Fall 2015/Spring 2016 Delta Fishing Report

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The Delta Fishing Report is updated in-season every Monday night (or at least sometime that week!).
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October 5, 2015

Potato Slough, False River, San Joaquin, Frank's Tract. Little Connection Slough, Little Potato Slough, Mokelumne River

Water Temp: 71

Visibility: 2-6 feet
Stripers Fishing is excellent. We're not talking big fish here but we're talking a lot of them. Fish are slowly moving up into the delta from the west with smaller fish found well up to the mouth of Middle River and reports of fish to be found at Mildred and the surrounding sloughs. Schools of larger fish can be found on the San Joaquin downriver from the mouth of Three Mile Slough. Fish are working both tides with some topwater action.

LMB Fishing is excellent. Here it is October and water temperaturesare still above the magic 70 degrees. Working the rock walls and the tule shallows with poppers and gurglers in the early mornings and late in the afternoons can be extremely rewarding with as many as 50 fish per rod. An added bonus is that a few stripers are bound to be in the mix, some well into the 20 inch range.
Stripers topwater. It can happen any time but early mornings and late afternoons are best for topwater action. During the day, watch for bird action as an indicator of blitzing stripers. A 7 or 8 weight rigged with a two over floating line with a gurgler or crease fly on the end will bring lots of hookups. Longer casts produce more strikes. Keep stripping until you feel the weight of the fish.

Stripers subsurface. It's all in a proper strip. For some people it's hard to break that woolly bugger strip and go to something more aggressive but that's what stripers like. Cast, count down, then mix up a series of good 14-16 inch snappy strips with a pause now and again. You can't strip too fast. Most of the grabs will be on the pause or when the fly goes from the horizontal to the vertical close to the boat..

LMB topwater. Flip flop poppers, gurglers, crease flies, all produce strikes. If I were to choose a color, it would be a medium green but truthfully, the fish are not that choosy with presentation being as important as the fly. Try to slow the boat down to be able to cast a straight line to the rocks. A short rest and then chug the fly out to the weed line. Rest it again. Your rod tip should be IN THE WATER during the stripping since it makes a big difference in whether the fly will stop, or drift because of line sag.
September 28, 2015

Potato Slough, False River, San Joaquin, Frank's Tract. Little Connection Slough, Little Potato Slough, Mokelumne River

Water Temp: 73

Visibility: 2-6 feet
Stripers - Fishing is good. (For small fish) Although not in the numbers they were earlier in the year, most of the major channels hold a good number of small stripers in the 12 16 inch range. The fish are working the tides, both incoming and outgoing and can be found close to the rock walls working topwater, early and late in the day. Larger fish in the 16-20 inch range are being caught in numbers from below Eddo's along the weed lines, all the way to Broad Slough.

LMB - Fishing is excellent. The overcast days along with the still warm water, are perfect conditions for topwater action. These guys can be found along almost any rock wall or shallow water, (less than 3 feet) along tule islands.
Stripers - topwater. Work the rock walls early and late with Pole Dancers, gurglers, crease flies, even bass poppers for lots of fun with smaller fish.
The action is almost all day long with peek periods in the early morning and late afternoons.. Try to maintain a straight line, all the way to the shore and don't lift until you feel the weight of the fish.

Stripers - Subsurface. Work current lines and points for maximum action. Make sure you count your fly down to within a foot or two of the bottom for maximum number of grabs. Most fish are small but you may luck out for a four to vive pound fish.

LMB topwater. For maximum action, work the rock walls, especially near the top of the tides to avoid hanging up in the weeds. The troughs between the rocks and weed lines hold more fish at these times as well. Slower action but bigger fish can be found in theshallows on tule islands. Almost any topwater fly works but if I had to pick, I'd take an smaller olive green popper with some chrome flashabou in the tail. Rest the fly before starting your retrieve. Lots of grabs after the fly has sat still well over ten seconds. Fish are following the fly a long ways as well and will hit close to the boat.
  No report this week. I spent the whole week in New York City visiting my granddaughter. Being a tourist is much more tiring than fishing!!!
You can't catch anything sitting on that couch. Get out there and toss a line!
September 12, 2015

Potato Slough, San Joaquin River, Mokelumne River, False River, Franks' Tract, Dutch Slough

Water temp: 76

Visibility: 2-6 feet

Stripers - Fishing is good. That is, if you don't mind catching small fish. They are almost everywhere in the main channels and even can be found in the inner delta. I've had reports of one or two five to seven pound fish caught almost as incidental catch but nothing to get excited about yet.

LMB - Fishing is good. Top water action both mornings and afternoons have been extremely productive for fish from about six inches to four pounds. A mixture of stripers taking the fly is a bonus most days.

Note: This report is two days early, posted Saturday night rather than Monday since I'll be out of town all next week.
Stripers -topwater. Schools of small stripers are starting to work some shad boils, even during mid day. Watch for  birds as a key in finding these schools. Working the walls in the evening has also been productive, sometimes the action is non stop until dark.

Stripers - subsurface. You can find schools along the main San Joaquin, False River and the mouths to most sloughs. Most are in the 12-14 inch range with a  few just sublegal fish thrown in. T-14 and smaller Clousers do the work.

LMB topwater. While some areas fish better than others, almost any rock wall will yield fish from six inches to 4 pounds when the bite is on. Morning and evening low light conditions produce the best results. Medium sized olive poppers with some chrome flashabou in the tail seem to produce the most strikes.
September 6, 2015

Potato Slough, San Joaquin River, Mokelumne River, False River, Franks' Tract

Water temp: 74

Visibility: 2-4 feet
Stripers - Fishing is good. lots of little fish in the system but very hard finding anything that can pull line. Fish are along the rock banks. Look for egrets at the water line and you'll probably find stripers below. The bigger fish are probably waiting for water temperatures to drop before moving up in the system. This time last year the water was three degrees colder than now. Still, catching and releasing a bunch of juveniles is a good tune up for what's to come.

LMB - Fishing is very good. As long as there's enough water between the weed beds and the rock walls, with the added conditions of low light, mornings or afternoons, the fish are turned on and aggressively hitting topwater poppers and sliders. Very low tides make fishing a little more difficult since the fish move away from the shallow water but it's still possible to boat over a dozen fish, some with size, in less than two hours time.
Stripers topwater. Not much has started yet on a regular basis. I have been picking up some stripers as incidental catches when fishing LMB. Everything is small right now though.

Stripers subsurface. Nothing new in presentation or flies. Puglisi flies and small Clousers pulled behind some T-14 with a fairly aggressive strip will produce fish.

LMB topwater. Smaller poppers in green will produce both big and small bass. Cast as close to the rocks as possible. Work the more open water,, the weed growth is now so dense, nothing could swim in it.
August 31, 2015

False River, San Joaquin River, Middle River, Franks Tract, Mokelumne River

Water temp: 74

Visibility: 2-4 feet
Stripers - Fishing is good. More of the same. Small fish can be found in numbers throughout the system. Smaller pods of larger fish, to five pounds  are occasionally mixed in. 25 fish per rod or more on a tide change is about average for practiced delta dogs. Fish are gathering around points where major current flow takes place, moving large amount of bait. Some top action has been reported in the early morning, low light hours, but again, smaller fish.

LMB - Fishing is good. Strictly topwater. Work the rock walls and tule shallows for lots of grabs in the early morning and late afternoon hours. Most of the fish are under two pounds with an occasional five to six pounder committing. Small stripers are also in the mix.

I still have lots of open September dates for those that want to try their hand for this hard fighting species. It's especially fun to take people out who have never fished for anything but trout. They are amazed at how hard even a two pound fish can pull.
Stripers topwater - You can't catch them topwater if you don't try. While not an all day thing, it can be extremely rewarding to try some shallow (5 feet or less) topwater presentations for Mr. Striper. Most of the fish this time of year are undersized but even these fish seem to put out a little more effort if you can get them to come to the fly. White or yellow gurglers and sliders can bring success as well as the commercial Pole Dancers. Vary retrieves, try both super splashy and slow, smooth retrieves. Both will generate some fierce strikes.

Stripers subsurface. T-14 lines and 2/0 to 3/0 Clousers in Chartreuse over white or black over white are always winners. If you want to try something different, try a Puglesi style fly in shad or bluegill colors..

LMB topwater. While the bite window in the mornings and afternoons varies from day to day, sometimes lasting four or more hours and sometimes as short as 45 minutes, these fish are just too much fun to ignore. The sight of a two pound plus largemouth going vertical on a well presented popper is one of the apex moments in the sport of fly fishing. Foam head poppers in yellow though black and the same in gurglers will bring fish to the top on a regular basis.
August 24, 2015

False /River, San Joaquin River, Middle River

Water temp: 76

Visibility:2-4 feet
Stripers- Fishing is good. Lots of small fish in the system. You can expect to boat about 20 fish per rod in a tide change, with fish up to the five pound range. Fish can be found at almost any major current intersection. fewer along long current lines.

LMB- Fishing is good. It's an early morning or a late afternoon thing and can vary greatly. Some days you might get a grab on almost any cast. Other days you'll swear there's not a fish in the system. Cloudy skies and a slight chop on the water really improve your chances.
Stripers- I haven't tried any topwater yet but will on my next outing. Lots of fish though on the major intersections of rivers and sloughs in 6 to 15 feet of water. Standard chartreuse over white Clouser works just fine.

LMB - Topwater is all I throw so get those poppers, gurglers and sliders out. Mix up presentations until you find what works that day. I do like the bright day/ bright fly, dark day/dark fly logic.