Captain Scott Feist (530) 822-6314

Captain Dave Jacobs 530 646-9110

Captain Kevin Brock  800 995-5543
April 14, 2014    Headlines
Sac Stripers Still Biting!

Sacramento River/Metropolitan Area:
The striped bass migration up and down the Sacramento River is near its apex, and bait fishing in the metropolitan Sacramento region has been hot.
On Sunday 4-13 Alan Fong of the Fishermen’s Warehouse in Sacramento reported,” The striper bite has been wide open, and bait guys are loading up with sardines.” J. D. Richey of Richey’s Guide Service advised, “The key to fishing sardines is to work the inside bends of the river adjacent to locations with the bottom structure dropping from shallow to a deeper hole. The striped bass will take the quickest route up the river which is along the inside bend, and I will work the deep water nearest the edge of the hole and pick off the closest fish before releasing a bait deeper into the hole.” He moves stealthily into a location by turning off the big engine, maneuvering wide of the spot, and using his electric motor to set up before silently setting anchor. A number of linesides are moving downstream after spawning, and a heavy spawn is anticipated this week in response to the full moon.
Dennis Phanner of Sacramento Pro Tackle brought in 300-pounds of fresh sardines from Monterey during the past week, and the fresh bait is in high demand. They have a large supply of frozen sardines, and he will be continuing to work hard to obtain fresh sardines from Monterey or Oregon for the remainder of the summer. Miller Park, Bryte Beach, and along the Garden Highway have been some of the top spots for bank anglers.
Sturgeon fishing remained best south of the Freeport Bridge in the section of the river from Freeport through Hood with ghost shrimp, eel, or pile worms.

Sacramento River/Tisdale:
The striped bass have arrived in force in the Sacramento River from Tisdale through Knight’s Landing, and prior to Sunday 4-13, the action had been ‘red hot.’ Heavy boat pressure with an estimated fleet of 100 was working a small stretch of the river scattered a huge school of linesides near Tisdale, and the action slowed from the double-digit numbers previously experienced by guides and their clients.
Scott Feist with Feisty Fish Guide Service says that with the flows dropping out the fish are backing out but fishing is still great. He has been putting his clients into limits limits daily this past week on the lower Sac. He had to cancel his Sunday through Tuesday 4-15 trips due to blowing a gasquek on a power head but should be back on the water on Wednesday. Scotty Marran of Yuba City has been assisting Captain Scott Feist of Feisty Fish Service over the past week, and he confirmed the small window for action, stating, “With the 67 degree water and not much of it, the stripers will be heading back down to the Delta soon.” They have been returning with limits every day using a variety of techniques.
Raith Heryford of RH Guide Service out of Yuba City said, “We had great action for the past week, but after three days of heavy pounding from boats, you have to know what you are doing out there right now since the window for a hot bite is limited to a one-hour morning window.” On Saturday, Heryford put his clients on to 20 stripers to 15-pounds using a variety of techniques including black plastic worms, P-Line Predator Minnows, P-Line Laser Minnows, or swimbaits. Drifting minnows has been a productive technique, and Heryford said, “You can catch fish working from Tisdale to Knight’s Landing, but you will go through 50 leaders and $100.00 of the expensive minnows, as the river around Knight’s Landing is low and loaded with snags.”
Bob Boucke of Johnson’s Bait and Tackle reported selling 5000 minnows over the past weekend, and they are loaded up with another 10,000 minnows in response to the high demand. He said, “The striper fishing has been outstanding for nearly a week with the best action from Tisdale through Knight’s Landing, but the boat pressure has been tremendous over the weekends.”
A number of sturgeon have been taken on striper gear by fishermen targeting linesides with baits with a 64-inch diamondback released after a long fight on 15-pound test. Boucke predicted the sturgeon bite would be outstanding during the current week with the full moon illuminating the water at night. Johnson’s has a pallet of ‘starved’tray anchovies for sale at $5.99/apiece with a case price of $5.50/each.
Captain Manuel Saldana Jr. of MSJ Guide Service reported putting his clients onto three limits of stripers by 10:00 a.m. on a recent trip, and he said, “You have to get in on the action before it’s gone.” 

Feather River:
J. D. Richey has been working on a fish tagging project in the Feather, and he said, “The river is so skinny that although there were thousands of salmon smolts swimming around, we never saw a striped bass,” adding, “We launched a jet boat at Boyd’s Pump, but you have to drive way out as the river is the lowest that I remember.” He advised boaters to stay away from the Feather since it is hazardous for navigation. They will be using a drift boat to finish their work in the low water conditions.

Late Season Rains Bring Both Flows and Stripers Up
Guides are reporting some improved scores after this past few days of rain have brought river flows up. Scott Feist on Saturday 4-4 reported "good" but not "great" striper action on the lower Sac the past three days. He has moved back up into the lower Sac around Tisdale and is reporting limits and near limits of quality stripers. Most are males running 5 to 8 pounds with the occasional larger fish mixed in. He was on the segment on the California Sportsman radio show this morning and he not did a great report but never missed a beat while he did his interview and coached two clients through two separate hookups. Scott says "NOW IS THE TIME". As the river drops out and warms plus a full moon on the 15th these fish will be going into full spawn mode.
Dave Jacobs fished through the rain on Thursday and sent in this rare shot of two limits of both stripers and fat sturgeon. Dave has been targeting both species in the Grimes area and says these higher flows are pushing both bass and sturgeon up higher into the river. Dave also recommends that those interested in bass get out soon as these fish are going to spawn and boogie back down very quickly

Golden Gate Salmon Association Backed Science Convinces Feds to Truck Salmon During Drought
In a huge win for salmon, sport & commercial anglers and farmers the Golden Gate Salmon association announced Monday 3-10 that a study that they paid for has convinced the US Fish and Wildlife Service to truck ALL their baby fall run salmon from Coleman hatchery to San Pablo bay. In addition, this science looks to have 100% of all the state hatchery fish from the Feather, American and Mokelumne hatcheries also truck past the problems (pumps) in the Delta and expected low and warm river flows this spring.
Recent studies from 2007 to 2112 have shown that over 94% of Fall run salmon smolts released from Coleman never even make it too San Pablo Bay. In fact over 50% of Coleman released fish never survive the first 50 miles of their down stream migration. The Golden Gate Salmon Association paid for a study that clearly shows that trucking especially during the current drought is the ONLY WAY that we can ensure that there will be enough salmon to a have a salmon season in 2016. The Coleman hatchery was built to mitigate for spawning areas lost due to the building of Shasta dam. However with over 94% of the hatchery fish lost on their down stream migration the Feds were doing little to actually enhance the fishery.
 Without these measures we could see: No ocean sport or commercial salmon season in 2016 and possibly 2017, possible Central Valley river closures and the continued drop in numbers of returning fall run salmon in future years.
With these measures we could see a viable if not huge return of Fall run salmon three years from now. Longer term this could support the goal of a fall run of nearly 1 million fish returning the to the Central Valley rivers.
Please see the Golden Gate Salmon Association news release just below. I encourage all readers to support this incredible origination (read between the lines: get off your ass and write a check, attend a dinner or donate a trip on your party boat or ??? ) that has just done the impossible. Their science based approach to trucking salmon could be the biggest benefit to this fishery in decades and they deserve all of the credit for possibly saving a season when the fishery may have been closed.
Mike Aughney

eds Agree with GGSA Call to Truck Millions of Hatchery Salmon
Contingency plans respond to extreme drought condition

California’s largest salmon hatchery may end up trucking its production this year to the Delta or San Francisco Bay for release due to the extreme drought conditions. Ordinarily the Coleman National Fish Hatchery releases its fish each year into the upper Sacramento River near Redding. From there the baby salmon migrate hundreds of miles downstream to the Delta and, under favorable conditions, on to San Francisco Bay and the Pacific.
Coleman is operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and raises approximately 12 million baby salmon annually to help mitigate the impacts of Shasta Dam and federal water operations in the Upper Sacramento River on native salmon stocks. After being presented with overwhelming evidence by the Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA – , the USFWS has agreed to transport most, if not all, of its 12 million Coleman Hatchery juvenile salmon the bay or western delta unless expected drought conditions change markedly for the better.
The USFWS made the announcement at a meeting of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council in Sacramento. The Service acknowledged the arguments GGSA has methodically advanced since December that the continued drought presents a uniquely hostile situation that threatens the survivability of Central Valley Chinook salmon, including the hatchery salmon. GGSA maintains that low, clear, hot river conditions will likely wipe out the hatchery fish if they were dumped into the river.
“GGSA worked with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to move these fish rather than dump them into a drought stricken river where they’d most likely perish,” said John McManus, executive director of GGSA. “We’re grateful they heard us out and gave this issue the consideration it needs. What this means is we’ll likely have a much better salmon fishing season in 2016, when these fish reach adulthood, then we would have otherwise gotten. This could mean the difference between a shutdown of the fishery in 2016 and a decent year.”
California’s state-operated hatcheries truck much of their production annually for release in the Delta or Bay and the state took a leading role to truck even more this year due to drought impacts on Central Valley rivers. State and federally raised hatchery fish could make up most of 2016’s salmon harvest and spawning escapement.
USFWS’s plans are contingent on the amount and quality of the water in the Sacramento River when the fish are ready for release in April, May and June. The Service told the PFMC meeting it would take a significant "precipitation event" to reverse the plans to truck their fish. Drought conditions are expected to dominate in the Sacramento River and its tributaries in April, May and June.
“Transporting the baby salmon in tanker trucks and releasing them into the bay or western Delta will give them a fighting chance at reaching the ocean,” said GGSA treasurer Victor Gonella.
In addition to hostile river conditions, baby salmon this year are facing the added risk of being pulled to their deaths through the Delta Cross channel, a manmade canal built to divert water to huge pumps that send it to agriculture. Normally the Cross Channel Gates would be closed to allow salmon passage at this time of year but are now being opened when possible to dilute salt water accumulation in the interior Delta caused by the drought.
“Although the drought is creating extremely hostile conditions this year, many years are low water years and the Fish and Wildlife Service needs to transport salmon whenever low water conditions exist in the future,” said GGSA secretary Dick Pool.
A member of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council reports the Council will be drafting a letter to the USFWS requesting that it consider a similar approach in the future should drought conditions persist or again deteriorate to levels requiring action.
“As more and more fresh water is extracted from the Sacramento River and Delta for delivery to San Joaquin Valley agribusiness, the salmon’s migration corridor downstream and through the Bay-Delta estuary has become a deadly gauntlet,” said GGSA vice chairman Zeke Grader who is also the executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. “Add drought and the Central Valley rivers and Delta become virtually impassable for salmon.”
GGSA was joined by member fishing groups in working to get the Coleman fish trucked. Members of Congress including Representatives Jared Huffman, Mike Thompson and John Garamendi, Anna Eshoo, Jackie Speier, George Miller and Mike Honda also supported the efforts.
Currently, California’s salmon industry is valued at $1.4 billion in economic activity annually and about half that much in economic activity again in Oregon. The industry employs tens of thousands of people from Santa Barbara to northern Oregon. This is a huge economic bloc made up of commercial fishing men and women, recreational anglers (fresh and salt water), fish processors, marinas, coastal communities, fishing guides, equipment manufacturers, the hotel and food industry, tribes, and the salmon fishing industry at large.
The Golden Gate Salmon Association ( is a coalition of salmon advocates that includes commercial and recreational salmon fishermen, a Native American tribe, businesses, restaurants, fishing guides, environmentalists, families and communities that rely on salmon. GGSA’s mission is to protect and restore California’s largest salmon producing habitat comprised of the Central Valley rivers that feed the Bay-Delta ecosystem and the communities that rely on salmon.

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