California Delta Waters - Striper Bass Fishing

Discussion in 'Trip Reports with Pics' started by Jason Decker, Nov 29, 2006.

  1. Jason Decker Active Member

    Posts: 2,626
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    I just returned from an extended trip down south to visit my wife's side of the family down in
    the east bay (Oakland area) of cali. :rolleyes: I was able to swing one day of fishing with my wife in exchange
    for the longer trip.

    As luck would have it, Windtickler also happened to be down in the area staying only about 10 miles from me. ptyd
    So we did some online Google action mixed up with a few calls to some local fly shops
    and found a great guide, Kevin Doran to take us Striper Bass fishing in the East Bay Delta.

    Here are the links for you to check out:

    Here is a good description from the guide's site: :ray1:

    "The Delta is a huge estuary environment fed by the waters of the mighty Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers.
    This forms one of the largest estuaries on the West Coast of the Americas.
    The Delta is easily accessed from outlying metropolitan areas within an hour or two drive.
    This vast estuary boasts over 1,000 miles of interconnected navigable waterways.
    These waterways consist of flooded islands (lakes), tributary rivers, peat islands, bays and sloughs."

    On Saturday, November 25th, we met up at 5:00AM and drove an hour to meet the guide in Stockton, CA.

    Speaking for both of us, this is some of the most unique, challenging and wonderful fly fishing we've ever done.

    Both of us were "striped bass virgins" until this trip! The guide provided a bunch of nice sage rods and reels, with varying
    line set-ups, rigged and ready to go, this was very nice since we flew to cali. He had a nice center console boat
    with a nice casting deck up front. This guy really knew his stuff and knew the delta water ways very well. By days
    end, we were 25+ miles out from our marina...... Even though it was sunny California, it was cold in the morning and evening, without the sun!

    These fish have a huge range in size. The smallest fish we caught was about 3 pounds and the largest was approx. 7lbs. Windtickler had 5 fish to hand
    and I one upped him with 6! Not bad but not hot either. Kevin says when it’s really on, they have 50 fish days. These are also fish of a thousand cast, just
    don’t forget to ad the strip-strip-strip! I think the name striper bass is more about the fishing technique then how they look! man my arm was sore at the end
    of the day! These fish are unbelievably strong, and are very unique on the rod. They are strong like steelhead, yet they don't run. They hold their ground and
    are deep fighters, only one jumped once. They just dive bomb down and try to rip your rod out of your hands. My biggest fish was so strong, I could barely get
    the rod tip out of the water, it was one of my favorite fish i've landed so far!

    The Delta Stripers do get quite a bit larger then our best fish, but as the guide said, unfortunately it's getting all too rare these days....... to get into the big boys.
    it was sad to see some of the man-made pollution wreck such havoc, old discarded boats just floating around, washer machine, tires, garbage, bottles, etc........
    it's like taking the Cedar River and blowing it up to the size of the Puget Sound.

    There were tons of bank fishers sitting with their bobber rods drinking beer all day, other boats zooming around,
    jet skis, water skiers and a range of anglers and duck hunters sitting out in their blinds as we fished closed by.
    I guess that made me the most nervous..... good thing we didn't wear our Seahawks hats!

    Anyways, in the AM, we top water fished 8wt rods using larger bass poppers. We cruised out about 15 miles and found a few
    small schoolies, nothing much. It was 60ft cast with tons of stripping...........cast and strip, cast and strip.......... We caught about
    5 fish in the am and as the sun rose high in the sky, we switched to shooting head sink tip lines with bait fish streamers and streaker
    style flies. The shooting head lead core tip line fishing was from anywhere from 3-4ft depth to 20ft depth depending on the delta channel we were in.
    The Delta channels ranged from narrow (cedar river sized) to big (lake sized)

    The afternoon was really slow so we covered a ton of water and moved around quite a bit. It was an off day with the tide effect and
    changing atmospheric pressure, plus the thanksgiving day boat traffic put the fish off the bite a bit.

    We saw a ton of neat wildlife - birds, raccoon families, coyotes, river otters and I even managed one nice largemouth bass in addition to our 11 stripers.

    At the end of the day we lucked into a nice school of larger fish and managed a few decent fish before some:mad: :mad: yahoo waked the water
    we were fishing; it was the worst low holing bastage I've ever witnessed! When Kevin told me he knew the guy and he was a fly fisher, I wanted
    to pirate his boat and give him some poetic justice! I sure hope some day he finds out how much he spoiled our shot at some more fish.:mad: :mad:

    The end of the day really allowed us to take in the magic of this special fishery which is truly a unique first class fly fishing destination worth your attention. :thumb:

    In the way off distance, Mt. Diablo was a visible point of reference as our guide zoomed us around this maze of waterways. The only way I can describe it is part salt water, with tide
    rising effects, navigable river ways, flat water lake style junctions and mangrove fishing you'd find in St. Thomas......... It's truly amazing! It was also great fishing with Windtickler as
    we have been fortunate to meet this year and share several fishing adventures, all local to the Seattle area until now. ptyd

    I only have a few pics from my camera to post right now, Windtickler is getting some more ready so we'll do another post on this thread.

    the first photo is sunrise. some nice fish. a funny zen-mingo jestful pose and windtickler with a bunch of nice fish. check out the waterski jump in
    last 2 photos. there were some cool rail slide ramps set up by the local waterski club. very interesting scenery!

    Anyways! I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving with your friends and family! Wassup with the snow!
    Ready for some winter steelies now!:beer2:

  2. windtickler Member

    Posts: 508
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    That's not a post, that's an article. Damn. I almost feel like I was there.
  3. Jason Decker Active Member

    Posts: 2,626
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    a few more pictures.....
    it was a cold morning, especially hauling ass on the delta
    a few more nice stripers we caught!

    can't wait to again!

  4. Zen Piscator Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.

    Posts: 3,076
    Missoula, MT
    Ratings: +13 / 0
    They are called Striped Bass, fyi.
  5. Jason Decker Active Member

    Posts: 2,626
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Merry Christmas Zen - thanks for the gradin zen! this is what happens when you're stuck in school while it's snowing outside...... when one goes fishin for striped bass in cali delta area, they say
    "i'm goin fishin for stripers" so you may have the dictionary down, but at the local fly shops it's stripers.

    I found this funny clip, when i saw this, made me think of you! it's pretty funny! specially since i know how you feel about yuppie scum! :clown: haha. keep the volume down!
  6. windtickler Member

    Posts: 508
    Ratings: +2 / 0

    Isn't that like saying 'bows are called rainbow trout? I'm missing something here, I'm sure.
    Ah, I get it, the title. Nevermind.
  7. Dylan D Member

    Posts: 323
    West Seattle
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Great report, thanks for sharing. Moving to Sac (or must it be Sacramento?) in 2 weeks, will do much exploring.
  8. Jason Decker Active Member

    Posts: 2,626
    Issaquah, WA
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    good luck with the move! there is good water around there and a few good fly shops from what I've heard.
  9. hatchetjack New Member

    Posts: 7
    North Bend, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    The Sacramento River in the Walnut Grove to Isleton areas are known Striper waters. Also all the smaller sloughs hold fish. Look into the San Joaguin River around the Stockton area also.

    Don't expect to wade for them. It's a boat fishery if you plan to fly fish them.

    I grew up in the San Joaquin Delta area and we fished Stripers year round. 40 pounders were not uncommon when I was a kid.

    Fall and winter is typically a good time to fish them which accounts for the number of bank anglers you encountered.

    When I go back to visit in the summer my son and I fish for the schoolies. 20 fish per hour is not unheard of.

    Unfortunately, pollution and farm run off has caused declines in the numbers.

    Nice to hear the word stripers again. Great pics.
  10. windtickler Member

    Posts: 508
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    I think all of the harvesters on the bank have more to do with the reduction than the run off. You should've seen them lining up for the night fishing as we left.
    Slot limits saved the stripers back east. Our guide says they are pushing for them there, but so far no luck.
    In the warmer months, it switches to a large mouth fishery. He showed us a photo of an 18# (no, Zen that is not a typo) large mouth, caught on a fly.
  11. SteelieD Non Member

    Posts: 1,001
    In a van down by the river
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Nice report! Can't believe I lived 5 minutes from the delta for 5 years, but wasn't a fisherman at the time!:beathead: The delta is a pretty cool place, thanks for sharing!

    Dylan D - you are moving to a great place - tons of world class fishing opportunities, though I can't believe you'd want to leave West Seattle!!! Check out Kiene' fly shop. It's the best!!
  12. Dylan D Member

    Posts: 323
    West Seattle
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I don't really want to leave, but had a great work opportunity I can't pass up. I'll have to make the best of it, used to live in San Fransisco and know there are some quality fisheries in the area, just need to get out and explore. Should be fun, though I'll miss WS.
  13. SteelieD Non Member

    Posts: 1,001
    In a van down by the river
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Dylan - Good luck man. I have family in Granite Bay, so I get do get down there. Stick around the board and let us know how it's going. Maybe we can fish when I am there visiting...
  14. John Hicks Owner and operator of Sea Run Pursuits

    Posts: 2,129
    Ratings: +180 / 1
    Andy, Not to burst your bubble but most people that actually fish for striped bass call them stripers.
  15. agent montana This Must be a sickness!! MARINATE!!!

    Posts: 562
    Groove City!
    Ratings: +15 / 0
    Being born and raised chasing them on the Eastern Shore of Maryland throughout the Chesapeake bay and up and down the East Coast...The fish that we are referring to is commonly known on both Coast as " Stripers" However you can also hear them referred to as "Rockfish" on the East Coast...:ray1: ...
  16. alpinetrout Banned or Parked

    Posts: 3,891
    Hiding in your closet
    Ratings: +68 / 0
    I think he was pointing out that "striper" is the short form, so to call them "striper bass" is kind of redundant.
  17. Ned the oldest old guy

    Posts: 43
    Issaquah WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Smartypants. Don't get so side tracked by words when we all know what you mean. If the meaning has been lost, then it's proper to clarify things. You all are smart enough to know this, so live and let live or go fishing if you've nothing better to do.

    It looks like you had some nice fishing on your trip. I wish I could have had this kind of opportunity during the holidays.
    I was busy getting my old knees overhauled. It's good to see you getting out and about.

    I also like the photos, I wandered through your photo galleries ......looks like you two have had some good adventures!
    IMHO, that's one of the better things fly fishing gives us ......... quality time with friends.

    Now Jason, how bout rowin your fat old man down the river, i just might even tip you if I get into some fish............ once i get my knees going again!