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Fishing the California Aqueduct for Striped Bass

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Fly fishing for striped bass

Striped bass caught by the author in California.

Brian Milne
Believe it or not, you can fish the California Aqueduct in the heart of the valley.

Anglers regularly catch quality stripers during the late spring and early summer when pumps push water down the canal.

“When there’s water, it’s still cooking out there,” said Pete Cormier of Bob’s Bait Bucket.

The best striped bass fishing is down near the Buena Vista Golf Course, near Taft, but that’s also the stretch of the canal that receives the most fishing pressure.

“If you can get in there, that’s where the fish are,” Cormier said. “There’s always been good fishing there … There were people who were catching 100 fish a day there for awhile.”

Striped bass can reach 10 to 20 pounds, but most stripers run in the 1- to 5-pound range.

Catch and release is always recommended in areas that receive as much pressure as the aqueduct, but if you must take fish keep in mind the minimum length restrictions of 18 inches. There is a two fish limit.

For fly fishers pursuing striped bass, the aqueduct isn’t the most sought-after area to fish, but stripers can be tempted here and at nearby lakes with bucktails and light-colored streamers.

For more information on striped bass, be sure to check out our species article on fly fishing for striped bass.

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