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Napa is Hot, Berryessa is Not

On today's blog

  • Catch of the month contest. Win a $30 gift card!

  • Keeping your Live Bait Alive for Longer.

  • Fishing Report.


Catch of the month contest. Win a $30 gift card!


Show us your most impressive fishing moment by tagging @sweeneys_sports in your Instagram post or story. The grand prize? A $30 gift card and a feature on our social networks! 🏅.


📸 Cast your entry by sharing your photo and get ready to be a part of our winner's circle on August 30th. 🗓️ Let's make waves together! 🌊


Keeping your Live Bait Alive for Longer


There is much pleasure to be found in the simple act of preparing for a day on the water. I love the feeling of anticipation as I think through my fishing plan, gear, and methods. It's almost as much fun as fishing itself.


Of course, no fishing trip is complete without live bait. There is something about the feel of a live baitfish wriggling on your hook that is simply irresistible to game fish. And when one of those fish takes the bait and runs, the excitement is unmatched.


I always like to prep in advance and try to minimize the things that may go wrong. That way, my day on the water is focused and enjoyable. Some people prefer to run to the bait shops first thing in the morning, but I always get my bait in advance. It's just a matter of being prepared.


Now that Sweeney's Sports is carrying live bait, I've recorded a simple instructional video on how to keep your live bait alive and healthy longer. I've brought home three types of live bait: bullheads, grass shrimp, and pile worms. My goal is to keep them alive and healthy for 36 hours. I will then fish this same bait and film another video on simple live bait rigging techniques and tackle.


As much as luck is an important factor in fishing, being unprepared or not setting up your gear correctly will almost guarantee a disappointing day. So take the time to prep in advance and enjoy the thrill of the catch.


Fishing Reports


Napa River

Napa River Striper fishing is heating up. Both boat and bank anglers are doing well fishing with swim baits, rattle traps, and trolling P-Line Predator lures. As far as bait fishing, live grass shrimp, mud suckers, pile worms and bullheads seem to work pretty well. We are fishing the river today, throwing just about everything we have in the shop at them to see what works best. Expect a detailed report in your inbox, on our blog, and Youtube channel next week.

We recently rolled out an all-in-one Striper Fishing kit with everything you need to fish for striped bass on Napa River.


Get it shipped to your door or pick it up in the store.




Tip of the week: Night fishing using live bait produces the largest fish.

Here is some general advice on how to catch stripers trolling on the Napa River.

  • Lures: The best lures for Napa River fishing are those that look like anchovies or other small baitfish. Shallow-diving lures are the most effective, and many people add soft squid tails to the back of their lures. Some popular lures include the Lucky Craft LV 500 Chartreuse and Shad patterns, Rattle Traps, Pline Predators, and various color swim baits.

  • Colors: Anchovy colors or white are the most common colors for lures in the Napa River. Chrome can also be effective.

  • Trolling speed: Trolling speed is important for enticing stripers to bite in the Napa River. Generally, you should keep your trolling speed between 3 and 5 mph. You can experiment with different speeds to find what works best. The tides and water flow will also affect the optimal trolling speed. Let the lure out so you can see its action in the water. Adjust your speed for the best action. Repeat the process for trolling with and against the tide.

  • Set your lures 60–80 feet from the boat.

  • Location: The best places to fish in the Napa River are in the sloughs and cuts. Timing-wise, the top of the tide seems to work best. A couple of hours before and after high tide.

Lake Berryessa


Bass, catfish, and carp are the best fish to target right now. Set up a couple of bottom rigs with hot dogs, night crawlers, anchovies, or chicken liver in any cove. Night fishing is best for catching large Cats.

Did you ever fish for carp? And I don’t mean with bow and arrow, which is also fun, I will admit. I mean to fish for carp like this:

These fish are ferocious fighters and make perfect sport fish. Did you know that Carp is the most popular sport fish in Great Britain? It’s true, look it up. That’s where I sourced all my carp fishing knowledge and some of my gear.


If you are interested in learning how to bank fish for carp in Lake Berryessa, please reply to this email and let me know. I may teach a class if there are enough people interested.


As far as what is going on with Berryessa’s kokanee, kings, and trout, this is what Big Nate had to say after scouting the lake yesterday:

Today I went out on a scouting trip to Berryessa for some upcoming guided trips and we landed some DONKEY bass!! Although they weren't our target species they definitely kept us on our toes. We fished from Markley all the way to Putah Creek, and threw all of our tried and true baits/spoons and techniques to no avail, marking maybe 6 Kings in total and 0 schools of Kokanee. There is definitely a algae bloom taking place as visibility is pretty poor in more than half the lake, and it has been this way since the beginning of July.


I will continue to scout Berryessa before running any trips as I don't take people on boat rides with a low chance of success. So if you currently have a trip booked with me, be expecting my call to reschedule or switch lakes until the bite gets better. The last couple of years August thru October were red hot for us, so I'm just crossing my fingers that conditions change sooner than later.


Thanks to Dan Cowan and Kevin Fogal for joining me on this mission today, always a good time fishing with you fellas. I am currently running trips on a few other lakes for Kokanee and Trout and we have been on some EPIC bites, please check out my business page Big Nate's Guide Service for the latest reports and photos. Thanks.


Putah Creek Fishing Report

8-15-23 Flows 555 CFS

The creek is a fishing Fair.

No reports this week. Repeating last week's recommendations. Fish early to beat the heat. Fish the edges at these flows. Last week's report sticking big fish in a deep slot, down and dirty with a worm pattern. Changing zebra midge colors in good water has resulted in hookups. Caddis hatch occurring on some rifles in the evening, Birds Nest #16-18 convincing fish. BWO #18 -20 nymphs and Midge larva #20-22 are present all year long.

BWO—Hogan’s S&Ms, FB Pheasant tails, Quilldigon, May it be, micro may, juju baetis….#18-20

Midges—--WD-40, zebra midge, jujubee midge….#20-22 in different colors. Bird Nest #16-18. San Juan and Squirmy worms.


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