San Joaquin River Inundated With Striped And Largemouth Bass Upon Spring’s Arrival
(Stockton) The anticipated break out for the largemouth and striped bass bite in the San Joaquin-Delta is happening, and quality limits of largemouth bass along with a terrific striped bass bite were the rule during the week.
Monte Smith of Gold Country Sport Fishing went on a trolling venture with Jay Lopes of Right Hook Sport Fishing, and after launching out of Brannan Island and motoring to the San Joaquin side, they hit several spots for at least 20 keeper stripers to 6 pounds along with another dozen undersized fish.
Smith said, “We were deep trolling, and everything we put in the water worked. Chartreuse plugs worked in the morning, but the Wonder Bread was our best pattern as it was unbelievable how much action this lure had. The minute that it was put in, the fish bit the heck out of it. I will start running trolling trips for striped bass in the Delta in addition to striper trips to New Hogan and trout/king salmon/kokanee ventures on the Mother Lode lakes.”
Alan Fong, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento, said, “Stripers are available on the flats from Antioch to the mouth of the Mokelumne using any way that you want – trolling, ripbaits, swimbaits – they are there. The San Joaquin River is in good shape, and if we get a week of warm weather, stripers are likely to spawn in the San Joaquin for the first time in a long time. I went bass fishing again in the Mokelumne system with black chatterbaits, and the quality remains really good with largemouth bass at 8 and 9 pounds caught and released. The water is a bit stained, but the action is excellent.”
For largemouth bass, Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “Our Pro Staff member Mike Burch caught and released two fish over 12 pounds this week on a Whopper Plopper, and the reaction bite is taking off. He is throwing reaction lures when it is raining and flipping when it is calm. The water is clearing up fast although Frank’s Tract remains a bit dirty.”
Don Paganelli of Paganelli’s Bass Fishing Experience was on the Delta this week, and he reported ‘kind of hit/miss’ action for the larger bass. They were targeting largemouth bass, and although hooking one around 7 pounds, the remainder of bass were in the 2-pound range. He said, “We were using spinnerbaits and flukes in a few different areas around Tower Park in Potato Slough and north. The water is much clearer than people think with the clearest water from Mildred Island south.”
The San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services updated the south and central Delta river and slough closures on March 21st, and there are areas where a 5 MPH (No Wake) speed.
Red Hot Striper Fishing Erupts Out West
(Brannan Island) “One day the striper fishing was slow and then as if someone flipped a switch the fishing got very good. Right now, it’s absolutely off the hook particularly on the San Joaquin side,” exclaimed Captain David Hammond of Delta Pro Fishing.
“We are getting anywhere from 12 to 24 keepers per trip while trolling. We are running Yo-Zuri minnow plugs primarily. Many of the fish are schoolies, but we’ve been seeing fish in the 8 to 14 pound class too,” said Hammond.
“I’m pretty excited about the spring season this year. I’m working in the San Joaquin and the water quality is good. Guys are catching fish along the West Bank of the Sacramento River too. The great thing is that with all the outflow this winter most of the channels have been swept clean of weeds. This means we can keep our baits in the water and fish all the areas that traditionally held bass in the past. For the last few years we haven’t been able to fish a lot of the best areas, simply because the weeds were too thick,” Hammond related.
“I’ll be fishing for sturgeon tomorrow. The sturgeon bite has really come to life over the past week or so and many skippers have been landing multiple keepers and oversize fish. Eel is the hot bait, but roe and ghost shrimp are working too. If I could only use one bait though, it would be eel,” concluded Hammond.