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Rio Vista: Sturgeon draw anglers to the Sacramento-Delta in droves

By DAVE HURLEY/WON Staff WriterPublished: Nov 06, 2019

RIO VISTA — Sturgeon have now taken over as the top species in the Sacramento-Delta as the grass continues to plague striped bass trollers, and salmon fishing is clearly on the wane. The sturgeon derbies have begun with the innovative Addathon Derby taking place this past weekend out of Pittsburg, but after two weeks of great sturgeon fishing, the bite slowed down over the weekend, perhaps due to heavy boat traffic.

The week began with high winds, and the gusts cooled down the waters of the Delta, along with muddying up the waters. The calm weather over the weekend will clear the water, and the action for all species should improve.


Alan Fong, manager of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento, was up in the Liberty Island area where he had such good success the previous week, and he said, “It was a very tough bite, as the wind muddied up the water and dropped the water temperature 11 degrees. The shallows in Liberty are particularly susceptible to getting muddy.


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ROE AT RYER ISLAND — Finally, sturgeon are being targeted again despite the lack of rain, and Gracie Marran of Yuba City caught her 59-inch sturgeon using salmon roe at Ryer Island.

We slaughtered them the week before, but it was slow for us this week. However, our assistant manager, Michael Kidwell was in there on his kayak on Saturday night, and he caught and released stripers to 20 pounds on topwater lures. I expect the stripers and largemouth bass to acclimate by mid-week, as the water is clearing up already.”


Johnny Tran of New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport said, “There are still salmon around for those who are interested, but most of our fishermen have moved on to striped bass and sturgeon. The pressure is much lighter, but there are still some salmon taken on Brad’s cut plugs behind an 11-inch Pro-Troll E-Chip dodger along with Silvertron spinners or FlatFish.


Schoolie stripers are taken in the Deep Water Channel, Liberty Island, and around Sherman Island by those drifting live mudsuckers. Sturgeon fishing is best in Suisun Bay, and since the water is still warm, bluegill, crappie, and redear perch are found in Liberty Island, along the Delta Loop, and in all of the sloughs. Catfishing is best in the Deep Water Channel or in Lisbon Slough with nightcrawlers or chicken livers.”


Sturgeon fever is in full force, and Captain Joey Gamez of Golden State Sport Fishing has been roping them in the sloughs. There was a huge oversized landed on one six-pack this Wednesday, but the bite slowed down significantly over the weekend. Gamez said, “It has been really good, but it was dead slow this weekend as we struggled for a shaker on Sunday along with a few stripers. The boat traffic was very high, and this may have been a factor. We have been targeting the diamondbacks near the mouth of Montezuma Slough with salmon roe.”


Tim Boggs of Elkhorn Outdoor Sports said striper fishing has been good near the Mothball Fleet. “I went out Friday to the Mothball Fleet and we did real well on stripers,” Boggs said. “We kept five and threw three keepers back. The striper bite is doing really well. The guy next to us got a 59-inch sturgeon on the incoming tide.” Boggs said he was using ghost shrimp. The keeper stripers were between 3 and 5 pounds, with one 9 pounds. There was grass, but it didn’t interfere with the fishing.”


Captain Dave Sharp has joined the staff at Marina Bait and Tackle in Suisun City and he was out with a friend on Sunday. They limited out on stripers soaking butterflied shad. He said, “We set up around the flats leading into the deep hole near Chain Island, and we landed at least four limits of stripers to 7 pounds with our best action on butterflied shad from 36 to 38 feet. Everything came on the incoming tide, as the outgoing tide was full of grass. We tried live mudsuckers on the anchor, but we only hooked one fish on the live bait. The bite was real light, and the stripers were not running with the bait, but they were swallowing it and laying down on the bottom. You have to really watch your rod.”


Tony Lopez of Benicia Bait in Martinez reported high interest over the weekend for all sorts of fishing, and they sold out of all live bait by early on Sunday morning. He said, “There were at least 35 boats on the anchor at the Fleet on Sunday when I was coming over the bridge, and the sturgeon bite had been very good throughout the week. One boat with two fishermen landed 18 keepers and 4 oversized before calling it a day. Ron Reisinger of Chico was out soaking live splittail for striped bass near Pittsburg, and he hooked a huge oversized sturgeon on the live bait. There have been several large stripers reported near Pittsburg on live splittail.”


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