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Salmon season at Woodson Bridge begins with bang
• From 150 feet below the Lower Red Bluff boat ramp to the Carquinez Bridge in the Bay Area, open last Monday through Dec. 16.
• From Deschutes Road Bridge near Anderson to 500 feet upstream of the Red Bluff Diversion Dam, open Aug. 1 through Dec. 16.
• Fishermen have a two-salmon per person limit The remainder of the Sacramento River, including the stretch that flows through Redding, will remain closed this year, according to the Department of Fish and Game.
For more information on fishing regulations, visit dfg.ca.gov/regulations.
Some are saying this year's salmon fishing is the best it has been in 10 years.
The season opened Monday on the Sacramento River.
Renea Rooks, Woodson Bridge RV Park manager, had a front-and-center seat as 67 anglers took part in the annual Woodson Bridge Salmon Derby.
"This was our 10th derby, and this year was absolutely wonderful," Rooks said.
On the day of competition, fishing started at 4 a.m. with derby sign-ups and a big breakfast. Then it was out on the water with the baited lines flying.
"Everyone was having a great time," Rooks said. "From the kids to the professionals, everyone was catching fish."
One of those professionals was Chuck Powell of River Run Guide Co., based out of Woodson Bridge RV Park.
"It was the best opening day on the river since I came up here in 2000," said Powell, who has been fishing for 40 years and has been a guide for 15.
By the 4 p.m. final weigh-in, the winning salmon, at 27.7 pounds, was being photographed along with the teen who caught it: Austin Hogan from the Redding area.
"He was so pleased," Rooks said.
She said the river near the park has been busy with folks out trying to catch their limits of salmon.
"And that's good news for the park's store as we have plenty of bait and tackle to sell," Rooks said.
For the novice fisherman going for his or her first salmon on the river, Powell recommends hiring a fishing guide.
"The Sacramento River can be pretty tricky at times," he said, "although their are those who don't take a boat out, but just fish off the bank."
Legal limits for salmon are two a day, and four in possession.
"If a Department of Fish and Game warden finds you with more than four salmon in your refrigerator or freezer, you can be cited," Powell said.
He has found success this year fishing for salmon using flat fish wrapped in sardines, and bouncing roe.
Powell said he uses a spinning rod with the roe; when fishing with flat fish, he uses a bait casting reel.
Salmon fishing on the river begins one hour before dawn and ends one hour after sundown.
"Some of the best fishing holes right now are on the river at Deer Creek and Three Mile," Powell said.
Some reports have more than 800,000 adult chinook salmon are expected to make the spawning run into the Sacramento River and its tributaries this year.
The Sacramento River saw records lows of about 40,000 spawning salmon in 2009, causing state Department of Fish and Game to close the river to any salmon fishing in 2009.
"The comeback is better than we would have expected," Powell said.