Californias distribution of striped Bass put together by Dr. Peter Moyle and his graduate student Paul Randall of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Conservation Biology at UC Davis for the Nature Conservancy as part of their Hexagon Project.
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THE CALIFORNIA STRIPED BASS
For those of you just getting started in the thrill of striper fishing-a few facts from the Department of Fish and Game.
Stripers were introduced to California from the East Coast in 1879. They are migratory. Most adults after spawning in the San Joaquin Delta & upper Sacrament River move into the brackish & salt water for summer & fall. Many feed from the San Francisco Bay to Tomales Bay. Food in the San Francisco Bay is mainly anchovies, shiner perch and herring. In the Delta area threadfin shad & smaller fish are the main food. In late fall & winter some fish move upstream to the fresh water in the Delta & lower Sacramento River.
Stripers spawn in water 61-69 degrees from April thru mid-June. About one third of the spawning takes place in the San Joaquin River between the Antioch Bridge & the mouth of Middle River. The other two thirds spawn in the Sacramento River between Sacramento & Colusa. These rivers are critical to the spawn.
There are two public piers in Antioch adjacent to the San Joaquin river.
March-April peak season.
There are two popular striper fishing locations at the river: the Palo Verde Diversion Dam, and Lake Havasu.
The fish dash upstream to the dam after the spawn when the water Temps warm, typically Late March and April. They stay still late June then disperse.
Shore anglers fish from a Division of Fish and Game access site at the dam base. White bucktail jigs reportedly work best.
Palo Verde Dam stripers average 6 -10 pounds each with a few 15 or 20 pounders landed each year.
The DFG people suggest anglers cast straight out or upstream and allow the offering to “bounce with the current. The current here is swift. As an alternate technique, fishing slack-water pools and eddies with chicken-liver or anchovy attached to a No. 2 hook mounted above a one-ounce sinker.
Typical morning and evening windows offer the best fishing hours of day, he said.
Boat Anglers in the Colorado river designate Lake Havasu as the best place. The first is directly beneath major power lines that stretch across the reservoir near Parker Dam, and where the water is a deep 60-70 feet. Stripers are found at the bottom or on the surface, no in-between. Drift your boat off any point extending into the lake using chunks of anchovy for bait.
The Lake Havasu Fisheries Improvement Program, a multi-party partnership that includes the Bureau of Land Management, Arizona Game and Fish, California Fish and Game, Anglers United, and others, has established four, 24-hour, free-access, public fishing locations along the river shoreline. With parking lots, fish cleaning stations, and fishing docks that extend out into the lake, the fully developed installations are lighted for 24-hour fishing, have on-site restroom facilities, and are surrounded with an artificial habitat designed to both attract and cultivate the lake's black bass, pan fish and catfish populations, all of which attract predacious striped bass. Located on the lake's Arizona side, the special sites are; Havasu Springs and Take Off Point, both located adjacent to Parker Dam; Mesquite Bay, at the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, and Site Six, both in Lake Havasu City.
There is no Colorado River striped bass size limit, and the daily bag and possession limit is 10 fish. California residents must possess a valid California Sport Fishing License affixed with a $3, Colorado River Special Use stamp.
California Water Temperatures
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Stripers begin showing in the Sacramento metro in early March throughout the summer and again another good run takes place in the fall Schoolies up to 10 lbs are always present between the spring and fall runs when the likehood of much larger bass are more likely
Feather River The river empties into the Sacromento River and in the spring time large stripers can be found here. These fish are marine fish from the Bay and can top 50 lbs.
Striped Bass are found here also in March and stay till the fall. Stripers live in the river year-round, although the best fishing is in the spring, summer, and early fall. The bigger bass are caught in the big deep holes below Watt Avenue, which is the takeout for most of the fly-rod fishing in the river. However, small to medium-size bass swim throughout the entire upper river, especially after midsummer when water temperatures rise. Like bass everywhere, they prefer to feed early and late in the day.