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Make the most of your California Delta adventure

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Posted: Friday, May 29, 2015 10:14 am

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is calling. With more than 1,000 square miles of waterways stretching between Sacramento, Stockton and Pittsburgh, water enthusiasts from all over clamor to visit the Delta in the summer. From fishing to horseback riding, there’s plenty to enjoy at the diverse Delta. Explore neighboring towns, stop off for a glass of wine or make a splash kite boarding. Read on to learn more:

Catch a fish

Fishing season is well underway in the California Delta. With waters full of bass, panfish, catfish, sturgeons, river salmon and more, there are many ways to hook, line and sinker.

Bank fishing, or fishing from land where it meets the water, is one of the most popular options. Two public piers in Antioch offer prime real estate for the sport and local bait shops share knowledge with customers on where to make the best catch.

If you’d rather take to the sea, rent a boat from a local Delta shop. Novice and intermediate fisherman may find Bethel Island tackle shops offer the best advice for fishing patterns on the Delta, as well as boat rentals. Charters are also available to fisherman willing to pay a fee. According to the California Department of Fish and Game, this option provides good opportunity for beginners to benefit from the experience of the operators. Generally, such excursions result in a high number of catches for anglers.

Pro-fisherman Bobby Barrack offers his own charters, dubbed “Back to Class,” where he shares his knowledge with anglers during a full or half day on the water. Trips can be booked at www.bobbybarrack.com.

Striped Bass that frequent the Delta draw crowds to the coveted area. March to Mid-June marks the best season to catch these fish during spawning. After that, the legal-sized striped bass have left the Delta waterways, and beforehand many fish aren’t biting.


There’s no need to make your Delta escape a day-trip. Hotels are available at every point of the triangular shaped waterways that flow through Sacramento, Stockton and Pittsburgh. The Ryde Hotel is one such option.

The Ryde Hotel is rich in history. Built in 1927, the opulent establishment offered bootleg whiskey and jazz music. It was also rumored to be a bordello. Today, after a major renovation that upgraded many of the amenities without compromising historic charm, the Ryde Hotel hosts weddings and other events.

In addition to swimming and a full-service bar, the hotel’s golf course is revered. Located on the banks of the Sacramento River, the nine-hole course offers sweeping views of the Delta waterways.

The course is known for laid-back play on a course free of many obstacles. Those who stay enjoy reduced rates on the course.

Visit Locke

Locke is a short jaunt from Walnut Grove. Originally founded in 1915, the town is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Locke boasts a rich Chinese culture, founded by a committee of Chinese merchants. Chinese architects planned the town’s industrious building and it stands today barely changed since 1920.

The town centers around farm work, as that is what was available to its inhabitants. At its peak, Locke, formally known as Lockeport, was home to 600 residents. Known as the only town in the United States built for the Chinese by the Chinese, it earned historical status in 1970.

Until July 31 visitors can be immersed in the unique Chinese culture by viewing Gateway to Gold Mountain: The Angel Island Immigration Experience, an exhibit that tells the story of Chinese immigrants’ experience at Angel Island. The exhibit is one part of the Locke Centennial celebration taking place throughout 2015.

Be active

With over 1,000 square miles of waterways, the Delta offers plenty of room to get on the water. Water sports are a popular pastime of Delta dwellers. From jet skiing to kayaking, there’s room for aficionados of all water sports to coexist.

Powerboats may cause waves for canoe and kayak enthusiasts, but a little research will uncover a slew of possible locations ideal for these sports — Sevenmile Slough, Old River, Middle River, Cosumnes River, Mokelumne River and Lost Slough. Mostly it involves finding an area with little to no powerboat access, or a section of water that doesn’t offer prime powerboat conditions. If you’re able to steer clear of these larger vehicles, the Delta will provide calm waters ideal for these sports.

Paddle boarding is taking the world by storm with snapshots of celebrities enjoying the sport in exotic locales. It is also celebrated for the benefits it provides to your body such as core-body strength and a rigorous arm workout. The Delta is a local destination to enjoy paddle boarding.

Delta Windsurf and Watersports Co., located in Rio Vista, offers windsurfing, kite boarding and stand-up paddle boarding. Due to thermal winds in summer months, there is just enough movement to provide playful jump sailing, kite surfing and down-wind paddle boarding. Local shops provide lessons, equipment and excursions for just about every water sport the Delta can handle.

Push off from Stockton

The Stockton Marina is California’s largest inland seaport. In addition to festivals, it boasts a deep-water channel, a bustling port and a historic backdrop for your Delta trip.

Ship gazing is one lazy afternoon activity just about everyone can enjoy. Commercial ships prep for worldly excursions, traveling in and out of the popular port. Ports also offer boats a place to tie-up and dock for a while. Where else can you take a boat to a ballgame? A walking promenade will keep visitors near the water even if they don’t want to venture onto it. Nena’s Mexican Restaurant and Chitiva’s Salsa and Sports Bar & Grill serve up spicy grub for a casual evening near the water while themed festivals are a common occurrence throughout the summer. Visitors can test their taste buds with the Jewish Food Fair in June or catch a historical show during DeltaFusion or Juneteenth. Visit www.visitstockton.org to learn more.

Cruise the Delta

If jet skis and powerboats literally aren’t your speed, perhaps a Delta cruise will sound more appealing. With several push-off locations across the channels, Delta visitors can sail into the sunset or have a leisure lunch on their way down the river.

Delta River Cruises offer one-way breakfast and lunch excursions, with alternate travel the other way. Start from Stockton or Sacramento and learn about the various points of interest along the San Joaquin or Sacramento River while on your excursion.

The California Sunset, an 80-person passenger vessel, also offers cruises along the river. Leaving from the Stockton Marina, the cruise offers a narration tour. Dining, private parties or regular passenger trips are all available.

Explore wine country

Clarksburg Wine Country offers wine enthusiasts an opportunity to tour wineries and vineyards along the Delta. More than 12 wineries and tasting rooms call Clarksburg home. Clarksburg AVA offers 35 varietals and a long growing season that produces award-winning wines.

Visitors can visit one winery or tour them all.

Bogle Vineyards has vineyards along the Delta where they grow grapes to produce their range of wines. During the summer they host two prominent events where they pair food with a selection of wines made from California-grown grapes. First up is the Bogle Bash, an annual BBQ featuring ribs, chicken, live music and more. Those who want to attend can purchase tickets for June 6, 6-10 p.m. Adults only. Next up is the vineyard’s Paella Party. Chef Ryan Rose of Zocolo will be whipping up paella, a Spanish dish. Sangria, tapas, wine and flamenco rounds out the event.

The 11 other Clarksburg wineries hold their own events. More information about each winery can be found at www.clarksburgwinecountry.com.

Pick fruit

After catching fresh fish for dinner, gatherers can pick their own fruit to accompany the meal. U-Pick is a premium farm located in Rio Vista boasting apricots, cherries, peaches, pears and plums all ripe for the picking.

The Delta region is riddled with fruit and vegetable stands where growers sell farm fresh items to passerby. U-Pick takes the freshness one step further by allowing visitors to handpick their own fruit right from the tree. The listed fruit should be available June through August but it is recommended to check in before planning your excursion.

Take a hike

Water transportation isn’t the only way to get around the Delta. Hiking trails offer another way to tour the area by land. Just as the Delta is connected by an intricate system of waterways, neighboring towns are linked by trails.

The Big Break Regional Trail runs along the southern edge of Big Break, part of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. It also connects to the Marsh Creek Regional Trail and provides access to Oakley and Brentwood. From there you can travel to the Delta de Anza Regional Trail, which provides access to Oakley, Brentwood, Antioch, Pittsburg and Bay Point. Trails like Big Break also allow biking and equestrian rides. Big Break Regional Shoreline, which used to be an upland farm, is completely submerged. Home to many species, mostly birds and fish, the park is also a hotspot for fishing, swimming, boating and naturalist programs. Interested parties can educate themselves on Delta history and current issues, birding, wetland ecology and general nature exploration.

Go Camping

Hotels and houseboats aren’t the only accommodations along the Delta. Camping isn’t allowed everywhere as most of the Delta is private property. However, many designated camping spots do exist. So whether you’re looking to pitch a tent or just park your RV, there’s a spot for you along the Delta.

Bring your boat for added fun. Most of the designated camping areas offer water access with guest docking and launch ramps. River’s Edge Marina & Resort, located off Sevenmile Slough is just one option for RVing along the Delta. Boasting amenities such as a laundry room, warm showers and water hookups, it’s far from roughing it.

Tent camping is a little harder to come but the Northwest, South, West and East Delta all offer options. Dos Reis Regional Park, part of San Joaquin County, is located in the East Delta. Select dates offer tent camping on a site that boasts barbecue pits, a playground, a boat launch and full hook-ups for RVs.




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