The Napa Valley Fishing Report: Donner Lake produces big trout – Napa Valley Register

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The Napa Valley Fishing Report: Donner Lake produces big trout

Frank Emmolo displays his 18-pound Donner Lake mackinaw.

Submitted photo

BILL RYAN
Who Catches An 18-Pound Trout… anymore? Look no further than Rutherford’s Frank Emmolo, with his 18-pound mackinaw out of deep and cold Donner Lake.Ever the sportsman, he released a bigger one to help that species survive. His daughter, Cheryl, said Frank is sure the early bite is best, so he is on the water at first light. My experience, exactly, Frank. Our annual May wild rainbow drifts on the Sac at Redding always push off at 5 a.m.

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Cheryl told me she has fond memories of digging up worms with Frank on their Rutherford property, then using them to fish right there where the Napa River runs close by. My Grandpa Mike and I did the same thing next to a little pond in Rhode Island where we used to fish through the ice for perch that my French grandmother would cook for supper, fresh out of the water. Old Guys Rule, Frank.Other names for the mackinaw are char and lake trout. They are mostly found in deep, cold water. The current world-record mac is 102 pounds. Here’s a comparo to our more familiar rainbow trout: Canada claims the record rainbow at 48 pounds.According to “Fishmasters,” there are 14 different species of trout, topped in size by the mackinaw. The list also includes rainbow, cutthroat, golden, brown, brook, dolly varden, bull, tiger, asplake, palomino, gila, apache and marble.Ocean Salmon Time, Again… starting tomorrow. It’s that magic season that fills party boats and six-packs up and down the coast. Yep, get your BBQ out, cleaned and prepped — but no need to rush to book an early salmon hunt. Lots of things in flux in those early days; give the captains a week or 10 days to sort them out and establish a workable pattern. Then go pound them, and send pix of your big ones to me.Some early signs indicate a much better than expected salmon season. That’s good news; the ocean season last year was also good. Somehow, though, the 2020 season petered out in the rivers and just whimpered to a close.That’s my favorite salmon time, up on the Feather or Sac where even I can’t get mal de mer. Got my personal-best king salmon from the Feather years ago, a 45-pound moose. River guide Kevin Brock (800 995-5543) manned the net. The 2021 river season for kings opens July 16, but for years we have had the most success right after Labor Day. Of course, the unknown question is the negative effect of low flows and water temperatures that are too high. Stay tuned.Meanwhile… look at this set of major halibut scores, as reported in Dave Hurley’s Hot Sheet. With thick flatties to 30 pounds, the Bay/Golden Gate fleet has been taking advantage of the live bait now on sale.This past weekend saw numbers like 10 limits on the Pacific Dream and six limits reported by Steve Mitchell out of Hook’d UP Sport Fishing, with bonus stripers over 20 pounds on Friday. Trent Slate out of Bite Me Charters totaled 26 ‘buts for 10 anglers over the weekend. Top these off with this note that The California Dawn and New El Dorado III “posted a season-high score of 72 halibut to 30 pounds and 24 striped bass to 26 pounds , releasing two big stripers over 20 pounds. Thanks a million for that big hen striper release. Let’s all get into that habit that lets them go back and make some more big bass.The Delta… seems to give itself over to recreational boaters during these vacation months. Add to that the high air temperature “chimney effect” that pulls maritime air in fast over the city and up the big rivers. Be careful out there; if you are not expert in boating on the big rivers, stay in the sloughs. Be safe out there.However, the Hot Sheet tells us that it is good fishing time for the warm-water species of catfish, crappie, bluegill, smallmouth and largemouth bass. On the bass front, Johnny Tran at New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle told the Hot Sheet that live minnows, drop shotted plastics, or deep diving crank baits were taking smallies off the rocky banks in the Old Sac. And Steamboat Slough.The Fishermen’s Warehouse’s Alan Fong said, “we found a good spinner bait bite in the wind for largemouth bass to 4 pounds.”And, incredibly, there is still a solid sturgeon bite near Pittsburg — apparently, more diamondbacks than fishermen.Big Kokes In Berryessa… Cassie Salvador of Vacaville caught a 19¼-inch kokanee on an RMT dodger behind an RMT spinner hoochie just above the bottom at 54 feet. Overall it was called a “great week” by regular Berryessa guide Troy Barr. He told the Hot Sheet “the big ones are just now starting to show up.”Teaser For Next Week… I found the perfect solution to catching a lot of big Clear Lake bass. It was taking Brent Randol, of St. Helena’s “A” Team, on the trip as my fishing partner. Stay tuned.

While it has been known for some time that following a diet rich in oily fish can play an important role in physical health, new research has suggested these fatty acids could also influence conditions such as depression.

Email Bill Ryan at [email protected]

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