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Napa River Sturgeon… caught right off the pier at Cuttings Wharf? Yep, a 38-incher – on a secret combo cocktail bait. But I’ll bet it had some grass shrimp in the mix. They work well in the Napa, because they live there naturally. While 38-inch sturgeon must be put back unharmed, it is a big fish; just get out your yardstick and add a hand to it for a measure.You’ll need a tape measure for this one: Alexys Magowen caught an oversized 8-foot diamondback and she had to release it in Napa Slough. Thanks to the Hot Sheet for this story.

At the risk of repetition, bring your striper gear, too. Continued clear water should keep them around and hungry.

First Clear Lake Report… in weeks? Yep, but it has some promise. Pro bass guides Bob Myskey (274-0373) and Jeremy Taylor (349-6797) hit the water together last week, and caught 24 bass in four hours. That’s pretty darn good for winter fishing. Expect it to improve a lot as these longer days continue to warm up the water, pulling fish up shallow.

We’ll be going up March 1 and 2 to sample the spring action with Jeremy. Stay tuned (FYI – I caught and released my biggest largemouth bass, 10.1 pounds, in Adobe Creek on Clear Lake in early spring five years ago. Bob Myskey manned the net).

Berryessa Weather… as reported in the Lake Berryessa News. “What a difference a year makes!” 2017-18 rain year total is only 7.44 inches. Last year it was already 28.7 inches.

It’s good news that Berryessa will have a seasonal full-time water resources technician (March-September) to lead the effort to fight against invasive mussels. Want to apply? Call Sabrina Colias at the Solano County Water Agency at 455-4450. Better hurry, the job starts March 13.

Meanwhile, remember you have three species of bass to target here: largemouth, smallmouth and spotted. The lake’s varied depths allow this to happen. Largemouth like warmer waters, so stay where the sun can heat things up; smallies like colder water, so stay deeper. I have no idea where the spots like to live (can anyone give me a clue?)

They are all on tap right now. I’m told the biggest concentrations are up in the Putah Creek arm. One Saturday, not too many years ago, guide, Jim Munk and I caught and released 113 bass up there without moving the boat more than 50 yards.

Just when I told you that the trout bite here was on the wane, Alan Fong out of Sacramento’s Fishermen’s Warehouse said that trout were falling to speedy Shiners at 3.5 mph throughout the lake. Go figure.

San Pablo Bay… Dave Hurley’s Monday Hot Sheet had a quote from Captain Trent Slate of Bite Me Charters at Loch Lomond Marina in San Rafael that best explains the problems of lack of freshwater inflows because of low rainfall. “We couldn’t get down to the sturgeon, as we must have had 30 striper bites for legal fish to 12 pounds within three hours.

The bay rays, sharks and bait-stealing crabs are moving in as we had the hooks come back empty with little sign of biting action. I will be holding off for a while until the tides get larger, hopefully pushing some of the trash fish out of the bay.”

Not much better news from Keith Fraser at Loch Lomond Bait and Tackle (415-456-0321), who said that by late afternoons, winds got up to 30 mph. Ever the optimist, though, Keith told us that he had live mud shrimp on hand with more coming.

California Delta… is hosting a solid striper bite as the water warms. Tony Lopez at Benicia Bait said that big split tails are the perfect bait to fool big stripers. He said stripers in the 20- to 25-pound range are plentiful in front of McAvoy’s Boat Harbor and in the deep water near the Pittsburg PG&E plant. Add to that widespread reports of growing sturgeon action, and it seems like you should line up some fishing dates there.

I’d call Captain Barry Canevaro at 916-777-6498 first. Surely, though, you may already have a favorite Delta guide. If not, Google California Delta fishing guides and have a look for the one that seems like a good fit. Tell us about him or her.

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Email Bill Ryan at acorn_3@comcast.net.

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