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Locations

One of the most important aspects of all types of fishing is location.  If you don't present your bait to a fish you will not catch anything - it's as simple as that.

Deep holes are popular places to fish for sturgeon in the upper stretches of the Sacramento River.  I've personally never had much luck fishing holes in the delta.  I have marked lots of sturgeon holding in deep holes, but I can never get them to bite.  Anchor above a hole and cast into it.

Map

When fishing from a boat, I like to find large flat areas in 20'-45' of water.  You want to fish an area that has a silt bottom, not rocky.  Look for current breaks.  If you see some fast moving water, a current break and some slow moving water, fish on the slow edge of the current break.  If you see and eddy of swirling water, fish on the outer edge, in the main current.  Fish between fast current and eddies (swirling current).  Sturgeon don't like regular eddies, but deep holes have underwater eddies that sturgeon like.  Clam beds are also good.  Mark them with your GPS for future trips.

Some people like to fish on slopes because they sturgeon move up onto slopes to feed.  I like to anchor at the bottom of slopes and edges of shipping channels.

River Cross Section
Cross section of the Sacramento River looking downstream

I strongly advise that you buy a map of the delta.  There are several good maps available that show depths, fishing areas, and boat ramp access.

Places to Fish in the Delta

First of all, we all know how fast fishing conditions can change.  A hot bite one day will often lead to a cold bite the next.  Not to mention the fact that in the delta fish are constantly on the move and are most likely miles away by the next day anyway.  Striped Bass, for example, travel an average of eight miles a day. With that in mind, there are some general locations in the delta that usually hold fish.  I usually try to avoid the fleet of boats and fish in more secluded locations.  Guess what - I still catch lots of fish.  Look at where all of the boats are fishing and now look at a map.  Chances are, the terrain 1/2 mile upstream or 1/2 mile downstream is very similar and will hold just as many fish.  Take a cue from fishing guides and charter boats.  They never stick to the same "glory holes" day after day.  They are constantly moving around looking for fish.

Sacramento River - Rio Vista Area
  • The stretch of river between Sandy Beach and Sherman Island is an excellent area to fish.  Anchor anywhere between the shipping channel and the shore.  This area is fairly flat and deep.  Do not anchor in the shipping channel!
    • Channel marker 8 near Sherman Island is great for stripers and sturgeon. Anchor between the shipping channel and shore in 30'-35' of water.  Be careful because there are submerged pilings in this area along the shore of Sherman Island.  You can see them at low tide.
    • Anchor near channel marker 14 near the shipping channel.  This is one of the most popular spots in the area for sturgeon.
    • Anchor between channel marker 9  and the shore in 42' of water when the current is moving slowly.
    • The power lines between Decker Island and Sherman Island are a very productive area.  Fish along the red shipping channel markers in 29'-33' of water.
San Joaquin River
  • There are some deep areas between the mouth of Three Mile Slough and Santa Clara Shoals that are popular for sturgeon
Montezuma Slough
  • Fish for sturgeon downstream of the bridge at Belden's Landing
  • There are lots of deep holes that hold fish
  • 20' depth can be good along the edges of holes
Suisun Bay
  • Fish between lights 31 and 34 in Pittsburg
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