Let’s go fishin’: It’s a steelhead time of year
by Mike Baxter
Dec 12, 2013 | 1462 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A fin clipping party. Courtesy of Mike Baxter
A fin clipping party. Courtesy of Mike Baxter
A fin clipping party. Courtesy of Mike Baxter
A fin clipping party. Courtesy of Mike Baxter
The days are short and cold and steelhead season is starting! I love fishing and one of my favorite types of fishing is for steelhead. There are many varieties of fishing and steelhead fishing is one that you either love or dislike, because it is during the cold wet winter months where we live.

People gathered to help steelhead at the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project’s Big Creek Hatchery on Saturday, Dec. 7. Those who came helped clip the adipose fin on juvenile fish to help identify where they came from. The event is called the annual Fin-Clip party. Many supporters show up every year and there is always room for more.

In years past I multi-task this event and get clip steelhead fins and get a Christmas tree on the same day. It is a great family event and drew more than 50 volunteers and hatchery staff who kept warm with an open fire and hot food. The barbeque volunteers kept the chicken, burgers and dogs hot with a kettle of chili standing by.

The group clipped about 10,000 juvenile steelhead that are set to be released in the San Lorenzo River this spring.

This event helps the fish, the hatchery and is a great way for supporters of the project to meet one another, along with the hatchery staff and the board of directors. A good time was had by all and the stocking program looks very robust for this year’s plant of steelhead and coho salmon into our local rivers.

The steelhead season started December 1 with low water. We have had a couple rains now, but not enough to get a first big surge of fish into the river. The season is open Saturday, Sunday, Wednesdays and legal holidays. Barbless hooks must be used and anglers must have a steelhead punch card and remember to fill the date and location out on the card prior to fishing. Aptos Creek, Soquel Creek, San Lorenzo River, and Scott’s Creek are all open to fishing with the same regulations until March 7.

Remember to get your new license for next year with your steelhead card and stand by for some fun, cold steelheading.

- Mike Baxter has fished in the Monterey Bay Area since he was a boy and has been a licensed charter boat captain for more than 20 years. Contact him at captmikebaxter@yahoo.com.


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