So who said fishing the aqueduct was hard??? Living in Bakersfield isn't the most desired location when you earn for the smell of morning ocean mist and love to target saltwater species!! But I can't just sit around and do nothing!! One thing Bakersfield has going for it angling wise is the California Aqueduct!!
The California Aqueduct spans 444 miles, with a typical section averageing 40ft wide and 30 ft deep while most palces I've fished are wider then this with the widest section being 110 ft wide and 32.8 ft the deepest and begins at the Delta in Northen Cali and traveling south throughout California providing drinking and argriculture water as well as angling oportunities for us stuck inland!!
There are a variety of fish that call the aqueduct home, but the most sought after are Stripers and Catfish. Other fish that can be caught are
carp, LMB as well as other species but they are not usually targeted or in great numbers in the Aqueduct.
The primary forage food in the ducts are american shad, grass shrimp, sculpin and other smaller bait fish that make there way into the ducts through the delta.
That is just a basic overview of the ducts and the types of fish found in it. I actually hate fishing the ducts but it provides me an opportunity to fish and besides catching stripers are fun!! The limit for stripers out of the Aqueduct is 2 fish with a minimun size of 18 inches.
I have caught a buch of stripers out of the ducts but what keeps me going back is trying to catch a DD (double digit) on artificials. Now large fish up to 30+ pounds are frequently caught but the majority are caught on bait which I hate to use!!!
Bait fishing is a popular method to catch stripers but I prefer to use artificials. If you prefer to be a baitsoaker, popular baits are anchovies, bloodworms, nightcrawlers and chicken liver. Also, I reccomend you use braid with a short leader as your line gets pretty chewed up rubbing the concrete when fishing bait on the bottom. Carolina rig or dropper loop are 2 good methods as well as fly lining your bait with the current with a splitshot.
For artificials, I like to use Lucky Craft pointers and LV 500 lipless crankbaits with my favorite colors in American Shad, Ghost Minnow, Auroa Black and Chartruese. Other less expensive alternatives are rat-l-traps and rapalas but you'll save money in the long run using quality baits like the LC's.
Other baits I like to use are tube jigs, bucktails and swimbaits in the 4-6 inch range and I use 3/4oz lead heads for most of my fishing. Colors I like are white, browns and greens.
My typical set-up is a 7ft 6" MH fast action casting rod and a low profile bait caster spooled with 12 lb test. This gives me a good all around set-up for throwing baits from 1/4 oz to 1 oz and has enough power to bring in most fish. Any 10-12 lb set-up will be just fine for fishing the ducts.
Miscellaneous items to bring are tape measure if you plan on keeping fish, a net, water or your favorite beverage, camera and a good pair of walking shoes with good traction !! This is very important as the ducts side are sometimes steep and dusty and you can easily fall in.
Saftety. As just mentioned, good walking shoes with traction are paramount for your safety!! If you do happen to get unlucky and fall in, don't panic!!! Swim at a 45 degree angle down current untill you get to a safety ladder which are usually space every 1000 ft or so and pull your self in. In the summer months, the sides get slippery making it a tough task to come straight out. Just remember to excersise good judgement when fishing the ducts!!
Lastly, have fun!!! Although the ducts can be frustrating to fish, its provides a great fishery that is rewarding in the end!! Have fun and good luck!!!
p.s. A good resource for fishing the ducts can be found here:
Stripe Bills Site