Friday, May 29, 2009

Rickey's Recommended Hot Spots

Another Friday and a ton of options. Hopefully, you've got your gear primed up, packed up and ready to roll for another weekend of angling!

Been hearing good things up in the Tahoe region, particularly improving conditions on the Truckee. But, not quite enough to provide definite destinations. If you are in that region, consider some recon loops above Boca, as flows are still a little high below that. Drifting smaller nymphs in the AM would be a good way to scare up some fish.

The Pit has continued to be excellent, in #3, 4 and 5. PMD's in almost any flavor you can find seem to be producing fish, and tungsten beadhead attractor patterns will certainly produce as well.

But, my pick this weekend is the McCloud. As temps stabilize, the best bets will be stones and PMD's.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Quick Picks for the Big Weekend

It's a great time to get out and wet a line - customers and guides have been
relying upon the Blue Winged Olive (BWO), Baetis and Caddis pupa emergers. Water conditions continue to look good at most of the destinations like Hat Creek.

Speaking of Hat Creek, if that's your destination, the salmon flies are coming off like helicopters, so stock up on this key pattern. Use some Pale Morning Dunns around the flats, and pay attention to lighting changes - if it clouds up a bit in the morning, we've had folks doing well with BWO's.

If I could get away this weekend (gotta work sometimes!) I'd head for the Pit, probably 3 & 4, start fishing with PMD's and BWO's on Saturday. Then I'd spend the night at Deer Creek Campground, get up and fish Pit #5 and 6 on Sunday. Monday would be all day on the Feather River, before heading home on Tuesday.

So, someone's got to do that for me and at least bring in some good photos of the great fishing! Enjoy!

Bizzy, Bizzy, Bizzy!

Wow! A little nice weather combined with a big holiday weekend, and everyone is running every which way getting folks set up for spring fishing and enjoying the outdoors! I'm taking a quick lunch to just make sure that you get the word on a couple of topics -

- Fishing is heating up!
Given the winds we've been seeing recently, it's just as well that ocean salmon fishing has been put on hold this year. I think we've all avoided "those trips" where you motor out the Gate, feel those swells start lifting the boat and then get hit with the wind chop that means either a messy day on the water or time to turn the boat around.

The smart die-hard ocean anglers have had a chance to relearn what a diverse and vibrant fishery they have right inside the SF Bay and Delta. Between striper, sturgeon and halibut, there are all kinds of fish to be found. And, you can usually locate a good spot that isn't overrun by other boats. Joe and Richard in our San Rafael store get the up-to-the-minute reports, so drop by to get set up right for this weekend.

The Marin Watershed lakes have been doing well. The warmer weather has brought the panfish to life a bit, and as you can tell from Joe's recent report, if you aren't hooking bass, you aren't trying. The trout experts have been quietly getting good results as well, working the edges of weed growth and dropoffs with Panther Martin lures and Powerbait.

Up in Santa Rosa, last weekend was the Rohnert Park Kids' Fishing Derby, which brought out almost 350 young anglers. Huge thanks to Debbie, Rickey and Tom who volunteered to spend the day setting up the enthusiastic anglers and untangling the odd bird's nest or two. One of the hot tickets turned out to be the new Berkeley Power Trout Worms - it kept producing fish after the bite turned off.

Lake Sonoma should be just about perfect this weekend, and we're still hoping to see a nice slug of shad moving up into the Russian River.

- Hunting Licenses
The 2009/2010 California Hunting Licenses and Deer Tag Applications are available in both stores. If you are going to be applying for premium deer, elk, antelope or bighorn sheep tags, those applications must be received by 5 p.m. June 2 at the California Department of Fish and Game License and Revenue Branch in Sacramento. Drawing results will be available June 24.

To purchase licenses, you must bring in a prior year's license or proof of Hunter Safety Course completion.

Copies of the DFG's California Hunting Digest Big Game Book are available, though they tend to go fast.

More information is available via the DFG website -

- Browning Safes Have Arrived
We had a truckload of safes dropped off at our San Rafael store a week ago. These fireproof safes are one of the best ways to secure firearms and other valuables during those times when you might be gone on vacation. Since they always sell faster than Browning can make them for us, we've had a few requests to mention it here when they arrive.

- Ammunition Still Problematic
Quality centerfire ammo has been arriving steadily, but we are still receiving it one load at a time - as I mentioned earlier, the best thing is to make sure that you get your name and phone number on file at the Western Sport Shop location near you. The first few shipments that arrived were completely sold by the time we finished going through the people on file.

You can call the store directly or just speak with anyone in the hunting department the next time you are in the stores.

- Fishing and Fly Rod Sale
Although the response has been significant, we still have a few of "last year's" models of conventional and fly rods priced at up to 50% off the original price. These deals are only available in our stores, and are limited to stock on hand. Also, while you are poking around the rod racks, make sure to graze through the sale tables - there's a bunch of stuff we found during audits, cleanups and organization - all priced ridiculously low.

So - head into the shops, get set up, then go enjoy this great long weekend!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Recent Reports

Just a quick report to wrap up the fishing for the past week.

Sturgeon fishing and largemouth bass fishing are top draws right now.
Looks like sturgeon fishing has blown wide open in upper San Pablo Bay, with reports of oversize fish and keepers being caught on ghost shrimp in in and around places like Round Mountain, Black Point and the mouths of both Sonoma Creek and Petaluma Creek. Also, there are reports of fish in the 60-70lb range being caught off China Camp, and Paradise cove. This may begin to taper now that the tides are leveling a bit. (And to get a good idea of tidal ranges in the Bay and ocean, we rely on the Tidelog, which shows an excellent graphic representation of tides, plus gives a good place for notes, etc.)

Bass fishing is still hot with combinations of pre-spawn, post-spawn and spawning fish swarming the shallows in places like Kent Lake, Phoenix lake, Alpine lake and Bon Tempe. Best bets are 3/8 oz flipping jigs in white or yellow jacket with either White Trixie or Green Pumpkin Chigger Craws for those bedding fish, and small swimbaits in bluegill patterns, drop shots, and Senkos for the post-spawners.

Also, look for the topwater bite to blow wide open any day now so long as the weather stays warm and warming. Best bets wil be Zara Spooks, Swayback Spooks and Super Spooks, and Lucky Craft Gunfish in Ghost minnow or other translucent natural bait colors and wake baits like the bbz-1 floater or any shallow running cranks fished just under the surface.

I want to take a moment to congratulate Andy Mercado and Chris Lapointe for their victory at the Marin County Bass Club derby hosted on Lake Alpine. And I would also like to congratulate Jigmonster pro staffer Chris "Flipper" Franks and his partner Aaron Anfinson who won the semi-pro side of the Anglers' Choice Pro Team Series on Lake Berryessa. That would be enough for most anglers, but they also second on the pro side, beating a field of big name talent - missing first place by less than one tenth of a pound! These stellar results were a direct result of them putting on a clinic with the Jigmonster Savage Swim Jig (arriving this week at the shop!) Good job guys.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Marin Lakes - State to Resume Stocking

Yep! It's official! The state Department of Fish and Game has been persuaded to resume the trout stocking program at Lagunitas and Bon Tempe Lakes in the Marin Watershed.

According to an article in the MarinIJ, State Assemblyman Jared Huffman said that it's possible a rainbow trout plant could be made "in a matter of weeks". Full article here.

We wanted to thank every customer who took the time to sign the petitions which Milt Hain had brought to the stores. Although the article states that more than 800 signatures were obtained, our count had it closing in on 1,200. Good job folks!

I also wanted to remind folks that we are back on standard hours now, so both stores are open 7 days a week. For San Rafael customers, the upper deck of the parking structure next to the shop is now reopened, so parking should be much easier now. Thank you for your patience while the City of San Rafael figured out how to deal with this issue.

Wow. Seems like all I'm doing today is citing news articles.

Here's some quick advice for the weekend - get out and enjoy! According to Joe in San Rafael, the halibut bite has been continuing strongly, while the smallmouth bass are returning to the shallows with quite an appetite.