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Thread: Delta Stripers

  1. #1
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    Default Delta Stripers

    My family inherited my uncles 14’ Valco aluminum boat recently, and am interested in taking it out to the delta for stripers, largemouth and/or kings. Have never been out to the delta and am a total newb to stripers, have only caught a few schoolies from cuttings wharf fishing from the pier when I lived in Napa county. Not asking for secrets but any suggestions on where to launch in the delta for stripers? Is it best fall and spring? My brothers also interested in gear fishing for kings, wondering if the lower sac salmon run in the fall would be better than the delta; also not sure if the boat is safe for the lower sac. It's a v-hull shape and has a Mercury outboard motor, no oars, but lower to the water than a drift boat. Thanks for any suggestions or advice.

  2. #2
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    Default Yep, should be fine for the delta...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jcolin View Post
    My family inherited my uncles 14’ valco aluminum boat recently, and am interested in taking it out to the delta for stripers, largemouth and/or kings. Have never been out to the delta and am a total newb to stripers, have only caught a few schoolies from cuttings wharf fishing from the pier when i lived in napa county. Not asking for secrets but any suggestions on where to launch in the delta for stripers? Is it best fall and spring? My brothers also interested in gear fishing for kings, wondering if the lower sac salmon run in the fall would be better than the delta; also not sure if the boat is safe for the lower sac. Its a v-hull shape and has a mercury outboard motor, no oars, but lower to the water than a drift boat. Thanks for any suggestions or advice.
    I have a 14' portabote, almost same characteristics as your Valco. For bass (largemouth and stripers), my suggestion is around Frank's tract or Discovery Bay. One thing to keep in mind is to try to pick areas where the water fleas (aka jetski/water skiers) are less likely to be. Also places that are not in the shipping lanes. You can catch largemouth year round. Stripers are good in the spring and fall. You didn't mention carp, but there are a ton of those and a blast on a fly rod (think poor man's bonefish!).

    King salmon can be caught in the Delta, but it's not realistic. It's better to fish in the main channel or up near Sactown, where the fish are concentrated.

    You don't mention having a trolling motor. I don't have one either, and it's a limitation that you will need to overcome. Many good spots require good boat positioning; I've had to make do by sculling with oars and a DIY powerpole (14 foot long bamboo). Also make sure you have some sort of platform where you can stand. Those Valco's have sloped floors, which can make standing difficult. I've had to fabricate floorboards out of treated plywood for my bote.

    Regarding the lower Sac, I've also asked on this board whether taking my portabote out of Redding or Red Bluff is a good idea. I haven't done it, but I think you can; you just need to know your boat's limitations and your own limitations. One thing to keep in mind is the draft while fully loaded. On my portabote, my maximum draft is 4" fully loaded. As a safety factor, my comfort zone is at least one foot of water (8" of safety margin). My hull is made of polycarbonate plastic, which flexes and can take a beating, which also adds to my safety margin. There is one large set of rapids right out of Bonnyview that can get dicey. So I intend instead to launch out of Anderson, taking out of Ball's Ferry. I'm also going to ensure the flows are at a minimum of 8000cfs to ensure there's enough water. As I said, I haven't done this yet, but I plan to, as soon as I feel comfortable using Uber/Lyft again as a shuttle.

    I should also mention that I've floated the Sac numerous times. That's perhaps the biggest advice I can give, is to hire a guide first to show you the river. Moving water is not something to be trifled with.

  3. #3
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    May 2019
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jcolin View Post
    no oars
    Please do yourself a favor and get a good set of rowing oars and practice rowing. You never know when your outboard will break down on you.

    Also, make sure you read up on the required safety gear for boating.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2007
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    Dunsmuir,CA
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    Default Just to add my 2 cents.

    I have boated the delta in a 18 ft fibreglass runabout a little
    and mostly in my 15FT Valco John boat with a 40 HP jet outboard.

    I think a 14 FT is just big enough for some (most) of the delta.

    A few thoughts:

    Now my Valco is less fitted for the delta than yours because mine is a John boat so flat bottomed.
    It does not handle big waves all that well and on the delta the wind often comes up and causes some pretty good waves in the big open bays.
    You really do not want to get a good ways from your put-in and then have the wind come up.
    It can make for an unpleasant ride back to the ramp.

    Watch the weather.
    Get good maps and GPS (maybe your phone? Not sure about signal strength out there.)

    Easy to get lost in the fog.

    You did not say what size motor you have but that does not make much difference except for how quick you can get somewhere.

    My boat tops out around 22MPH. Ya, I know a 40HP should go faster but I get about 27 HP out the jet, that is the way jets work.

    Point is delta is big so you are not gonna cover a lot of water at 20MPH, but you may be a bit faster.

    So you will have to learn the delta, there are ramps all over the place, some will get you to good fishing areas quickly and some will not.
    Hopefully others will chime in with good areas to launch, I only know a little bit of it and it has been over 20 years since I was boating there.

    Be really careful about the deepwater channels, there are some damn big ship that come thru there.
    I am only familiar with the Stockton deep water channel (San Joaquin River) because I used to launch in Whites Slough
    and mostly fished the north end of the delta.

    You come out of a slough into the deep water channel right after a big ocean going container ship goes by and we are talking BIG waves (kinda fun launching a boat off a 7-9 wave by entering the channel going too fast but pretty scary too, trust me I know. But, hey, we did not sink).

    Also let me emphasize you need back up propulsion.

    Oars and a trolling motor with a battery.

    Or a trolling motor with two batteries (one to use for fishing, one to get home on if gas motor craps out).

    Stuff happens, not often, but you gotta be prepared.
    Over a period of about 20 years boating (oh wait, maybe 30 years)
    I have needed my back up 3 times.
    I had a back up two of those times, third time I had to be towed by Coast Guard.
    Ya, that was actually the first time, I learned and was prepared for the next two times.

    You better have all needed safety equipment if Coast Guard gets involved because they will give you a safety inspection and possible fine if you are not up to snuff. Just missed getting fined because one fire extinguisher was reading low on the charge. Fortunately I had two and second was OK.

    Boating on the Delta is great fun but you gotta find the less popular places, small sloughs, etc.
    There are a lot of big boats on the delta (now I am talking about 40 + ft cabin cruisers) and they are no fun to be around in a small boat.

    As far as salmon fishing what little I know about the delta I agree with albiec22 .

    Most of the good salmon spots are places you would not want to be in a small boat (like Rio Vista on the Sacramento river )

    I expect you could launch at Balls Ferry on the upper end of the lower Sac and get into some salmon fishing. There is a rock bar just below Balls ferry that is a little fun to get thru.

    Back in the day there was one deepish slot thru the bar towards the west side of the river

    What you need to keep in mind there is not the draft of the boat but the depth (or draft) of your Prop.
    Most boats used there are jets for a reason.

    As I proof-read this I see I have said a lot of the same stuff as albiec22 just in different words.
    He must be a smart guy

    BTW albiec22: I am guessing you do not have a gas motor on your portabote?

    Cause if you do, no need to launch at Anderson. Better Balls Ferry or Jellys Ferry then you do not have to go thru the Cow Creek area (not sure what it is like now but back in the day it was shallow clay banks next to big haystacks)
    There is a side channel but the few times I was thru there the side channel was too shallow to run. Sorry do not remember what the flows were back when I boated thru there.

  5. #5
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    May 2019
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    Default

    Hi Steve! I think I went with you and Jeff Aiello for a day's fishing on the upper sac about 20 years ago, back when I just got started in flyfishing. I used to be on a board/forum called NCFFB and attended one or two bashes. I really miss fishing and hanging around Greg, LeeS, CharlieS, and a bunch of other folks. Being a complete newbie to flyfishing, that board and group of people was something special. And it's a big thanks to Bill Kiene for keeping that light alive here on this board.

    Sorry about the reminiscing, got sidetracked.

    Yes, I do have a short shaft Suzuki 6HP on my portabote, maximum speed I can get to is ~10mph. It's slow, but it gets me there. I'm not counting on it to get me upriver, hence the takeout and shuttle. Good suggestion about avoiding the Cow Creek area!

    BTW, I am in no way smart. I just learned from making a lot of dumb mistakes and watching/asking other people for advice. VBG.

  6. #6
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    Aug 2019
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    North bay
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    Default

    Thanks so much aliec and stevenb for all the information. Really important considerations being new to the delta and motor boats in general. The only boating experience Ive had is floating rivers steelhead fishing the past several winters In my pontoon, so ive got a lot to learn. The boat has a 20 HP mercury outboard and also a smaller 4 HP trolling motor too, should have mentioned that. Will look into getting oars also. The shipping container boats do sound intimidating, like you said seems like its a matter of finding smaller sloughs to explore...will bring my GPS that works without cell service, Ive heard you can get pretty lost out there! Thanks again guys, very much appreciate the help

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
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    Sacramento
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    Default Safety....

    Second alibiec22's suggestion for oars and required safety equipment. If you don't take care of that stuff before you get on the water, it'll be too late.

    ps. One thing I failed to mention is that the Delta fishery is largely tide dependent. Get an on-line source or tide booklet for Delta tides. You'll have much more success, even in backwater sloughs, if you pay attention to this detail.
    Last edited by Darian; 08-18-2020 at 09:49 AM.
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  8. #8
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    Default

    #1) Your motor?

    If that is an old Merc 2 stroke you will need to find a good mechanic for it.

    Having a good motor is extremely important for running around in the Delta.

    How old and what condition is that motor in? 2 stroke or 4 stroke?
    Bill Kiene

    Fly fishing travel consultant
    Certified FFF Casting Instructor
    Email: billkiene63@gmail.com
    Cell: 530/753-5267
    Web: www.billkiene.com

    Contact me for any reason........
    ______________________________________

  9. #9
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    Default

    Hey Bill, It's a 2 stroke...it's being worked on right now by a shop in lake county that was highly recommended. It is 20 years old or so but wasn't used very much. Would like to take it out to the Napa river also for stripers or maybe Tomales bay on calm days but am concerned about damaging the motor in the salt, unless flushing it would be sufficient?

  10. #10
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jcolin View Post
    Hey Bill, It's a 2 stroke...it's being worked on right now by a shop in lake county that was highly recommended. It is 20 years old or so but wasn't used very much. Would like to take it out to the Napa river also for stripers or maybe Tomales bay on calm days but am concerned about damaging the motor in the salt, unless flushing it would be sufficient?
    Sounds like a good motor.

    Be sure to mix the good Mercury 2 stroke oil in the gas at the proper ratio.


    I think the Stripers are getting ready to enter the Napa river.

    I would go out once with a good fly fishing guide in the Napa river in October/November?

    Maybe get a friend to split the fee. Use the guide's tackle and listen well to him/her.


    Tomales Bay is good mid-summer through fall for Halibut and Stripers.


    Maybe think about a set of 7 foot oars.


    Do not overload that boat....think of back packing.

    It will be good for one or two anglers.......period.

    Maybe get a shorter length 50# thrust 12v electric motor, charger and group 24 deep cycle battery.

    Seats can take up a lot of room in boats so we just sit on boat throw cushions.

    When you are alone put some weight up in the front to keep the boat running flat.

    You can use your smart phone maps for a GPS if you get a good signal.


    Lots of small water in the Delta.

    Delta Stripers are Oct, Nov, Dec with Nov tops. Sometimes March is good.

    Large Mouth Bass is April through Oct with May being the best for top water.

    Smallmouth in the North Delta moving Sacramento river water is good all summer.


    Andy Guibord is one of the most knowledgeable and helpful people in our industry.

    He will take you out where you both fish for ~$150?

    He usually works weekends at Kiene's in Sacramento if you want to go by or call him.



    This is a fun size boat that you can use almost anywhere...except the ocean..........very practical.
    Bill Kiene

    Fly fishing travel consultant
    Certified FFF Casting Instructor
    Email: billkiene63@gmail.com
    Cell: 530/753-5267
    Web: www.billkiene.com

    Contact me for any reason........
    ______________________________________

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