Striped bass are arriving daily on their migratory spring run but finding a school can be tricky thanks to heavy runoff and murky water. As early as March 2 some sport anglers were able to catch and release upwards to 100 stripers in a day, trolling shallow and deep running lures such as Rat-L Trap, Rebel, Yo-Zuri and P-Line.
This week the most precocious bass are spawning, though many of the females still hold small eggs, many weeks from reproduction.
Stripers vary in size from sub-legal 14 to 17 inchers and modest-sized keepers, 18 to 24 inches. The larger fish go 5 to 10 pounds. It’s a matter of hooking and culling.
“There is way too much water and it’s very muddy,” said Barry Canevaro of Fish Hookers Sport Fishing in Isleton. “Hopefully conditions will clear and be right for stripers about April 1. That’s my favorite time of the year, especially trolling at the Isleton Bridge.”
Currently sturgeon provide the better option for anglers, though the large prehistoric fish haven’t been too cooperative. “I’d call it a 50-50 proposition,” Canevaro said. “Things are perfect for sturgeon but catching them has been tough.”
Some of the best chances of striped bass and black bass are found inside Mildred Island, Fourteen Mile Slough and Grant Line Canal, where the water is not as dirty.
Ocean — If you put stock in rumors, recreational salmon fishing season could open April 2. Expectations are for a shorter season with reduced limits, with commercial fishermen taking the biggest hit. Forecasters expect less than half the normal number of adult king salmon off the California Coast, so be forewarned. Crab pot pulling has been shelved because of rough seas and wild surf.
San Pablo Bay — Rough weather most of last week but sun and no rain encouraged sturgeon fishermen to get out on Monday. Kevin Wolfe at Loch Lomond Live Bait in San Rafael reported a massive over-sized sturgeon was hooked at the mouth of the Petaluma River and another monster, estimated at close to 8 feet in length was caught at McNear’s Pier. Boaters on the anchor found 40- to 6-inch sturgeon off China Camp, dunking shrimp baits. There is so much fresh water runoff the bay is more fresh than salt just now, a good sign.
Amador — Lake is brim full and spilling. The current has turned on trout, some up to 6 pounds, for bank anglers. Off the dam folks cast crappie jigs and Kastmasters, or Power Bait and nightcrawlers, floated off the bottom with a three-foot leader. Water is too cold for effective trolling. Some large crappie are showing, gobbling jigs and live minnows.
Camanche — Water rises 11 feet the past month and starting to fill the Couth Cove, that has been dry for months. Boat ramps are operational at both marinas. A major 3,600-pound trout plant is scheduled this week, equally split between the north and south shore, and Trout Pond. Trolling is decent along the dam and Hat Island with fast speeds to 3.2 miles per hour with a wobbling lure for terminal tackle. Some limits.
Don Pedro — Water is rising one foot per day and the boat launching ramp at Blue Oaks is operating. There is a 5 miles-per-hour speed limit between School House and Fleming Point. Trout fishing remains slow. Most anglers target spotted bass and the occasional whopper-sized largemouth. There’s a lot of debris on top.
Los Vaqueros — Reservoir holds steady with plenty of clear water and good trout fishing. Another 1,000 pounds of Mount Lassen trout was released this week. Shoreline trout fishing is good at South Cove, Oak Point and Cowboy Cove, primarily with floating baits. A 10-pound rainbow was caught recently. Most trout run 1 1/2 pounds. Striped bass are active, too, but most don’t reach the minimum 18-inch size. The exception was a 14.08-pound striper caught on sardines this week at South Cove.
New Melones — Up 8 feet the past week with water reaching the base of the concrete ramp at Glory Hole Point. The launch should be useable by the end of the week. Meanwhile, boats put in off the gravel road. Channel catfish to 7 1/2 pounds and crappie to 2 1/4 pounds top the charts this week with the bite improving for both. Spotted bass are in a re-spawn mode and willing to his plastics, Senkos and tube baits. Trout seem inactive.
Pardee — Slow opener on March 11 due to unprecedented, though much need rainfall. Some catchable trout were logged thanks to a Department of Fish and Wildlife plant. No additional plants scheduled this week. Lake is close to full with some debris. Refurbished, full service marina is operating.