Northern CA Freshwater Fishing Report

Stripers in the North Bay rivers, sturgeon in San Pablo Bay

BY CAPT. DAVID BACON/WON Staff WriterPublished: Jan 31, 2013

PORT SONOMA/SAN RAFAEL — Striped bass fed in the river systems of the upper San Pablo Bay and flounder were also caught in good numbers up the rivers. Sturgeon exited the rivers to feed in the rising water temperatures of San Pablo Bay.

“Striped bass fishing was slow in the Bay but better in the rivers, whereas sturgeon fishing was way better in the Bay than in the rivers,” said Keith Frazer of Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle in San Rafael. Rising water temperatures drove the change as the rivers ran cold and the Bay heated up several degrees.

Frazer continued, “Weekend weather is terrible, but from Monday through Thursday we had fabulous fishing for sturgeon in the San Pablo Bay. Skiffs averaged 3 to 4 sturgeon per boat, with most fish released. On Thursday alone I know of four oversized sturgeon released. One was reported to be a 150-pound monster. Folks fishing for sturgeon in the Bay are picking up incidental stripers, but it is 1 bass per rod at the very best for a day of effort. Perch fishing along the shores has been unbelievable. One family has been fishing every day at the Paradise Pier and catching (and releasing) 20 to 50 perch per day. It has been a variety of all kinds of perch.”

Young Lander Wise fished the Bel Marin Keys in Novato and battled a 23-inch striped bass, which gave the youngster quite a fight. The fish bit on grass shrimp. About the same time, on the Petaluma River, Mike Evert also used grass shrimp to hook and boat a 5-pound striper. Evert released his fish and encourages other anglers to release all stripers in order to keep the fishery strong.

Striped bass put on a decent bite in the Petaluma River system, where they shared the spotlight with flounder, which headed upriver en masse this week. The bullhead bite is still good near Port Sonoma and upriver from there.

A few bass were caught up the Napa River toward Kennedy Park as well as a few sturgeon. Captain Joel Sinkay of Leonard’s Bait & Tackle in Port Sonoma said, “The lack of sturgeon action in the river is due to the extremely cold water, almost 39 degrees. By the way, if you are going to catch your own split-tails while fishing the Napa River, a good customer of ours, “Will”, wanted us to point out that you can catch them and use them, but you can't transport them nor move them from the boat you caught them on. Just a heads up guys and thanks, Will.”    

San Pablo Bay was the most productive area for sturgeon. The Sturgeon Triangle (Pumphouse, Buoy 5 and China Camp) was the most productive area.  Capt. Sinkay added, ”Fish the shallow water 3 to 5 feet and the water temp might be a little warmer, helping the bite." Flounders are also being reported as well as a few bass.”

The Longfin Tackle Shop
The Longfin Tackle Shop