bay instead of letting the babies imprint on their way out of the Sacramento River we now have a ecological salmon disaster taking place on the Sacramento River." Rasmussen explains. Without going into great detail, and explaining the situation in simple layman terms, our Sacramento River salmon were used in the biggest eco science experiment in Sacramento River history. Needless to say the Sacramento River salmon returns have been decimated here in Northern California. There is still hope for the Sacramento River salmon fishing guides of Northern California; in that the returning two year old class king salmon returning this year to the Nor Cal rivers systems to spawn, were released "In River" (naturally). With minimal stray rates the in river released jack salmon returning to spawn this year, you can expect to see and hear of more small salmon ranging from 22 inches to 28 inches being caught on the Sacramento River from Balls Ferry to Colusa, Ca.
Some reports from the Sacramento River have been coming in this week from the few salmon fishing anglers and the occasional salmon fishing guides that have been waiting for the king salmon to show up on the big river. The movement of king salmon up the Sacramento River has been noted this week by various private angler's reports that have rolled in from Colusa, Ca all the way up river to the Barge Hole at the mouth of Battle Creek where Coleman National Fish Hatchery resides. The biggest push of fish seen this year on the Sacramento River has made its way up river to the Woodson Bridge area of the Sacramento River where several reports a day came in this week by anglers who were taking nice bright king salmon on kwikfish wrapped with sardine. As consistent reports for the last week and a half roll in from anglers both down river near Grimes and Colusa, Ca and up river around Woodson Bridge in Corning, Ca on the same days one can only assume that there is a actual "run" of salmon now on the Sacramento River. To what size the run is may be is still in question. But for the first time this salmon season Sacramento River salmon anglers have a reason to hit the water in search of salmon.
The Feather River near Oroville, Ca is a completely a different story. Most reputable river guides in Northern California have now made the "Outlet Hole" home for the time being. The Feather River is shaping up to be a very similar situation as to last year's onslaught of king salmon carnage that took place later in September and until the river closed on October 15, 2016. The crowds really started grow this week at the Outlet Hole including both river guides, and recreation angler in their boats or on the shore. The Outlet Hole is a very public place and the arrival of what appears to be a 1000 salmon or better early last week and watching the Feather River salmon fishing guides like Raith Heryford of RH Guide Service rhguideservice.com ,with "Pete The Meat" Pete; Franco of PF Guide Servicehttps://www.facebook.com and Scott Feist feisyfish.net, filling their fish boxes full of chrome salmon every morning, you can imagine how fast word spread through the North State's fishing communities. The bank anglers made a strong showing this week as well, with the big push of fish giving the "flossers" (salmon anglers targeting the salmon using a long leader and a bead) plenty of targets to cast at up in the Outlet Hole white water known as the "Wall", as well as on the bottom of the island and the Vance Ave back eddy where several hundred fish a day were being hooked during the back half of last week to date. Anglers that prefer the more ethical or sportsmen like bank angling are catching plenty of the newly arriving chrome kings themselves. Joe Green, a familiar name to most Northern California anglers has been posted in pole position in the back of the horseshoe each morning where him and a dozen other "bankies" have been getting a fish a rod average and occasionally getting a limit while chucking metal at the new arrivals. All and all the bottom line is the Feather River is simply producing many more king salmon then the Sacramento River at this time and the salmon fishing would have to be considered good at this point, and the quality of the Feather River salmon at this point can't be beat. Chrome appearance with bright orange meat has been the rule for the anglers of the Feather River.
On another note, fishing the Feather River at the Outlet Hole sounds like the place to be, it can be very unwelcoming at times if you haven't been much or are new to the hole. Upon appearance from above in the Larkin Road parking lot the boating may not appear to be to difficult, but that thought couldn't be farther from reality. At first appearance all the guide boats that decend on the west side of the Outlet in the Vance Ave. back eddy seem to be sitting in place yanking out chrome salmon at ease is a deception that may give the new boater a sense of false security. The turbulent waters of the Outlet Hole are no place to be learning how to fish for salmon in a vessel. There is no other place like this in Northern California and should be left to the very experienced recreational boat angler and the Feather River salmon fishing guides who work side by side and have extensive knowledge of hydrology and vessel navigation techniques that allows them all to work in unison. Outsiders who show up in jet boats that are seldom or never seen before usually get the cold shoulder from all the working guides up in the mix. This year more then ever the higher flows out of the Feather River have the currents of the Outlet Hole all wound up and are usually mis judged by new coming boat anglers, who intern get sucked into the traffic of the guides that congregate at the edge of the white water. Most likely the guides will not move their boats and stand their ground before allowing a new vessel to come in and ruin the perfectly working fishing system the river guides have already established for this years water hight. Strong and abrasive contact will most likely be the outcome of a vessel out of control or one coming in trying to muscle their way into the mix. Bank angler as well can be very unpleasant and have their own codes of conduct on the banks of the Outlet Hole. It is best to watch how the bank fishermen operate and you may even ask a angler that is taking a break or just landing a salmon to explain the bankies code of conduct before entering the water to join the crowds. This is just advise not meant to deter anyone but advice to help new anglers to the area prevent a bad experience. There are other less public and more remote areas to fish on the the Feather River down river to Gridley, Ca if this combat style of fishing isn't for you.
Dave Jacobs of Professional Guide Service sacramentofishing.com and Mike Rasmussen of Mike's Guide Service salmonsacriver.com are both now on site and taking reservation through the end of the season on the Feather River ending October 15, 2017. Limit out style fishing is expected for the remainder of the season on the Feather River until it closes in mid October. After the Feather River closes in mid October the pair of Northern California salmon fishing guides return to the Sacramento River and continue to fish for the completely different run of Late Fall King Salmon on the Sacramento River, as well as guide king salmon on the Smith River in Del Norte County on the Northern California coast. Reservations can be booked through either salmon fishing guide by visiting the websites through the link above or by cell phone at tel:530-722-8876 for Mike's Guide Service or by calling tel:530-646-9110 for Professional Guide Service.