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Napa Fishing and Outdoor Report - December 8th, 2022

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

  • Fishing Report

  • Rockfish and Crab Trip to Fanny Shoals

  • Wild Camping Clearance Sale

Let's get started!

Fishing Report

Napa River


The Napa River Striper bite has slowed down in recent weeks, due to colder weather patterns dropping the water temps. However, anglers are still getting into fish. The recent rains have not stained up the water too badly, so trolling and casting the usual swimbaits, LV 500's, Rattletraps, and jointed deep divers are catching stripers. Jigging with Pline 2oz-4oz Lazer Minnows in the main river channel and deeper holes will also produce stripers this time of year. Just remember to slow down your presentation. Anglers using bait are having mixed success. The bite has slowed down to a grind, but a few nice size stripers are being caught. Try using live bullheads, or mudsuckers for a bigger fish. Reports are coming in of a good number of Sturgeon in the river right now. It's time to start putting in time for a river dinosaur. There is a bite going on at the mouth of most of the main sloughs, as well as in the sloughs. Areas near the HWY 29 bridge to Cuttings Wharf will hold fish as well. There is Salmon in the system right now, however, our river is closed to all Salmon Fishing, closing with the Ocean regulations at the end of October.


Lake Berryessa


Up at Lake Berryessa water temps are cooling off fast and the lake is going through the annual turnover. It's time to start fishing with live minnows! Drifting under a slip bobber in the front end of the coves, and creek channels. The areas around the bridges have always been a producer this time of year. We are getting weekly minnow deliveries now and carry both medium and large sizes. Trolling near the surface to 30' with a variety of spoons and spinners will produce a few fish. Anglers are having to cover water to find the fish as they are spread out throughout the lake. The Bass bite got real tough over the last couple of weeks. The cold fronts moving through have slowed the bite. Most anglers have switched up to dragging jigs, and hula grubs or their favorite finesse tactics to produce a few fish. If we continue to get a good amount of rain and some runoff, look for a decent Catfish bite to start up in the back of the creek channels. Nightcrawlers and cut shad or mackerel is a really good bait.


Crab


The recreational crab fishing has been awesome for those anglers heading out to their favorite crabbing grounds. The new style hoop nets commonly referred to as Ambush hoops have been really producing the crabs. It's been tough keeping them in stock, but we currently have a supply of them. Come by and Ask Tom or Alex how they work. The rock fishing bite has been equally good!!!


Delta


For those of you that like to hit the Delta for stripers, there is a really good bite going on right now. We are getting some really good reports coming in on anglers crushing them on several different baits like LV 500's, swimbaits, and even chatterbaits with Keitech trailers.

Rockfish and Crab Trip to Fanny Shoals

Our original plan was to troll for Tuna around Cordell Bank, where the warmer water pushed in. Then we would drop down to the Fanny Shoals area, get on rocks, and fish for rockfish. After that, we’d run down to Drakes Bay at Point Reyes and drop our crab pots.


Admittedly, the plan was quite ambitious, but we thought we could pull it off. A couple of days before the trip the weather reports turned for the worse. We almost called the whole thing off but decided on a last-minute game-time decision. Sure enough, the night before the trip the weather started to look a little better and we decided to go for it.


We left the house at 4:30 am and launched at Alamada around 5:30 am. We ran the whole channel in the morning dark. The sunrise caught us right under the Golden Gate bridge. We were the only boat there. The views were absolutely epic.




It took us around 2 hours of hard running under the rising sun to get within 2-3 miles of Cordell Bank, however, right away we saw there was a problem. About 300 yards in front of us there was a wall of fog stretching as far as the eye could see. We hit the wall and it got dark and rough very quickly. It felt too rough to troll for Tuna and Capt. Wayne made a call to run back to Fanny Shoals for rock fishing.



Once we got on the rocks, we dropped double-hooked rockfish rigs with yellow shrimp imitation lures, baited with squid strips, and terminated with 12 oz weights. We fished for around 2 hours at around 200-220 feet depth hopping from rock to rock using the fish finder. We eventually got limits and were ready for the last leg of our trip - crabbing.




Rockfishing is a lot of fun. It’s action-packed and a decent workout, believe it or not. Dropping and reeling up fairly sizable loads from 200 ft plus is quite exhilarating. Since the swells were quite big, the boat rocked and we always had to stay mindful of our footing. It’s a multi-dimensional physical and mental challenge and it’s hard to keep the cameras going and getting good angles with all that action plus constant spray and fog hitting the camera lenses. The video came out ok, but I’ll do better next time.




It took us around 45 minutes to run into Drakes Bay, where things were a lot calmer. Dropping crab pots sounds fairly easy in principle, but it’s more technical than I thought. This was my first time, so I did my best to help the guys get it done. Different lengths of rope must be used, depending on the depth. Also coiling up the rope in just such a way that it uncoils smoothly during the drop is important. Once we drop a pot, we’d mark it on GPS and go to the next drop location a few minutes away.

We found that 80-110 ft of water is the best depth, and there is probably no need to soak the pots for more than 30 minutes. We took the time to fillet all of our rockfish before picking up the pots and found a lot of our bait eaten to the bone. I wish we’d picked up our pots sooner. I think we’d have double the haul.

If you have a chance to go out rock fishing and crabbing this season, don’t pass it up. It’s one of the most fun fishing adventures you can do while filling your freezer with some really good eating.

Our full story video is below. Tight lines. Alex.




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