By 7:30 a.m. on Saturday opening day the positive reports flooded the VHF airwaves as sport boats hailed the hot bite off Moss Landing. The first day, the fish bit like crazy and many sport boats ran to the scene just south of Moss Landing to catch early limits of king salmon.
The next few days brought more reports of the same hot action for fishermen of Moss Landing as salmon season started April 5 from Horse Mountain to the Mexico boarder. I wish I could say it was just as hot along the rest of the coast — the fact is that many port had tough action on salmon. Shelter Cove produced a fish per angler along with Bodega Bay, while many ports were happy to hear of a single fish caught. By the end of the week things in Monterey Bay sounded the same, with a fish per rod average and most fish taken from Moss Landing to the Soquel hole.
The reports from salmon fishermen in the Monterey Bay seem similar: Fish in 200 to 300 feet of water. Most fish have been caught 150 feet down, and they seem to be feeding on anchovies along the canyon edges.
Crab season remains open for sport and commercial crab fishermen. This brings a conflict as salmon trollers can get tangled in the crab gear. Anglers should keep a sharp lookout for crab gear while fishing and running out in the morning. The nice thing about salmon feeding on anchovies is the fact that they can also be caught while mooching.
Early this month the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Pacific Fisheries Management Council met with advisory councils and state officials to determine the entire salmon season. The conclusion in our area will remain the same with a two fish per person limit and a 24-inch minimum size. Only Chinook salmon may be kept and the season will remain open until October 5. The stock of salmon appears healthy for this season and there are many small salmon out there for next year. I hope you get out for a fun-fighting, great-tasting salmon of your own.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. He also hosts a fishing show on radio station KSCO (1080) from 8:06 to 9 p.m. Thursdays April through the end of August.