Choking Winter Stripers by Dan Mathisen

Choking Winter Stripers
by Dan Mathisen

Story & Photos


he winter bite on the California Delta can

become a tough one to figure out. Quite

possibly one of the best ways to beat

slow cold weather fishing is to chase some stripers. It is also a great way to learn more about what the black bass do when the temperatures drop. Often the best bass bite can be found when chasing the bait foraging stripers.


Where they can be found striped bass won’t be far behind.


The biggest striped bass tip is all about gulls,


cormorants and heron. During winter, birds are an excellent means to detecting the location of baitfish

On the Delta, winter striped bass fishing is a

and where there are baitfish, stripers are likely close

simple affair and easy to learn. Winter fishing is easier by. While sonar works well at detecting what is under

as stripers are more concerned with staying close

the water, the birds can lead you to the right location

to their favorite meal – threadfin shad –rather than

more often than not. Putting the time

seeking out cover.

and fuel in to chase birds will dramatically

Good sonar – like the many Lowrance options

improve your success.

– (our newest choice Lowrance elite

5) makes seeking food a simple


task, but it is not

My most sought after bite – no


matter the species – is the top water

Look for

bite. Typically, the best conditions for

main sloughs

this are low light, low water and low

and creeks that

current. The last two hours of outgoing

merge to the

tide and the first two hours of incoming

river channel and

are the best times, in most cases. With

the secondary

the right blustery or foggy conditions

sloughs to main

the same time period on the top tide

channels. Pay

change can also be effective.

attention to the

There are many choices for top water

movement of

offerings. It is often dictated by the way

baitfish like shad

the fish are acting. A new bait – the IMA

and BIRDS.

Little Stik 135 – is quickly becoming


52 ®