Dense schools of striped bass are forging into the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, the start of the spring run. In fact, some female stripers are close to spawning and males are milting. Trolling for striper broke wide open on March 2 and sustained its vigorous activity through Sunday, before the heavy rains hit. The muddy rivers have prevented trollers from doing much and it might be until next week when the water stabilizes.
Mark Wilson of Sacramento, fish master for the Isleton Chapter of California Striped Bass Association said, “The first bass always spawn by mid-March. You can count on it.”
He hosted Justin Wolf of the television series Angler West, where they filmed a 100-fish day last week. Some bass were in the 15- to 17-inch range, others measured 20 to 24 inches and the largest weighed 6 to 10 pounds. Wilson said bass willing struck both deep and shallow running lures on the Sacramento River at Horseshoe Bend, Old Dairy, West Bank and Clyde’s Shoals. On the San Joaquin River the schools were spread from Three Mile Slough to Eddo’s, as well as the cuts to flooded Mildred Island.
Before the storms water temperature was 57 degrees. Black bass were also stirring before the rivers turned muddy and brown. A 9 ½-
pounder was caught and released on a drop-shot plastic in Fourteen Mile Slough. Most largemouth weigh 2-4 pounds but increased numbers of 5 pounders and larger are in the mix.
Incidentally, Randy Pringle, “the fishing instructor,” will discuss five ways to hook striped bass at 7 p.m. today at the California Striped bass Association’s monthly meeting at the Veterans Memorial Building on St. Francis Way in Rio Vista. Meeting is open to the public. Fee admission. Information: (916) 777-6498.
Ocean – High surf, rough seas curtail crab pot pulling from Point Arena to Monterey Bay. Some charters offer combination trip combining crabs with angling for sand dabs or mackerel. Call around for the best deal. Recreational crab limits have been expanded ro 10 per day this year. Commercial crabbing remains closed in California.
San Francisco Bay – Halibut have begun to run inside the bay, witnessed by a whopping 30-pounder claimed by the six-pack charter, Argo, in lower San Pablo Bay this week. Capt. Craig Hanson said halibut are found from Berkeley Flats to San Pablo Bay, with trollers hitting them with frozen anchovies or live shiner minnows. Jim Smith of the Happy Hooker is running combo trips: crab pots outside the gate and fishing for striped bass and sturgeon inside the bay, a good value. Sturgeon fishing is just getting going with the end of the herring spawn, Find a minus tide and try the outgoing current, reported Keith Fraser at Loch Lomond Live Bait in San Rafael.
Amador – Impoundment is full to the brim with murky water. Large rainbow trout planted weekly by the Lockhart Family, concessionaires at this popular “big fish” destination.
Camanche – Receiving increased flows from upstream Pardee Dam. Toplining with Speedy Shiners is a popular way to fish. Black bass fishing is good and improving with spinner baits, crank baits and soft plastics. Crappie fishing is very good with live minnows.
Don Pedro – Water is rising nicely and soon the concrete ramps will be operational. Meanwhile, black bass chasers do well with live minnows, Senkos and spinner baits. Trout fishing is really slow.
Los Vaqueros – Beat goes on for shoreline anglers on the south side, where trout are stocked weekly. Those who rent a boat (they’re half price Tuesday-Thursday) do well with single Rapalas. They hook both trout to 5 pounds and striped bass to 22 inches, a fun combination trip.
New Melones – By the end of this week the concrete boat ramp and courtesy docks should be afloat at Glory Hole Point, reported field scout Melanie Lewis. Water is filling fast and prompting a real good crappie and black bass bite. Sunday’s Sonora Bass Angler’s event drew 22 teams that posted 16 limits. Winners were the mother-son team of Justin and Carol Rose who boasted a five-fish, 24.80-pound sack. Crank baits, spinner baits and soft plastics like Senko and tube baits do well, often without any weight. Trout fishing is real pokey. Some larger channel catfish are hooked in the afternoons when the water is warmest.
Pardee – Reopens at 5 a.m., Friday for fishing and camping after an unprecedented eight-month closure to remodel the seasonal RV park. Department of Fish and Wildlife will stock trout this week prior to opening day. However, larger trout from private hatcheries will not be planted, according to concessionaire Kerry Cooper. Water level is 92 percent full, off-colored.