Striped bass seemed to be spread all over the Delta with bait fishing with shad, bullheads and mudsuckers finding the better fortune than trolling. Following the gale-force wind, anglers must seek the cleanest water and the warmer temperatures.
For example, water dropped to 50 degrees at Pittsburg, reported Barry Canevaro of Fish Hookers Sport Fishing of Isleton. At the Mothball Fleet, where the outgoing tide is optimal for sturgeon, however, the water was 52 to 54 degrees.
Striped bass get after bait in Broad Slough, Chain Island, the Rio Vista bridge, Santa Clara Shoals, and Horseshoe Bend behind Decker Island. Trollers connect with bass on Bomber, Rebel, YoZuri and P-Line lures in Cache Slough by Liberty Island, the mouth of the Mokelumne River, Peacocks and along the Deep Water Channel from Light 31 to the Port of Stockton.
Stripers, 5- to 7-pounders, are tightly schooled. Some anglers graph them, then drop spoons or jigs to hook bass inside Mildred Island, Frank's Tract, Little Venice Island, Mokelumne River near Giusti's, Discovery Bay and at the mouth of the Calaveras River.
Canevaro confirmed there is a "good grade" of stripers in the 8- to 10-pound class for those who "catch and release" smaller fish and spend time on the water.
Ron Halvorson at Thornton Road Bait said a 21-pound striped bass was caught at the mouth of Sherman Island on a shad minnow.
"If you can find a school of bass, you can catch them at the Rio Vista bridge on the Sacramento River and near the Turning Basin," Halvorson said. "I'm the only one catching shad, so I'm the only shop to have a full supply of the bait fish."
Black bass fishing is steady but nothing spectacular. Anglers slow-move jigs, plastics and spinner baits to hook fish in the 1- to 2 1/2-pound bracket, seldom larger than 3 pounds.
Ocean - Commercial crabbing finally got started Nov. 30 with major catches of Dungeness. It appears to be a banner season because recreational crab pot pullers are continuing to bring in six-crab limits. Some partyboats offer combination trips for crabs, rockfish and lingcod. Be sure to ask before booking. Good action is offered along the entire coast from Monterey Bay to Bodega Bay.
San Pablo Bay - When the tide is right, sturgeon fishing is off and running at China Camp, McNear's Pier, Pumphouse and Buoys 5 and 7. Mudshrimp is the ticket. On slower tides, striped bass, 4 to 8 pounds, are prolific at San Quentin, the Marin shoreline, China Camp, Paradise and Red Rock. Anglers troll or cast worm-tailed jigs in chartreuse and white colors. Partyboats out of Loch Lomond Marina in San Rafael are limiting customers most days.
Suisun Bay - Try for sturgeon at Chain Island, Mothball Fleet and Buoy 31 outside Pittsburg, or striped bass at Middlegrounds and between Roe and Ryer Islands. Seal Island and the mouth of False River also are good places for bass. Ghost shrimp and salmon roe are the fodder for sturgeon, bullheads and shad connect with bass.
American - Salmon are old and dark in the open portion of the lower river. Steelhead found in the upper reaches at Sunrise, according to Broadway Bait in Sacramento.
Klamath - Flies and lures take steelhead, 14 to 24 inches, up to 5 pounds, from Happy Camp to Interstate 5, according to Ron DeNardi in Yreka.
Sacramento - Very good angling for wild trout and the occasional steelhead to 8 pounds that hold below salmon redds to feast on eggs. Back-bouncing, swinging flies and wading the riffles all produce, reported the Fly Shop in Redding. Best area is from the Posse Grounds in Redding to Anderson River Park.
Amador - Approximately 1,000 Donaldson trout, 2 to 6 pounds, are released weekdays. The bite is in the top 5 feet with lures, flies and Power Bait, with good shoreline access.
Camanche - More than 10,000 pounds of trout - 1 pound and larger - are ticketed for December. Ten percent of the planters will be trophy-sized, according to concessionaires. There's a decent largemouth bass bite, but anglers must either drop shot or shake plastics, and do it slowly in 40 to 60 feet.
Don Pedro - There is good bank angling for trout at Blue Oaks and the upper lake where the creek enters. Power Bait or marshmallow/red egg combinations score. Trolling is good on recent plants, 12 to 15 inches, in the top 15 feet with flashers and nightcrawlers. Holdover rainbows get after shad imitations, but the pace is slow. Black bass action for drop-shot artists is decent that covet 12- to 16-inch fish, mainly from 20 to 30 feet.
Los Vaqueros - Call to make sure access to the South entrance is open, (925) 371-2628. There are no services during winter at the impoundment.
New Melones - Light interest among boaters, but the shoreline gets a fair number of anglers who toss Power Bait behind a 24-inch leader or toss lures such as Kastmaster, CD-5 Rapala and Panther Martin. The top locations appear to be the Highway 49 bridge, Angels Cove, Glory Hole Cove and Tuttletown, where the Department of Fish and Game has released loads of 12-inch rainbows most every week the past two months. Spotted bass are found in the backs of coves and off the main points, wherever schools of threadfin shad congregate. Find the bait and hook the bass.