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Now, we know that the Napa River isn't exactly part of the Delta, but it seemed important to include this popular fishing and boating area for those of you who might venture out of the Delta by boat for an occasional diversion. 

Napa Tide Tables      Napa River Map



What you need to know about Napa River!

The Napa River basically begins on your right at Mare Island when you leave the Carquinez Strait, under the bridge and as you head into San Pablo Bay. When you enter the mouth of the Napa River, on your right you'll immediately notice the shipyard on your left, an "artist colony" of homes and the General Mills location and eventually the Vallejo public boat launching area on your right. You could tie up there and go ashore for basic fishing supplies or snacks at the Norm's Bait and Tackle, or even marine parts and service from Brinkman Marine (707) 642-7521, but no fuel service is available. This is not a marina, just a busy launching area. 

If you are interested in buying fuel, then you need to venture just a little further up the Napa River to the Vallejo City Marina. There you'll find a large guest dock, in addition to a fuel dock and pump-out station. This is your last chance for fuel for several miles as you venture up the river, so give your gauges a check! There are also a couple of good restaurants at the Vallejo City Marina, so if you're hungry, tie up, fuel up and eat up! We love calling ahead on the cell phone to "The Sardine Can" and ordering up some cheeseburgers to go while we're a little bit outside of the marina. By the time we tie up to the guest dock and make the real short walk down the water to the place, they're usually got them ready to go. They accept Visa and MasterCard! Note: There are no fishing supplies at this marina, so you'll have to have either stopped down river at the public boat launch and hit that bait shop, or have a good stash of your own.

As you go further up the Napa River from Mare Island, crossing under the Mare Island Bridge, you'll come into a very wide area that looks like a small bay. Be careful out here and stay in the channel and go from numbered marker to numbered marker. The river gets very shallow in places out there, especially at low tide! There are some fine sturgeon to be had all out in this part of the Napa River, and you're likely to see a lot of boats anchored out searching for both stripers and sturgeons. Its not unusual to even see a sea lion swimming around up there, either!

After crossing under some very large power line towers and cables (watch carefully for a small red marker warning of a hazard in the center of the channel!), you'll soon begin to turn to the left, heading west for a little while, then you'll see the smaller  entrance to the rest of the Napa River on your right. There are a few sloughs just out there on the west side, and when the tide is running out, you'll find several folks anchored out there going after the stripers with live bait at the mouth of these sloughs.

As you enter the northern, smaller river, this begins a no wake zone and the people who live along the river have boats own private docks there, so they appreciate people who are courteous enough to observe the no wake rules. Too often, the folks here have to put up with new or uncaring boat owners speeding through this area and creating a big wake that slams their boats into their docks. Please don't be one of those people!

Looking south at the train draw-bridgeAs you move along north, you'll cross under a train-drawbridge. This is a very popular shore/bridge fishing spot for stripers, and in good weather there will be a lot of lines in the water. Just past the bridge on the east side is another small slough, where you'll see a private house/shack on an island at the mouth of it. While the property is private and no trespassing it allowed, boats are often seen tied up to the little dock for some striper fishing. We can't say that's "allowed" but can't imagine anyone giving you a hard time for tying up there.

A short while further up the river, on the west side, you'll find The Napa Valley Marina, which is a full service marina with fuel, a chandlery, groceries, guest dock, haul out areas and a whole lot more. Nice, friendly folks, too.

As you go past the marina entrance heading north, you'll see a lot of people fishing for stripers from the shore on land that belongs to a boat/RV storage facility called "Napa Sea Ranch." There is a boat launch on that property, but we've never seen anyone use it, though people often fish from the dock. Just past that dock is the public boat launching area at Moore's Landing. There you'll find a small dock to tie up to and one used for fishing. At Moore's Landing, there is a restaurant by the same name where you can get not only a great meal, but they even sell some frozen bait and they accept Visa, MC and American Express! During the warmer months, they will often have a band playing on the deck during the afternoon. 

The area by the restaurant and boat ramp you see below is a NO WAKE ZONE. Even if the sign is old and faded, it is still a NO WAKE ZONE. Yes, this means you! If you see somebody on that dock fishing or somebody tied to the dock or loading their boat, you can do ample damage and injury by leaving any wake next to them. These are floating docks, so please slow down!

As you pass Moore's Landing, you travel further north up the river toward Napa. Crossing under a large bridge, you'll come to a slough just on the left which is known to turn out some great stripers when the tide is running out. In fact, the striper fishing all around that bridge is really good. The river continues north, past a pipe plant and a couple of turns. People fish from the shore all up and down this part of the river for stripers. When you see a private marina and some real nice houses on your left (the new Napa Yacht Club), you should begin to slow down for a couple of reasons. First, there are usually children fishing right down on the bank, sitting on rocks, just on your left past those houses. Second, around the next quick corner is a no wake zone at the entrance of the "old Napa Yacht Club" housing development. 

There is a city-owned boat launch from a park just south of this slough Unfortunately, the often new-to-the-water wake-board gangs will take a right and head north toward this area when they should go south toward the pipe plant. Believe it or not, it isn't unusual to see a couple of @#(&@! wake-boarders speeding right through the "no wake zone" and they get quite annoyed when you ask them to slow down. 

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Just past the no wake zone, you'll cross under a green drawbridge. From there it is only a mile or so to downtown Napa. When you get downtown, you'll find a small city-owned dock on your left with areas to tie up. People are often fishing there, also. You can tie up and then walk a couple of blocks to several restaurants, from a brew pub to Chinese, Mexican and other styles of food. This is pretty much the end of the line for any boat over 20' on this river unless you are very adventurous! There's not much to see further up river, but it does go on for quite a while more.

The Napa River is a nice place to fish and relax when you want a diversion from the delta. It is pretty much salt and brackish water, but you're likely to do quite well with the stripers and even sturgeon in some parts of it. Happy fishing!


Here's more helpful links if you're visiting the Vallejo/Napa area:

Napa Tide Forecast

Friends of Napa River

The Napa Valley Marina

Vallejo City Marina

US Coast Guard
USCG Eleventh district

USCG Auxiliary

United States Power Squadrons
For Local USPS Information and Classes Contact: Fred Dicky 707-644-6895
 
Mare Island Causeway Bridge 707-552-6287
Island Causeway Bridge monitors Channel 13

Napa River Watershed Map

 

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