The fall is arguably the best time to ply California
Delta waters in pursuit of stripers and sturgeon. We are
only a couple weeks into the fall and the fishing is
very good. As a result, angler expectations are running
high as they look forward to super productive fishing
between now and the beginning of winter.
“Striper fishing is red hot these days,” disclosed
Captain Barry Canevaro of
Hookers Sportfishing. “Trolling has been the best
method, but I’ve been getting some positive reports from
guys fishing with shad and bullheads down in the upper
part of Suisun Bay. I’ve pulled the Fish ‘N’ Fool IV out
of Richmond and I’m now ready to begin targeting
stripers and sturgeon out of the Pittsburg Marina.”
“Yesterday my anglers caught a total of 10 sturgeon
and 5 of them were keepers,” exclaimed Kevin Yost of
Lucky Strike Charters. “The keepers ranged from 48
to 66 inches. Recently, I’ve noticed that the largest
fish are hitting during the slack period of the tide.
Roe is still the hot bait.”
“Today we are anchored up in 54 feet of water and
things are going well. We’ve landed a couple shakers and
a 74 inch oversize fish so far. With the water
temperature dropping and the full moon behind us, I
think the sturgeon bite is going to get even better,”
According to Gene Buchholz at the Hook, Line and
Sinker, the surface temperature is 65 degrees in the
west delta and both black bass and stripers are
providing sport for trollers.
“Swimbaits are producing black bass and there has
been some good frog action, drop shotting and crankbait
fishing on tap too. In our last Hook, Line and Sinker
tournament, we weighed an 11 pounder, a 10 pounder and a
pair of 9’s. During the evening, stripers are hitting
surface lures,” said Buchholz.
Trophy caliber black bass are available in the East
Delta. To catch them, anglers have to employ proven big
fish baits and focus on slowing down their
presentations. The fishing is very good at this time,
but anglers that rely typical summertime tactics will
likely be disappointed.
“We had a pair of monsters over 10 pounds today,”
reported Randy Pringle of the Fishing Instructor Guide
Service on September 26. “One of the big fish fell for
Optima’s Furbit The Frog and the other one grabbed a
Optima wake bait. The fishing was just phenomenal today.
At one point we had a 3 pounder hooked the Optima wake
bait and a fish of about 8 pounds tried to take the bait
away from the smaller fish repeatedly.”
“The weather was cool last week and that means the
water temperature is down. This drop has caused the bass
to become somewhat lethargic. To catch them you’ve
really got to slow down your presentation. When working
the frog you want to twitch it a little and then let it
sit. With the wake bait a slow steady retrieve works
best,” tipped Pringle.
“When the wind comes up the spinnerbait bite should
come on strong,” he advised. “When the fish are not
responding to frogs and other reaction baits, we’ve been
getting them on E-Chip equipped Persuader jigs and while
flip shotting Berkley Chigger Craws. For guys that are
not familiar with flip shotting, you take a flipping
stick spooled with braid and add a 36 inch 20 pound
fluorocarbon leader to the end of it.”
A sinker is tied to the tip of the leader and a
Chigger Craw is rigged about a foot above the weight.
The rig is flipped near cover and action is added to the
Chigger Craw by shaking the rod tip, according to
During the recent cold snap, good striper action was
available to pluggers working Mildred Island. Since then
it has warmed up again and the striper bite has slowed.
Things are popping in the Rio Vista area. Stripers are
providing superb action for both trollers and bait
anglers. Sturgeon enthusiasts are catching solid numbers
of keepers while bait fishing between the power lines
and the mouth of Cache Slough.
“Striper fishing is great,” exclaimed Paul Cunningham
at Rio Vista Bait on September 26. “My customers are
getting both schoolie size fish and trophy size fish.
Recently we’ve seen fish weighed in at 30, 24 and 21
pounds. Trollers are catching their bass while pulling
shallow running Bombers, while bait anglers are having
the best luck while fishing with shad.”
“Sturgeon fishing has been pretty good too. Today for
example we’ve weighed in 3 keepers. Grass shrimp is the
hot bait for sturgeon, in fact all the keepers we’ve
weighed in over the past two weeks have been taken on
grass shrimp,” added Cunningham.
Allison at Hap’s Bait reported that anglers are
picking up quite a few stripers while fishing at several
different locations. “Some of the stripers are small,
but we’ve seen some big fish up to 18 pounds showing
too. Both anglers trolling lures and bait fishing with
shad have been picking up stripers. A few salmon have
been hooked by trollers working out of Vierra’s over the
past week or so too,” said Allison.