Encompassing approximately 1,000 miles of waterways the California Delta is located in Northern California roughly between Sacramento on the north and Stockton on the southwest. The Sacramento River, coming from the north, and the San Joaquin River, coming from the southwest are the main contributing rivers. The American, Mokelumne, Cosumnes, and the Calaveras River feed the two major rivers. These rivers will flow through San Francisco Bay before empting into the Pacific Ocean and provide some of the best largemouth bass fishing waterways in this country, if not the world. The California Delta is a labyrinth of sloughs, canals, water tracts, lakes, and bays with names like Potato Slough, Whites Slough, Victoria Canal, Frank’s Tract, Sherman Lake, and Discovery Bay. As one explores the vast watery avenues, vistas of blackberry brambles, tulle grasses, and vine-covered trees appear at practically every turn. It is truly a bass angler’s paradise.
Originally populated by the Maidu Indians the Delta saw Spanish explorers arrive in 1772. Many others followed the Spanish, including trappers in the early 1800’s. The trappers brought with them malaria, resulting in the death of many Maidu people. With the discovery of gold in the California foothills, many came to this new world seeking their fortune. At the same time, the settlement of the Delta region was beginning. Farmers were in need of a method to keep the land from flooding in spring and winter, resulting in the construction of the levee system, which defines the Delta today.
The banks of the canals, sloughs, and cuts receive much of the bass angler’s attention. As non-descript as the open water may look this water has the same structure elements as a lake. Use your sonar just like in a lake to find the off shore structure and you may just find under pressured fish.
The tracts a flood
And our pilings turn to rust
Were beaten and blown by the wind
Boat position is a must
I’ll show you a place
High on the Delta plain
Where the docks have no name
Safety and caution should prevail when boating anywhere; it is especially true at the Delta. From large ocean going vessels, fast boats, large wakes, blind corners, inexperienced and sometimes intoxicated boat operators, crowded holiday and weekend traffic, submerged wrecks and obstacles, floating tree trunks, fluctuating tides and unseen river currents the Delta is not a place to let your guard down, life vest on and kill switch attached.