Barge Hole on fire for Chinook
By Francisco Garcia
9/23/11—If you want to catch a limit of salmon and you don’t mind the crowds, the Barge Hole, on the Sacramento River is the place to be. The salmon bite is hot in the upper section of the river near Coleman National Fish Hatchery.
On Wednesday I went out with my brother and limited out by 1 p.m. We could have limited out sooner if not for some small dark jacks we turned back. On our previous trip we had limited out by 11:30 a.m.
The bite seems to be best early in the morning and later in the evening. The middle of the day, when the boat traffic slows to a crawl, is also not a bad time to seek some willing biters. As usual roe is the ticket.It’s been my experience that home cured roe works best, so if you can get it from a friend, it could be worth its weight in gold. The preferred method is to back bounce it through the deep holes. Use just enough weight to keep it on the bottom but not so much that it hangs up on you.
The Barge is not a big hole and can get congested quickly. I didn’t keep
count of how many times I saw two boats get several lines tangled with each other.
If you prefer solitude and still have a good chance of catching a fish you can go below to Old Mouth or down to Jellys Ferry. I have seen some of the bigger fish come out of this stretch.
On Thursday, I worked between Red Bluff and the Balls Ferry boat launch. There was a ridiculous amount of fish being caught in the Barge Hole. Almost everyone was limiting out. The average fish is still a small jack but they are fighters and still have good meat for the grill or smoker. Out of the boats that I talked to, which was only 20, I counted 62 fish caught. Now that sounds like some catching not just fishing. Good Luck!
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