California Delta Report

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East Delta
Striper And Salmon Fishing Expected To Improve

by Dave Hurley

(Stockton) Striped bass are rapidly moving into the San Joaquin side of the California Delta, and the best action is yet to come as the water temperatures continue to cool. The first cold spell and rain of the season will only improve conditions for migrating striped bass and salmon. The inclement weather will contribute to the shad balling up into tighter groupings.
Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, was the tournament director of the Best Bass Tournament’s Tournament of Champions over the weekend out of Russo’s Marina.
He said, “We had 192 participants, and the team of Ron Howell and Bob Miller took home the top prize of $20,000 out of the $51,000.00 in prize money distributed. The shad population is thick in the San Joaquin River, and the ima Little Stick in bone or ‘All About Shad’ is on fire. We had 50 keeper stripers out of 132 caught and released on Monday using P-Line Laser Minnow spoons, the Optimum Bubba shad swimbaits, or the Little Stick on topwater. The important thing to do is keep the topwater lure in the strike zone longer. Twitch it and let it sit.”
Numbers of bass are good, but the weights are down with the water temperature needing to drop in order to the reaction bite to improve.
Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “There are lots of small stripers in the system, and a big one will run 12 pounds. The bass bite is ‘iffy’, but there is a wakebait bite in moving water along points as well as swimjigs and chatterbaits. The Bobby D’s Golden Shiner spinnerbait is in high demand as it is working when the wind is blowing. There is also an emerging bite on Rat-L-Traps and the Strike King’s Red Eye Shad.”
“There is a topwater bite coming, and I am planning to head out with topwater expert, Tom Amberson, on the coming weekend to check things out,” he noted.
Salmon have arrived in force in the Antioch area, and Mathisen reported 30 fish per day are coming from the deep water trough in front of the Humphrey’s Pier in Antioch. Mepp’s Flying C or Captain Stan’s heavy spinner are working best.
A number of salmon have been landed by bass fishermen throwing crankbaits on the San Joaquin River including one uniformed individual who posted his salmon fillets on Facebook. Salmon fishing is prohibited in the San Joaquin River.


Rio Vista
Bait Soakers Lay Into Striped Bass

by Roland Aspiras

(Rio Vista) Anglers bait fishing for striped bass and sturgeon found great success, while salmon anglers struggled to find consistency.
Craig Kamikawa, assistant manager at Fisherman’s Warehouse in Sacramento, competed in the 69th Annual Rio Vista Bass Derby and found excellent success soaking bait for striped bass.
“We caught well over 100 fish on just one day of fishing with a lot of the bass in the 21 to 28 inch size. Sardines worked well, but the shad worked best,” he tipped.
“On Friday we started at Decker Island and landed a good number. We moved down to Collinsville midday and struggled, then we moved back up to Sherman Island where we found the fish again.”
“One of our past employees roamed around solo in his boat specifically targeting sturgeon. He fished right next to us in Sherman Island and landed two shakers and three keeper sturgeon at 41.5, 50, and 43 inches all on eel,” he added.
Anglers in search of salmon on the troll found spotty action around the Isleton area, with Kamikawa recommending Silvertron spinners in chartreuse or cut plugs behind flashers.
The winning angler in this year’s Bass Derby, Andy Doudna weighed in a fish that was right on the money at the 29 and a half inch target. Douda landed his winning fish using live bait.


West Delta
Striped Bass Plentiful In Sacramento, San Joaquin And Suisun Bay

(Brannan Island) If you want stripers, you can get them in the West Delta while soaking bait, drifting live bait, trolling plugs, casting plugs or working jigging spoons.
“The striper bite has been really good,” related Captain David Hammond of Delta Pro Fishing. “We’ve been getting limits every time we go trolling. When targeting fish in deep water we are running deep running Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows tipped with Trick Worms. When we work shallow water, we are typically pulling ½ ounce Rat-L-Traps. Some of our biggest fish so far this fall have come on the Rat-L-Traps.”
The Fish Sniffer’s own Ernie Marlan has been working the West Delta with spooning gear with great success.
“I took out my son, a buddy and his son and we literally caught bass after bass while spooning. We didn’t get any big fish, but the number of fish we encountered was impressive. We also picked up a couple salmon,” Ernie related.
Early and late in the day, anglers working Sherman Lake and Big Break are hooking up with topwater poppers and walking baits. Some of these bass weigh up to and beyond 20 pounds.
Bait anglers are landing limits of bass in the 18 to 24 inch range most days. Top baits include shad, mudsuckers and chicken livers. For a shot at a trophy size bass bait anglers are drifting and still fishing with live bluegill or splittails.
There are sturgeon stacked up in deep water areas around Pittsburg, but few anglers have been trying for them. If you go, you’ll want to have eel and salmon roe.