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Willis Garriott, Bill Petrie

Willis Garriott and Bill Petrie scored 16 Clear Lake largemouth bass fishing with guide Bob Myskey on Tuesday.

Stinko Weather… tops the news. Just when water temperatures should be inching up to encourage fish to come up shallow, they are doing just the opposite! Black bass in our reservoirs are beating a hasty retreat to deeper water as temperatures plummet.

Some areas of the Delta had water temperatures drop 9 degrees, according to Dave Hurley’s Monday Hot Sheet. That’s unheard of. Worse, Doug Roberts and I have had to cancel our Clear Lake bass trip for late this week – after reading the forecast for 15 mph winds, freezing rain and 32-degree mornings. I haven’t fished since October, and I’m getting jittery as a result.

These negative weather conditions are impacting outdoor activities all across Northern California – after Mother Nature did a weather flip on us with warm spring-like weather just 10 days ago. Example: Captain Trent Slate of Loch Lomond’s Bite Me Charters said water temps in some key San Pablo Bay spots had dropped from 56 to 51 degrees. And, in the south bay, the sturgeon bite has slowed as the grass shrimp have dried up.

You can bet the Delta six-packs will start to move over with growing reports of halibut showing up. As reported earlier, the bay striper bite is on-again/off-again.Delta Doings… showed a new influx of stripers while sharply colder water made the sturgeon bite challenging. Johnny Tran at New Romeo’s Bait and Tackle in Freeport confirmed the arrival of striped bass into Steamboat Slough, the Old Sacramento River from Isleton to Walnut Grove, in addition to the Freeport area, for trollers running shallow-diving Yozuri Crystal Minnows. Bait anglers were scoring with sardines coated with garlic spray or pile worms.

Well, It’s A Bit Of A Slog… but Lake Pardee on the Mokelumne in Ione, down near Jackson, has had major trout-stocking support and is fishing better than most other trout waters right now. Look at these numbers, starting off in November when 100,000 pounds of trout were planted. Add to that 14,000 pounds that were planted more recently, including some 6-pound brutes.

Even better, it has a full suite of camping options in well-maintained areas around the lake. You can reach Pardee via either Highway 88 or Highway 12. Details at

By the way, when the water temperature there hits 60 degrees, get down there for action on mondo small mouth bass. The state-record smallie at 9 pounds, 4 ounces was caught at Pardee. We caught some 4- and 5-pounders there a few years ago, fishing with pro guide Matt Allen. Matt put us on some that he said were 7-pounders, but we couldn’t get them to go. A 5-pound smallie will out pull a 10-pound largemouth every time. Check Matt out at

“Kids Free Fishing Derby”… always perks me up. It shows the very best of humankind. Mark your calendar for April 7, for the West Delta Chapter of the California Striped Bass Association’s eighth annual crab and pasta feed. Proceeds are used for a series of free fishing derbies for kids. Call Mike Hall for tix at 925 634-6356. They are $50, but get you a belly-filling crab feed, music, beer and wine, live sports auction and a huge raffle. It will be held at Brentwood Veterans Memorial Building, 757 First St.

Spiders Anyone?… Here’s your chance to get up close and personal with your favorite Arachnid. Gwen Heistand, Director of Education for Audubon Canyon Ranch will take you on an adventure into the fascinating world of spiders. Fill up the fliver full of kids and be at the Napa City-County Library, 580 Coombs St., at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 14.

The Sacramento Boat Show… is the largest power boat show in Northern California and it runs from Thursday, March 8 through Sunday, March 11 at Cal Expo. Just click on to see the list of 200 exhibitors for you to visit.

While you are there, sit in on some fishing timely fishing seminars by local experts like J.D. Richey on light tackle Delta stripers, James Netzel on kokanee and trout fishing, Scott Feist on Sacramento and Feather River salmon, Steve Mitchell on Delta sturgeon fishing, Kevin Brock’s “trolling for stripers A-Z,” and hear Kent Brown of the Ultimate Bass Radio Show tell you the “how and where of bass fishing.”

End Note… Every fisherperson I know joins me to thank the City of Napa for the new concrete platform with a safety curb at the end of River Park Boulevard, where anglers who fish from wheelchairs and motorized carts have a safer place to fish.

Email Bill Ryan at