Sportsmens Report
January 29, 2020
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Sportsman’s Report: Updates on fish, hunt, camping and skunks

By: Bill Hanson
August 30, 2019

There are reports of good salmon bites right now, visit your favorite fishing store for advice to set up available charters. The SF bay reports are great, one fine fellow landed a very big halibut near Point Pinole. Very big is to the relative in the halibut world, those who have fished the inlets off Vancouver, BC and the Alaskan waters know that an average halibut there can be well over one hundred pounds. Repeat fisher Ken Idler says it is like reeling in a barn door. In any case halibut here or there is one fine eating fish. We are so lucky to have so many fishing resources nearby. Few people fish Tamales Bay yet it can be a real hot spot at different times of the year. One favorite prey are the big sting rays, they fight hard, they bite hard and they will wear you out. I have always put a protective gaff handle on their tail to prevent them from stabbing my arm or their skin. Then a quick snip and the hook goes with the fish to be shed later on. I don’t know if catch and release is good or not, to me, let them live to fight another day. One other spot on Tamales is just outside the mouth, the sandy bottom can be littered with halibut. Check in with the kind folks at Lawsons Landing to get an update. One word of caution here, the breakers work offshore on the northern side of the mouth, consider that area dangerous, very dangerous, the waves can grab your boat roll you over in a flash. 

The halfway point for A-zone bucks is here, the good rains and no new burns have helped the population blossom. The bucks have big, fat bodies but not too much in the horn department. This is the whole point in California coastal black tail, if it’s horns, you’re after go out of state or at least to the northeast corner in the Warner mountains and the Modoc, there the deer are mostly migratory and interbreed with the much larger mule deer. 

The pig harvest, wild boar, is going great guns as well, they love the green trees and lingering water holes. For the best eating, shoot the smaller pigs, that way it matters little if the pig you bag is a boar or sow, they are all good eating at early development. The deal with the older pigs is the boar are smelly and a lactating sow is poor eating. If eradication of feral pig is your goal then shoot away, the more breeders taken out, the fewer next year. Pigs are not seasonal; the sows can come into season right after the last little piglets are weaned irrespective of the time of year. This is why there are so many of them in the wild, they breed like crazy. 

High mountain trout fishing is having a good year, the smaller streams high up are yielding good size fish for the adventuresome angler. Lakes fishing here and up high are having a good year as well. When the heat is up and holding, you will have to troll under the thermalcline, colder water starts below thirty-three feet.  


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.