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Thread: Lake Sonoma

  1. #1
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    Lake Sonoma

    Lake Sonoma has a reputation of being the 'No fish' lake but experienced anglers at the lake know it's a polished diamond if you know how to Steelhead Fish.

    These Land Locked Steelhead are truly a gift from the heavens. The limit is 2 and they are the only trout in the lake. There are no reported plantings of Steelhead in the lake but there are rumors that some fish were taken into the creeks by back pack last year.

    I try to fish the lake every Tuesday and Thursday and will be bringing back Saturdays through Nov 15th. I have fished it all year round but the creeks are closed to fishing for Steelhead after Nov 15th. There are some holdovers that make their winter home around the Marina and the fishing can be pretty good if the water remains fairly clear, (that's rare).

    As of today, 10/1/13 -

    The lake has turned, the bass feeding frenzy is over and the Steelhead are beginning to come out of hiding again. I put 5 on, 4 were hens and were released and I kept 1 4lb, 24" buck that ran me around the boat.

    If you're on the lake, give "Pole Dancer II" a call on VHF (I monitor 16 and talk on 69). I'll be in a saphire blue 22' Kingfisher (Jetcraft) Discovery. If you'd like to schedule a trip send me a PM.

    Steve Schefer
    Schefer's Guide Service
    Santa Rosa, Ca.

  2. #2
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    According to local news sources the USACE public facilities at the lake are closed as of 10/06/2013. The Marina concession is still operating normally.

  3. #3
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    Got word from a buddy that the entire Lake Sonoma facility is closed now..

  4. #4
    Public Boat ramp is now open

    Thanks for starting this thread Mr. Steve...

    will keep an eye out for your rig

    tight lines...

    bogey out
    Last edited by bogeymachine; 10-18-2013 at 06:16 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bogeymachine View Post
    Public Boat ramp is now open

    Thanks for starting this thread Mr. Steve...

    will keep an eye out for your rig

    tight lines...

    bogey out


    No Prob -

    As of today only the public ramp and day use areas are open. Yorty creek is still closed but will reopen as soon as they gather up the additional funding they need.

    I launched at 6:00 this morning and went straight up to the no-ski buoys. I was up there mainly to scope but I had lines in the water just in case. I saw one group of fish at what I've come to call Sandy Point but they were down at 100' so they weren't feeding. It was a near full moon last night so that's pretty much par for the course.

    I diddled around that area for a while just wasting time because I knew the bite wouldn't be until later. About 8:30 I switched one top line with a Owner Cultiva 65 golden shad and left a Jay Fair Cinnamon leach on lead core at 4 colors. I then headed back down towards the dam working my way into the winter creek on the North side before the point. I saw one roller on the surface and immediately pulled in the lead core and put on a blue shad Cultiva. The Cultiva's have a lot of action and suspend plus they have rattles and these LLSH's love noise for some reason. I kicked it up to 2.5mph and headed into the trees at the mouth of that little creek. I was running these 125' back.

    8:45 and the first fish was on. A nice 3lb aerobatic hen. I swap out the treble hooks for single Siwash hooks so when they go airborne you gotta stay on your toes or they'll launch that lure half way across the lake. I boated that one and bled it out then made another pass and hooked another 3lb hen. This one was feisty and ripped line off like a river steelie. You know they aren't done when they swim alongside the boat with you as you drift and she wasn't. She ripped off a good amount of line before I got her safely turned and then she started that head shake and run at you thing they do so well. I finally netted her bled her out and was back at the dock by 9:30am.

    Just so you all know, the limit is two and I do not practice C/R with these fish. The success rate is fairly low with a tired fish and the odds of it surviving are right around 50%. It's pretty hard to bring one of these larger fish in without tiring it out so I'd rather eat it than think I wasted it.

    Another reason I don't C&R at Lake Sonoma is because too many people practice C&R on that lake as an excuse to fish over the normal limit. With the survival rate being what it is, that practice is killing more fish than you would if you just caught a limit and went home.

    I'm not saying anyone has to agree with me on that, it's just what I do.
    Last edited by sgs; 10-18-2013 at 08:48 PM.

  6. #6
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    I may fish Sonoma one more time next week and then I'm headed back up to Eagle Lake. I'll have a report for that when I get back. Just in case you don't know, Eagle Lake fishes best from late October thru Dec 31st when the season closes. I fish the lake 6 weeks a season on average and know two of the best guides on the lake if anyone is interested in going. I'll be there from the 27th of October thru the 2nd of Nov.

  7. #7

    example of nice Sonoma steelie 24"

    [ATTACH=CONFIG]786[/ATTACH]

    this is what Steve's talking about.

    tight lines...bogey out
    Last edited by bogeymachine; 10-30-2013 at 09:04 PM.

  8. #8
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    Nice blue back! They almost look ocean caught. Definitely a treasure!

  9. #9
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    11/9/2013

    Looks like that annual migration back to the creeks has happened. The Steelhead were not on my scope today. I almost went back there to see but then thought to myself, leave them alone, they need a break. The creeks close to Steelhead fishing on the 15th of this month. You can still fish for them in the main body if you can find them. Sometimes there'll be a few holdovers down by the Marina.

    I'm done fishing it until June. The lake boat is going into storage for the winter and the river boats are coming out.

    I heard a rumor that a large school of Pacific Ocean Rainbows were being tracked. That ought to get the juices flowing! I haven't been able to confirm the rumor so it's just that for now.

  10. #10
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    Last week the fish were holding way up the main arm and munching down on a late hatch. Hot colors were purple with gold flash and dark blue with gold flash. They may or may not still be there Friday but I'm going to give it a shot.

    The surface temp was 54.9 degrees but I think it will have dropped a couple of more degrees because of this cold snap we're having down here. That may push the fish into a holding pattern and keep them down deeper until the sun warms the surface near the banks.

    Can you float a Yarni on this lake, you betcha! The lake has a constant outflow and the current follows the old creek bed. There's your clue. I'll let you know how I do with that on Friday.

  11. #11
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    The bite is hot right now if you can find them. Troll a black wooly bugger and a rip-n-minnow at 3mph and 100' back on mono while you look for them and when you find them, slow to 1.5 and get ready. Fish are averaging 3-4 lbs and are angry.

    Please Please Please if you plan to C&R then stick to the daily limit. C&R is a solid practice in well flowing rivers and streams that normally have excellent oxygen levels but a turned lake does not have that so the survival rate is just barely above 50%.

    Additionally, if you C&R and then keep one and DFG is watching, you will probably get cited for culling. They're on the lake now and they are watching.

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