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Old 03-20-2007, 02:40 AM
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Default Stripers on the Move / Sacramento and Feather Rivers

Stripers on the move

By Denis Peirce
» More from Denis Peirce
12:01 a.m. PT Mar 6, 2007 During the past week, the beginning of the Spring 2007 striper run showed up on the Sacramento River. The water temps have moved up from the high 40s to the low 50s.

The sturgeon bite has been good between Knights Landing and Colusa, with most anglers using either pile worms or ghost shrimp. The sturgeon anglers using pile worms were the first to catch stripers on the Sacramento.

The stripers do not seem to respond to ghost shrimp as a bait.

These are "schoolie", young male, stripers. The larger females will show up later in the run.

Closer to home on the Feather River, this past week brought a change in the striper fishing. With the advent of a heavy winter storm on Feb. 24, the discharge from Oroville Dam was ramped up from 2,700 cubic per second to 10,000 cfs by mid week. Prior to the increased flows most of the stripers were close below Shanghai Bend rapids.

At lower flows there is a drop at the base of the rapids that precludes the juvenile steelhead from moving upriver. The stripers use this feature to corral their food in a confined space. When the high flows raised the water levels, it eliminated the drop-off and scattered both the predators and prey.

The striper bite spread out with fish being taken from Shanghai Bend down to the mouth of the Bear River. More stripers were taken on lures than by bait fishing. The best lures have been 6-inch swim baits with chartreuse tails, rainbow trout colored Bombers and Hair Razor Jigs.

There have been a few fish above Shanghai, but most of the action has been below. Bob Boucke of Johnson's Bait & Tackle reports the largest fish of the last week was a 47-pound fish with others over the 40-pound mark also being taken.

Starting at noon Monday, the water flows out of Oroville Dam are being lowered. The schedule calls for a reduction of 1,000 cfs every 12 hours until the 3,000 cfs mark is reached on Thursday. This will again reshuffle the deck.

Falling river levels frequently move the stripers down river.

Once the river stabilizes, the stripers will be found near their food source and again Shanghai Bend will have the fall at the bottom. Where the juvenile steelhead will be found is the unknown in this equation.

I try to avoid editorializing in this column, but I must make an exception regarding the taking of large stripers. Most of the large fish are females.

The number of offspring they can produce and the genes that they can pass on are the future of our striper fishery. The fishery is well below historical numbers and we all need to be concerned. I enjoy striper fishing and I will continue to take stripers to eat. But the true trophy fish are too valuable to take.

Bob Bouke told me of a young angler who caught a 25-pound fish last week. He did not bring a camera and to record his catch he kept the fish
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