64" (65-lbs) White Sturgeon caught at Chico Straits.

White Sturgeon caught March 2000
46” (18-lbs)
Caught at the Highway 99 pond. I caught it using an Anchovy threaded onto a #4 Longshank hook – It put up a terrific 15-minute fight.

A huge White Sturgeon caught near Sacramento, California. sturgeonbanner1j

Page Summary

Fish Caught

White Sturgeon: 64" (65-lbs)

Mackinaw Trout: 46" (18-lbs)

Striped Bass: 25" (6-lbs)

Striped Bass: 22" (5-lbs)

Places Fished

Sacramento River - Chico Straits and Lovey's

Several other spots around the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta

Bait Used

Crawdad/Eel combo

Ghost Shrimp

Anchovy on a #4 Longshank hook

My Hunt for White Sturgeon in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and Why I Won't Fish for One Again

In 1999, I caught a very nice Sturgeon in the Sacramento River – it was 54” (50-lbs). I caught it approximately three miles south of the Meridian Bridge during the day using Ghost Shrimp. For the next two years, I was satisfied with this catch being my once-in-a-lifetime Sturgeon. In 2001, I reconsidered and wanted to catch something bigger. The White Sturgeon is such a gift to those living around the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, that I began thinking about what an achievement it would be to catch one of them as an annual event. Well, I did not realize what I was getting myself into. As I would find out, they are one of the most difficult fish to catch and many fishermen will never catch one. I had caught several small Sturgeon - many of which were too small to keep - and I decided that I should try fishing with some guides. I began looking for expert guides around Sacramento who would hopefully know where, when, and how to catch large ones as an annual event. The following list covers my attempts with guides and does not include many of the smaller and medium-sized fish that I caught on my own in the sloughs around the “River City".

January 2002: I fished with a guide named Thomason and we fished all over the southern parts of the Sacramento River but never caught one.

April 2002: I fished with a guide named Herbert and we fished all night on the Sacramento River south of the Meridian Bridge but never caught one.

May 2002: I fished with a guide named John out of the Tisdale ramp for most of an evening and night but never caught one.

January 2003: I was back with the guide named John again – this time out of the Verona ramp. We fished at a place called Hog Island on an icy-cold winter day but never caught one.

February 2003: I was back at the Tisdale ramp with another guide named Smith and we fished from early dawn to noon just north of Tisdale but did not catch one.

March 2003: I fished with another guide named Stafford out of Ward’s Landing for an entire cold-winter night but never caught one.

January 2004: I was back with Stafford at the same time and place for another cold-winter night but still never caught one.

May 2004: I fished with another guide named Larlee and we fished around the mothball fleet in Suisun bay. We also tried the Montezuma Slough but still did not catch one.

February 2005: I fished with a guide named McCoy along the eastern shoreline of Suisun Bay. At around 1 am, we caught a small 42” sturgeon but had to put it back because it was too small to keep.

April 2005: I found a new guide who assured me he was my man for catching a sturgeon. His name was Strait, but we did not catch one.

June 2005: I was back with Strait out of a place called Lovey’s Landing on the Sacramento River, just north of the town of Meridian. We did not catch one.

February 2006: I fished on three different trips with Strait out of Lovey’s Landing, both north and south of the Meridian Bridge on the Sacramento River. On one of these trips, we actually had a Sturgeon on the hook, but we didn’t catch it. Only one of these trips was at night.

June 2006: I fished with a guy named Powell out of Woodson Bridge, approximately 55 miles north of Meridian. He claimed he could catch them year round, but we never caught one. This trip was during the daytime.

November 2006: I found a guide named Joe who had just caught a 60” Sturgeon out of Brannon Island on the Sacramento River (he caught it near Decker Island). I fished with him on three different trips at his favorite “hole” but we never caught one. His trips were all during the daytime.

March 2007: I was running out of guides when I found a guy named Dan who fished out of Colusa. I fished with him on four different trips, mostly at a place called Chico Straits north of Colusa. Finally, on March 29th and our last trip together, we caught the great Sturgeon I was after. It hit our bait at 2 in the morning (I was sound asleep) and it took approximately ½ an hour to bring it to the boat. I used my homemade rod belt to bring it to the boat and the guide noosed it aboard. It was a beauty - 64” (65-lbs). We caught it on a combo of baits-Pileworms, Ghost Shrimp, and Eel. It was a male and ran off with half of the line on the reel before we could slow it down.

Summary: This catch took over six years with 11 different guides and 22 different trips. It was a tremendous expenditure of time and effort and a real challenge. However, I’ll never need to catch another Sturgeon to be happy!

Note: There is more detail about each of the above trips. Only the attempt in April 2002 is described in detail to the right; however, full-detail of the rest of the attempts will eventually make it onto this page. If you would like to know when new content is added, follow us on Twitter: @memoirstream


White Sturgeon caught March 2007
64" (65-lbs)
Caught with a guide at Chico Straits.

Looking for a Monster White Sturgeon
First Overnight Trip - April 18, 2002

A map of the places we fished in the Sacramento River and the Sutter Bypass near Lovey's.

I started the trip on a bad note. I was supposed to meet my guide Matt at the Wal-Mart parking lot on Highway 20 west of Yuba City at 4:00 PM. I didn't leave 3312 until 3:10 PM and it wasn't enough time to make the 50-mile drive. I had to speed much too fast to get there at 4:10 and Matt was waiting. I followed him out Highway 20 to the town of Meridian, then north along a levee road past Lovey's Landing to the only boat ramp in the area. It was the same ramp used with another guide named Dave 3 years ago (1999).

We took off down river under the Meridian Bridge for approximately 7-miles (farther than I went with Dave) to a snagsite where we anchored for the night. Matt quickly put our 2 poles in the water - one with a combo-bait of Crawdad/Eel and one with a cluster of Ghost Shrimp. We stuck with these 2 baits all night. Matt said the Eel-combo was a great bait because only Sturgeon would hit the Eel. However, he had caught more

Sturgeon on the cluster of Ghost Shrimp. Two weeks ago, he had caught 2 76" Sturgeon with the Ghost Shrimp at this very spot. As they were oversize, he had to release both of them.

It was a sunny but breezy evening with lots of threatening clouds overhead. No sooner were our poles in the water than a hard driving rain began to fall. The top wasn’t up yet, so we ducked under the tarp to keep dry. In about 20 minutes, the rain was over and we had clear but breezy weather for the rest of the night. By 5:00 PM, we were fishing and ready for a bite.

I watched the poles while Matt put up the top. In this case, the top covered the whole front of the boat, leaving the back open for fishing. At about 7:30 PM, he turned on a propane Heater in the enclosure, and it was soon warm and cozy for the rest of the night. It was dusk at 7:45 and pitch-black at 8:15. I stayed awake until midnight, not wanting to miss the big bite when it came. We got several strong tugs and jerks up until 12:00 AM, but no real bait-takers. Matt said the tugs and jerks ware definitely Sturgeon.

At Midnight, Matt put a big comforter on the floor and a sleeping bag on top. He said I could snooze if I wanted to and he would watch the poles. He left the "clickers" on the reels on so he would hear the fish take the bait. In the warm cozy "cabin", I immediately dozed off. At 3:00 AM, he woke me up to say no Sturgeon yet, but there was a Striper on the Crawdad-pole. I was up like a lead balloon to grab the pole and reel-in a nice 25” (6-lbs) Striper – it had gone for the Crawdad. Then, I was back to sleep.

It was 6:00 AM and almost daylight when I woke again. Matt said he had one good "take" during the night but it wouldn't keep the bait long enough to set the hook. It was daylight at 6:30, and Matt suggested we do some jumbo-minnow fishing on our way back to the boat ramp to catch me a 2nd Striper. We did and caught another keeper Striper 22” (5-lbs).

At 8:00 AM, we were back at the ramp to end our overnight adventure. We had 2 nice Stripers, but we definitely didn't catch my 2nd keeper Sturgeon. It was both fun and disappointing. We had fished a total of 15hrs (5:00 PM – 8:00 AM).

Launching our Alumaweld boat at Ward's Landing. The Meridian Bridge over the Sacramento River in California. A fishing hole long the Sacramento River that is good for Sturgeon fishing. A heavy evening rain over the Sacramento area. Dawn on a cold morning on the Sacramento River.

Launching our Alumaweld at Ward’s Landing
The ramp is located approximately 3-miles north of the Meridian Bridge on the Sacramento River.

The Meridian Bridge
Heading downstream on the Sacramento River at Highway 20.

Our fishing hole for the night
Like most fishes, Sturgeon like to cluster in and around the protection of the shoreline snags.

A Heavy Evening Rain
We had just anchored the boat and set out our 2 poles when this dark and ominous cloud drifted in from the north. In a few minutes, we were barraged by a drenching downpour.

Sunrise on the Sacramento River
I awoke to see this 1st glare of sunrise over the tops of the shoreline foliage. It was cold and damp on the river.

Two nice Striped Bass caught near Ward's Landing.

Striped Bass from the Sacramento River in April
Back at Ward’s Landing, we didn’t have a Sturgeon to show off, but we did have these 2 nice Stripers.

Sunset with the Sacramento river in the foreground. A nice 25" Striped Bass back at our launchsite - Ward's Landing.

Dusk on the Sacramento River
By 8:30, the sky was pitch black and suddenly the surrounding world would be dark and sinister. The only sound was the soft murmur of the flowing river.

Our best catch of the night – 25” (6-lbs)

Published fishing report for Rio Linda – Possibly from the Sacramento Bee

The stretch of the Sacramento River between Knights Landing in Meridian is producing improving Sturgeon action as the big Diamondbacks ascend the river on their annual spawning run. Successful anglers are fishing ghost shrimp, pile worms, and eel – the pile worms seem to work better.

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