Fall 2015/Spring 2016 Delta Fishing Report

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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.
May 12, 2015

San Joaquin, Potato Slough

Water temp: 71

Visibility: 3-6 feet
Largemouth - Fishing is Excellent. I haven't been able to get out much because of the afternoon winds but the last two times the afternoons were unbelievable with well over 100 grabs per rod. All topwater of course.

Start about 4:30 in the afternoon and fish as close to dark as is safe for you to get back to the marina. Cloudy days allow for an earlier start time. Afternoon winds can be a problem. Check before heading to the water.
Largemouth - Topwater. Fish the walls from the rocks to the outside weed line with my flip flop poppers or another decent fly that won't sink after a few casts. If possible, pause at the end of your strip and wait as long as you can.

You may pick up a striper or two so be ready for bigger fish, use #20 tippet, for both the fish and the sometimes heavy cover you'll be casting into.
May 5, 2015

San Joaquin, Middle River, False River, North Fork Mokelumne, South Fork Mokelumne, Georgina Slough

Water temp: 71

Visibility: 3-6 feet
Stripers - Fishing is poor. I've covered a lot of water and we do pick up a fish now and again but with no real pattern. With the slowdown, I'm hanging up striper fishing for the spring and will concentrate on largemouth until early June.

Largemouth - Fair. No consistency yet in the mornings and I haven't given the evenings a try because of the afternoon winds.
Largemouth - Topwater. Smaller fish are coming to the fly willingly but the big boys and girls are harder to get to come and play. What was a great topwater bite early in the spring has fallen off. However, we're still way ahead of last year with water temperatures reaching the 70's almost three weeks early. I'm hoping for a great topwater end to the spring season.
April 27, 2015

San Joaquin, Middle River, False River, North Fork Mokelumne, South Fork Mokelumne, Georgina Slough

Water temp: 67-68

Visibility: 3-6 feet
Stripers - Fishing is good. Don't have time for much. Fish are where you find them in the system, from dinks to 15 pounds. Lots of blank water and then, bam, you' re on them. Cover lots of water to find fish. Check wind conditions before going out. Stripers - Topwater. Work at it and you'll get rewarded. Throw big stuff for big fish. Fish of up to 15 pounds have been reported taking topwater presentations.

Stripers - Subsurface Fish the shallow water in low light and move to the deeper water during the bright sun hours. Fish both tides. Vary your strip. and you can'strip too fast but don't forget to throw in those necessary and deadly pauses.
April 6, 2015

San Joaquin, Middle River, False River, North Fork Mokelumne, South Fork Mokelumne, Georgina Slough

Water temp: 62-64

Visibility: 3-6 feet
Stripers - Fair to good. A week's worth of wild weather produced very different results, day to day. Fish are scattered and you have to cover a lot of water for any success. A good thing occurring is that fish are showing up on The San Joaquin and offshoot sloughs in greater numbers than past weeks. The water conditions have improved as well with the water much less turbid than a week ago.

I have reports of large schools of stripes up the south fork of the Mokelumne, above New Hope Landing. That's too far of a run for me but very doable for trailer boats. The bait boats have been limiting out, unfortunately killing their catch.

LMB- Fair -The fluctuating water temperatures appear to have affected the topwater largemouth bite with much fewer takes in the morning. I haven't fished an afternoon session but I'd suspect that the bite would be better that the morning's since the water should warm a degree or two during the day.

Don't forget, the bridge over the Mokelumne on Hwy, 12  at B&W will be totally closed from 10pm Friday night until 5am Monday morning.
Stripers - Topwater. Action has picked up but still has a ways to go. We're getting a lot of follows and swirls but few takes. If we're going to have a good topwater spring, it should start soon. Fish a gurgler, slider, Pole Dancer in water less than 5 feet deep when the sun is low on the horizon. Use a constant strip. and use a strip strike when getting a take. Don't life the rod until you feel the fish.

Stripers - Subsurface. Fish are scattered. Cover lots and lots of water. The fish have been most active on the outgoing tide, Try Puglisi style flies in bluegill and pan fish patterns as well as the old reliable clouser.

LMB - Topwater. The most positive thing is that this year's class of fish seem larger than in the past. My most successful fly has been a diver similar to a Dahlberg diver but made with flip flops. Frog green is my favorite color. Take a look at making foam poppers on this website.
March 30, 2015

San Joaquin, Middle River, False River, Mokelumne, North Fork, South Fork, Georgiana Slough

Water temp: 62-63

Visibility: 3 -10 feet
Stripers - Fair to good. Schools of fish, including some teeners, are around but not easy to find. While I haven't been west, the reports of the western waters are not very positive, with most of the good fishing reported from the mouth of the Mokelumne up river and up the Moke and it's arms as well. Spring has come in with gusto with high winds blowing people off the water some days. Check before heading out.

LMB - Good.  really pleasant surprise is that for some reason, the topwater season on LMB has started really early. My guys have already picked up a number of fish in the 4 to 6 pound range, both early mornings and early evenings. As a whole, the fish I've boated this year, are larger than those of years past. While the drought may be affecting other areas of the state negatively, it doesn't seem to have effected LMB fishing at all.
Stripers - topwater. The fish are willing if you can find them. With the wind, fishing large flats is tough, but working rock walls will yield smaller stripers. Top flies are my foam striper flies, gurglers and Pole Dancers. Good steady strip, keep that rod tip in the water and wait to feel the weight of the fish before strip striking.

Stripers - subsurface. The fish are showing their moody side, eating when they feel like it. Sometimes you can find fish on the graph and work hard to get a strike and yet, at other times, they'll inhale the fly. Could it be that sex is on their minds? The size of the fly doesn't seem to make a difference, with large fluffy clousers producing as many strikes as sparsely dressed ones.

LMB - topwater. If you start the day early or stay out on the water towards the end of the day, you're missing out if you don't spend a little time working the rock walls for some largemouth bass. The takes, from even a small fish can be heart stoppers, and you always have the chance to get nailed by a big striper as well. I'm not particularly fond of hair flies, since I find that most of them sink after five or six casts. Instead I recommend you try tying some of the flip-flop flies I have instructions for on my website. They will last well into fifty or sixty fish and never stop floating. They bounce off rocks and are outstanging performers.
March 23, 2015 No report. Spent most of the week at Pyramid.  
March 16, 2015

San Joaquin, Little Whiskey Slough, Middle River,  Connection Slough, Little Connection Slough, Mokelumne River, Hog Slough, False River, Frank's Tract.

Water temp:60-62

Visibility:2-6 feet

Stripers -Fair to good. The fishing started out in the good zone but by Saturday was going down hill fast, hitting a low on Sunday. What ever it was, boat traffic(Including over 60 cigarettes and hydros), a drop in water temperature, a falling barometer, it put the fish down...hard. By Monday it started to turn around for a comeback but the wind killed any chance of a pleasant day's fishing.

From what I found and the reports of others, the majority of the fish were found from the mouth of the Mokelumne upstream to Middle River, and all of the side sloughs that adjoin that major channel.

The condition of the water seems much improved from a week ago, with some real clarity and visibility along with the spring algae bloom turningi it a shade of green just in time for St. Patrick's day.
Topwater- It's finally underway with a mixed bag of results from day to day. The fish are right next to the rock walls out to about 6 feet of water. On almost all occasions, we landed a number of Largemouth as well as stripers.

Subsurface -Good solid strips mixed with pauses, with a chartreuse/white clouser on the line will readily yield positive results most days.

Other color combinations willl work as well.
March 9, 2015 No striper report this week, I took time off to fish Pyramid. I didn't do well, both the weather and my own inexperience with that water working against me. I plan to go back in the 19th through the 22nd. And I plan to be better armed next time as well.  
March 2, 2015

San Joaquin, Little Whiskey Slough, Middle River, Old River, Mildred Island, Connection Slough, Little Disappointment Slough, Mokelumne River

Water temp: 54

Visibility:1-3  feet
Stripers - Fishing is fair. The main areas of the delta are still fishing slow but the water conditions are improving. The water is changing color from brown to green with the beginnings of the spring algae bloom, a good sign since it is an important food source to threadfin shad, one of the stripers main foods. Conditions are better up the rivers, the Sac, and the arms of the Moke.

For many of us, it's a new learning curve but you can shorten things up by concentrating on high percentage areas, for example the high water pressure area right before a bend and the soft seam area right after a bend. Shallow aprons next to channels are also target spots as well as shallow runs along the rock walls. These walls hold crayfish and stripers love these mini lobsters. It's time to let go of those old habits and try something new.
Topwater - We bring a few fish up now and then but the water is just too cold to get things really going.

Subsurface - The key seems to healthy water with good visibility. Once you find it, go with the proven stuff, chartreuse over white clousers fished on a fast sinking line with a series of pauses and snappy strips. Make sure you're getting down, especially when fishing water over six feet deep. Try both a series of fast strips and some slower presentations. Use what works.
February 25, 2015

San Joaquin, Little Whiskey Slough, Middle River, Old River, Mildred Island, Connection Slough, Little Disappointment Slough, Potato Slough

Water temp: 53

Visibility:1-3  feet
Stripers - Fishing is poor. The incoming and outgoing tides are the forces slowly mixing the delta waters and the results are less than positive. Most stripers seem to have exited the system in favor of other, more productive, habitat. Hitting the honey holes will produce anything from a few bumps to a few fish, not large and not fat and not the numbers to be expected at this time of year. While the south delta looks cleaner than the main channels, the fishing hasn't proved to be much better. The Sac is still flowing muddy and perhaps that is the reason the fish are not moving from the bays into the San Joaquin since they would have to pass through that turbid column before reaching SJ waters.

Another possibility is the lack of food. The few fish I've caught all have that hungry look about them.

I'm hoping that the whole situation will bust open in the next few weeks. Last year the delta really came alive at the end of March. Current thinking is that with the continued drought, the hot fishing will come earlier.

Fingers crossed.
Topwater - Forget it...

Subsurface - A slower retrieve, worked close to the bottom is providing more grabs than fast stripping through the mid water column. For the most part, the fish are where you find them. A good number of the fish are grabbing the fly on the first hit rather than the three or four bumps as is sometimes the normal.

7-9 foot water seems the most productive and of course the fly, a clouser in black/white or chartreuse/white fished on a 20# flouro leader connected to T-14 head, the most productive set up.

For daily reports (on fishing days) check out my Facebook page, DeltaStripers.Com.

Any comments or fishing reports appreciated. Don't feel that you have to mark the spot. Just a general review of waters fished is necessary
February 17, 2015

San Joaquin, Little Whiskey Slough, Middle River, Old River, Mildred Island

Water temp: 55

Visibility:1-4  feet
Stripers - fishing is fair. The mud flows coming down the Mokelumne and other rivers have finally had their effect on the delta fishing. With the tides mixing the turbid waters, and the added impacts of pumping from the islands, fishing has dropped off from good to fair. However, this condition should not last for long. It's possible that things may improve within a week's time.

For now, the mixing is not uniform with clearer water in the interior of the delta, the further south, the better the water. Given that this is only the beginning of the spring season, we still have a lot of good fishing to look forward to.

Don't forget, you can get daily reports when posted, on my Facebook page. You're welcome to post any results or comment generally as well.
Topwater - I keep on hoping but nothing so far.

Subsurface - Same old, same old. Clousers on full sink express lines, snappy strips mixed with long pauses. Fish are where you find them due to the poor water conditions. Fish points, weed lines, flats, drop-offs, anywhere you see a little current and cleaner water.
February 10, 2015

San Joaquin, Little Whiskey Slough, Middle River, Old River, Mildred Island

Water temp: 51-53

Visibility:4-8 feet
Stripers - fishing is good. The water is clearing and warming bringing fish up into the inner delta and the San Joaquin. The schools are small in number and the individual fish not large, with the average size about 16 to 24 inches. Most of the schools are along current runs adjoining weed lines and on points both at bends in sloughs and at the ends of tule lines. All of the reports I've received talk of fish above the mouth of the Moke and the inner delta. Water clarity above the Mokelumne is excellent, while the water below is quite muddy, from the mud carried down the Consumes River and emptying into the Moke above New Hope Landing.

Of concern is the underweight look of most fish caught. While the winter weather has not been sever, water temperatures in early January were sometimes down to 44, well below the stripers comfort zone. Hopefully, this is the reason for their slim look rather than a lack of food.

The good news is that I cut across Mildred when coming up from the south and found the tract almost totally clear of egeria densa! Now if the fish move in like they used to, we can do wind drifts at the north end from west to east, bagging stripers all along the way. But that was years ago. Maybe I'm just fantasizing!
Topwater-- Nothing of note happening yet although I've put in hours in the early day fog. Just a fish now and then with no real consistency. The water is warming rapidly though and I've seen a few single fish chasing bait to the surface so I expect things to bust open any day.

Subsurface - With the warming water, it's back to the basics. Medium sized Clousers in chartreuse over white, fished on a 4-6 foot 20# fluorocarbon leader,(yes I've finally become a convert) attached to a Striper Express or T-14 line such as the SA custom cut.

Count down a second per foot of depth which will bring your fly 3/4 of the way down the water column and start stripping with erratic, snappy strip of 18 to 24 inches, with lots of pauses. Fish are hitting with enough aggression for hookups on the first take.
February 3, 2015

San Joaquin, Little Whiskey Slough, Middle River, Columbia Cut, Old River

Water temp: 49-51

Visibility:4-5 feet
Stripers - Fishing is fair. While not red hot, enough fish are around to make the day interesting. You have to look for them, and don't expect much to happen topwater but enough fish have moved up into the delta to make a fishing trip an enjoyable enterprise.

The water is still cold enough to dampen the pull of a 3-4 pound fish but they are capable of bending a rod over for a short time. We fished a lot of shallow water but found most of our fish in water over six feet deep. Most of the fish appear to be a little thin and undernourished. I'm not sure if this is a left over from the very recent 45 degree water or a lack of foreage.

The hyacinth is a major concern. A large amount remains in the river and with the warming weather and the presence of sun, it's showing signs of early spring growth. It could become a major obstacle in the late fall and make working the rock walls difficult during the coming LMB season.
Topwater - Lots of casts with few results.

Subsurface- Cover lots of water to find fish, and don't hover over non-productive locations. Don't expect to see a lot of fish on the fish finder either since the schools are small.

When you find fish, they are willing with multiple grabs on each retrieve. Nothing new in presentation either, Type t-14 line, #2/0 chartreuse/white clouser, fished a foot or so off the bottom with a series of snappy strips mixed with pauses.
January 26, 2015

San Joaquin, Sherman Island

Water temp: 48-50

Visibility: 18 inches
Stripers - Fishing is poor. I'm posting this late, probably because the fishing sucked. My friend Sturmer and I fished from Korth's downriver on the San Joaquin all the way to Sherman Island. We fished the skinny water hard with both floating lines and T-14. We didn't get a grab in the five hours fishing. We even stopped at some of the sure thing places for dinks and still could not scare up a fish.

We need some sun on the water and some warming temperatures to bring some fish up from farther down the system. Just too cold and still too muddy to bring some fish up river.
Topwater - Non-existant

Subsurface - Too bad there weren't any football games on TV this last weekend. This is one time I'd suggest turning yourself into a couch potato rather than shiver in the fog on the delta, casting for ghosts of fish long gone.
January 12, 2015

It will be another week or so before I hit the water again but in the meantime, a Delta veteran is looking to sell his boat and gear. It's a Western 18, the same model that Dan Blanton fishes out of. Here's the info: 

SOLD -- 2001 Western Eagle 18 CC skiff including Easy Loader trailer, Yamaha F100 4 stroke, 150 hours, bow mounted I-Pilot Minnkota, Asking $6,000. Photos available. Bob Young 209-725-1491

Boat sold the next morning!!!!

December 8, 2014

San Joaquin, False River, Dutch Slough, Middle River, Columbia Cut, Little Whisky Slough

Water temp:55-57

Water Clarity: 2-6 feet
Stripers -Fishing is good. At least fishing was good through Monday. Who knows what this incoming storm will bring. The Mokelumne is flowing slightly turbid but is still fishable. The San Joaquin and interior sloughs are still clear. All of the above may change by this coming weekend. If this is a singular event, the delta will probably muddy up for a week or so and then start clearing. If it is just the first of a series of events, the delta may blow out for weeks to months.

With a few exceptions, large fish were hard to find but some fairly large schools of 2 to 4 pound fish can make for a fun day with the bigger ones even putting you on the reel on occasion. If things settle down, I'll be on the water Sunday and Monday.
Topwater- If persistent you can bring up a fish now and then but don't expect red hot action. Even so, a topwater grab is so much fun that we make a an attempt at it almost every outing. As the water cools, slow the strip down and add some pauses. Let the fly sit for a significant time before picking it up.

Subsurface - Nothing new here. A three inch, chartreuse over white Clouser with a proper strip, fished about a foot off the bottom with a good number of pauses will produce lots of grabs.
December 1, 2014 I have not fished since Wednesday, the 25st and can offer no report for this Monday. Have not heard anything from my friends as well. I should be able to publish a report next Monday, the 8th.

My booking calendar is wide open if you'd like to fish for a day or half day.

No report.
November 26, 2014

San Joaquin, False River,, Dutch Slough, Franks Tract

Water temp: 54-56

Water Clarity: 2-8 feet
Stripers - Fishing is Very Good. I held off a couple of days in posting this report since this is the last day of fishing for about seven days. The small amount of rain that fell last week worked wonders with the delta with lots fo bigger fish moving up river. Areas that produced just dinks a week ago were kicking out 4 to 7 pounders with regularity. While the outgoing was the tide of choice a few weeks ago, both tides have been producing lately. Decent fish were found on weed lines, in channels, along walls, almost every place you'd think a fish might be holding. I don't know what the current series of storms due Saturday through Tuesday will do, hopefully, bring even more fish in. I think we've got one more day of stable weather before everything falls apart. If you can fish this Friday, get out there.

Check out my Facebook page to see fishing results day by day.

Topwater. It doesn't happen every day but we did have one explosive day last week in the rain and fog. If you've got the time and patience, give it a try, especially in the low light conditions you're probably going to experience in the week ahead.

Subsurface. While intermediate lines are becoming more and more popular to fish with, almost all my fish are coming from water six to sixteen feet deep. T-14 lines and medium sized flies in chartreuse/white, black/white, pink/white. Two of my guys were using rattle flies and had a great day. Maybe it makes a difference. I'm ordering some!
November 17, 2014

San Joaquin, False River, Fisherman's Cut, Dutch Slough, Middle River

Water temp: 57-59

Water Clarity: 2-8 feet
Stripers- Fishing is poor to fair. Unsettled weather, some windy days and a rapid drop in water temperature has had a less than positive effect on fishing. With the exception of the ever present juveniles, not many fish show on the finder and even fewer at the end of the fly line.

The trollers have moved to the channel edges, dropped anchor and switched to soaking bullheads with good results. Their success suggests that the bigger fish have moved to deeper water at least temporally until they adjust to the new lower water temperatures.

It's hard to predict what will happen this coming week. The bad news is that we have two weather fronts moving through. The good news is that it looks like we have a couple of days of rain which should hold water temperatures at their present levels.

Don't let the less than stellar rating stop you from fishing. You MAY not catch the big one when you go out this week but you damn sure won't if you don't go at all.
Topwater - Still no break through days but we keep on trying. Just enough grabs to keep you coming back.

Subsurface - It's time to experiment. If you see fish on the finder, try both quick and slow strips, long pauses and short pauses. Same with the flies, big and small, chartreuse/white, black/gray/white, pink/white. If the bait guys are right, work the edges of shoals close to deeper water. You're going to have to work for your fish but you may get a good reward for your efforts.
November 10, 2014

San Joaquin, False River, Fisherman's Cut, Dutch Slough, Middle River

Water temp: 61-63

Water Clarity: 2-8 feet
Stripers - Fishing is fair. The number of fish is not the problem, it's the size. Finding a fish over four pounds is a struggle requiring the covering of lots of water and some good presentation and casting  techniques. Almost every shallow water along the main channel will show some fish, mostly dinks. But fish of any size just seem to be absent from the system. Moving inside the delta seems to just make things worse with fewer and smaller fish. What seems to work is playing the numbers game, finding a school of larger dinks and just hoping that big mo will be hanging out somewhere close by. While big mo may not bite, chances for a 7 to ten pound fish are not completely hopeless. Topwater - No real change from the last two weeks.

Subsurface - 1/0 clousers, black/white, gray/white, Chartreuse/white, all seem to work. Again, a long cast mixed with enough time allowed for  the fly to sink and a good snappy retrieve should yield some fish.
November 3, 2014

San Joaquin, False River, Fisherman's Cut, Dutch Slough, Piper Slough, Middle River

Water temp: 62-64

Water Clarity: 2-8 feet
Stripers - Fishing is good. Actually, fishing is good one day and fair the next. The fact that it was so good today really was responsible for the move up from just plain fair. Could it be that the recent rain actually brought a few fish up into the delta? We're covering a lot of water and mostly fishing tule lines, and weed lines. We're not spending a lot of time on open flates or rock walls.

Tides, all over the place. The majority of the time the outgoing is the hot tide but today we picked up a 14 pounder at the start of the incoming. It's basically, "You can't catch fish if you're not fishing."
Topwater- We're finding more action but still haven't brought a big fish to the top. The best so far, about two pounds. We'll just keep throwing mornings and evenings.

Subsurface - My guys have been tossing a variety of flies, from Puglisi style bluegill to black over white clousers, and of course, all kinds of variations on the chartreuse over white clouser.  All catch fish when a decent cast is thrown accompanied by a good striper retrieve.
October 27, 2014

San Joaquin, False River, Fisherman's Cut, Dutch Slough, Piper Slough, Taylor Slough, Potato Slough, Middle River

Water temp: 65-66

Water Clarity: 2-6 feet
Stripers - Fishing is fair. I've downgraded fishing this week since neither I nor any of my contacts have scored a fish over four pounds. That amounts to about 100 hours of fishing by some pretty good rods. Another thing that I've noticed is that we're picking up a substantial number of underweight fish. Does that mean that there is a real lack of bait around?

I attempted some trips going into the interior of the delta and just haven't found much to brag about. After three to four hours of few fish I find myself wandering back to the big water. (Since this report only reflects the fishing up to the 27th, I have to add that in the four days since that time, some fish of greater size have been caught. Things are looking up a little.)

Topwater - Finally, some bigger fish have responded to repeated attempts to get some topwater grabs. Not really big fish but acceptable. The first 45 minutes after sunrise have been the most productive and days with a little ripple on the water better than those flat calm ones. A white gurgler with a long tail has done the trick.

Subsurface: I may be preaching to the choir but have to cover this subject one more time. On almost every outing, after graphing fish and my customers not getting grabs, I've asked to make a few casts and immediately stuck fish. I can only ask a guy so many times to do the following without bringing on frustration in what's supposed to be a fun outing. If after numerous attempts, a change isn't made, I just have to accept the fact that we're not going to catch many fish that day.

1. Use the proper line. T-14 or LC 13, head or integrated.
2. Be able to cast 50-60 feet. the longer the better.
3. Point the rod directly at the fly, rod tip in the water. NO ANGLE.
4. Allow for the line to sink according to conditions. While counting down is part of the equation, if the boat is moving and the line ends up at a greater angle to the rear than 45 degrees, it is starting to rise up and be trolled. Strip before that happens. Do what you need to to get the line within a foot or so of the bottom, dump line, mend, change the angle of your cast. Figure it out!
5. IMPORTANT, IMPORTANT, IMPORTANT! Use a series of SHARP strips about a foot long, along with pauses of different lengths to retrieve the fly. Vary the speed of the retrieve until you get consistent takes. Use the pauses to allow the fly to sink back to its target depth.
6. Don't pull the fly away from fish with a rod set. Use a strip set. You may get over 15 grabs on a single retrieve. After a while, you will feel when to use a strip set to stick the fish.
7. If the fish isn't big enough to put you on the reel. strip him in!. Over playing an undersize fish is not good for the fish and not good fishing practice.
October 20, 2014

San Joaquin, False River, Fisherman's Cut, Dutch Slough, Piper Slough, Taylor Slough

Water temp: 68-70

Water Clarity: 2-4 feet
Stripers - Fishing is fair to good. I didn' t get out very much this week but from what others have told me, the fish are scattered with a mix of dinks to ten pounders spread throughout the main channels of the delta. For success, fish a lot of water. Don't stay on a spot more than a few minutes if not producing. Work the sweet spots; tule points, points along rock walls, the soft side of current seams, weed lines. open areas of flats. Topwater - It finally happened. A good, almost great, day of topwater. We worked some shallow berms and picked up good numbers of LMB and some three pound stripers on an early morning bite.

Subsurface - Small to medium sized flies, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 flies are producing better than larger ones. As always, allow the fly to sink to the bottom third of the water column, and don't forget the pauses when stripping.
October 13, 2014

San Joaquin, False River, Fisherman's Cut, Dutch Slough, Piper Slough, Taylor Slough

Water temp: 69-71

Water Clarity: 2-4 feet
Stripers - Fishing is fair to good. The fishing was tougher this week if one was looking for fish over five pounds. Plenty of dinks though to keep one alert at the other end of the fly line. While some blamed the fall off on the full moon, I believe that the trollers, working the river from the Antioch bridge to the mouth of Middle River, cull out the fish over six pounds on a regular basis. Schools of these bigger fish appear in certain locations only to diminish in number as the days pass. I may be upsetting some people when I say such things but the fact is that most of the trollers I see on weekends keep their two fish each.

Tide has been a large factor in getting the fish to eat as well. Numerous time last week we found what appeared to be decent schools of medium to large fish but had difficulty getting any to bite.

I did hear of good numbers of larger fish west of the Antioch bridge.
Topwater-- Haven't had a decent fish come up on top this fall. I just keep on trying.

Subsurface- The outgoing tide has been the tide of choice for the past two weeks. Getting the fly down to the fish and keeping it there will greatly increase your number of hookups. If you're not snagging bottom now and then, you're just not fishing deep enough. And don't forget to add PAUSES to your strips. When you strip the next time you might find that a striper has taken the fly on the drop. If so, turn that next strip into a strip-set!
October 6, 2014

San Joaquin, Potato Slough, False River, Fisherman's Cut, Dutch Slough, Piper Slough, Taylor Slough

Water temp: 71-73

Water Clarity: 2-4 feet
Stripers - Fishing is fair to good. The sudden onslaught of hot weather and fairly weak tides have thrown the fish off. What had been a big upswing in decent sized fish has tapered off to schools of dinks with fish to 3 or 4 pounds the best that they have to offer. A school of larger fish was found in the Frank's Tract area but was pounded by fly flingers, trollers and bait slingers until the fishing fell off.

With conditions the way they are, a fish finder is a really important tool. While they are not fail proof, they tell you when you're over fish if set up correctly. First, take off the Fish ID function. It's useless. Learn to read the difference between weeds and fish arcs. Set up the sensitivity so that any static on the screen only shows under power and the bottom is a good, solid image. While the fish finder will not show fish working the rock walls and other fish to the side, usually the schools are large enough that a few fish will pop up on the screen. Once you get your finder tuned in and are confident of what you are seeing, your fish count will go way up.
Topwater - The mornings have just not been the time to fish topwater. Not much happening. However, the evenings (from the reports of others) are reported to be just the opposite. In my mind, it's always worth it to throw some topwater in low light, whether morning or evening. When it happens, it's one of the most exciting moments in fly fishing.

Subsurface - Schools of dinks to 2-3 pound fish can be found on almost any flat and on the points of tulles and rock walls. However, with the warming weather, don't expect the fish to slam the fly. Most of the takes are very subtle. So much so that the novice angler may miss them entirely. Some key things to do. Make sure your rod tip is pointed directly at the fly. Slow your strip down and work very close to the bottom. Watch the sag in your line and if it changes and straightens, use a quick strip set. Likewise, if you feel you've suddenly picked up a small piece of weed, use a quick strip set. You just may find a fish on the line when you do.
September 29, 2014

San Joaquin, Potato Slough, False River, Fisherman's Cut, Dutch Slough, Piper Slough, Taylor Slough

Water temp: 69-71

Water Clarity: 2-4 feet
Stripers - Fishing is good. The larger fish seem more scattered and not quite as prevalent as the previous week but still, chances are excellent of hooking a 10 pound plus fish every time out. In the mean time, ,there are plenty of 3-5 pound fish to pull the rod down and occasionally put one on the reel. A fair number of fish are moving into the sloughs adjacent to the main river, enough to make it worth while to fish the ends of tule berms and points.

Morning temperatures are still warm enough for shorts and mid day temps not overly hot. The winds have been manageable most days with the wind speed dropping from morning highs to sometimes dead calm in the afternoons
Topwater - Nothing new to report here. Just dinks and LMB coming up so far. Just don't give up. Some morning or evening all hell will break loose. You won't know if you don't try.

Subsurface - If there is ONE thing that can improve the catch rate of the novice striper fisher, it's learning the proper retrieve. I had two anglers new to the delta on my boat this week. Both started out using the standard woolly bugger strip, and continued, even after my numerous attempts to correct. No fish. Their partners were having no problems at all however, bringing in lots of fish. When they finally "got it" they suddenly were keeping up or even exceeding their partners.

1. Judge the water flow and plan your cast so you are not retrieving in water so heavy you can't get your fly down.
2. Cast as far away from the boat as you can without strain, you're going to be doing it for six to eight hours! Stripers are notorious for following the fly before striking.
3. Count the line down. Stripers like the lower half of the water column. If you start stripping early, you'll be fishing over the top of the fish.
4. Use 8-12" snappy strips, (not little woolly bugger strips) in a syncopated pattern (Mix it up, 3, p, 1, p, 3, p ,2, p, etc.) with long pauses designed to allow the line to drift back down to the proper level after each series of strips.
4. Slow your strip down in heavy water, speed it up in lighter water. Fish the line all the way to the boat. (The famous Delta Dangle.)
5. Keep that rod tip in the water and the rod pointed directly at the fly. Use a strip set with grabs, not a rod set that will pull the fly away.
September 22, 2014

San Joaquin, False River, Sandmound Slough, Taylor Slough, Piper Slough, Fisherman's Cut

Water temp: 71-73

Water Clarity: 2-4 feet
Stripers - Fishing is good. The fishing has been good, the weather less so. We're transitioning into fall and the days have  been very unstable with heavy cloud cover, wind, and even rain and little lightening making up the weather for the week. Mornings are still warm enough to wear shorts but the afternoon temperatures (thankfully) are well off the hundreds. Wind has been the major problem of the week, making both casting and boat handling a chore.

Some of the schools of fish located earlier in the month have scattered while some really large schools of dinks remain. However, weather permitting, almost every flat and the edges of a cast to tule berm yield a few fish. A good fish finder seems almost essential in these situations. The outgoing tide has generated most of the action with the incoming producing a much slower bite and a lot of false takes.

Daily fishing reports can be found by following the Facebook link above.
Topwater - We're catching a few fish almost every day on top but all of them, dinks. It's just a matter of keep on trying. Sooner or later some big fish will be at the right place at the right time.

Subsurface - With the wind pushing the boat around much of the week, it was very difficult to get the fly down to the fish. Experience showed itself with anglers able to accurately judge the depth of their line, along with a strip that didn't bring the fly up the water column, did well. Other anglers struggled, especially those who's casting skills prevented good line management in windy conditions.

If there was any secret of the week, it would be, "get the fly down!" to near the bottom and use a strip that keeps it there. If the fly seems like it's coming up, just increase the length and frequency of the pauses in the retrieve.
September 15, 2014

San Joaquin, False River, Sandmound Slough, Taylor Slough, Piper Slough

Water temp: 71-73

Water Clarity: 2-4 feet
Stripers - Fishing is good. A good number of fish are in the San Joaquin system now, but as usual for this time of year, most are small. However, it seems that almost every school holds a couple of fish that are large enough to put you on the reel if you can get past the juveniles. If you locate a large school, work upstream to the front since the largest fish seem to hang there. Get the line DOWN to get into those fish or you'll just keep picking up the dinks.

The fish have been willing where ever found but the best bit has been during the running tides with a definite low at tide change.
Topwater - Very hard to predict whether it's going to be a good day or bad one. Some days the fish are willing and easy to get strikes from, other days you can't bring up a fish no matter what. However, it's always worth the effort, early in the morning to give it a shot. Long casts, constant strips, keep stripping until you feel the weight of the fish.

Subsurface Some days the fish are so willing, you don't even need to strip the fly in, just cast, let it sink and you'll find a fish on the end of the line when you start to strip in. Other days you get a series of false takes and then feel the weight of the fish ending with a strip strike. I'm finding fish in water from two to twenty feet deep. Count the line down and start a series of quick strips mixed with pauses when 3/4 of the way to the bottom. Two and a half to four inch Chartreuse over white clousers do the trick most days.
September 8, 2014

San Joaquin, False River

Water temp: 71-73

Clarity: 2-4 feet
Stripers - Fishing is good. Not exactly consistent, fishing is generally good. Some days are better than others but you're going to catch at least a dozen fish, even obounds is a real bonus.

The main arm of the SJ river from the Antioch Bridge to the mouth of the Mok and openings to sloughs such as False River and Fisherman's Cut are
holding enough fish for a long days work. I haven't found the need to go inside the delta but I've heard good reports about Franks, Sandmound and Holland Cut.
Topwater - Still an on and off affair. Some days the fish come up in the morning. Other days, it's nothing but casting practice. The time around low tide appears to be more productive except when a north wind is blowing. That seems like a turn off for any action, even slowing the subsurface bite.

Subsurface - If you're using a graph, you should be able to locate some decent sized schools in water anywhere from 5 to 15 feet deep, especially along shorelines and flats. Grabs are easy to get with the larger schools but we've found that when graphing just  few fish, a faster retrieve will do a better job of bringing on strikes.
September 1, 2014

San Joaquin, False River

Water Temp: 71-73

Clarity: 3-4 feet
Stripers - Fishing is Good. While the big fish are not showing in numbers, the fish in the 18-22 inch class are plentiful enough to provide a very satisfying day on the water. 20 to 30 fish per rod is not too much to expect if you fish some good holding water. Almost all the tule lines and rock walls will yield fish, especially in water less than 15 feet A good graph will help you locate schools. Once on them, try to stay on them for lots of  hookups and doubles if fishing with a friend. Topwater - It doesn't happen every day, and sometimes the fish are small but when it happens, it's worth the early morning start it takes to get into this action. Toss a white gurgler, silvery creas fly or one of Charlie's Pole Dancers out and then use a steady strip to bring it back to the boat. And remember, stripers will miss the fly numerous times. Keep striping until you feel the weight of the fish before lifting the rod tip.

Subsurface - I'm finding fish almost everywhere but some schools are small while others are fun sized. Try rock walls, the edges of tules, flats 5-8 feet deep. If the fish are small, move on, if decent, try to stay with the school. Schools generally move with direction of the current, up river on an incoming, downstream on an out going. However generally not quite as fast as the current itself.
August 25, 2014

San Joaquin,False River, Washington Cut, Frank's Tract, Sandmound Slough

Water Temp:71-73

Water Clarity: 4-5 feet
Stripers - Fishing is Good. Lots of fish in the system but most are dinks. However there are enough fish in the 18-20 inch range to make it interesting. Because the water is warm, the little guys pull hard and they're fairly easy to find. Work the rock walls, casting within a few feet. Start stripping right away so you don't get hung up in the rocks. A good graph will really help find the larger schools.

The flats are also producing on days when the fish are taking topwater. Try any water less than 6 feet deep. If no strikes, move on.
Topwater - If you've never tried topwater for stripers now is the time. Use a 3 inch white gurgler, or buy a pole dancer. Tie it to a six foot 20 pound leader connected to a floating line, preferably one to two weights heavier than your rod. Make a good long cast in the shallow water and start a rhythmic one to two foot strip without pauses. If a fish goes for the fly, KEEP STRIPPING until you feel the weight of the fish.

Subsurface - Nothing new here. Use a smaller chartreuse over white clouser on a quick sinking line. Count the line down to within a foot or two of the bottom and use a series of strips and pauses as a retrieve. Look for grabs at any time, especially when the fly makes that turn from horizontal to vertical close to the boat.