|Friends hit feeding frenzy and limits on Lake Sonoma
The Sportsmen’s Report
By Bill Hanson
Roger Praplan called me with a fishing report on Lake Sonoma. He and a friend went up last week on a weekday morning and motored out of the main launch area.
They noticed a commotion near the shore, just around the point from the Rock Pile Road Bridge. The water was churning with activity, and birds were hitting the surface with outstretched talons and flapping off with silvery fish in a true death grip. Curious, Roger and his friend set up casting rigs to see if they could get in on the action, whatever it was.
They landed limits of keeper size steelhead in half an hour. There was a feeding frenzy of small baitfish. That triggered small bass to get in on the action, which attracted the steelhead and the birds. It was an epic fishing trip, when the action is so hot you are done in no time and you can just sit back and watch. Golden eagles, a pair of bald eagles and osprey came back and forth from their perches to stock up on the buffet. Roger said it was amazing to catch the steelies and way cool to watch the birds and fish hammer the water. It had calmed down some after an hour but was still churning the water in fits and starts. Roger said, “We were done, I wanted to get back to the restaurant and we still needed to clean and store our fish.” Days like that keep a sportsman warm at night.
Turkey season’s here
Turkey season is upon us, and the recent rain will help the birds churn up the undergrowth in their quest for bugs and seeds. It will also allow hunters some small advantage in sneaking up on the gobblers. Speaking of gobble, gobble, don’t even think about calling the birds in the fall; they won’t respond. Find out where they are or where they have been hanging out and get behind a bush and wait. Big toms are great for photo-ops to impress family and friends, but the good eats are the yearling Jakes. They are still dumb enough you can get close and are tender enough to eat without a lot of sawing and chewing. I like the ones in the seven- to 10-pound range, they don’t sport a beard or wattle and they tend to run in small groups.
The rains that came with the Giants heading into the World Series also brought mushrooms to the forefront. By the first weekend in November, we should be seeing the first Boletus sprouting on the coast. If you are very, very sure of its identification, the Amanita Calayptderma are on the menu as well. I understand Chanterelles are showing their pretty golden heads, so the rain should push them up and into your basket. Look for them under live oak and under the drip-line of local trees. I will be going up to Hopland this weekend to check on inland varieties. Although it is a mite early, I may find some early risers. I expect Queen Bolete in a month or so and some late Coccora.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.