Steelhead fishing on ‘Redwood Coast’ has been amazing
Sportsman’s Report
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By Bill Hanson  January 18, 2013 12:00 am



On the “Redwood Coast” this week, the steelhead fishing has been amazing. Fishermen are standing in blue-grey water up to their hips throwing their offerings into the rivers. A trio of fishermen was visible from the 101 bridge over the Smith River. Each one kept wiping at his face with elbows and sleeves. I wondered if they were all first graders, but then I looked at the outside temperature on the side view mirror – 27 degrees.

These were not runny noses, they were knocking off icicles.  I talked to some of the bait shop owners and drift-boat guides, and they said steelhead in the 10-plus pound range are the norm. Guided drift boat customers are landing fish in the ‘teens with a few more than 20 pounds. That is a big Steelhead. They fight like a trout, fast and furious. If you have never landed a big ‘steely,’ you are in for one of the finest fishing experiences ever.

The SF Bay is picking up, as winter sturgeon are taking live baits, and the winter striped bass bite are on the rise. The muddy waters kept the fish hunkered down, and they are coming up hungry. Fish the pump house in San Pablo Bay, the Ghost Fleet and the mouth of the Napa and Petaluma Creeks – not true creeks but tide water estuaries. Check with your bait shop for details on what to offer and where the action is on your day in the water.

Mushroom doldrums
The mushroom front is still in the cold-weather doldrums. Very few species are up in numbers, and those that are tend to be very, very small. Inland, the flush is more in the normal range, but few edibles are in the basket. Stand by for warmer weather, it should stimulate growth.

 The wild boar hunting season is over. The outback of Sonoma County is being turned over by thousands of four-legged rototillers. The pigs are not as affected by the cold as we humans. On the other hand, or snout, we don’t plow the top soil with our noses. They are loving the soft ground, the roots and grubs they turn over in their endless quest for food. Sows do not have a season like other animals. They can have litters any time of the year. Do your part to save the wild and bring home a fat pig.

Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.

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