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Finding your way around the Delta

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POSTED October 10, 2013 10:56 p.m.

Navigating the Delta can be a little intimidating for someone who is not familiar with where they are going.
I can remember my first couple of years fishing the Delta. I made sure to never stray too far from the launch ramp but always wondered where all the other boats were heading out towards.
My boat at the time wasn’t exactly sea worthy so I was better off staying close to the launch ramp. The change came when I purchased my first real bass boat. A close friend of mine encouraged me to purchase a hand-held GPS and off I went.
The GPS was extremely helpful. I was even able to record some of my favorite spots with it by creating a waypoint. As the years passed I upgraded to a depth finder with a built-in GPS and now feel comfortable finding my way back wherever I may be on the Delta.
If you don’t have a GPS there are a couple things you can do if you find yourself lost. The tide will always tell you which way is west as the water is drawn back towards the ocean when going out, following it will lead you out into a main channel. If tide is coming in, the water will be heading south or towards the backs of the sloughs.
The main channels in the Delta are also loaded with clues, as there are poles that are marked with numbers that are sequential to make it easy to follow.
Also, you can’t go too far before you run into a marina or harbor. On your map you should be able to find that location to give yourself some bearing.
If you plan on venturing out on the Delta at the least you should have a map and if all else fails ask a fellow angler. It’s a little scary at first, but before long you’ll know the Delta like the back of your hand.

Delta Report
The bite on the Delta is a little tough. A lot of anglers are reporting catching bass while fishing the outside weed edges. Crankbaits and jigs are working well for those fishing the 6- to 8-foot range.
Stripers are being caught by anglers fishing around Mildred Island, but not in the large numbers like most would expect for this time of year. Anglers catching them are swimming fish-trap lures.
As the water temperatures drop a little more the bite should pick up considerably. Duck hunting season is open, so be on the lookout for duck blinds.

New Melones Lake
New Melones Lake is currently closed.

Lake Pardee
Lake Pardee is currently scheduled to close on Nov. 3, so if you’re looking to get out one more time you have till sunset on that date before it closes until February.
Trout fishing has been slow for trollers. Those catching fish are catching them while trolling down to 50 feet in the early-morning hours.

Lake Don Pedro
There’s a good trout bite on the lake. Anglers are doing well while working from the surface down to 35 feet deep with a variety of shad imitating lures.
King Salmon are also being caught for those trolling shad or anchovies between 40-60 feet deep. The Upper Bay, Woods Creek and in the Tuolumne River arm are all good areas right now to catch King Salmon up to 4 pounds.

Lake Amador
Lake Amador will resume its stocking program Oct. 15 with trout over 4 pounds weekly. If you’ve never fished Lake Amador for its Donaldson Trout it’s an experience you have to try.
When they’re biting the limits are easy to catch and the size of the trout are impressive to say the least. Catching them is pretty easy. You can either catch them on Power Bait or troll or cast trout lures for them.

Tip of the Week
As our weather has begun to change, this is the time of year when anglers are the least prepared for the worst. Our days are a lot shorter and temperature swings can happen without much warning.
If you’re planning on being out on a boat all day you should have an extra set clothing and something to snack on just incase you have engine failure or come across someone stranded on the water.
Having a good map is also a must as I have been stopped by more than one boater who was lost on the Delta.

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