Record-Breaking Sturgeon Caught at Lake Del Valle


 Sturgeon Del Valle

A sturgeon caught November 26, 2012 at Del Valle Regional Recreation Area in Livermore has surpassed all records for fish caught at Lake Del Valle since its inception in 1968. Gary Howard of Livermore landed the sturgeon while fishing with anchovies in the park’s Tarantula Cove. The sturgeon, which was caught and released, was over 6’ long, and weighed over 100 lbs.
According to East Bay Regional Park District Fisheries Program Manager Pete Alexander, it’s not only the biggest recorded sturgeon caught at Del Valle, but by far the largest of all the ten species of sport fish ever caught at the lake. A 25 lb. sturgeon (2006) and a 40 lb striped bass (1989) previously held those records, respectively.
Although Del Valle hosts a diverse fishery – according to Alexander the most diverse of any Bay Area lake or reservoir – it’s not exactly renowned for sturgeon. Alexander estimates only a few sturgeon lurk in the lake. The fish caught on Monday could have been pumped in from the Delta as a small fish, or it could be one of three sturgeon obtained by the Park District in January of 2003 from the San Francisco Sport and Boat Show fish exhibit. Those fish measured approximately 30” each at the time they were planted in Del Valle.
According to state regulations, sturgeon must be between 44” and 66” total length, to be kept. This slot limit is designed to keep large breeding adults in the population. Sturgeon that are either smaller or larger, must be released.
Anglers at Del Valle target ten kinds of sport fish including rainbow trout, salmon, bluegill, channel catfish, redear sunfish, black crappie, sturgeon, striped bass, largemouth and smallmouth bass. The District plants trout and catfish at the lake, largely funded by the District’s Fishing Access Permit program. The California Department of Fish & Game also plants trout, as well as inland Chinook salmon, and Kokanee fingerlings.
The East Bay Regional Park District offers 11 lakes and reservoirs and over 25 miles of Bay/Delta shoreline and piers for fishing in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The fish planting schedule, fishing reports, and permit information are available online at

Photo courtesy of Bob & Shirley Stambaugh, Rocky Mountain Recreation Company, operators of the boating & fishing concession at the lake.

Isa Polt-Jones
(510) 544-2207