te or federal incidental take permits



Captain Steve Smith of the Bay Area "Smith" fishing clan has been fishing Alaska's Kenai Peninsula for 30 years. 800.567.1043


March 14, 2019    Headlines

Summer Blues / Water Grab Issues

Delta Report
By Dave Hurley

The Sacramento-Delta has been deluged with inflow over the past several months, but with the weather finally starting to clear, the Delta from Freeport west to the Carquinez Bridge is set to break loose for sturgeon and striped bass.

Alan Fong, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento, said Monday, “The bite is ready to break out with a week of sunshine expected. Sturgeon are found along the banks from Freeport towards Rio Vista, but there is still a lot of debris coming down.”

Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “Stripers are showing up around Freeport with a 27-inch lineside taken by the bridge with sardines. Bait is necessary right now with either pile worms or sardines with scent working best. The river is still high, but it is clearing. Sturgeon are found here and there around Merritt’s Boat Launch with eel/pile worm combinations. The Sacramento Deep Water Channel is also producing both sturgeon and striped bass.”

Captain Steve Talmadge of Flash Sport Fishing had an epic day on Monday near the Mothball Fleet with three legal sturgeon for his clients. He said, “The first two trips were a little frustrating as we found nice sturgeon but only small fish wanted to bite. The last two trips they started biting. My people hooked 7 solid sturgeon. They landed 5 keepers and broke 2 off. The water temp is up to 57 degrees, which is good for this time of year. Their metabolism is up so they are fighting and feeding more. Two of the fish had empty stomachs. We been fishing deep water near the Mothball Fleet by the Glomar with eel/pile worm combinations. I had ghost shrimp in the bait box, but everything came on the combinations. We were out for a few hours on Saturday, but the wind made it impossible to fish where we wanted.”

Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing is back from a very successful weekend of seminars at the Sacramento Boat Show, and he will start running trips throughout the weekend beginning on Thursday.
Mike Pipkins of Gotcha Bait in Antioch said, “Sturgeon are showing up from Decker Island to Buoy 31 outside of Pittsburg, and Chain Island, Broad Slough, and Montezuma Slough are also producing. Ghost shrimp or pile worms have been the top bait since grass shrimp has been scarce.”

The 8th Annual Purple Heart Anglers Disabled Veterans Fishing Event will take place on Saturday, April 13 at Brannan Island State Recreation Area. This is the largest event each year attracting Disabled Veterans and volunteers from around northern and central California.  The organization is always seeking volunteer boat captains, deckhands, setup and clean-up crew, as well as food prep help. To volunteer for this invaluable event, contact Darren Butler at    darren@purpleheartanglers.org.
Largemouth bass fishing is taking center stage in the San Joaquin-Delta, but the high-water levels will be bringing in striped bass as soon as the temperatures warm up. Crappie and bluegill are making an appearance in the south Delta sloughs. The system is still high and muddy, but the water clarity is improving in several locations.

Dan Mathisen of Dan Mathisen Outdoors said, “Spinnerbaits and chatterbaits are working right now, and a white on white spinnerbait is something that you have to have on the end of a rod right now. The water is still stained, but it is not ruined with mud now as there are more and more clear areas. The water temperature in the south Delta is 53 degrees, and the bass are right on the ledge and biting on the turn of the tide. Chasing slack water is important as they aren’t eating in the current, but there is a 20-minute window during the turn of the tide. Sea lions are all over the south Delta, and they are chasing the largemouth bass into the tules.” His next circuit tournament is on March 16th out of Russo’s Marina. For striped bass, Mathisen said, “They seem to be making a cameo appearance as linesides to 10 pounds have been taken in Frank’s Tract on either white spinnerbaits or Optimum’s Bad Bubba Shad swimbaits, but they will be gone the next day.”
Kris Huff of Stockton had another solid day on Saturday despite the rain, and he scored some chunky largemouth bass on the San Joaquin throwing swimbaits. He said, “Everything came on swimbaits.” 
H and R Bait in Stockton reported good action in Whiskey Slough as sales of red worms have climbed with bank fishermen targeting bluegill for striped bass bait. Fresh shad should be available in the shop within the first few weeks of April.

The Sacramento-Delta has been inundated with cold and muddy water after a week of freezing temperatures followed by heavy rains. The sturgeon are thick throughout all stretches of the Sacramento-Delta but finding biting fish remains a challenge.

Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento had found big stripers in the north Delta in the shallows with G-Ratt Sneaky Pete glidebaits in Ayu or Bone the previous week, but these fish have left the premises with the arrival of dirty water.

Fong said, “The visibility was only an inch, and the water temperature went from 54 to 46 degrees in the north Delta, and the stripers have gone. They may be holding in the sloughs until the water clears since it must have dumped in the upper Sacramento River as we were dodging big trees and logs while motoring to the spot. After five casts in the dirty water, I packed it in. Sturgeon fishing has been solid in the Sacramento River from the banks from Hood north to Knight’s Landing.”

On Sunday 2-10 Captain Chris Smith of the Happy Hooker out of Martinez Marina took out a predominately female crew on Saturday in variable weather conditions, and he said, “We marked plenty of sturgeon, but they are up off of the bottom and moving. They certainly aren’t biting what we have to offer, and I think they are on the move and not feeding right now. Hopefully they decide to stick around and start to bite as there is a tremendous amount of sturgeon in the river.” The Happy Hooker is the only large party boat featuring sturgeon/striper trips in the Sacrament

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