Let’s Go Fishin’: Fishing still fun as fall approaches
by Mike Baxter
Sep 06, 2012 | 1655 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Fisher Baxter, right, and two friends, Santiago and Gabe, show off a lingcod they caught together recently out of Santa Cruz. Courtesy photo
Fisher Baxter, right, and two friends, Santiago and Gabe, show off a lingcod they caught together recently out of Santa Cruz. Courtesy photo

It is that back-to-school time of year, so I hope you fit in some great fishing during the summer. If you still have that desire to get out on the water, there are still some prime local fishing picks.

Albacore continue to be a great choice, and rockfish, halibut and even a few salmon have been caught out of Santa Cruz.

Freshwater fishing is focused on fall salmon in the rivers as Loch Lomond Reservoir sreduces hours for the public.

Salmon season will remain open in Monterey Bay until Oct. 7. Anglers continue to catch fish right outside the Santa Cruz Harbor, and some fish were even caught inside the harbor.

Because of some returning Chinook that were released three years ago, fish were spotted swimming around the harbor. That drew enough attention to force harbor patrol to post “no fishing” signs inside the harbor.

Fishing from the jetties is still allowed and provides a possibility for an angler to tie into a returning Chinook. The odds are better while fishing from a boat for the late-season salmon, as fish have been caught near the mile buoy.

Rockfish and lingcod fishing has been almost a guarantee, and halibut fishing has remained very good, too. Rockfish have been biting so well that limits are the rule, with lots of nice black rockfish.

Anglers targeting white sea bass have been pleasantly surprised with steady action. Sea bass as heavy as 50 pounds have been caught, with most tipping the scales at 30 to 40 pounds.

Coastal fishing has been very good this year out of Santa Cruz, with squid spawning right outside the harbor. Many other fish have been in the area feeding on the squid.

Albacore have continued their frenzy, with fishermen in hot pursuit. When the weather is calm, the warm water has been close to shore, and high scores of albacore have been right in the mix. The white-meat tuna have been 20 to 30 miles out, and some days even closer. The limit is 25 fish, but most boats stop fishing at five or six fish per person. Some days that happens early in the day.

In fresh water, things are changing. Loch Lomond Reservoir has changed its fall schedule from being open seven days a week to being open Saturdays and Sundays. It will close Oct. 14.

River fishing is heating up in the Sacramento and Klamath rivers with returning fall Chinook.

As an aside, the California Department of Fish & Game’s second free fishing day of the year is Saturday, Sept. 8. It’s legal to fish all day without a sport-fishing license. For information and regulations: www.dfg.ca.gov/regulations/

I hope you get out and catch the big one.

- Mike Baxter has fished in the Monterey Bay Area since he was a boy and has been a licensed charter boat captain for more than 20 years. Contact him at captmikebaxter@yahoo.com.

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