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Fall magic on the Delta
Jarod Ballardo
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This time of the year is magical on the Delta.

There are a variety of fish to be caught. It’s not uncommon to be struck by a migrating striped bass or king salmon. If you’re into lure fishing, this is the time to cover as much water as you can while tossing your favorite crank bait.

It’s also the time when large schools of stripers begin to make their way through the main channels while chasing schools of shad. Make sure to keep an eye out for birds working the surface as they may be picking off the wounded and dead shad from a school of stripers.

Casting into a school of stripers while they are in a feeding frenzy has to be one of the most exciting fishing experiences. It’s also a time to keep a close eye on the salmon reports.

Things have been pretty quiet in the past few years, but this year seems a little different. There seems to be good numbers of salmon being caught up north, indicating that it won’t be long before they start making their way down south.

From now until the end of October is when I’d personally like to be on the water the most. The weather is almost perfect, everything seems to be biting and it’s usually when I catch my biggest fish of the year. 

Delta Report

The bite has been on and off for bass lately. Decent numbers of fish are still being caught on all types of reaction baits but they’re typically of the smaller version.

As the weather stabilizes more the bigger bass should become more predictable as they will settle into their fall locations. Stripers are really starting to turn on for anglers fishing the flooded islands like Franks Tract and Mildred Island. 

New Melones Lake

Trout fishing is tough on the lake. Those anglers catching trout and kokanee are travelling up river near the log jam or in the backs of creeks, like Angels Creek.

Bass fishing has started to pick up lately as the bass are actively feeding on schools of fish. The jig bite is surprisingly good for those fishing brown and black jigs. As the water cools even more look for the rip bait bite to turn on and the fluke bite as well.

Catfishing is still good at night for anglers fishing cut bait off the bank. Several cats up to 7 pounds have been weighed in this past week. 

Lake Don Pedro

The trout bite has been really good lately. Most fish are being caught from 25-40 feet deep. Several lures are working well for trollers. Vance’s Little Slim Willie with a nightcrawler or scented grub, Ex-Cel small shad, Vance’s Nasty-Boy, or rolling frozen shad off a Pro-Troll Harness.

King Salmon are being found in Jenkins Hill and Flemings Bay, while trolling with shad or anchovies. Anglers trolling for salmon are finding them between 40-120 feet deep. Bass fishing is still good for smaller fish as many anglers are catching them early on surface lures and around main lake points during the day.

Lake Camanche

Trout fishing has been really slow lately. Once the water cools the trout bite should pick back up.

Catfishing is good for anglers fishing off the bank with cut bait. Anchovies and chicken livers have been the most productive baits so far.

Bass fishing continues to be steady with a lot of smaller fish being caught while dragging small plastic worms.  

Tip of the Week

One of the hardest things about fishing sometimes is knowing when to change baits or techniques.

Several times after a less than stellar day of fishing I found myself second guessing some of the decisions I made when on the water. When things get tough I put on only those lures or baits that I have the most confidence in and I pick an area of the lake or river where I have the most confidence.

This helps in by preventing me from running from one location to another and also helps in keeping me focused.