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Alan Fong
Fisherman's Warehouse
(916) 362-1200
Email  fishfong@aol.com

Spring:  Striped Bass

When the pear trees along the Sacramento River start to blossom, I know it is time for the spring Striper run to start. The weather starts to warm up in the 70ís and the Sacramento River starts to drop to itís normal level. The river starts to get clearer as each day passes. The Stripers will start to make their migration to their spawning grounds.

The male Stripers will start up the river system first. The average size of these males are two to ten pounds. Large groups of these males will make their way up the river feeding very heavily. A couple of weeks later, the females will make their way up the Sacramento river following the males. The females will range between five to fifteen pounds with some getting over thirty pounds.

The Stripers will feed on natural live bait such as shad, crawdads, steelhead trout, splitail minnows, pile worms and bluegills. They also feed on dead baits such as cut sardines, anchovies and shad. The Stripers will eat anything they can get their mouth around.

The best way to catch these Stripers is to anchor your boat on a sand bar in about ten to twenty feet of water. On the outgoing tide the Stripers will feed on the top of the sand bars. Sardines and pile worms are probably the best producers. Filet the sardine and fold it so you have meat on both sides. Use about a 4/0 octopus hook and a sliding sinker. Depending on the current, it will probably take two to four ounces of weight to hold you on the bottom. A sliding sinker set up will catch you a lot more fish because the fish wonít feel you on the other end of the line. If you want to catch a Striper of a life time use a Sacramento Squaw fish. Use a two hook harness set up and steel leader or thirty pound test leader. When the Striper takes the bait let it run, it will stop then take off again. Set the hook as hard as you can and hold on for the fight of your life.

I recommend a 7ft medium rod with a line rating of 10-20# line. A reel that holds at least two hundred yards of 20# test line will work fine. When bait fishing I balance my fishing rod on a beam that goes across the boat. Your rod tip should be pointing at about eleven oíclock. When the rod levels out straight set the hook! This will let the Striper run with the bait without feeling any pressure on the line.

Trolling with Rebels or Bombers also works very well. Put a plastic worm on the back hook for more action. Trolling seems to work better when the water clears up. You will also catch bigger fish trolling.

During the months of April and May, most of the Stripers will have made their way to their spawning grounds. Colusa is where most of the Stripers will spawn. The Stripers spawn on top of the water, a lot of times when you catch a female, the male will follow her right into your net. This happens quite often when they are getting ready to spawn.

After the Stripers spawn, they will head back to the ocean. During the months of June and July the Stripers chase the anchovies on the beaches. One of the best beach to fish is Pacifica down south of the Golden Gate bridge. Free lining live anchovies in five feet of water for Stripers is an experience you have to try.

The whole cycle starts all over again with the Stripers : August, September and October the Stripers will stay in the bay. November, December and January the Stripers will move into the Delta system in huge numbers to feed and get ready to make their spawning migration.

Good Luck! Remember to keep only what you can eat and release the rest to catch another day!

      Good Luck,     Alan Fong

         Practice catch and release!

You can contact "Alan":  Email  fishfong@aol.com or at:

Fisherman's Warehouse
9035 Folsom Blvd.
Sacramento, Ca
(916) 362-1200



Check out some of "Alan Fong's" other articles:


 1. Alan's Tip On Fall Delta Striper Fishing

 2. California Delta Large Mouth

 3. Using Fish Finder 

 4. Spring Run Striper

 5. Springtime Delta Bass

 6. Springtime Shad

 7. Frogging For Bass

 8.Delta Summer Fishing

9.Vertical Spooning For SALMON


11.Night Fishing For Salmon