2008 Delta Fishing!
November 19, 2008
After the great sturgeon trip to Brannan a week ago, and slow tides this week, I decided to try a place very close to home that I haven’t tried before: Mossdale Crossing. This county ramp has a single lane ramp but plenty of parking.
After losing an hour or so of fishing time while poking through the upriver shallows, I wised up and headed downriver. It took me awhile to find a hole that seemed promising. When I finally anchored and tossed out some old lamprey pieces, the morning had warmed up nicely and I settled in for a few hours of fishing.
Ahhhhhh. This is the life! It became so sunny and warm that I shed my sweatshirt and long johns and fished as though it was summertime. The cold beer and country music didn’t hurt a bit.
I fished for a few hours, catching only a couple of small catfish. And that ain’t all bad – some days are so relaxing that it seems just fine if the big fish leave ya alone.
After a few hours of sunshine and no fish, and also almost no water movement whatsoever, I decided to reel in and head to the ramp. It had been a good day, including the exploration of a nearby section of the San Joaquin River. It’s a fact that stripers, sturgeon and even the rare salmon move upriver through here, but apparently none were interested in my offerings this day. And this week, that was just fine with me. Next week looks like another Brannan trip is in the works if the weather cooperates. Life is good.
My first trip to the Delta’s Grantline Canal
(Near Tracy, Ca.)
October 15, 2008
My fishing buddy, John, did real well last week fishing Grantline, while I did miserably on the San Joaquin River. The two locations are not that far apart, both a part of the Delta, and while I’ve fished the San Joaquin many times, I’ve never tried fishing Grantline. I asked ol’ John to guide me on a Grantline fishing trip, and he agreed. Thanks, John! Of course, he had to outfish me 2 to 1, with him getting the limit of two fish. He also caught the first fish of the day and the largest. Rules aboard my boat require that the captain gets the first and the largest, but my rules don’t mean much to ol’ John!
Grantline Canal is about a half hour from my home, and I was pleasantly surprised by the size and the willingness of the stripers. On much of the Delta, a fisherman must catch a bunch of shakers (stripers under the 18″ minimum) to catch a single keeper the size of these beauties. But we caught just one fish during the entire day that was too small to keep.
These stripers are likely fresh-run from the ocean, making their way to the spawning grounds upriver during this, the fall striper run. Most return to the ocean and may live to make several spawning runs to our fresh water.
We spent just five hours trolling for these fine stripers. We trolled Yozuri and “broken back” (hinged) Rebel lures. The water is quite shallow along the canal, the deepest being about 15 feet, much of it just 7′ to 9′.
With a day like this, I’ll likely be back to Grantline again – but then again, sturgeon are making their way up the Sacramento River, and I’ll surely be trying for my share!
Brannan Island Sturgeon Fishing
September 23-25, 2008
This week’s trip to Brannan Island State Park would change the scenery for me, if nothing more. And I was due for some bait slinging – just kicking back and waiting for the gentle nibble of a mighty sturgeon while listening to my Okie music on XM and downing a few cold, cheap beers. That’s about all I ask of life nowadays. After the busy-ness of trolling all summer, it felt great to stretchy back and hurl that nasty old lamprey out over the transom and let it sink to the river bottom. I’d had that stuff in Wifey’s freezer for about five months, just waiting for autumn Delta fishing.
I made this week’s trip a three day affair. I hooked the little Klamath to the motorhome for the first time and towed it to Brannan where I rented a dry camp site, a berth and use of the ramp – for just $45. But you have to be old and worn out like me for those cheap, senior rates. I spent a couple of nights aboard the coach with all the comforts of home including shower, microwave oven, big comfy bed and satellite TV. Life is good!
That’s how I like to rough it.
Tuesday was the day I drove over, so I got in just a couple or so hours of fishing. I cruised the short distance from the berth area at Brannan to Decker Island and anchored about mid-river, just off the shipping channel. The wind was non-existent and the afternoon was downright hot.
I was fine for a couple of hours as the flood tide moved upriver, away from the sun. The top gave me some shade. But when the tide turned and the boat swung about, I faced the sun without shade and it was just too hot to stay on the river. It didn’t take long for me to reel in and head to the berth for the night. Maybe the next day would be more productive.
The weather repeated itself on the second day, getting just too hot to sit facing the sun. Had there been even a slight breeze, I’d have fished ’til evening, but it was flat calm and hot. I fished only about seven hours the second day.
I had plans to meet my cousin for breakfast at Phillips Farms Restaurant (near I-5 and Hiway 12) on Thursday morning, so I was packed, hitched-up and on my way by 8:30 Thursday morning. I had no fish to show for my efforts this trip, but that’s how sturgeon fishing is. I will keep on trying!
The coach and the little Klamath in the Brannan ramp area parking lot as I prepare to head for home.
Also in October I posted a couple of sturgeon trips to the Delta to my old site with photos, but with the photos lost in the transfer of the site, there’s not much point in posting the trips.