PITTSBURG — White sturgeon are one of the most prized fish — and hardest to hook and land — in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Some anglers spend years to catch their first sturgeon.
Others, like 8-year-old Abraham Najar of Vacaville, catch sturgeon on their first trip. Najar was fishing with his grandfather, father and uncle on Dec. 5, when he hooked and released a 54-inch sturgeon, the largest of the day, while fishing the West Delta with Zack Medinas of Gatecrasher Fishing Adventures.
In addition, his grandfather, Paul, caught a slot fish and his father, Trevor, and uncle, Gino, caught and released three undersize fish while fishing in Broad Slough.
“We fished the outgoing tide and the first part of the incoming tide because it was during the king tides,” he said. “The fish were caught on salmon roe and lamprey eel in 60 feet of water.”
The four anglers fishing with Medinas landed a total of 8 sturgeon, including two oversized fish, two slot fish measuring 59 and 65 inches and 4 undersized fish, Medinas said. Those fish also hit salmon roe and lamprey eel in the deep water at the mouth of Broad Slough.
“I’m not seeing a lot of fish out there, so when I set down on a spot that has some fish I can see on the graph, the action is usually pretty good,” Medinas said.
For the five years that he has been a captain and the 20 years he has been fishing for sturgeon, Medinas has been catching and releasing all of the sturgeon he catches, including keeper-sized fish, to preserve the sturgeon population in the Bay-Delta Estuary.
“I’d like to see a lot more sturgeon out there,” Medinas said. “It can be a life changing experience to catch a big sturgeon. I want people in the future to have that type of experience. I want to leave the fishery better than when I found it.” Information: (925) 497-7171.
The CDFW’s 2019 Field Season Summary for the Sturgeon Population Study issued on Jan. 14, 2020, reveals that “current and recent white sturgeon length frequency distributions show (1) strong cohorts from mid-to-late 1990s within the legally-harvestable size range have substantially diminished, (2) continued progression of the strong 2006 cohort toward and within harvestable size, and (3) signs that what should be a modest 2011 cohort is recruiting to the nets.”
The white sturgeon daily bag and possession limit are one fish between 40 inches and 60 inches fork length. The annual limit is three sturgeon per person. A sturgeon report card is required of everybody targeting sturgeon.
Mossdale area stripers: Bank fishermen and boat anglers drifting mudsuckers and live minnows are picking up striped bass on the San Joaquin River above the Mossdale Bridge, said Omega Ngyuen at Mega Bait and Tackle in Lathrop.
“A couple of customers caught their limits of stripers in the 5 to 10 pound range while drifting minnows and mudsuckers in 14 to 35 feet of water above the bridge on Sunday,” Nguyen said. Information: (209) 665-7613.
Sacramento River late fall chinooks: Rob Reimers of Rustic Rob’s Guide Service continues to report some of the best late fall salmon action in years on the Sacramento River at Knights Landing. A recent trip by Reimers with Bob Simms, host of the KFBK Outdoor Show, and his friend Joe produced one quality king in the high teens on a No. 16 Rob's Dragon Glow Brad’s KillerFish.
“We had a couple of long releases and lost two fish right at the boat,” Reimers said. “The last was over 30 pounds and the most beautiful fish you have ever seen, but the salmon cut the leader with his teeth and away he went.”
Another trip by Reimers by Lee and Edward Joe on Dec. 2 yielded one salmon weighing 25.5 pounds, also caught on a Brad’s KillerFish. Information: (530) 632-0051.
Contact Record Correspondent Dan Bacher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on The Record: 8-year-old Vacaville boy lands hefty white sturgeon on Broad Slough