The wait continues for the fall striped bass run to materialize. Downstreamers do make the occasional showing at the Isleton bridge and other locations on the Old Sacramento River. But stripers coming into the system from the salty bays seemed to have stalled near Antioch, where Tong Chang of the Outdoor Sportsman has claimed fish in the sub-legal to 3-pound bracket.
School-sized stripers are found at Broad Slough, the Antioch bridge, Chain Island and as far up as Decker Island, where shallow-running lures work best.
Largemouth bass are fairly numerous in the 1- to 2-pound bracket, but hooking a 5-pounder is a real feat. Flippin' jigs and Senkos gets the most action. King salmon are passing through the Delta in good numbers, especially for this early in the spawning run. A few are hooked weekly, up to 18 pounds, near Vieira's Resort on large spinners, reported guide Barry Canevaro of Isleton. The better bite for salmon is farther up the Sacramento River at Miller and Discovery parks. Warning: Salmon fishing is not permitted on the Mokelumne River.
Catfish and bluegill round out the fare. Sturgeon are zip.
Ocean - Wind permitting, angling for king salmon is good and improving for private craft and charters outside the Golden Gate. Kings in the 24- to 25-inch bracket, occasionally to 22 pounds, are south of the gate at Mussel Rock and Linda Mar. Larger salmon, from the mid-teens to 34 pounds, are found in less quantity at Point Bonita, Duxbury, Muir Beach and Point Reyes. When the ocean permits, two-fish limits are the norm. The migratory push through the gate and into the Sacramento River system is on! The bite is lessening at Monterey Bay and off-and-on at Bodega Bay, where the wind has been a real problem. Rockfishing is good up and down the coast, but anglers are concentrating more on salmon.
Bays - Slower tides this week spark an otherwise mediocre halibut fishing season at Paradise, Angel Island and Crissy Field. King salmon fishing is at California City near Tiburon, but only at the top and change of the incoming tide. Kings to 35 pounds have been hooked this week. Striped bass fishing slows with the ides, but linesides are thick on the rock piles and along the Marin shoreline.
Slow trolling upriver at 1.2 miles per hour with a Kwikfish and sardine wrapper fools the occasional king salmon to 18 pounds between the mouth of the Yuba River and the Oroville Afterbay Outlet on the Feather River. Caution: Salmon fishing is not permitted within 1,000 feet of the outlet hole. Stockton guide Dave Mierkey is hooking up to a dozen kings per day on the Sacramento River, boon-doggling roe at Hamilton City. Lures and a spinner worked off three-way swivels produce from the mouth of the American River up to Chico. At Balls Ferry, guide Bill Quinn of Shingletown is taking consistent catches of salmon on Kwikfish and roe. Most salmon weigh 7 to 20 pounds, with the larger fish sprinkled in. The run usually peaks in early October. The Trinity River "springer" season is over, but the fall king salmon run is just beginning at Douglas City. The season looks even more promising because the Hoopa tribe has outlawed commercial fishing, allowing more salmon to make it upriver to spawn.
The most consistent bite for large rainbows, 16 to 20 inches and up to 8 pounds, is Camanche, where trollers run 15 to 35 feet deep with wobblers, flies and night-crawlers. Some drift with Power Bait, about 60 pulls down, allowing the wind to push the boat. Spotted bass to 21/2 pounds seem willing. During midweek, Camanche is practically void of anglers. The second annual Derby Day, where anglers try for 10 tagged trout, including one worth $25,000, is set for Oct. 15. New Melones offers trout but mostly at night under submersible lights. Bob Hemphill scored a 71/2-pound largemouth on a Zoom worm. Kokanee are about done and require bouncing bottom with downrigger balls to hook. Don Pedro finds a mix of kokanee (their season runs longer at Don Pedro), reluctant king salmon and trout to 16 inches. Field scout William Heinselman said Hogan is slow with very short "boils" for feeding striped bass occurring early. Stripers run 3 pounds.