Hyacinth Invasion Challenges Boaters, Bank Anglers

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(Stockton) Water hyacinth remains the story in the San Joaquin as the floating green menace continues to plague area boaters. Extensive mats of hyacinth have forced the closure of the City of Stockton’s launch ramps at Buckley Cove and Louis Park, leaving only Morelli Park as the only viable launch in the area.

Alex Breitler of the Stockton Record said, “The alien weed stretches from bank-to-bank across Buckley Cove near the west end of March Lane, and has engulfed all of the docks there. Two neighboring marinas are socked in as well.”

Freezing temperatures are needed to kill the hyacinth, and so far into November, the temperatures have remained very warm, allowing the hyacinth to grow.

The recent winds have cleared some of the bank areas in the southern part of the Delta, and Brandon Gallegos of H and R Bait said, “The Whiskey Slough Road side of the slough was cleared out by the wind which pushed the hyacinth up on the opposite bank, and stripers in the 21 to 24-inch range have been landed with live mudsuckers or fresh shad. In the main San Joaquin River, stripers in the 17 to 23-inch range are taken on the same baits in the clearer areas.”

“The Tracy Oasis is a good location for redear sunfish or largemouth bass, but striper fishermen need to drift live mudsuckers due to the hyacinth,” he tipped.

Further west, Randy Pringle, the Fishing Instructor, said, “We have been catching and releasing up to 70 stripers throwing the ima Big Stick or Little Stick for topwater while working below the surface with the Optima Double AA Bubba Shad or 2-oz. P-Line Laser Minnows in chartreuse/silver or blue silver.”

Their larger fish have come in the shallows with swimbaits, but the schools are thick in the San Joaquin, and the key is finding the birds working the surface.