Three Days on the Delta For Two Old Geezers – and Three Skunks!

Another Grand Adventure with my Old High School Buddy, Al! 

Oct 16-18, 2012

Day 1, Tuesday

I have been looking forward to this day for a long time. My old high school buddy, Al, would drive down from Oregon and meet me at Delta Marina in Rio Vista, Kalifornistan, for three days of salmon fishing. Rio Vista is on the Sacramento River, smack dab in the middle of my beloved Delta.

I cleaned up the coach and the boat the day before, and hooked ‘em up the morning of Day 1, then loaded both for the salmon adventure. I drove our new coach to the marina with the boat in tow, launched the boat and tied it to the dock. I then parked the coach and set it up for a few days for Al and me.

Al and I pose at the coach between fishing trips out on the Delta.

We began fishing just above the Rio Vista Bridge a few minutes before noon, and trolled up the Old Sac to the Isleton Bridge before turning around and trolling back. We trolled for four and a half hours, and didn’t have a bite. The day was warm, too warm for an October afternoon. At 1630 we reeled in and called it a day. After we got to the dock, we walked up to the coach and relaxed a bit before driving to town for dinner.

We ate at the locally famous Foster’s Big Horn Restaurant. Its walls are covered with critters that the original owner hunted many years ago. Most, if not all, of the trophies are from Africa and include everything from a huge bull elephant to a small Dik-dik and dozens in between. With all those tortured eyes staring down on us, we were compelled to order something other than meat, and decided on their very good fish and chips.

FishWisher waits at the Delta Marina dock for our next try for salmon.

We returned to the coach and relaxed watching Dancing With the Stars. Al loved it; I tolerated it. I hoped there’d be some MMA on the next night, something more to my taste. We both chose to miss the presidential debate.

I hit the sack by 2100, Al about 2200. I had the bedroom and Al had the fold down couch in the front of the coach. It was a quiet, restful night and I really needed the sleep after the long day.

Day 2, Wednesday

Al and I drove to town and had big breakfasts at The Striper Café where I often eat when on these fishing adventures. We then headed back to the marina and boarded the boat for another try for salmon. We trolled from about 0900 to 1630 for nary a bite. Again. It gets a bit tedious trolling for so many hours and having nothing to show for our efforts.

We reeled in plenty of weeds during our efforts. Perhaps this was some kind of record – ? Move along folks; there are no bragging rights here.

After a day of fishing we returned to the coach. We cleaned up, then headed to the nearby town of Isleton for dinner. We ate at Pineapple, a Chinese restaurant that served a bodacious amount of food, and it was quite good. It was my first visit to Isleton except for an occasional walk to Bob’s Bait Shop from Isleton’s city dock. I was impressed with Isleton’s old west charm; the buildings looked like they’d make a perfect backdrop for a western movie. With a bit of sprucing up, it would be a delightful little town. After dinner we returned to the coach and relaxed watching TV. This would be the last evening with Al, as he planned to head back to Oregon about noon on Thursday, so we had just one morning of fishing left.

Al doing some more weeding. Note the flat water. The weather was warm all three days.

We hit the sack around 2200 and slept well. We had only three hours left in which to get Al on a salmon…

Day 3, Thursday

We were out a bit early this last morning of the trip so that we could get at least three hours of fishing in before Al had to leave for home. We drove into town and had breakfast at The Striper again, and were on the water and fishing by 0800. We began the troll as usual, beginning at the Rio Vista Bridge. We trolled deeper this day, hoping that might help. We chugged clear up to the ferry crossing, then up the Old Sac and back towards the Rio Vista Bridge where we began. At 1045 the grass was so bad near the bridge that we reeled in a few minutes before 1100, and headed back to the dock. Al gathered his belongings, we bid our farewells, and Al hit the road for home.

Gee, I’d love to post a photo of us holding some beautiful salmon here, but alas, here’s another photo of the boat at the dock. Ho-hum. 

I went back to the boat after lunching on Al’s leftovers from the Chinese dinner of the night before. I trolled the Rio Vista Bridge area again, but gave up due to the weeds in the water. I cruised up to the mouth of the Old Sac and began trolling once again. I trolled well beyond the Isleton Bridge, turned around and trolled ‘til I was near Isleton. By that time it was 1700 and I was done for the day. Heck, I was done salmon fishing for the year! I’d had it. This was a very frustrating three days of trying our best, only to be skunked every day.

I whiled away part of the evening in the coach working on photos and this travelogue. It was good to settle back and record this trip, the frustration notwithstanding. I considered going to The Point Restaurant nearby, as I hadn’t brought food for dining aboard. But I did find a couple of cans of soup and some crackers, so settled for that. Somehow, after the poor fishing of this trip, soup and crackers seemed a fitting meal.

Day 4, Friday

I was up well before daybreak, wanting to get an early start on loading the boat. It’s a pretty big deal to get the boat loaded considering the ramp set up at the marina. After preparing the coach for the trip home, including some housekeeping, pulling in the slide, raising the jacks, etc., I got the empty trailer hooked to the coach, backed down the ramp and loaded the boat. I was heading home before 0800.

Friday morning dawned windy (note flags) and overcast. But we were done trying for salmon. Here I have loaded the boat on the trailer and I’m ready to head for home with an empty fish casket and no bragging rights. But who can complain about three days on the Delta?! 

It’s hard to apply lipstick to this pig-of-a-fishing-trip we looked forward to with such anticipation. But two old geezers getting together to chase salmon for a few days, having been friends since high school back in the 50’s, really was enjoyment enough. Neither of us likes to get skunked, and lord knows Al will never let me forget this trip, but it was a pleasant get together nonetheless.

We still have memories of last year’s adventure on Oregon’s Wallowa Lake where we actually caught lots of trout! That story is here: 

We also have memories of Al’s big sturgeon back in ’05. The very bloody yet funny story is here:

My next scheduled trip will be in November when my son, Dean, flies up from San Diego and meets me at Delta Marina for a few days of sturgeon fishing. We met about three years ago for such a trip, and we got Dean onto his first sturgeon. Now we can try for his second, and I’m looking forward to it!

Dean’s sturgeon story back in’09:

About FishWisher

Over the years I have posted many exciting fishing and boating stories here, but now in my seventies, it was time to sell the boat and find less demanding pastimes. All the fishing stories are still here! I will now post my travels aboard the motorhome and other activities. I hope y'all will still enjoy the fishing and boating adventures and perhaps peek in on my post-boating activities on occasion. Thanks for dropping in and I hope you enjoy your visit.
This entry was posted in Fishin' with ol' buddy Al, Fishing Humble Files, Fishing Salmon. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Three Days on the Delta For Two Old Geezers – and Three Skunks!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Here you are on Thursday. I was also skunked and the only fish I saw was in the sea lion’s mouth. For all the talk about so many salmon this year I only caught one the week before. I will try a few more times though.
    Nice story

    • FishWisher says:

      Thanks for the video, Anonymous. I remember our passing and waving at you and saw your camera. I figured it was a still camera, but glad to see the nice video of our day on the water. Damn fur bags. I wish we had an open season on them! Thanks for the visit.,

  2. …So the question goes unanswered, “where’d ALL the Salmon go”.
    I am a very friendly guy on the river and I have spoken to probably 100 fishermen who caught ZZip and not one could / would answer that question. But the obvious answer is ,
    1) “they swam quick to the cold water around Redding”
    2) “they are still in the Ocean”
    3) “The reports of Massive Salmon run were fabricated”
    a) Why fabricate a Big Fish story ?,
    The best Salmon Slayer I ever met said’ ” When the Fisherman doesn’t catch a fish he buys a new lure”.
    I’d like to add we will also drive to Klamath, rent rooms in Garberville, rent a guide, etc etc.
    …and thats why I have suspended relying on any report accept those posted by actual fisher folks.
    So Thank You very much for the report.

  3. FishWisher says:

    Bob, Thanks for the visit. I’ve heard many folks lament the “pro” fishing reports. When the fish aren’t there, it’s kinda hard to pretend they are. A few caught fish those days we were fishing, one boat claimed two. We saw just one actually netted during the whole three days. You posted a great comment. Thanks.

  4. FishWisher says:

    unkletone – Thanks for the visit. You have the key to success; just keep trying! For me, I guess my salmon trolling is over for the year and maybe I’ll do better with the sturgeon. Looking forward to some cool down as it’s been a very mild autumn.

  5. John Baldwin MD, FACS, Major, US Army says:

    Dale: August, September, October: Our group put two boats on the water for a total of 9 days out of Vieira’s, each boat fishing three rods for every bit of 8 hours a day. That is 2 x 9 x 3 x 8 = 432 “rod hours” by experienced fisherman. So….where did they go? I think they NEVER WERE.
    Your buddy, Dr. John Baldwin of Twain Harte

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