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March 27, 2017    Headlines

Spring Stripers & Sturgeon Bite Heats Up!

Delta Report
By Dave Hurley
Sturgeon fishing remains the top draw in the Delta, but the transition to stripers has begun. The Addathon Iron Man Sturgeon Derby out of Pittsburg will take place this weekend, and a number of teams are participating in this innovative derby.
Andy Doudna, organizer of the Addathon Ironman Sturgeon Derby said Sunday 3-26, “The derby this weekend was one that created many new memories as 25 teams battled it out one sturgeon at a time for points. It is a catch-and-release derby held out of Pittsburg with boundaries from the Benicia/Martinez Bridge upriver to Liberty Cut. Each fish is given a point value with shakers at 3 points, slot-limit fish earning 9 pounds, and oversize sturgeon gaining 5 pounds, and each catch must be recorded on video with a tape measure and uploaded to the Addathon group page on Facebook. There were a total of 168 sturgeon caught in the derby spanning all size intervals comprised of  41 shakers, 72 slot fish, and 44 oversized. Greg McElroy and Dan Ditlevsen took 1st place with 250 pounds, Kevin Cave and Anthony Defilippo Cave came in 2nd with 137 pounds, and Mike Funtanilla and Anntonnel Reyes in 3rd place with 131 points. The majority of fish were landed in the cuts, but another hot spot was between the Benicia/Martinez Bridge and Marker 9 while raw roe was the most successful bait with picked eel coming in the second-best option. The water temperatures were between 59 and 65 degrees, and the next Addathon will be held in November out of Pittsburg.”

Captain Steve Mitchell of Hook’d Up Sport Fishing out of Pittsburg put his clients onto an epic bite on Sunday with a total of 6 sturgeon landed including 4 slot fish ranging from 54 to 40 inches. Mitchell said, “We were just outside of the Little Cut using salmon roe and eel combinations, and the fish bit on both tides. Kenneth Lee of Sacramento was able to land a massive sturgeon estimated at 8 feet in length, and its head was the size of a 5-gallon bucket. We picked up four of our fish at the top of the incoming tide with the other two at the beginning of the outgoing tide. The bite was on!”

In the north Delta, Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait in Freeport said, “The Clarksburg launch ramp is open once again, and keeper stripers are showing up along the shorelines with pile worms or blood worms. With the heavy water flows, the best fishing is along the shoreline, and sardines coated with garlic spray are also working, Sturgeon fishing has pretty good up and down the Sacramento River with ghost shrimp, eel, and pile worms, but the river levels has risen once again.”
The NorCal Fish Whisperers Striped Bass Derby out of Brannan Island on April 1 with the Central Valley Anglers Spring Striper Derby will be held on April 29 with information at www:centralvalleyanglers.org.
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.  Striped bass are starting to attract more interest as schoolies have moved into the clearer waters of the San Joaquin River.
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.”
Ador Lopez, director of the California Team Trail tournament out of B and W Resort, said, “Saturday’s tournament went to the team of Scott Adkins and Tim Woltkamp who threw spinnerbaits and crankbaits for a winning limit at 28.60 pounds including a 9.07-pound kicker. The big fish came on a pink Senko.
Steve Santucci of Steve Santucci’s Fly Fishing Guide Service said, “Delta fishing is heating up, as the fish are getting very aggressive and will eat just about anything that you throw at them. I am hoping this last storm will not muddy up the water. April should be very good for both quality and quantity.”
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, “With more stable weather, I expect the giants will come back out once again. 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.”
Matt Landrum at Gotcha Bait in Antioch reported good action for shaker and keeper stripers off of the Antioch Fishing Pier with sardines, anchovies, or pile worms. He said, “A 42-inch striper was caught and kept off of the pier this week on a live splittail, and there are also some largemouth bass taken on live minnows at the beginning of the pier in the shallows.”Steve Johnson of H and R Bait in Stockton reported an improved striped bass bite for linesides to 8 pounds off of Bacon Island Road and Brookside Road with anchovies, live mudsuckers, or frozen shad. Crappie are starting to show up in the sloughs with small to medium minnows. He said, “As soon as the minnows come into the shop, they are selling out quickly.”
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 restriction is in effect two hours before high tide through 2 hours after high tide. Specific information regarding the updated closures with bridge and tide http://deltaboating.com/tides/orwood.php g and closures at information at DeltaBoating.com at
https://www.sjgov.org/department/oes/pdf/Delta-Water-Closures-3.pdf
.


Sturgeon fishing remains the top draw in the Delta, but the transition to stripers has begun. The Addathon Iron Man Sturgeon Derby out of Pittsburg will take place this weekend, and a number of teams are participating in this innovative derby.
John Badger of Barbarian Sport Fishing was in the Little Cut on Thursday 3-23 afternoon, and they landed a 59-inch keeper in addition to an over sized along with three shaker sturgeon using both lamprey eel and salmon roe. He said, “The outgoing tide is really good this afternoon, but interest in sturgeon fishing is starting to slow down since anglers are starting to try and get an early jump on halibut. There just isn’t enough going to get me to move to the bay yet, and I plan on staying on sturgeon until late April.”|
Striped bass are starting to attract more interest as schoolies have moved into the clearer waters of the San Joaquin River.  James Netzel of Tight Lines Guide Service took out Clyde Wands, shallow trolling expert, for a clinic on Thursday, and they ended up catching over 35 stripers on the San Joaquin River with 15 of the linesides being keepers to 6.5 pounds. Wands said, “14 of the legal fish came on shallow-running lures which were a variety including P-Line Angry Eye Minnows, Savage Gear, and Yozuri Crystal Minnows, and chartreuse was the color. The fish were scattered, but we found a few schools here and there.”
Dan Mathisen of Dan’s Delta Outdoors in Oakley said, “The bite is on, and we are seeing stripers in the 8 to 10 pound class showing up. There are a lot of schoolies, and the school was in Donlan this week as well as in the back waters of Sherman Lake. Trollers are starting to score with bright colored plugs in the clearer water of the San Joaquin. For largemouth bass, 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, “With more stable weather, I expect the giants will come back out once again. 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.”

Delta Report from Chris Laurtizen of Lauritzen’s  Yacht Harbor in Oakley|
If you are waiting for the water to clear up before you are ready to start spring striper fishing you might get surprised and miss out on some of the very best striper fishing there is in the west delta.
There are stripers to be caught, there is no wind currently as of Friday and none expected this weekend. The San Joaquin River is mirror glass smooth, the water temperature depending on where you are fishing is anywhere from 58.59 – 60.1 – degrees at the old Antioch Boat Ramp to a warmer 58.5 – 61.6 –degrees in False River.
There are places out of the main channel where the water is starting to clear up quit nicely. Young Gary Mullen of Knightsen was fishing in Dutch Slough near the Jersey Island Bridge today (Friday) where Gary said the clarity was decent but the important that was he was catching fish both Black Bass and Stripers and the water temperature in Dutch Slough was reported to be 63 – degrees. Gary reported catching about a dozen black bass and one striper to 12 – lbs. Gary was plugging for a tournament which is being held out of Big Break this Saturday.
George Wight of Antioch fished a couple of times this week first for sturgeon then stripers then blue gill. George did ok the first part of the week catching a sturgeon. George did better catching a few stripers in the 18 – 22- inch range. George didn’t do so well on the blue gill catching. The water in the harbor is warming up but the blue gill are not in yet. George feels the blue gill are waiting for the black bass to start spawning on the harbor and river levee banks and then as the black bass spawn the blue gill will come in and steel the eggs to eat and wait for the fingerlings to hatch so they can eat them as well. I had not heard that theory before but it kind of makes sense.
It appears that some of the black bass are getting in the pre-spawn mode to mean the black bass are staging in the mid of the water column not getting on the levee banks yet but are thinking about spawning.
The big striper of the week came a week ago when a 40 – inch 24 – lb striper was caught in the tules above the barges on False River. This time of year you can find stripers right out in front of our harbor on the sand bar when there is a fresh run of stripers in. The stripers will not stay there long but they may hold up for a day or two. There are a lot of places to target stripers this time of year just because the stripers are coming up to spawn. Sherman Lake, out in front of our harbor, on the sand bar at Eddos, above the barges in the tules between the barges and the entrance to Three Mile Slough, Santa Clara Shoals and last but not least San Andreas Shoals.
Give it a try you will not be disappointed I promise. Come out and enjoy the great dry warm weather and the even better spring fishing.
See you on the water Delta Chris


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