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2018 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: Port of Sacramento - Washington Lake - Barge Access  (Read 15367 times)

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steveislost

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  • Location: Sacramento, California
  • Date Registered: Apr 2011
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One of the jewels of Sacramento for kayak fisherman.  A public launch (no charge), a wide variety of species (carp, bluegills, crappie, multiple species of bass, Stripers, Salmon, steelhead/trout, American Shad, Sturgeon, catfish, bullheads, and even Whales a wide variety of fishing structure, water from shallow to depths over 40 feet,and plenty of places to get out of the weather.  It is one of the best places to get your kayak wet for the first time.  It is used quite extensively by shore as well as boat fisherman, although the nearest boat launch is a private facility located at the Sailing club on Lake Washington.  Night fishing is very popular as well for boaters and shore fishing.

It is located just south of the Jefferson exit - Highway  80.  Look for the Barge access signs.

Although the parking and access are kind of off the main road and there is not very much lighting in the parking area, it seems to be fairly safe as most people utilizing it are fisherman.  Like anywhere, use common sense and take any valuables with you or keep them out of sight.


steveislost

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Bait shops around the port.  Most people utilize Penny's since it is right off the exit for the port.  Turn the opposite direction on Jefferson from the port and it will be the first shopping center on the east side of Jefferson.  Broadway bait is closer to Central Sac just off the 16th st exit on 80/50. Coming from the south you can hit the bait shops in Freeport but Penny's is so close it is not worth getting off at Freeport.

Broadway Bait Rod & Gun
1701 Broadway, Sacramento, CA 95818
(916) 448-6338 / 448-7630

Penny Rod and Bait
1271 Merkley Ave.
West Sacramento, CA 95691
916-372-8813


steveislost

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Barge Access Public Launch

The public launch barge access is just off of Jefferson Boulevard, south of the I-80/Jefferson exit.  You actually pass over the channel and right next to the gates.  Just as soon as you pass over the bridge the first set of lights is the entrance (right side of the road) to the parking area.  The light actually marks the intersection but as it is just a parking lot, there is no designated turn off (turning lane) to the lot.  If you drive to the end of the dirt lot, it dead ends at a gate with two slots wide enough for an aluminum boat/kayak/bicycle/pedestrians.  At the end is also a widened area for trailer turning.  The ramp begins just on the other side of the gate and is a concrete/dirt walk down boat ramp.  It is close enough to hand carry, but any sort of cart would work and make things much easier.  It is steep enough and a bit rough enough that I do throw on a strap for going back up the ramp. 

Security wise, the lot is pretty far off the road, but most people who utilize the area are either fisherman or the occassional dog walker/hiker.  I have not seen too much partying going on there and not a lot of vagrants passing through although there are a few camps on the opposite side of the channel.  Police do patrol as well as the occassional DF&G officer.  At night it is a ambulance staging area so that tends to help things.  Most of all, it is a lot of people fishing twenty four hours a day and with people coming and going I think it keeps people honest.  A lot of shore guys set-up right below the parking area so they are a few steps away if there were any suspicious noises by the cars.  Still though, take your valuables, leave nothing of value visible, and if you have absolutely nothing to steal, leave it unlocked and prevent a broken window.  I feel it is much safer than over at Howe or launches on the American because of the vagrancy issues.

The water around the launch often becomes a bit stagnant if there is not much current passing through but as you head out to the main lake, things clean up quite a bit.  I wouldn't recommend doing any swimming in the channel but would hold out until you are out in the lake or deep water channel if you are going to take a dip or practice re-entry's/submersions.  Better yet, go to Natomas or Folsom.


steveislost

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The Gates/Locks

Their are two locks or "gates" that provide a barrier between the Sacramento River and the Deep water channel "the port".  As you launch from the public ramp, if you look to the right you will see the gates about  fifty yards or so down the channel.  Since it creates basically a dead end for the deep water channel, it creates a blockade that most migrating fish end up at.  For this reason it is a common spot to fish for migrating fish like Salmon.  It is also a decent spot to drop bait and wait for fish cruising the end for locked in bait.  For Salmon the most popular spot is right in the center where there is a small gap which allows variable amounts of water to flow through depending on the tide levels.  Since it is the only current, the Salmon often bunch up there sitting in the current.  If you have a tube or hit the tides right, you can slide between the wooden braces and go to the back of the gates and fish the farthest corners where they often get stuck.  Watch out for the water levels as it will often drop up to 8 feet.  For Stripers, the best spot is to set yourself up in one of the corners and either drop bait waiting for the fish that generally cruise up the sides of the steep walls.  There are a few rubbish piles under the bridges where you can often find crappies suspended over them.  Bass tend to cruise along the walls at the opposite end of the walls where they begin.  There are also some old pilings which concentrate crappie and bass.  Setting up along the wall with a minnow is very effective.  Artificials thrown in the pockets and around the pilings works pretty good as well.


steveislost

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The channel

When you launch from the public launch, if you go to your left/West, that area up to the bridge (Industrial Boulevard/Lake Washington Boulevard) I call the channel.  It is basically the canal that connects the locks/gates to the main lake.  Structure wise it is pretty similar the whole way with a man-made rubble shoreline, silty bottom, and trees lining the shore.  From the bridge it is around 18 feet and slowly descends to about 12 feet by the launch and then deepens again by the gates. The whole area is pretty much nice fishing structure but I have never put too much effort into fishing it. 

The two areas that are productive is the little area around a water in flow area.  It is some sort of run off spot that constantly has water flowing into the channel.  It is located on the opposite side to the launch about fifty feet before the bridge.  Listen for the water running in.  This is a decent spot to catch bluegills.  The second area is my most productive schoolie striper spot.  As your facing the bridge on the way out to the lake, there are three full size trees on the left side.  There is a fourth tree but it is right on the shore line.  From that fourth tree straight out and almost in the center is an area with a bit of broken bottom structure.  It seems to attract bait and also Stripers.  That stretch runs down to about equal to the water run off area is my drifting bait area in the channel.  Just below the bridge on the north side is another area where the bait seems to conjugate midwater column. 
« Last Edit: November 26, 2012, 12:18:41 PM by steveislost »


steveislost

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First Dock (outsde the bridge)

Once you pass under the bridge, you come upon the first set of docks to your right (north).  This is the end of the deep water channel or where they stopped the deep dredging.  As you are paddling along the center of the canal, if you look to your right you will see a huge circular water storage tank.  As you come perpendicular to the tank you will see (if you have a depth finder) a drop of about ten feet (24 to 34 feet within a ten foot range).  This pretty much runs almost shoreline to shoreline.  This is another good spot to work the drop especially on the outgoing tides.  At the end of the first dock is a drop light that is set-off by a motion detector.  It provides a very lit up area at night.  This is not as productive as the dock end light by the tug boats farther up, but security at the moment has that area closed off. 

As you pass under the bridge, if you pass to the right of the docks and the two parked barges, you come up to a sheltered area in the back where I pick up the majority of my bait.  The specific spot is a concrete slab located equal to where the two barges are backed into each other.  It forms a little current area between the gap that flows into the shore where the concrete slab and a large tree are located.  Lots of bluegills located in this area.  Farther down there is another water outlet which occassionally has water coming out.  A lot of the overhanging trees hold gills under them.  Work under the trees or right along the shore line.  Drop your bait under a bobber and if you don't get some nibbling within ten seconds, pull up and drop in another spot.  If you catch one, stay in the same spot and see if there is a school.  One solid area will fill your bait needs for a day.

The docks are posted 100ft off limits and occassionally there are security guards.  Personally I fish these areas and if they kick me out I just say okay and move along.  The docks are the best areas to find Crappie.  The bank on the opposite side ranges about three feet deep out to about ten feet from the bank with a lot of greenery and then a drop off to about 34 feet.  Lot's of shore fisherman hit these areas.


steveislost

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Main Lake

The main lake provides a lot of fishing opportunity.  Pretty much everything catchable can be caught here yet, it can be a bitch to get anything to bite.  Structure wise, it is pretty basic.  Along the south side bank it is pretty much the same the whole way down.  From the shore line there is a lot of weeds and about a three foot platform that runs out about six feet before dropping off at about a forty five degree angle (one foot out is one foot of depth).  There are a few ledges that create breaks along the drop off.  Once you hit around 34 feet the bottom flattens out with the depths hitting the 40 foot range closer to the docks.  At the entrance to the deep water channel (straight along the south shore) there is another drop off where the deep water channel enters the Lake.  If you make a right (north), there is another shore line that is pretty fishy.  At the end of that stretch, there is another inlet to the back docks.  This area is no longer used and has become silted over making it very shallow.  There are tons of weed lined shore lines with old dock pilings and the bits and pieces of old boats, docks, and even airplanes.  Nice to explore and looks very bassy, but never fished it very much.  What it does though, on outgoing current, is flood the lake with run-off/bait.  This is where you will most often see the birds sitting.  If the current is flowing from there, I generally cut back to the south shore following this current line.  Right at the mouth is good for anchoring up and dropping bait. 

Right in front of the club is pretty good for Bass as well as Stripers as not only is it a wind blown corner, but often times their weigh in for tournaments is right there where fish are released.  Inside the little cove is a bit shallow but lots of bass boats work the area.

My main hotspots are right at the corner where the tugboats are located (the security is pretty tight at the moment so tough to fish day or night).  Opposite the tugboats on the south shore is a single tree with a small square fenced off area above it.  Right there in the 20-30 foot range is a great spot to drop bait.  That whole area between the two spots is a good ambush spot for schoolies.  If you can get behind the tugboats and work the shoreline, I have done really well on Crappie and Bass.

When the temperature drops and the Stripers move up from the Delta there is a lot of top water action from schooled up Shad.  Just keep an eye out for the boils and the birds. 

The center of the lake is pretty much just flat silt with hardly any structure.  Stripers are swimming all over, but to catch them in the center you just have to be lucky.  It's probably better to work the shorelines.



steveislost

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Deep Water Channel

It's too far to paddle, but back in my younger days I did hit the concrete pier located just past the main lake and up the channel on the right side.  This pier is not patrolled so if you want to experience the under docks without the worry, this is a good option.  Pretty good spot for Crappie, Bass, and Stripers.  Once you get around the bend, it is one long straight away until you get to the Delta.  Pretty much standardized depths and shore structure.  The channel utilizes mile markers and fishing reports often incorporate these markers. 


AnglingWes

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Awesome write up Steve.  The port is by far one of my local favorites. 


Weimarian

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the port sucks till you figure it out...  :smt044 Then it is a awesome playground you can find it hard leaving... I want to be there now!  :smt005 The water is safe for novice paddlers. All those Out there seem friendly enough. Even the power boaters Are chatty... Some magic there :smt003 Penny's is the bomb for bait. Pre order minnows for the weekend though as they run out if the striper are in town. Post a hookup and many will join in. See ya out there :smt006
Summer time is here! Love this time of year....


AnglingWes

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One of my favorite aspects of the port is that ANY fisherman can go out there and hook up with an epic fish on almost any bait or lure setup. Steve and many others use bait with great success, something that I suck at.  However, I have caught many Striper, including my PB, trolling swimbaits.  Bankers also tear it up soaking cut bait.  There aren't too many places with excellent access for free that produce like the port.


TheDudeAbides

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Wow i am going to Favorite this post, awesome primer!! :smt003
Let me explain something to you. Um, I am not "Mr. Lebowski". You're Mr. Lebowski. I'm the Dude. So that's what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing.


sonoramike

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Wow i am going to Favorite this post, awesome primer!! :smt003
+1 thanks for the intel


Paddleboy84

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Steve you always go above and beyond. Thanks so much for the intel. Will get this on the projector for the seminar next week.
Headwaters Kayak Shop Lodi CA, ran by paddlers for paddlers
Headwater Fishing Team Member

http://headwatersfishing.blogspot.com/


pao

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This is the reason why you should fish with Steve.